Project Grant for Researchers

The Project Grant for Researchers (PGR) supports scholarly research projects about Christian faith and life, the practice of ministry, religious trends and movements, Christian and other faith-based institutions, and religion and social issues. Grants of up to $30,000 support projects that may be independent or collaborative, and may be rooted in fields such as history, systematic and practical theology, social science, ethics, biblical studies, etc., or may be interdisciplinary in nature. Of particular interest to the Louisville Institute are projects that bridge academic scholarship and the life of the church in North America.


Application due date: September 1, 2023 (11:59 p.m. EDT)

Project grant amount: up to US$30,000

Project timeframe: January 1, 2024 – December 31, 2025

Awards announced: December 1, 2023

Winter Seminar: January 22-24, 2025

What is the Project Grant for Researchers?

The Project Grant for Researchers (PGR) is designed to support scholars conducting academic research projects about Christian faith and life, the practice of ministry, religious trends and movements, Christian and other faith-based institutions, and religion and social issues. We are looking for projects that demonstrate a desire to bridge the North American church and academy. You can read more about previous PGR grantees and their projects on our website.

Grants awarded in the fall of 2023 will fund projects taking place between January 1, 2024, and December 31, 2025. Funds are typically used for scholarly resources and activities, such as:

    • hiring research assistants
    • conducting personal or group interviews
    • preparing and implementing quantitative surveys
    • completing interview transcription and coding
    • travel or access for hands-on examination of archival records
    • other activities involved in gathering and analyzing data

What do I need to know to apply?

Who is eligible for a Project Grant?

Eligible candidates: 

    • are scholars in the United States and Canada who have earned a terminal research degree, typically a Ph.D. or Th.D.
    • usually teach in a university, seminary, or theological school, but may also work for institutes and organizations, in other academic or ecclesial settings, or be independent researchers.
    • may work in various fields such as history, systematic and practical theology, social science, ethics, biblical studies, etc., or be interdisciplinary.

Additional eligibility information:

    • Doctoral students are not eligible for a PGR but may be eligible for one of our fellowship programs.
    • Applicants with a professional degree such as a D.Min. are usually better suited for our Pastoral Study Project grants. If you hold a professional rather than a terminal research degree and want to apply for a PGR, you must first contact us to confirm your eligibility: You will also need to demonstrate your experience with and capacity for academic-level research in your application.

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

How can I use PGR funds?

PGR funds can be used for:

    • Compensation for research assistants, interviewees, focus group participants, consultants, and others who will work on the project with you
    • Tools to facilitate your study, like database access, a recording device, survey or data software, transcription programs, etc.
    • Travel directly related to your 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 your project (e.g., historical settings, site visits, etc.)
    • Resources related to your learning, such as books, trainings, or consultations
    • Childcare or other family support you need to undertake your project
    • Time away from your regular job, such as a course buyout or salary replacement for unpaid time off

PGR 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?

PGR grantees are invited to Winter Seminar, a three-day gathering in Louisville, KY, in which award recipients from four 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 22–24, 2025, and all related expenses for participants are paid by the Louisville Institute.

How do I apply?

  • Download the 2024 PGR Application Guide. The application guide contains the details you need. Read this document carefully and refer to it as you prepare your materials.
  • Review the eligibility requirements in the guide.
  • Create an account. Click on the “Apply” button to create an account and get started.
  • 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 1, 2023, and letters of recommendation are due from the recommenders September 8, 2023.

What is the Selection Process for PGR grants?

The Louisville Institute appoints a selection committee to review proposals and award Project Grants for Researchers. The selection committee meets about 8–10 weeks after the application due date. In recent years, we have averaged 80-90 applications and this year we will award 8 grants. All applicants are notified by email as soon as possible after the selection process. Awards will be announced publicly on or around December 1, 2023.

How can I ask for feedback?


We can provide some initial feedback on your project idea to see if it’s a good fit for our grants. 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 to get their thoughts. Additionally, if your project involves other participants (such as church or community members, or others who will be central to your project), please seek their input before asking for LI feedback.

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 1.

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, 2023, and May 31, 2024.
    • 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$45,000.

Questions? Don’t hesitate to contact us!