Project Grant for Researchers

The Project Grant for Researchers (PGR) supports research, reflection, and writing by academics and pastors concerning Christian faith and life, the practice of ministry, and/or religious institutions. Grants of up to $30,000 support a diverse range of projects that may involve independent study, consultations, or collaboration between pastors and academics. Preference given to projects that show potential to generate reliable new data through empirical methods of inquiry and discovery.

Application Deadline: October 1, 2021

Grant Timeframe: January 1, 2022 thru December 31, 2023

Grant Amount: up to $30,000

2022 PGR Application Guide

Apply for a Project Grant for Researchers now.

Louisville Institute’s Project Grant for Researchers program (PGR) supports research, reflection, and writing by academics and pastors concerning Christian faith and life, the practice of ministry, and/or religious institutions. Grants of up to $30,000 support a diverse range of projects that may involve independent study, consultations, or collaborative projects involving pastors and academics. Projects that show potential to benefit the church in North America are particularly attractive to the Institute.

Previous PGR Grants

2022-2023 PGR Projects

During this grant cycle (projects to be conducted between January 1, 2022-June 30, 2023), Louisville Institute welcomes a variety of projects in religious studies, theological studies, and ministerial studies. In addition, we are interested in proposals that investigate one — or the combination of — the following cluster of topics that affect faith communities in North America:

    • new efforts in racial justice, equity, and inclusion;
    • the multifaceted and intersectional (e.g., social, economic, traumatic, liturgical) impact of Covid-19, including intentional formation initiatives during and after the pandemic.


The Project Grant for Researchers program is open to both academic and pastoral leaders based in the United States or Canada. While pastoral leaders are eligible to apply to the PGR program, their proposals will likely be more competitive in the Pastoral Study Project program.

Applicants must have earned the terminal degree in their chosen vocation. For pastors, this is typically the Master of Divinity degree; for academics it is usually the Ph.D. or Th.D. Note that grant funding does not support tuition or degree program expenses. All applicants must demonstrate a capacity to complete the proposed project in a timely fashion.

Proposed projects may employ a variety of methodological perspectives, including, but not limited to, historical, systematic and practical theology, the social sciences, history, ethics, or biblical studies. They may also be interdisciplinary in nature. All applicants should make clear how their project will contribute to the vitality of Christianity in North America.

Previous LI grantees are eligible and encouraged to apply; however, all program and financial reports for any previous grants must be submitted prior to August 1st. Applicants may only apply to one Louisville Institute grant program within the same grant year (June 1-May 31).

Members of the Louisville Presbyterian Seminary Board, staff, or student body — including immediate family members (parents, spouse, or children) — are not eligible for the PGR grant program.

Questions about eligibility may be sent to Jessica Bowman (

PGR Feasibility Feedback

LI is glad to provide brief initial feedback to help you determine if your PGR project idea fits our funding criteria. Consultation does not guarantee funding. However, staff feedback can help you discern whether to develop your ideas into a full grant proposal.

Before contacting us, please do the following:

    • Describe your institutional context (2-3 sentences).
    • State your project’s core question — framed as a question — and say why it is important to the church in North America (one paragraph).
    • Identify how you plan to investigate this question, indicating potential research strategies (2-3 paragraphs).
    • Share your outline with several trusted colleagues and incorporate their feedback.

After completing these steps, email your brief project outline (500 words maximum) to the Associate Director ( with the subject “PGR feedback.” We will respond to all feedback requests submitted prior to September 1.

PGR Application Requirements

In order for an application to be considered for a grant, applicants must go to APPLY on our website and submitted all application materials no later than 11:59pm October 1, 2021.  Letters of Recommendations must be submitted by the recommender by October 8, 2021.  If you encounter problems, contact Jessica Bowman.

Are you applying with a colleague to the PGR Grant? If yes, the Project Director will submit the application requirements and add additional Team Members during the application process. All other Team Members will receive an email to create a user account and join the specific PGR project proposal.  Additional team members will upload resume and submit recommender contact information.

Applications must include:

    • Applicant Information (time frame, amount, etc.)
    • Core Question: In 1-3 sentences, state your project’s core question—framed as a question—and say why it is important to the church in North America.
    • Project Summary: Summarize your project in approximately 200 words.
    • Proposal Narrative: In approximately 5-7 pages (12-point and double-spaced) describe your proposal in detail, using the following outline:
        • Concern/Question: What is the primary concern or question being addressed?
        • Rationale: Why is the proposed topic important to you and to the Christian church? What are the consequences if this issue is not investigated and responded to?
        • Plan: How do you intend to study and investigate the concern? Include a description of the way in which you will conduct the inquiry: field work if appropriate, travel, and other resources and activities necessary to complete the project.
        • Dissemination: Who is your audience for this research? How do you plan to share your research with them? What oral forms of dissemination fit the project (e.g. sermons, education venues, speeches, conference papers)? What written forms of dissemination fit the project (e.g., essay, article, book, other possible publication venues)?
        • Impact: What personal, academic, and spiritual impacts do you see for yourself in engaging in this project? What benefits will come to your institution and to the larger church?
        • Timeline: What is the schedule and timeline for the project?
    • Bibliography: Compile a carefully selected bibliography (2-3 pages, double-spaced) that identifies the major relevant literature and other seminal resources in the field you plan to study
    • Proposal Budget: A line-item budget is required, together with an explanatory budget narrative.  The total amount requested may not exceed $30,000. The Louisville Institute allows up to 10% indirect costs based on the total direct costs of the project ($2,727 maximum for PGR). For detailed instructions in preparing your PGR budget see pages 11-16 of the 2022 PGR Application Guide.
    • Your current Curriculum Vitae or résumé (no more than 4 pages).
    • Two Letters of Recommendation (Colleague and Assessing Project Feasibility): When uploading your application requirements, provide name, email addresses and phone for recommenders. LI will immediately email recommenders with a link to submit letters online. Applicants should contact their recommenders in advance to explain procedures and guidelines (below). Letters of Recommendation must be submitted by October 8th.
        • Letter of Recommendation from Colleague: Your Colleague letter should come from someone – either within or outside your institution – who can provide a candid assessment of your reliability and capacity to carry out the proposed project. Your recommender should describe how your previous work demonstrates skills needed to conduct this study and coordinate this Project Grant for Researchers, indicating ways this project might strengthen the church in North America.
          Note: If more than one team member, each person must have a Letter of Recommendation from a Colleague.
        • Letter Assessing Project Feasibility: Your Feasibility letter should come from someone who can provide a candid assessment of the need for this project, the feasibility of this project, and the distinctiveness of this project in light of what others are doing or have already done. Your recommender will tell us why this proposed project matters, how you are well-suited to undertake this venture, and why this study has relevance for the church in North America.

Review and Selection Process

Every year the Louisville Institute Board appoints a selection committee to review proposals and award PGR grants. Committee membership and deliberations remain confidential.

Applicants whose projects are not funded will be notified by mail as soon as possible following the adjudication process. Due to the large number of applications the Institute receives, LI Board and staff members do not provide additional feedback on declined proposals.

Duration of Award and Stipend

Research periods supported by this grant may vary. The grant amount requested should not exceed $30,000. Normally, the Louisville Institute will pay the grant directly to the institutions of those selected. The Louisville Institute allows up to 10 percent indirect costs based on the total direct costs of the project.


Academic and pastoral applicants who cannot be released from professional duties should indicate in their proposals how they plan to devote sufficient time to the proposed project. In many cases, for example, this may require a course buyout or some other reduction in teaching load or a buyout of a certain number of Sundays for pastors. Awards will be announced on or before January 10, 2022.

An added benefit of being awarded a Project Grant for Researchers is that all grantees will be invited and encouraged — though not required — to attend the Institute’s annual Winter Seminar. This three-day consultation, held January 2023 (exact dates & location TBD), convenes grant recipients from four different Institute programs to share their project plans and receive constructive feedback.

Applicants may not submit applications to more than one Louisville Institute grant program within the same grant year (June 1-May 31). Louisville Institute grantees may not simultaneously hold two grants from Lilly Endowment-funded organizations that total more than $45,000. The Louisville Institutes does not make grants for basic institutional support.