Grant for Researchers

The Louisville Institute Grant for Researchers (GFR) is a new grant for the 2025 season that provides grants of up to US$55,000 to support scholarly research in Christian faith and life, the practice of ministry, religious trends and movements, Christian and other faith-based institutions, and religion and social issues. This program is open to scholars and researchers in the United States and Canada

Introducing the new Grant for Researchers!


Application due date: September 15, 2024 (11:59 p.m. EDT)

Project grant amount: up to US$55,000

Project timeframe: April 1, 2025 – December 31, 2026

Awards announced: February 2025

Winter Seminar: January 21-23, 2026

What is the NEW Grant for Researchers?

The Louisville Institute Grant for Researchers (GFR) is a new grant for the 2025 season that supports academic and scholarly research in North American Christianity and related and cognate fields, and topics such as Christian faith and life, the practice of ministry, religious trends and movements, Christian and other faith-based institutions, and religion and social issues. Of particular interest to the Louisville Institute are projects that bridge scholarship and the life of the church in North America.

Grants of up to US$55,000 will be awarded for sabbatical and other research leave, research projects and their necessary resources and support, or a combination. Applicants may apply as individuals or in teams of up to three people, and must be based in the United States and Canada.

The Grant for Researchers encompasses the previous Louisville Institute Project and Sabbatical Grants for Researchers, combining and reimagining them within a single, flexible grant program that responds to changing academic dynamics and practices, and meets the contemporary needs of scholars and institutions. 

Grants awarded in February 2025 will fund projects taking place between April 1, 2025, and December 31, 2026. Funds are typically used for scholarly resources and activities, such as:

    • Scholarly or academic research project costs;
    • Semester or term academic research leave (sabbaticals);
    • Or a combination of the above elements.

What do I need to know to apply?

Who is eligible for a Grant for Researchers?

Eligible candidates: 

    • Are scholars based in the United States and Canada who have completed a terminal research degree, usually a Ph.D., S.T.D., or Th.D.
    • Typically teach in a university, seminary, or theological school, but may also work within institutes, organizations, other academic or ecclesial settings, or be independent researchers.

Additional eligibility information:

    • Doctoral students are not eligible for a PGR but may be eligible for one of our fellowship programs.
    • Pastoral leaders seeking sabbatical or research support should apply for our Pastoral Study Project Grant if they are interested in study leave, or for Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Programs for sabbaticals of rest and renewal. For questions regarding your project and its eligibility, please email
    • Any previous fellowships or grants from the Louisville Institute must be completed and final reports submitted before applying for another LI fellowship or grant.
    • You may only apply for one LI grant or fellowship between June 1, 2024, and May 31, 2025.

See additional stipulations below. For questions about grant eligibility, please email

How can I use Grant for Researchers funds?

GFR funds can be used for:

  • Costs associated with conducting a scholarly, academic research project, such as:
    • Compensation for research assistants, interviewees, focus group participants, consultants, and others who will work on the project
    • Tools to facilitate study, like database access, a recording device, survey or data software, transcription programs, etc.
    • Travel directly related to the project and its investigation, such as to access archives, museums, or libraries; to interview participants or conduct focus groups or participant observation; or for experiences connected to the project (e.g., site visits)
    • Resources related to learning, such as books, trainings, or consultations
    • Childcare or other family support needed to undertake the project
    • Course buyout or salary replacement for unpaid time off or research leave
  • Semester or term academic research leave (sabbaticals). Options include:
    • Funds for an additional sabbatical semester or term to extend a planned sabbatical semester/term.
    • Sabbatical funding for scholars whose institutions do not grant paid sabbaticals.

GFR funds cannot be used for:

    • Your regular salary to continue your current job
    • New programs or staff positions in your department
    • Expenses in pursuit of a degree
    • Tools for your everyday work, such as an office chair, desktop computer, or cell phone

For questions about grant proposals, please email

What is Winter Seminar?

GFR grantees are invited to attend Winter Seminar, a three-day gathering in Louisville, KY, in which award recipients from three different Louisville Institute programs gather to share their projects and engage in valuable collaboration together. Winter Seminar for this grant cycle will take place January 21–23, 2026, and all related expenses for participants are paid by the Louisville Institute.

How do I apply?

  • Download the 2025 GFR Application GuideThe application guide contains the details you need. Read the guide carefully and refer to it as you prepare your application materials.
  • Review the eligibility requirements in the guide.
  • Create an account. Click on the “Apply” button to create an account and get started. (Application portal opens June 1, 2024)
  • Prepare your materials. Complete applications require the following (see the Application Guide for full details):
      1. General Application Information
      2. Project Summary
      3. Project Narrative
      4. Bibliography
      5. Line Item Budget & Budget Narrative
      6. Curriculum Vitae or resume
      7. Two Letters of Recommendation
  • All application elements are submitted online through our application portal.
  • Applications are due by 11:59 p.m. EDT September 15, 2024, and letters of recommendation are due from the recommenders September 22, 2024.

What is the Selection Process for Grant for Researchers grants?

The Louisville Institute appoints a selection committee to review proposals and award Grant for Researchers grants. The selection committee meets about three months after the application due date. In 2025, we will award 25 grants of up to US$55,000 each. All applicants are notified by email as soon as possible after the selection process. Awards will be announced publicly in February 2025.

How can I ask for feedback for my project?

We are happy to provide initial feedback on your project idea. Being specific and focused about your project will yield more helpful feedback from us. Before you submit a feedback request, please run your idea by trusted colleagues and possible participants to get their thoughts.

To request feedback, use this link to respond to the following questions:

    • What is the primary question you want to explore? (50 words or fewer)
    • Why is this project important to you, your community, and/or the church in North America? (100 words or fewer)
    • How are you planning to carry out your study? Give a brief overview of where and/or with whom you hope to work, the research methods you might use (e.g., archival research, interviews, surveys, observation, visits, etc.), and why you’ve chosen these strategies (350 words or fewer).

Note: Because we receive many requests for feedback, responses can take several weeks, but we will respond to all feedback requests submitted prior to August 15, 2024.

Additional Eligibility Information for all Grants & Fellowships

    • You are welcome to apply again for any of our grants or fellowships – in fact, it’s very common! However, you may only apply for one grant or fellowship between June 1, 2024, and May 31, 2025.
    • Any previous fellowships or grants from the Louisville Institute must be completed and final report submitted before applying for another LI fellowship or grant.
    • Members of the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary staff, faculty, Board of Trustees, or student body, or their immediate family members (parents, spouses, or children), are ineligible for Louisville Institute grants or fellowships. Members of the Louisville Institute Advisory Board and their immediate family members are also ineligible to apply.
    • Louisville Institute grantees may not simultaneously hold two individual grants from Lilly Endowment-funded organizations that together total more than US$55,000. Please contact us if you have any questions about this stipulation: Individual grants are those held by the same project director, not necessarily the same institution.

Questions? Don’t hesitate to contact us!