University of Southern California USC

ASHSS Research and Creative Project Grants

Guidelines and Application

The primary goal of the Advancing Scholarship in the Humanities and Social Sciences (ASHSS) initiative is to support our most productive faculty at critical moments during the scholarly and creative process so that they are enabled to produce high-caliber work sooner.

The ASHSS research and creative project grants program, an initiative of the Office of the Provost, promotes the development of innovative and influential scholarly and creative output in the arts, humanities, and humanistic social sciences. Grants of up to $25,000 will be made to faculty members in any academic unit of the University who seek to make important contributions in these fields.

All USC full-time faculty – tenured, tenure-track, and non-tenure-track – are eligible to apply. Visiting faculty are ineligible. However, preference will be given to faculty newly promoted to the rank of associate or full professor, as an expression of the university’s commitment to their careers, belief in their promise, and laudatory acknowledgment of having produced a body of work meriting promotion.

A faculty member may submit a proposal for an individual research or creative project. Projects in which the applicant’s own scholarly works are secondary, such as conferences or edited volumes, are less likely to be supported.

Deadline

All proposals must have chair and dean signatures and must be submitted no later than 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 21, 2014. Applications may be submitted via email to vpfac@usc.edu with the subject line “2013-14 ASHSS Research and Creative Project Grants” or mailed or hand-delivered to:

Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs
ASHSS Research and Creative Project Grants
3551 Trousdale Parkway – ADM 204
Los Angeles, California 90089-4019

Eligibility and Conditions

  • Recipients of an ASHSS sabbatical or research or creative grant or Zumberge award in 2010-2011 or later are ineligible for this year’s competition.
  • Awards will include fringe benefits costs for faculty salary requests, but awards are not assessed indirect costs.
  • Awards are not transferable to other institutions or to other people. Recipients must be faculty at USC during the award period.
  • Awards are not transferable to another project.
  • Upon completion of the proposed project supported by the grant, recipients must submit a 1-2 page report summarizing what was accomplished and any developments. Faculty must submit the report to be eligible for any future ASHSS support.

Types of Assistance

  • Salary support for technical staff, research assistants, or student wages;
  • Travel for research or activities related to the proposal;
  • Collection and purchase of archival materials;
  • Manuscript preparation, permission fees, and plate charges;
  • Equipment and supplies that are necessary to carry out the proposed research or creative project, including software, texts, digital records and data, lab materials, arts supplies, cameras and recording devices, etc.;
  • Salary for applicant: Either for summer salary of up to $5,000 plus fringe benefits or funds toward the costs of one course release during the academic year ($8,000 plus fringe benefits).
    • Requests for course release during the academic year must be justified in terms of the objective of the proposed research or creative project and approved by the applicant’s dean.
    • Summer salaries do not require special approval.

Application Materials

Applications may be submitted for a research project or a creative work. The requirements for each vary slightly as described below. A special note for non-tenure-track faculty: In the proposal, non-tenure-track faculty should make clear how the proposed research project or creative work aligns with their faculty profile.

Research Project

  • Application Cover Sheet: Enter appropriate budget expenditures as completely as possible.
  • Condensed Curriculum-Vitae (2-page maximum)
  • Abstract (half-page maximum): Summarize the primary objectives or hypotheses of the proposed research, their significance in general terms, and the key activities or research methods of the project.
  • Proposal Narrative (3-page maximum)
    • Research Question or Project Objective: The proposal narrative should highlight the significance of the project both for scholars within your own discipline as well as for a broad audience of humanists and humanistic social scientists. The narrative should clearly explain why your questions/hypotheses or the aims of your project are important and original.
    • Methods: The proposal should describe not only the research design or theoretical framework, but also the concrete activities to be undertaken (e.g. fieldwork, archival research, data collection and analysis, documentary interview or filming, etc.). Be specific in explaining how you will carry out your research.
    • Expected Results and Impact on Long-Term Research Program: Describe the expected outcomes and deliverables from the proposed research. Explain how the project is part of, or will help lead to, your sustained research program that will generate scholarship beyond the period of the award.
  • Opportunities for External Funding (half-page maximum): Describe how this grant will help secure subsequent external funding via sources relevant to your field or discipline. Include references to specific funding agencies, fellowships, foundations, or programs.
  • Budget Explanation (1-page maximum): Clarify the role of individuals for whom salary support is requested. Explain how travel funds will be used to conduct the research or project. For travel expenses, applicants should estimate the likely actual costs. List major equipment and materials to be purchased, and describe how they are necessary to carry out the proposed project. Include costs for fringe benefits at the standard rate of 33.5% when requesting salary support for yourself or for staff or postdoctoral researchers. Please consult with your dean of research or dean of faculty for any questions on this topic.
  • Endorsement of Time Release (optional): If requesting a course release, a letter of endorsement signed by both your department chair and dean must be included in the application package. The letter must justify the release in terms of the objective of the proposed research or project, and explain the obstacles to completion of the project that would exist in the absence of a course release.
  • Signatures
    • NOTE: Department chair and deans might have an accelerated deadline to meet the Provost Office’s deadline for submission. Applicants are responsible for contacting their department chairs and dean for approval signatures before submitting the application to the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs.
    • By submitting a signed proposal, applicants indicate their agreement to comply with the terms and conditions of the ASHSS research and creative project grant program as well as all other applicable USC policies.
    • The applicant’s chair and dean will review the application to ensure that the applicant’s school can support the faculty member. Dean’s approval indicates acknowledgement that any overdrafts on the awardee’s account will be the responsibility of the school.
    • Additionally, for non-tenure-track faculty, dean’s approval indicates that the proposed project or creative work is consistent with the faculty member’s profile.
    • If review committees’ approvals are required for the applicant’s project, approval must be received prior to the release of funds.

Creative Work

  • Application Cover Sheet: Enter appropriate budget expenditures as completely as possible.
  • Condensed Curriculum-Vitae (2-page maximum)
  • Summary (half-page maximum): Summarize your project narrative. Briefly describe the work and projected audience or impact.
  • Proposal Narrative (3-page maximum): Artist’s statement and description of work to be pursued: write for a general audience and provide the context for the importance of your work in your field and the impact of the proposed project.
  • Opportunities for External Funding (half-page maximum): Describe how this grant will help secure subsequent external funding via sources relevant to your field or discipline. Include references to specific funding agencies, fellowships, foundations, or programs.
  • Budget Explanation (1-page maximum): Clarify the role of individuals for whom salary support is requested. Explain how travel funds will be used to conduct the research or project. For travel expenses, applicants should estimate the likely actual costs. List major equipment and materials to be purchased, and describe how they are necessary to carry out the proposed project. Include costs for fringe benefits at the standard rate of 33.5% when requesting salary support for yourself or for staff or postdoctoral researchers. Please consult with your dean of research or dean of faculty for any questions on this topic.
  • Work Samples (optional): For visual artists who wish to include work samples, provide links to relevant online material and/or documentation of your work.
  • Endorsement of Time Release (optional): If requesting a course release, a letter of endorsement signed by both your department chair and dean must be included in the application package. The letter must justify the release in terms of the objective of the proposed research or project, and explain the obstacles to completion of the project that would exist in the absence of a course release.
  • Signatures
    • NOTE: Department chair and deans might have an accelerated deadline to meet the Provost Office’s deadline for submission. Applicants are responsible for contacting their department chairs and dean for approval signatures before submitting the application to the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs.
    • By submitting a signed proposal, applicants indicate their agreement to comply with the terms and conditions of the ASHSS research and creative project grant program as well as all other applicable USC policies.
    • The applicant’s chair and dean will review the application to ensure that the applicant’s school can support the faculty member. Dean’s approval indicates acknowledgement that any overdrafts on the awardee’s account will be the responsibility of the school.
    • Additionally, for non-tenure-track faculty, dean’s approval indicates that the proposed project or creative work is consistent with the faculty member’s profile.
    • If review committees’ approvals are required for the applicant’s project, approval must be received prior to the release of funds.

Proposal Evaluations

Proposals are evaluated by a multidisciplinary faculty panel. Because of limited resources, not all proposals can be funded, and some may be funded for less than the requested amount. To the extent possible, grants will be spread across units.

In reviewing research and creative project grant requests, faculty panels consider whether the project promises to make significant and innovative contributions to the relevant scholarly literature or body of work in the arts, humanities, or humanistic social sciences. The most successful proposals articulate the work for a broad interdisciplinary audience, and provide the context for the importance and impact of the proposed project. The strongest applications from non-tenure-track faculty make obvious the connection of the proposed research or creative project to their faculty profile.

Reviewers assess the degree to which the project leads directly to original research publications or creative products on the part of the applicant. All proposals should have as their primary focus the generation of original scholarship or creative work.

Reviewers also assess the likelihood that the project is positioned to attract external funding support from sources appropriate and relevant to the applicant’s discipline – including fellowships, foundation and philanthropic grants, federal funding, and private sector support.

The total amount awarded will depend on the quality of the proposals that are submitted. Awards will also take into consideration the balance of topics, with a goal of including research and creative works covering multiple disciplines and approaches.

For additional help and insights into writing a grant proposal, the Center for Excellence in Research provides presentation slides from a previously offered workshop “Proposal Writing in the Humanities and Social Sciences”.

Notification and Terms of Award

Applicants will be notified of the results of the grant competition by the end of April 2014. Grant recipients will be notified of the amount and conditions of the award, and copies of the notification of the award will be sent to department chairs and deans.

Funds will not be available for expenditure before July 1, 2014, and will expire on June 30, 2015. A single one-year no-cost extension is available solely at the discretion of the awardee’s dean.

Reporting and Acknowledgement of Support

Awardees must submit a brief report (1-2 pages), including accounting of expenditures and any external support received, within 30 days of the termination of the grant year (by July 31, 2015). These reports will be reviewed and portions of the report may be reprinted. In addition, recipients may be asked to present their findings at a workshop or seminar.

Any publication or creative endeavor arising from work supported by the fund should acknowledge the Office of the Provost and Advancing Scholarship in the Humanities and Social Sciences grant program at the University of Southern California. For scholarly projects, copies of publications should be submitted to the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs. For creative projects, copies of the finished work, where feasible, and any resulting publicity materials, press clippings, or reviews should be submitted to the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs.

Questions may be directed to

Lydia Lee
Assistant Provost for Faculty Affairs
Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs
ADM 204 MC 4019
Phone: (213) 740-6799

  • For more information:

    Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs
    Bovard Administration Building 204
    3551 Trousdale Parkway
    Los Angeles, CA 90089-4019
    Phone: 213-740-6715
    E-mail: vpfac@usc.edu