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Jackman Humanities Institute - Funding Opportunities

Mellon New Directions Fellowship 2017

Application Start Date: Jun 14th, 2017, 02:35 pm
Application End Date: Aug 15th, 2017, 11:59 pm

Call for Letters of Intent (LOI)
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation New Directions Fellowships 2017

The University of Toronto has been invited to make one nomination for the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s New Directions Fellowships. These highly selective fellowships provide support for exceptional faculty members in the humanities and humanistic social sciences who received their doctorates between 2005 and 2011, and whose research would benefit from their acquiring systematic training and academic competencies outside their own disciplines in order to advance a cross-disciplinary research agenda. Unlike other fellowship awards, this program does not aim to facilitate short-term outcomes, such as completion of a book. Rather, New Directions Fellowships are a longer-term investment in scholars’ intellectual range and productivity.
    In 2009, two nominees from the University of Toronto won fellowships from the Mellon foundation:  Walid Saleh (Study of Religion) for his project, ‘The Bible in the Islamic Religious Imagination’ and Nicholas Everett (History) for his project, ‘The Alphabet of Galen and Three New Strands in the History of Pharmacy’.  In 2011, we were invited to make one nomination, and Eric Cazdyn (Comparative Literature and East Asian Studies) won a fellowship for his project ‘The Worldly Clinic’. In 2014 and 2016, we were invited to make one nomination, but did not receive the award.

The details of the fellowship are listed below, and are also available on the Mellon Foundation website: http://www.mellon.org/grant_programs/programs/higher-education-and-scholarship/new-directions-fellowships

Serious interdisciplinary research often requires established scholar-teachers to pursue formal substantive and methodological training in addition to the PhD.  New Directions Fellowships assist faculty members in the humanities and humanistic social sciences who seek to acquire systematic training outside their own areas of special interest.  The program is intended to enable scholars in the humanities to work on problems that interest them most, at an appropriately advanced level of sophistication.  In addition to facilitating the work of individual faculty members, these awards should benefit scholarship in the humanities more generally by encouraging the highest standards in cross-disciplinary research.

Terms of the Fellowship
Candidates will be tenured research faculty members who were awarded doctorates within the last six to twelve years and whose research interests call for formal training in a discipline other than the one in which they are expert.  Such training may consist of coursework or other programs of organized study.  It may take place either at fellows' home institutions or elsewhere, as appropriate.  Although it is anticipated that many fellows will seek to acquire deeper knowledge of other fields within the broadly defined sphere of the humanities and humanistic social sciences, proposals to study disciplines farther afield are eligible.

The principal criteria for selection are:

  • the overall significance of the research,
  • the case for the importance of extra-disciplinary training for furthering the research,
  • the likely ability of the candidate to derive satisfactory results from the training program proposed, and
  • a well-developed plan for acquiring the necessary training within a reasonable period of time.

Fellows will receive:  (1) the equivalent of one academic year's salary, (2) two summers of additional support, each at the equivalent to two-ninths of the previous academic year salary, and (3) tuition or course fees or equivalent direct costs associated with the fellows' training programs. To permit flexibility in meeting individual scholars' needs, these funds may be expended over a period not to exceed three full academic years following the date of the award.  The Foundation also expects the fellow's home institution to use budgetary relief resulting from the award for academic purposes, preferably in the fellow’s department.

The University of Toronto Timeline

  1. The Jackman Humanities Institute (JHI) will again be administering the proposal selection process, which is on a short timeline. We are actively seeking nominations and are requesting a letter of intent by 15 August 2017.
  2. An internal committee of leading scholars in the Humanities that is approved by the Vice-President Research and Innovation, will screen and then pre-select only one applicant to develop a full proposal.
  3. The full proposal will be due at the JHI on 16 September 2017. The internal committee will review the final proposal with an eye to strengthening it.
  4. Final revisions will be due by 28 September 2017.
  5. The applicant’s proposal will then go forward to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation by  6 October 2017 with the endorsement of the Vice-President Research and Innovation, and will compete for one of the approximately twelve fellowships.

For 15 August 2017, we are asking for: 1) A Letter of Intent from the faculty member, and 2) a short CV. The letter of intent should be up to 3 pages (single-spaced) and describe:

  • the faculty member’s recent research project,
  • the new research project for which new training is required,
  • where the applicant might choose to do that study (Toronto or elsewhere), and
  • how the advanced training would contribute to the new project.

The letter of intent and CV should be submitted online by clicking on Apply Now! at
(Applicants must have an active account in the JHI website.)
On the basis of these materials the internal committee will select the single applicant who will be asked to prepare a full application.

The full application that will be prepared in late August and September, in order to be submitted to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, will consist of six items:

  1. Proposal Information Sheet (https://mellon.org/grants/grantmaking-policies-and-guidelines/grant-proposal-guidelines/#FormsSubmittedProposal)
  2. Endorsement letter from the Vice-President Research and Innovation.
  3. A proposal of no more than 2,000 words, prefaced by a summary of no more than 300 words.  The proposal should provide an explanation of the overall significance of the research being undertaken and how the proposed new direction will assist in the development of the field.
  4. A brief budget narrative and a budget, in the Mellon Foundation template (download from https://mellon.org/grants/grantmaking-policies-and-guidelines/grant-proposal-guidelines/#FormsSubmittedProposal).  The budget should include items for salary and standard fringe benefits (including yearly increases), projected training costs, and project-related travel.  Lodging may only be included for vital professional meetings and short site visits; fellows are expected to cover their housing costs during the periods when they receive salary support from the grant.  Requests for housing supplements may be included in the proposed budget when the projected cost of living in the city where study is to be pursued exceeds substantially the costs incurred when the fellow is working at the home institution. No overhead or indirect costs are permitted, and no funding for staging conferences, symposia, seminars, or events related to the project is allowed.  The Foundation assumes the need for equipment or research assistants will be met by the fellow's home institution. The Foundation assumes that needs for equipment or for research assistants will be met by the fellow’s home institution.  Final budgets commonly range from $175,000 US to $250,000 US; the maximum is $300,000 US. Candidates should make every effort to base their estimated expenses on careful projections of all items in the grant budget. The JHI will work with Research Services and the applicant to develop the budget.
  5. A letter of recommendation from the candidate's department chair or other senior colleague which should address the candidate's preparation and the relationship of the "new direction" to the nominee's research and pedagogy.  An additional letter of recommendation may be submitted from a colleague in the new field, if appropriate.
  6. A concise curriculum vitae, no more than five pages in length.

If you have questions, please contact:
Professor Alison Keith, Director of the Jackman Humanities Institute (416) 978-7415.


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