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Humanities Research Scholar Award

The Center for the Humanities invites applications for the Research Scholar Award, a three-year distinction offering research funding in its first and third year.

The Award is given to an Associate or Full Professor undertaking a major research or creative project in the humanities.

Projects eligible for the award include, but are not limited to, work culminating in a book; a collection of artworks or compositions; a film, website, or other work in the new media; a novel, memoir, or full-length play; a collection of short stories, poems, or essays. Rarely will a single peer-reviewed article be considered the sole appropriate outcome of the scholarship proposed for this award.

The award confers a $3,500 research support fund, or one course reassignment, or a $3,000 summer research stipend in each of the first and third years of the project. Renewal of funding in the third year is contingent upon demonstrated progress toward completion in the first two years of the award period. 

Research support refers to funds available to cover research costs, either via reimbursement or direct purchase by the Center on behalf of the recipient. 

Summer stipends refer to supplemental income paid to the recipient via payroll. Please note that stipends are taxed, whereas research support funds are not. See the FAQ page for more information on how this can affect award amounts.

Course reassignments make available funding to cover the cost of replacement instruction for one to two courses. Approval for the reassignment must be granted by the recipient's dean and chair or program director.


Note, unlike most other grant categories, this award has a single (not a rolling) deadline. Applications for the 2024-2027 HRSA should be submitted one week ahead of the Board's September 1 meeting, Friday August 25.


Because of the wide range of potential projects upon which applications for the Research Scholar Award may be based, the following criteria are meant to guide applicants generally as they compose their applications. They do not, however, exhaust the range of considerations that the Board of Directors may take into account as it deliberates among proposals.

  • This award is intended to fund a project from preliminary inquiry through to preparation for publication.
  • This award underwrites a single project, not two or more projects that form part of a long-term research agenda. Accordingly, the proposed project should be of significant stature: single articles and essays, individual artworks, short compositions, or works whose nature limits their impact or duration (such as an event, happening, or single live performance) are unlikely to earn the support of this award.
  • The proposed work should engage with or respond to established research, writing, or production in its field and should promise significant impact on that field.
  • The proposed project should engage with questions, problems, or issues central to humanistic inquiry.
  • The applicant’s scholarly or creative achievement to date should demonstrate his/her experience, expertise, and qualifications for undertaking and completing the proposed project.

Additional Information

In addition to addressing the criteria above, proposals should also include:

  • A detailed timeline of work to be completed in the first year of the award period, with tentative timelines for the two years to follow.
  • A budget for the first year of the award period outlining the uses to which funding will be put. If the applicant plans to request a course reassignment for the first year of work, s/he should also include a budget for expending the award as a research fund in case the reassignment request is denied at the department or college level.
  • A complete curriculum vitae.
  • A sample of recently published, performed, or exhibited work related to the work proposed.
  • Optional: Applicants may include a letter of support for the project from a person qualified to judge the merit of the proposed work and its likely significance within its field.

Past Recipients

Amahia Mallea (2024-2027), Professor of History

Melisa Klimaszewski (2023-2026), Professor of English

Nate Holdren (2022-2025), Associate Professor, Law, Politics, & Society

Sandra Patton-Imani (2021-2024), Professor, Culture and Society

Lisa West (2020-2023), Associate Professor of English

Eric Saylor (2018-2021), Professor of Music History

Ben Gardner (2017-2020), Associate Professor of Art and Design

Darcie Vandegrift (2016-19), Associate Professor of Sociology

Renee Cramer (2015-18), Professor of Law, Politics and Society

Jennifer Harvey (2014-17), Professor of Religion

Nancy Berns (2011-2014), Professor of Sociology

Timothy Knepper (2010-2013), Professor of Philosophy

Managing Expeditures

The Center for the Humanities requires funding recipients and Center-supported program/event organizers to observe Drake University accounting guidelines. The University's tax-free status depends upon uniform observance of these guidelines. Expenses incurred in contravention of these guidelines will not be reimbursed. For more information, please read our grant management page.


Recipients of funding from the Center for the Humanities are asked to provide on the impact and effect of the activities funded.

Acknowledging the Center

The Center’s support must be acknowledged in the published work and, when possible, in announcements, presentations, and publicity materials connected to it. Please see the acknowledgments page for examples of appropriate formulations of acknowledgment.


To apply, please email your application and CV as attachments to The first two items in all applications should be (1) the amount requested and (2) the budget breakdown for the amount requested. We will also eagerly read about your project's details, timeline, and its importance to the Humanities at Drake and beyond, but we can only approve requests that include a total amount requested and a budget breakdown. 

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