Mellon/ACLS Scholars & Society Fellowship Program 2020/2021 (Stipend of $75,000)

Mellon/ACLS Scholars & Society Fellowship Program 2020/2021 (Stipend of $75,000)

Deadline: October 23, 2019

Applications for the Mellon/ACLS Scholars & Society Fellowship Program 2020/2021 are now open. The Mellon/ACLS Scholars & Society program aims to amplify the broad potential of doctoral education in the humanities by supporting doctoral faculty as they pursue publicly engaged scholarship and advocate for diverse professional pathways for emerging PhDs.

The program offers opportunities for faculty with full-time appointments in PhD-granting humanities departments or programs in the United States to engage significant societal questions in their research, serve as ambassadors for humanities scholarship beyond the academy, and deepen their support for innovations in doctoral education on their campuses.

The goal of the fellowship year should be to conduct a major research project in the humanities or humanistic social sciences that treats a significant issue or grand challenge in society—such as democratic governance, technological change, racism, climate change, economic inequality, or migration and immigration, to name a few possibilities. The program supports projects at all stages of development, and welcomes applications that propose to deepen or expand existing research projects as well as those that propose new projects. While projects should be informed by present-day issues in the public sphere, they need not be contemporary in focus. Indeed, it is assumed that the insights yielded by humanities research focused on earlier time periods can inform work on contemporary challenges.


  • To support humanities research that is engaged with societal questions and informed by dialogues taking place outside of the academy;
  • To valorize publicly engaged scholarship and make it more visible at universities with doctoral programs in the humanities;
  • To promote the wide circulation of humanities research and understanding of the questions and methods that animate humanities scholarship;
  • To equip faculty who teach and advise doctoral students with a greater understanding of how advanced training in the humanities prepares PhDs for a range of careers.


  • Each fellowship carries a stipend of $75,000, plus funds of up to $6,000 for research, travel/optional relocation, and related project costs
  • ACLS also will cover the costs of fellows’ attendance at the workshops. Fellows must commit themselves to relocating (if necessary) in order to be in residence for the entire nine-month tenure of the fellowship
  • The award also carries $10,000 in support for each fellow’s host organization, and provides additional funding of up to $15,000 to sponsor on-campus and off-campus programming in the year following the fellowship.


Applicants must:

  • Be employed in full-time faculty positions in PhD-granting humanities departments or programs at a university in the United States, remaining so for the duration of the fellowship. US citizenship or permanent residency is not required.
  • Commit to a nine-month residency off-campus and at the non-academic institution that they have proposed.
  • Commit to participate in-person in two multi-day workshops (in late summer 2020 and late spring 2021) during the fellowship year.

Evaluation Criteria

Peer reviewers in this program are asked to evaluate all eligible proposals on the following criteria:

  • The potential of the project to advance the field of study in which it is proposed and to treat issues of public concern effectively.
  • The quality of the proposal with regard to its methodology, framework, and grounding in the relevant literatures.
  • The feasibility of the project and the preparedness of the applicant to undertake it.
  • The rationale for residency at the proposed site and likelihood that the collaboration with colleagues at the host institution will increase the applicant’s ability to carry the project forward.
  • The potential of the applicant’s work to engage with and make an impact on audiences beyond the academy.


Applications must be submitted online and must include:

  • Completed application form, which includes a brief statement of interest describing the motivation for public engagement and the applicant’s capacity to carry out such work
  • Narrative proposal that includes the following sections: research aims and planned outcomes; a survey of the field that outlines how the proposed project articulates with current approaches to publicly engaged humanities scholarship; necessary skills, training, and logistical support; and a rationale for residency that includes a reflection on how the project and residency alike will be mutually beneficial for the fellow and host organization (no more than seven pages, double spaced, in Times New Roman 11-point font)
  • Up to three additional pages of images, musical scores, or other similar supporting non-text materials [optional]
  • Bibliography (no more than two pages)
  • Publications list (no more than two pages)
  • One-page project timeline
  • One-page description of efforts by applicant’s department or institution to support diverse careers for doctoral students. Applicants may also note their own approach to expanding opportunities for PhDs
  • Two reference letters
  • Statement of support from the applicant’s proposed host organization

Click here to start application

For more information, visit Mellon/ACLS Scholars & Society Fellowship.