Sabbatical Grant for Researchers

The Sabbatical Grant for Researchers (SGR) offers grants up to $40,000 to assist research and writing projects that will advance religious and theological scholarship in ways that also address practical issues concerning Christian faith and life, pastoral leadership, and/or religious institutions. Typically, applicants are fully employed in accredited academic institutions and eligible for up to a full academic year leave from teaching and administrative responsibilities.

No longer accepting 2023 Applications.  Check back april 15 for 2024 information.

Application Deadline: November 1, 2022

Timeframe: Fall term 2023 through spring term 2024
OR calendar year 2024

Grant Amount: Up to $40,000

The Sabbatical Grant for Researchers (SGR) program offers sabbatical grants up to $40,000 to support 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. Sabbatical projects may be rooted in varied fields such as history, systematic and practical theology, social sciences, ethics, biblical studies, etc., or may be interdisciplinary in nature. Of particular interest to the Louisville Institute are projects with the potential to generate new knowledge that enriches the life of the church in North America.

Typical applicants are fully employed in accredited academic institutions and are eligible for up to a full academic year leave from teaching and administrative responsibilities. Sabbaticals grants this cycle should be used for a fall 2023 – spring 2024 sabbatical, or for the calendar year 2024.

Download the full 2023 SGR Application Guide

Learn about previous SGR projects


Who is eligible for a SGR?

Sabbatical Grants for Researchers are awarded to scholars in the United States and Canada who have earned a terminal research degree, typically a Ph.D. or Th.D. Preference is given to applicants who are fully employed in accredited academic institutions and are eligible for up to a full academic year leave from teaching and administrative responsibilities. The SGR often helps the researcher to supplement an existing semester sabbatical with a second term or semester. 

Students enrolled in Ph.D. or Th.D. programs are not eligible for an SGR but may be eligible for one of our fellowships. Pastors seeking sabbatical support should apply for our Pastoral Study Project Grant if they are interested in conducting research, or for Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Programs for sabbaticals of rest and renewal. Applicants with a professional doctorate such as a D.Min. should also apply for a Pastoral Study Project Grant rather than an SGR. More information about eligibility can be found in the 2023 SGR Application Guide.

If you have questions about grant eligibility, please email 


How do I apply?

  1. Download the 2023 SGR Application Guide. The application guide contains the details you need. Read this document carefully and refer to it as you prepare your materials.
  2. Review the eligibility requirements in the guide.
  3. Create an account. Click on the “Apply” button to create an account and get started.
  4. Prepare your materials. Complete applications require the following:
      1. General application information
      2. Project core question: What is the main question you hope to explore? (100 words)
      3. Project summary/abstract (200 words)
      4. Project snapshot: In one sentence, provide an intriguing, quotable “snapshot” of your project (for use on our website and in publicity materials)
      5. Project narrative (1500 words) that includes:
        • A rationale for why your project should be funded
        • Your study/research plan
        • How you intend to share what you discover
        • The impact you hope your project will have
        • A project schedule/timeframe (between January 1, 2023 and December 31, 2024)
      6. Bibliography: a list of primary resources you plan to study, review, or consult (2–3 pages)
      7. Proposal budget (both a line item budget and an explanatory budget narrative)
      8. Curriculum Vitae or résumé (maximum four pages)
      9. Two Letters of Recommendation: one from a colleague who can assess your skills and abilities to carry out the project, and one from a colleague who can assess the feasibility and significance of the project, both due November 8, 2022
      10. Letter of Release: Your letter of release should come from your academic dean or department chair to confirm your release from teaching and academic responsibilities for the grant period in the event a grant is awarded, due November 8, 2022
  5. Submit all application materials by the due date: 11:59 p.m. EDT on November 1, 2022. Letters must be submitted by the recommenders by November 8, 2022. 

What is the Selection Process?

Each year the Louisville Institute appoints a selection committee to review proposals and award Sabbatical Grants for Researchers. Committee membership and deliberations are confidential. All applicants will be notified as soon as possible following the selection process, which usually takes place about 6 weeks after the application due date. 

We are often asked how many applications we receive for our grants. For each of the last several years of the SGR program, we have averaged about 70 eligible applications, and have awarded 14–15 grants.

Is my project idea a good fit for an SGR?

We will not accept feedback requests until after march 1, 2023.   

We are happy to provide initial feedback on your project idea and help you determine if it fits our funding criteria. Before submitting your request to LI, fully review the 2023 SGR Application Guide and share your plan with a few trusted colleagues to get their feedback. Also consider seeking input from persons who might be participants in your research, especially if they are members of vulnerable or underprivileged groups.

To request feedback, please respond to the following questions about your project in no more than 500 words (total): 

  • What is the heart of your project — the question you want to explore — and why is the project important to you, your community, and the church in North America? (2–3 sentences)
  • What is the context in which you hope to carry out your project? (2–3 sentences)
  • How do you plan to conduct your study? Describe research strategies or methods you think you might use and why you think they will be helpful (e.g., interviews, surveys, observation, visits, library records).

Submit your responses using the online Feedback Form ( Because we receive many requests for feedback, responses can take several weeks, but we will respond to all feedback requests submitted prior to October 1.

Questions? Don’t hesitate to contact us!