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External Funding

Find External Funding Sources available for Social Sciences and the Humanities through the Federal Agencies, Private Foundations, and Industry. Check organization websites and search databases for current opportunities and information. Be sure to setup your PIVOT profile for customized searches.


 Get to Know Potential Funders

Before you submit a proposal learn about the agency or organization.  Check out these handy guides from agency websites and the excellent Know Your Agency Series by the University of Colorado Denver’s Office of Research Development and Education. You will find helpful information including an Overview, Specific Interests and Approach, and how the submission and review processes work, and more.

Understanding Federal Funding

  •’s  Federal Grant-Making Agencies for funding agencies and missions
  • New to how Federal Grants work? Check out Grants 101
  • TIP: sign up on funders' websites for email alerts announcing funding opportunities

How to Contact the Program Officer

  • First email your request with a short summary of your idea asking for a short call to pose your questions.
  • Formulate a short list of questions to ask beforehand such as, “Does my idea align with the program and division to which I plan to submit?” Most program officers willingly provide information and insight which enables you to produce a better proposal.
  • Before you call, learn the Do’s and Don’ts about how to contact program officers

National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)

The NEH is the largest federal funder of university humanities researchers in the United States.  NEH grants typically go to cultural institutions, such as museums, archives, libraries, colleges, universities, public television, and radio stations, and to individual scholars. NEH’s funding programs are divided into seven divisions, each offering several grant opportunities.


NEH Grants Specific Interest:

  • strengthen teaching and learning in schools and colleges
  • facilitate research and original scholarship
  • provide opportunities for lifelong learning
  • preserve and provide access to cultural and educational resources
  • strengthen the institutional base of the humanities

National Science Foundation (NSF)

NSF is an independent federal agency that funds ~24% of all federally supported basic research, and is the major source of federal fund for social sciences at U.S. colleges and universities.  Its mission is to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity and welfare, and to secure national defense. It does not support the medical sciences.  NSF is divided into 7 directorates that support science and engineering research and education: Biological Sciences, Computer and Information Science and Engineering, Engineering, Geosciences, Mathematical and Physical Sciences, Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE), and Education and Human Resources.

About NSF

Finding Funding: Identify the NSF program(s) that best fit you research

Department of Defense (DoD)

The Department of Defense support research grants through its multiple agencies. DoD’s main research and engineering websites: & have links to various agencies. Of particular interest to Social Scientists is the Minerva Initiative and to Psychology researchers is CDMRP, detailed below.

  • Find any government agency grant, including DoD, via the website.

Know Your Agency
Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR)
Army Research Office (ARO)
Office of Naval Research (ONR)

  • The Minerva Initiative is a Department of Defense (DoD)-sponsored, university-based social science research. The goal of the Minerva Initiative is to improve DoD’s basic understanding of the social, cultural, behavioral, and political forces that shape regions of the world of strategic importance to the U.S. The research program will:  Leverage and focus the resources of the Nation’s top universities;  Seek to define and develop foundational knowledge about sources of present and future conflict with an eye toward better understanding of the political trajectories of key regions of the world; Improve the ability of DoD to develop cutting-edge social science research, foreign area and interdisciplinary studies, that is developed and vetted by the best scholars in these fields.
  • Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) The CDMRP fills research gaps by funding high impact, high risk and high gain projects that other agencies may not venture to fund. While individual programs are unique in their focus, all CDMRP programs share the common goal of advancing paradigm shifting research, solutions that will lead to cures or improvements in patient care, or breakthrough technologies and resources for clinical benefit. The CDMRP strives to find and fund the best research for the benefit of the American public, military personnel, and their families.  Funding opportunities focus varies yearly.  Current funding opportunities are found at
    • Due to the current Continuing Resolution, the Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) Defense Appropriations bill has not been passed. Although funds have not been appropriated for the peer reviewed programs managed by the Department of Defense (DOD) office of Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP), CDMRP is providing information to allow investigators time to plan and develop ideas for submission to the anticipated FY17 funding opportunities.  Subsequent notifications will be sent when the program announcements/funding opportunities are released.

Know Your Agency: Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP)

Fulbright Scholar Programs

The Fulbright Program, including the Fulbright-Hays Program, is a program of highly competitive, merit-based grants for international educational exchange for students, scholars, teachers, professionals, scientists and artists, founded by United States Senator J. William Fulbright in 1946. Under the Fulbright Program, competitively selected U.S. citizens may become eligible for scholarships to study, conduct research, or exercise their talents abroad; and citizens of other countries may qualify to do the same in the United States.

The Fulbright Program is one of the most prestigious awards programs worldwide, operating in over 155 countries. Fifty-three Fulbright alumni have won Nobel Prizes; seventy-eight have won Pulitzer Prizes.

The program was established to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries through the exchange of persons, knowledge, and skills.

The Fulbright Program provides 8,000 grants annually to undertake graduate study, advanced research, university lecturing, and classroom teaching.


Find programs for US Scholars, Visiting Scholars, and US Institutions
Fulbright Award Policy

Private Foundations 

Review organizations’ reports and publications to give you an idea of which research they support. The sources listed below contain a wealth of information regarding foundations and their missions.

Check out Philanthropy News Digest for information about foundations.

FoundationsDirectoryOnline is a subscription service and is available via our TAMU Library Databases website.  The online database provides comprehensive information about the missions, goals, tax forms, and funding programs provided by foundations in the United States.

Check out these 3 articles from December 2016 Chronicle of Higher Education.

A Foundation Leader’s Advice: Come to the Meeting Prepared – Judith Shapiro
How to Court a Foundation – Kathryn Masterson
Strategies for Success in Working with a Foundation – Kathryn Masterson


The Alan Lomax Fellowship in Folklife Studies
American Academy in Berlin
American Academy of Religion, click on “Programs.”
American Association of University Women
American Antiquarian Society Fellowship
American Cancer Society (ACS)
American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) – **NOW OPEN**
American Heart Association (AHA)
American Historical Association, there is also members only Grants Guide
American Philosophical Association
American Philosophical Society
American Political Science Association, click “Resources” -> click “Grants in the Discipline,” which also contains an extensive list of funders for all humanities and social science disciplines.
Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholarship
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Brain and Behavior Research Foundation
Brightfocus Foundation
Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library – suspended for remodel until Fall 2016
Carey Institute for Global Good non-fiction residency
Center for Philosophy of Science, Visiting Fellows Program, University of Pittsburgh
Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection administered by Harvard Trustees
European Institute for Advanced Studies (EURIAS)
Frankel Institute, University of Michigan
Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington
Folger Shakespeare Library, Research Fellowships (Long and short term)
Ford Foundation
Gates Foundation Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE)
The Getty Library (Getty Research Institute for the History of Art and the Humanities)
The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History Fellowships in American Civilization
H-Net Humanities and Social Science Online
Hagley Museum and Library Fellowship
Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation
Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center Fellowship
Houghton Library Fellowship, Harvard University
Howard Fellowships, Howard Foundation, George A. & Eliza Gardner
Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
Institute for Historical Studies, Resident Fellows, University of Texas at Austin
John Carter Brown Library
W.K. Kellogg Foundation
The Library Company of Philadelphia Fellowships
Library Resident Research Fellowship
Loeb Classical Library Foundation Fellowship, Harvard University
The Lilly Library (Fellowships discontinued during library renovation December 2019-Summer 2021.  Some materials are online.)
The Massachusetts Historical Society Fellowships
Modern Language Association
McKnight Foundation
The National Council for Eurasian and East European Research
National Communication Association, click “Research”
National Gallery of Art Fellowship
National Humanities Center
NATO Fellowship Program
The Newberry Library Fellowships
New England Regional Fellowship Consortium
The New York Public Library
Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute
Princeton University Grants
Qatar National Research Foundation (PI must be Qatar-based)
Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies, Fellowship Program
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF)
Rockefeller Foundation
Russell Sage Foundation
Social Science Research Council
Stanford Humanities Center (External Faculty Fellow)
United States Institute for Peace
Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grant
William Andrews Clark Memorial Library (UCLA) Fellowships
Winterthur Research Fellowship program
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)

NEA main website

Grants for Individuals

Creative Writing Fellowships

Fellowships in fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction enable recipients to set aside time for writing, research, travel, and general career advancement. Non-matching grants are for $25,000.

Translation Projects

Translation Projects enable recipients to translate work from other languages into English. Non-matching grants are for $12,500 or $25,000, depending upon the artistic excellence and merit of the project.


Department of Defense seal
Fulbright Logo
National Endowment for the Arts logo
NEH Logo
National Institute of Health
National Science Foundation logo