Arts and Humanities Initiative (AHI)




The Office of the Vice President for Research is pleased to invite applications for 2013-2014 Arts and Humanities Initiative Grants.  Support is available for humanities scholarship and work in the creative, visual, and performing arts to be conducted June 1, 2013 – September 1, 2014.

Awardees will be expected to make their proposed work a chief scholarly/creative priority for the grant period.  Those awardees with projects eligible for external fellowships and grants are encouraged to work with the Office of the Vice President for Research to develop proposals for external funding. 

AHI applicants whose projects feature public digital components are encouraged to seek project development assistance from the Digital Studio for the Public Humanities (DSPH) by contacting Jon Winet, director of the DSPH, at dsph@uiowa.eduNB:  while eligible applicants can apply either for the DSPH grant or the AHI grant but not both, DSPH staff will consult with applicants to both programs.

Budget requests may include travel, equipment, supplies, summer salary, research personnel, honorarium/consultant fees or any combination of these items, but a proposal must be for only one specific project.

All proposals must be submitted electronically to the Office of the Vice President for Research via the UIRIS website at The online submission site opens Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Applicants are advised to submit applications a few business days in advance of the Wednesday, February 6, 2013, deadline to allow time to deal with any unanticipated electronic submission problems.  OVPR staff is available between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. daily to assist with submissions.

If you have questions, please contact Cheryl Ridgeway (384-3332;

Applicant Eligibility

  • All tenure-track and tenured faculty, clinical faculty, as well as professional and scientific staff members and lecturers for whom research and scholarship are assigned as one of the primary job responsibilities and have at least a 50% appointment during the time of their application and the year of the project are eligible to apply for an AHI award.  Visiting faculty, associates, postdoctoral associates, fellowship trainees, and graduate students are not eligible.
  • An applicant may appear as a project director or co-director on only one AHI proposal.
  • An applicant may not apply to more than one internal funding program in the same cycle.
  • The project director must play a primary role in the conduct and outcome of the proposed project.
  • Recipients of an AHI, DSPH, BSFP, MPSFP or SSFP grant awarded or conducted in academic year 2012-2013 are not eligible for this call for proposals.

Humanities projects must be designed to result in the applicant’s preparing a publication or other scholarly work likely to make a significant impact on scholarship in the proposed field and enhance the applicant’s scholarly reputation among the applicant’s peers.

Arts projects must be designed to result in the applicant’s preparing a work in the creative or performing arts likely to make a significant impact on the proposed field and enhance the applicant’s artistic reputation among the applicant’s peers.  Music composition and performance projects that involve the production of a music CD are eligible for this competition. 

Proposed AHI projects must be conducted June 1, 2013 – September 1, 2014.  No funds will be provided for activities that already have taken place.  All AHI grant activities must be undertaken and all funds must be expended (not just encumbered) by September 1, 2014.  Applicants may submit a proposal for a Standard, Conference or Major Project grant.

Book subventions and subventions for art exhibit catalogues are not eligible for this competition.  Information about OVPR subventions is posted at

Types of Grants and Support Available

AHI Standard Grants ($7,500 maximum)

AHI Standard Grants are for individual or collaborative projects. Requests may be for domestic and international travel (including transportation, lodging and meals); equipment; summer salary stipend for UI faculty on 9-month appointment (fringe benefits must be charged to the award and not to the college); supplies, software, research assistants or for any combination of these items. 

Some hypothetical examples of proposals for AHI Standard Grants:

  • An applicant from Music proposes to develop a multi-media composition with a computer scientist from California.  Requested funds include $6,800 summer salary stipend for the UI musician, plus $500 airfare from Palo Alto and $200 living expenses to partially support the visitor’s travel to Iowa City.
  • An applicant in Anthropology wishing to do field research in Africa requests $4,600 for travel and lodging in Kenya and $600 for the services of a Kenyan photographer.  They intend to develop grant proposals to NSF and NEH.
  • An applicant in English who is completing a book on Romantic poetry requests $7500 for a graduate research assistant stipend.  The proposal notes the applicant’s plan to apply for an ACLS fellowship.

AHI Conference Grants ($10,000 maximum)

AHI Conference Grants provide up to $10,000 total budget for any conference, colloquium, symposium or working research group.  Allowable expenses for conferences or symposia include speaker honoraria, visitor travel, printing and advertising.  Conference project directors are not eligible to receive compensation.  Preference may be given to humanities conferences designed to result in a scholarly product and to arts conferences designed to result in a public display or representation.

AHI Major Project Grants ($40,000 maximum)

AHI Major Project Grants support important scholarly or creative projects assigned exceptionally high scores by reviewers whose scope, cost, complexity and potential impact are demonstrably greater than those associated with the production of the usual academic publication, creation, performance, or conference.  If reviewers do choose to recommend a proposal for a Major Project Grant, it is likely that we will have funds to make only one award at this level.  Salary support is available only to UI faculty on 9-month appointment and is limited to $7,500 to cover summer salary stipend and fringe.  Proposals for the Major Project Grant must demonstrate either their competitiveness for external funds and/or significant support from their department or college.  Please note that this award will be available, not for merely expensive projects, but for especially complex projects that promise to have an especially broad impact.

Some hypothetical examples of requests for AHI Major Project Grants:

  • Applicants from History and UI Libraries, working in conjunction with the Herbert Hoover Museum, request $24,000 to bring together scholars, librarians, and technicians from around the world to develop a research-based website dedicated to the papers of Herbert Hoover.  The narrative notes the specific NEH division for which applicants will prepare a proposal.
  • An applicant from Cinema and Comparative Literature proposes to make a documentary film on the prairie landscape.  She requests $40,000 for production costs.  She indicates that she already has submitted a proposal for a media grant to Humanities Iowa.


Enter budget items, costs and justification in the appropriate areas of the online form.  Be as specific as possible, listing each travel site, each piece of equipment, etc.  Explain why the requested item is essential for the proposed work.  Do not submit a budget as part of the narrative. 

The funding period is from June 1, 2013, through September 1, 2014.  Because it is assumed that awardees will make their AHI grant their top scholarly/creative activity for the year, extensions will be granted only under extraordinary circumstances. 

Requested amounts may not exceed the levels stipulated above ($7,500 for Standard Grants, $10,000 for Conference Grants, and $40,000 for the Major Project Grant).  UI faculty on 9-month appointment who are applying for Standard or Major Project grants may include in their request a summer stipend up to $7,500 (including fringe) if they are devoting their summer to their AHI project.  Requests for Graduate Research Assistants must include tuition.  Support is not available for travel to attend or to make presentations at conferences.  General purpose equipment (mobile phones, laptops, etc.) are not eligible budget items.  Equipment purchased may be used exclusively by the applicant but remains the property of The University of Iowa.  In the budget section of the online application, briefly justify each requested item; that is, explain the purpose of each trip, each piece of equipment, and graduate assistant, etc.

Application Guidelines

Applications for all AHI grants will be reviewed by a peer review group, advisory to the Vice President for Research.  Applicants are advised to write in a manner that will be clear to reviewers outside of the applicant’s field.

Applications will be judged on the following criteria:

  • The scholarly or artistic originality/creativity/significance of the project.
  • How it builds on the work of others and on your own work.
  • The reasonableness of the procedures.
  • The reasonableness of the timetable during the grant period and for the completion of the project.
  • The likelihood that the project will be completed and will produce an important work of scholarship or art.
  • If applicable, the likelihood that the project will attract external grant funding.
  • The record of achievement in the proposed area of the project director(s).
  • The necessity of the requested funds to advance the proposed work. NB: External funding is viewed favorably and funding projects at various stages of development is permitted.  However, applicants are advised to clarify why AHI funding is needed if external funding has been awarded.
  • If applicable, results of previous AHI Grants.

All applications must contain:

  1. Budget and budget rationale/justification (entered in the online application).  Be as specific as possible in your discussion of each budget item, indicating how requested AHI funds will be used.
  2. Project Abstract (entered in the online application) that provides a brief overview of the project.
  3. Narrative (five pages maximum single-spaced, plus one page Bibliography, plus one page Results of Previous AHI Grants) that directly answers the following questions in the following order:
    1. What do you propose to do?
    2. Why is it an important scholarly or artistic contribution to your field?  How will it build on previous work in the field?  How will it build on your own work?
    3. How will the proposed work proceed during the grant period?  Specify what and when you (and any others) will be doing during the grant period.  Be sure to incorporate requested budget items in your narrative: that is, describe what your Research Assistant will be doing, or how you will be using your new equipment, and specify travel destinations and research sites with those destinations.  Describe potential difficulties or obstacles. State what will have been accomplished by the end of the grant period.
    4. What will be the final scholarly or creative product?  When do you estimate it will be completed?  Give a rough time table for achieving that estimated completion date.  Identify likely journals or publishers or venues for your completed work.  If the final scholarly or creative product is digital in nature, include a plan that describes 1) how you will draw visitors to the site, and 2) how you expect it to be maintained and supported beyond the grant period.
    5. Indicate whether you will be developing a proposal for external funds.  Specify the likely agency or foundation.
  4. Results of previous AHI grants (if applicable) (one page, single spaced):
    1. List all previous AHI grants awarded in the past five years.  Under each AHI Grant listed, please provide the following information:
      1. Full citation for publications or performances.
      2. Results other than publications or performances.
      3. If the proposed work has not yet been published or performed, please estimate when it will be completed and submitted for publication.
      4. If the proposed work will not be completed, briefly explain why.
    2. If your most recent AHI project has not yet been completed, briefly explain why you are proposing a new project for this competition.
  5. Curriculum Vitae(s) of the Project Director(s).  Each CV to be three pages maximum, single-spaced, that includes name; position; department or unit; degrees, when and where earned; relevant publications or creative projects; external grants and awards, and previous AHI grants.

Supplemental materials:  Applicants proposing audio-visual or digital projects are permitted to insert a link to web hosted materials within the narrative.  Alternatively, if the material is in CD, DVD, or other format, applicants may send three copies to Cheryl Ridgeway, / 201 Gilmore Hall.  NB: Since reviewers tend to be most attentive to the narrative, applicants should be sure to develop a narrative that can stand on its own.

Additional Information

  • Combine the Narrative and Project Director’s CV into one pdf document (required format) to upload to the online application.
  • Combine Co-Director CV(s) into one pdf document to upload, if applicable.
  • The AHI application site opens on Wednesday, December 5, 2012.
  • Deadline for submission is 11:59 p.m., on Wednesday, February 6, 2013.

Please submit your application well in advance of the deadline to allow time to deal with any unanticipated electronic submission problems.

If you have questions, send them to or call Cheryl Ridgeway in the Office of the Vice President for Research at 384-3332.