Answering the most frequently asked questions related to Louisville Institute grants and fellowships
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: GRANTS
WHO is eligible for Louisville Institute GRANTs?
Specific information about eligibility is included in each program page, but in general our grants support those who help lead religious institutions and communities, and those who study and care about them. The Louisville Institute identifies pastoral leaders and academics who are passionately committed to the vitality of North America Christianity; we sometimes describe them as “scholarly pastors” and “faithful academics.”
“Scholarly pastors” are church leaders committed to ministry yet realistic about its distinctive challenges in contemporary culture. They value theological education and appreciate history and tradition while welcoming new ideas and creative possibilities; they reflect deeply on what faithfulness means in their contexts. “Faithful academics” see themselves as both students of religion and persons of faith who want their scholarly work to serve North American religious life and practice.
WHY DOES LI MAKE GRANTS TO Scholars 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 and academics have distinct vantage points on the challenges and promises of faith, practice, and ministry. Each can develop and share their wisdom, creating networks that strengthen communities of faith in North America.
WHAT KINDs OF 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 study by an ethicist on religion, work, and family. Or it may be sociological or historical research into trends that speak to today’s realities. In all cases, we supports studies that contribute to the vitality of Christian churches and related religious institutions. For examples of the kinds of projects we have funded, see Awards.
WHAT Kinds of PROJECTS DOES LI NOT FUND?
The Louisville Institute does not make grants for basic institutional operations (such as the continuation of existing programs or ministries), construction expenses, endowments, publication subventions, routine conference support, educational expenses for persons enrolled in degree programs, or Doctor of Ministry projects.
Because the Louisville Institute is housed at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, LI grants cannot be awarded to members of the LPTS Board, faculty, administration, staff, or student body, or to any of their immediate family members (parents, spouse, or children). Additionally, Louisville Institute Board members and members of their immediate families are ineligible to receive Louisville Institute grants.
WHICH PROGRAM Is right for MY RESEARCH PROJECT?
The Louisville Institute currently offers four research grant programs: the Pastoral Study Project Grant, the Project Grant for Researchers, the Sabbatical Grant for Researchers, and the First Book Grant for Scholars of Color. For more information on each grant, review the eligibility criteria under each program description. Applicants may only apply to one Louisville Institute grant program within the same grant year (June 1-May 31).
HOW DO I APPLY FOR A GRANT?
Visit the grant page for the specific program for which you are applying, download the application guide, and review all application requirements. When you are ready to apply, click APPLY in the upper corner.
WHAT Makes an application compelling?
A strong grant proposal poses a core question and constructs a reasoned argument about a significant reality facing the church today. To craft a compelling 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?
Yes. All application materials are submitted online by uploading documents in *.pdf format on our website. All digital documents must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on the application deadline. If you encounter problems with the online application, email us.
CAN AN LI GRANT BE USED FOR SALARY SUPPORT?
Yes. Grant budgets may include salary replacement when justified in the budget narrative. However, grants cannot fund your regular salary to do what you are already doing.
DOES LI PROVIDE SAMPLE PROPOSALS?
No. Brief project descriptions are available on our website, but we do not provide samples of successful proposals. Each grant selection committee has its own distinct selection process. Applicants should consult colleagues for feedback, and craft a proposal that fits their skills and interests.
MAY I SUBMIT A PROPOSAL TO MORE THAN ONE GRANT PROGRAM?
Yes, but not in the same year. 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 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?
Yes, but to apply you must be a U.S. or Canadian citizen and your project must clearly demonstrate a connection to the church in North America. Generally speaking, preference for grants will be given to scholars working in the United States or Canada.
CAN I STILL APPLY AFTER THE GRANT DEADLINE?
No. In fairness to all applicants, LI is unable to accept proposals after the posted application deadlines. All application materials must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on the application due date.
WHERE CAN I FIND OUT MORE ABOUT previous PROJECTS you’ve funded?
I’M NOT SURE MY PROJECT IS A GOOD FIT FOR THE LOUISVILLE INSTITUTE. WHERE ELSE can I LOOK FOR GRANTS?
The Louisville Institute is one of several grantmaking institutions funded by Lilly Endowment. You can find out more about Lilly Endowment programs here.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: FELLOWSHIPS
WHO is eligible for Louisville Institute FELLOWSHIPs?
The Postdoctoral Fellowship is for recent doctoral graduates and supports a two-year teaching fellowship in a theological school. This partnership is coordinated by the Louisville Institute in consultation with the applicant.
The Dissertation Fellowship supports the final year of Ph.D. or Th.D. dissertation writing for students engaged in research pertaining to North American Christianity.
The two-year Doctoral Fellowship is for Ph.D./Th.D. students who are currently in their first or second year of doctoral study and who are considering theological education as their vocation.
Eligible applicants are committed to the Christian church and to theological education, and can reflect on how their doctoral studies are preparing them for careers in theological education. Applicants come from a variety of academic disciplines including history, ethics, the social sciences, biblical studies, and historical, systematic, and practical theology, as well as interdisciplinary pursuits.
These three fellowship programs support the formation of engaged and thoughtful academics whose work serves the church and its ministries. Through such programs, the Louisville Institute contributes to the vocational trajectories of a new generation of theological educators prepared to respond faithfully to the needs of communities of faith.
Because the Louisville Institute is housed at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, LI fellowships cannot be awarded to members of the LPTS Board, faculty, administration, staff, or student body, or to any of their immediate family members (parents, spouse, or children). Additionally, Louisville Institute Board members and members of their immediate families are ineligible to receive Louisville Institute funding.
HOW DO I APPLY FOR A FELLOWSHIP FROM LI?
WHAT DO LI FELLOWSHIPS NOT FUND?
LI Fellowships are not scholarships and do not cover tuition or other educational expenses.
DO I SUBMIT MY APPLICATION ONLINE?
Yes. All application materials are submitted online by uploading documents through our website in *.pdf format. Documents must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on application deadline. If you encounter problems with the online application, email us.
Transcripts may be submitted in hard copy or via electronic service to email@example.com.
DOES LI PROVIDE SAMPLE ESSAYS OR PROSPECTUSes?
No. Because proposals vary so widely, we do not provide samples of essays or prospectuses.
MAY I SUBMIT A PROPOSAL TO MORE THAN ONE FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM?
Yes, but you may apply to only one Louisville Institute fellowship program within the same grant year (June 1 – May 31).
CAN I APPLY FOR A FELLOWSHIP IF I’m ENROLLED IN A SCHOOL OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES OR CANADA?
Yes, but you must be a U.S. or Canadian citizen, and your studies must demonstrate connection to and impact on the church in North America.
CAN I STILL APPLY AFTER THE Fellowship DEADLINE?
No. In fairness to all applicants, we are unable to accept proposals after the posted application deadlines. All application materials must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on the application due date.
WHERE CAN I FIND out MORE ABOUT FELLOWSHIP PROJECTS YOU HAVE SUPPORTED?
I’M NOT SURE MY PROJECT IS A GOOD FIT FOR THE LOUISVILLE INSTITUTE. WHERE ELSE can I LOOK FOR FELLOWSHIPS?
The Louisville Institute is one of several grant making institutions funded by the Lilly Endowment. You can find out more about Lilly Endowment programs here.
CAN I APPLY FOR a DISSERTATION FELLOWSHIP a second time?
As long as you meet the eligibility requirements for the Dissertation Fellowship, you are welcome to apply a second time. Note that applicants should expect to finish their dissertations during the calendar year following their application (i.e. if you apply in 2023, you should expect to finish during the calendar year 2024). Other eligibility considerations are listed on the Dissertation Fellowship page.
If you have previously received and declined a Louisville Institute Dissertation Fellowship, you are not eligible to reapply again.