Frequently Asked Questions: Grants

Who can receive a research grants from the Louisville Institute?

Those who lead religious institutions and those who study and care about them. The Louisville Institute has identified a specific constituency of pastoral leaders and academics who are passionately committed to the vitality of America Christianity and to engaged reflection about it. We sometimes describe them as “scholarly pastors” and “faithful academics.”

“Scholarly pastors” are committed to ministry yet realistic about its distinctive challenges in the contemporary cultural situation. They value theological education, appreciate history and tradition while remaining open to new learning, and reflect deeply on their ministry context. “Faithful academics” see themselves as both students of religion and persons of faith who want their scholarly work to contribute to the vitality of American religious life.

Why does LI make grants to both academics and pastoral leaders?

We believe that those who study religious institutions need to be in conversation with those who lead them – and vice versa. Pastoral leaders as well as academics have distinct vantage points on the challenges and promises of faith, practice, and ministry. Each group can develop and share wisdom with each other and with a wider audience, creating new peer networks that will strengthen communities of faith in North America.

What kind of research projects does LI fund?

The Louisville Institute supports research pertaining to contemporary North American Christianity. Sometimes this may be practical theological research on spiritual formation in Christian faith communities or research by an ethicist on religion, work, and family. At other times it may be sociological or historical research. But in all cases, the Institute supports studies that will contribute to the revitalization of Christian churches and related religious institutions. For examples of recently funded projects, see Previous Awards

What projects does LI not fund?

The Louisville Institute does not make grants for basic institutional operating support (including the normal operation of existing programs), construction expenses, endowments, publication subventions, routine conference support, educational expenses for persons enrolled in degree programs, and Doctor of Ministry projects.

Louisville Institute grants cannot be awarded to members of the Louisville Presbyterian Seminary Board, faculty, administration, staff, or student body, or to any of their immediate family members (parents, spouse, or children). Institute Board members themselves and members of their immediate families are ineligible to receive Louisville Institute grants.

Which grant program should I apply to support my research project?

The Louisville Institute offers four competitive grant programs. Apply to the one that best fits your professional identity and the scope and nature of your project. For more information, review eligibility criteria under each grant program description.

How do I apply for a grant?

Visit the grant page for the specific program you are applying for to review all application requirements.  When you are ready to apply, go to Submission on the right-hand navigation bar.

What does a good Louisville Institute proposal look like?

A compelling grant proposal poses a core question and constructs a reasoned argument about a significant challenge facing the church today. To craft a strong proposal:

  • Summarize your case clearly and concisely, highlighting core questions that will guide your inquiry.
  • Artfully describe an ecclesial issue or challenge and explain why it is significant.
  • Outline your proposed strategy for addressing the issue or challenge.
  • State what you expect to find or accomplish.
  • Indicate how you intend to evaluate your project and share your findings with others.
  • Identify the ways you hope this project will contribute to the vitality of contemporary religious life in North America.

Do I submit my application online or in hard copy?

Application materials must be submitted online by uploading documents through our website in *.pdf format. All digital documents must be submitted by the annual application deadline. If you encounter problems with the online application contact Keri Liechty.

Can a LI grant be used for salary support?

Yes. Grant budgets may include salary replacement when justified in the budget narrative.

Does LI provide sample proposals?

No. The Institute provides project abstracts but not samples of previously successful proposals. Each grant selection committee has its own distinct selection process. Applicants should consult with colleagues and craft a proposal that fits their own skills and interests.

May I submit a proposal to more than one grant program?

Applicants may apply to only one Louisville Institute grant or fellowship program within the same grant year (June 1-May 31).

I’m a biblical scholar. Can I apply for a grant?

Yes. We have previously funded and continue to welcome biblical research projects that bear directly on North American religious life.

I’m not a practicing Christian. Can I apply for a grant?

Yes. The Louisville Institute has awarded grants to scholars who claim no personal commitments to Christianity. Applicants should be astute — even if critical — observers of American religious life and their projects should further the Institute’s mission.

Can persons living outside the United States or Canada apply for grants?

No. Only pastoral leaders and academics based in the USA and Canada are eligible to apply for LI research grants.

Can I still apply after the grant deadline?

No. In fairness to all grant applicants, LI is unable to accept proposals after the posted application deadlines.

Where can I find out more about LI-funded projects?

The Search Tool allows you to search the entire site for any word or phrase. Search by topic, grantee name, institution, etc. or use one of our suggested topics.

I’m not sure my project is a good fit for the Louisville Institute. Where else may I look for grants?

The Louisville Institute is one of several grant making institutions funded by Lilly Endowment. Links to and descriptions of these various institutions are posted at the Resourcing Christianity website.

Frequently Asked Questions: Fellowships

Who can receive a fellowship from the Louisville Institute?

The Postdoctoral Fellowship Program supports a two-year teaching fellowship in a theological school, chosen by the Louisville Institute, in consultation with the applicant.

The Dissertation Fellowship Program supports the final year of Ph.D. or Th.D. dissertation writing for students engaged in research pertaining to North American Christianity, especially projects related to the current program priorities of the Louisville Institute. It is also open to outstanding students who may not intend to teach in theological education, but whose dissertation projects have the potential to strengthen the religious life of North American Christians and their institutions.

The two-year Doctoral Fellowship Program invites gifted Ph.D./Th.D. students, currently in their first or second year of doctoral study, to consider theological education as their vocation.

Eligible applicants should be able to describe their commitment to the Christian church and theological education and suggest how his or her doctoral work would be an appropriate preparation of a career in theological school teaching. Applicants may represent a variety of academic disciplines, including, but not limited to, history, ethics, the social sciences, biblical studies, and historical, systematic, and practical theology.

Competitive applicants will effectively communicate in well-written, persuasive language why they are applying to the particular fellowship program, how their academic work informs their interest in theological education, and how it will benefit the larger church.

The Louisville Institute’s three fellowship programs are designed to support the formation of ecclesially engaged academics for teaching and scholarship that serves the church and its ministries. With this Initiative, the Louisville Institute seeks to address the need for a new generation of faculty who are vocationally formed so that they may better respond to the needs of communities of faith and their future leadership — ministry students.

What do LI Fellowships not fund?

LI Fellowships do not provide for educational expenses.

Who does LI does not fund?

Louisville Institute grants and fellowships cannot be awarded to members of the Louisville Presbyterian Seminary Board, faculty, administration, staff, or student body, or to any of their immediate family members (parents, spouse, or children). Institute Board members themselves and members of their immediate families are ineligible to receive Louisville Institute grants or fellowships.

How do I apply for a fellowship from LI?

Visit the fellowship page for the specific program you are applying for to review all application requirements.  When you are ready to apply, go to Submission on the right-hand navigation bar.

Do I submit my application online or in hard copy?

Application materials must be submitted online by uploading documents through our website in *.pdf format. All digital documents must be submitted by the annual application deadline. If you encounter problems with the online application contact Pamala Collins.

Transcripts may be submitted in hard copy or electronic service to info@louisville-institute.org.

Does LI provide sample essays or prospectus?

It is the policy of the Louisville Institute not to provide samples of successful essays or prospectus, since proposals vary so widely. But in the midst of this variety, successful applicants follow closely the procedures provided for the appropriate fellowship program section of this website.

May I submit a proposal to more than one fellowship program?

Applicants may submit applications to only one Louisville Institute fellowship program within the same grant year (June 1-May 31).

Can a student apply for a fellowship in theological education if enrolled in a school outside the United States or Canada?

No. Only students enrolled in schools in the United States or Canada are eligible to apply for these fellowships.

Can I still apply after the deadline?

No. In fairness to all applicants for LI Fellowships, we are unable to accept proposals after the posted application postmark deadlines.

Where can I find more information about some of the fellowship projects you have supported?

The Search Tool allows you to search the entire site for any word or phrase. Search by topic, grantee name, institution, etc. or use one of our suggested topics.

I’m not sure my project is a good fit for the Louisville Institute. Where else may I look for fellowships?

The Louisville Institute is one of several grant making institutions funded by the Lilly Endowment. Links to and descriptions of these various institutions are posted at the Resourcing Christianity website.

Can I apply a second time for your Dissertation Fellowship?

As long as you meet the eligibility requirements for the Dissertation Fellowship, you are welcome to apply in more than one proposal cycle. Previous applicants have been successful applying a second time.

Applicants must be candidates for the Ph.D. or Th.D. degree who have fulfilled all pre-dissertation requirements, including approval of the dissertation proposal, by February 1 of the award year and expect to complete the dissertation by the end of the following academic year. The Fellowships are intended to support the final year of dissertation writing.

Persons who decline the offer of a Louisville Institute Dissertation Fellowship are ineligible to reapply in a subsequent year.