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Research Grants

Please note: this is an archived page with outdated information.
Please see our new, updated fellowships page.

Research Grants for Members of the Renaissance Society of America

Application Deadline: 1 December 2014

Each year the Renaissance Society of America awards a number of grants supporting research projects and publications that aim to advance scholarly knowledge about the Renaissance. In 2015 RSA will award 33 grants thanks to the generous support of The Kress Foundation, our donors, and our members.

In any given year an applicant may apply for grant support for a single project. Applicants may apply for only one RSA Residential Grant per year, plus any other grant type for which they meet the eligibility requirements. During the submission process applicants are asked to select the grants they wish to be considered for. Those who have received an RSA grant in the past will not be considered for further grants for the same project. Applicants will win at most one grant per year; RSA does not give multiple awards to the same individual in a single year.

Successful applicants must agree to complete the proposed research within 12 months of the award, and submit to RSA a brief report indicating the accomplishments of the grant and including a budget that shows that all funds were spent. Residential grants recipients must report within one month of completing the residency and no more than 18 months after receiving the award.

2014 Grant Winners

All applicants must renew RSA membership for the following calendar year (may renew now). See below for additional membership criteria, eligibility, and career-stage categories.


Section One: Residential Grants

RSA offers six residential grants: one each at the Bodleian Library at Oxford University; at the Giorgio Cini Center in Venice, Italy; at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC; at the Newberry Library in Chicago, IL; at the Huntington Library in San Marino, CA; and at the CRRS Centre at Victoria University in the University of Toronto. Applicants may apply for only one RSA Residential Grant per year. In addition to the 1,000-word project description and a five-page CV, applicants for residential grants are required to submit a 500-word statement explaining their particular interest in the library collections and resources at the institution to which they are applying. Applicants to the Folger Shakespeare Library are required to submit two letters of recommendation; applicants to the Newberry Library are required to submit three letters.

General Guidelines for Residential Grants:

  1. The research proposal must be relevant to specific library collections and should indicate primary collection resources that are relevant to it.

  2. The fellowship must be used for full-time onsite research during the period of residency at the specific library, working on its collection.

  3. The residency must begin on or after 1 July of the year awarded and end on or before 30 June of the following year, and may not be subdivided into more than one continuous period of residency at the library.

  4. The awards for these grants are fixed stipends; therefore, applicants for residential awards do not need to submit a budget.

Residential Grant Descriptions:

The RSA–Bodleian Library Research Grant supports a one-month residence in Oxford by a member of the RSA for the purposes of research in the Special Collections of the Bodleian Library, with a stipend of $3,000. Eligibility: all career levels, all disciplines.


Dr. Jesse Howell, 2012 Patricia H. Labalme scholarship holder, presents his research project on The Ragusa Road to his research colleagues at the Vittore Branca Center.


The RSA–Patricia H. Labalme Grant, in collaboration with the Giorgio Cini Foundation, supports a one-month residence at the Centro Vittore Branca on the Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore for the purpose of research in Venice, with a stipend of $3,000. Eligibility: all career levels, all disciplines.


The RSA–Folger Grant. This joint fellowship with a stipend of $5,000 supports a two-month residence at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC. It is designed to support one scholar whose research would benefit from a longer period of sustained research within the Folger collections. The RSA–Folger Library Fellow will enjoy the collegiality of the cadre of fellows in residence, will have priority in reserving Folger lodgings, and will have an opportunity to present his or her work in progress during the residency. Applicants should consult the Folger website for details about fellowships and for the collections and the online catalog. Eligibility: Junior and Senior Scholars (PhD in hand at time of application), all disciplines.

The RSA–Huntington Grant. This fellowship provides a stipend of $3,000 for a one-month residence of full-time research in the Huntington’s collections. Candidates are welcome to apply to the Huntington Library for a supplementary one-month Huntington fellowship. Applicants should consult the library’s website for details about the collections and the online catalog. Eligibility: all career levels, all disciplines.

The RSA–Newberry Grant. This fellowship offers a stipend of $2,000 for a one-month residence of full-time research in the Newberry’s collections. Applicants should consult the library’s catalogs and guides for details about the collection. Applicants are also welcome to apply directly to the Newberry for additional short-term fellowships. Information about other short-term fellowships is available here. Eligibility: Limited to scholars who live and work outside of the Chicago area; consult the Newberry’s website for restrictions. Junior and Senior Scholars and Non-doctoral candidates are eligible, and all disciplines are eligible. The Newberry defines a PhD candidate as an individual who is currently enrolled in a PhD program and who has advanced to candidacy through approval of the dissertation proposal; it is equivalent to an "ABD." This status must be achieved by the application deadline. It will not consider applications from those who expect PhD candidacy after the application deadline.

The RSA–Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies (CRRS) Grant. This fellowship of $2,500 will support a one-month residence of full-time research in the CRRS collections at Victoria University in the University of Toronto and at other research libraries in the University of Toronto system. Fellowships include membership in the Victoria University Senior Common Room. All fellows are expected to participate in the activities of the CRRS, thereby sharing their knowledge and research with other scholars and students. Applicants should consult the center’s website and the catalogs of the University of Toronto website for further details. Eligibility: Junior and Senior Scholars (PhD in hand at time of application), all disciplines.


Section 2: Samuel H. Kress Foundation Grants in Renaissance Art History

There are five Samuel H. Kress Foundation Grants in Renaissance Art History of $3,000 each, open to art historians at the level of Junior or Senior Scholar; that is, applicants for the Kress Foundation Grants must hold the doctorate at the time of application. These grants are intended especially to support the costs of publication in the history of art, but in some cases may be awarded for research travel costs for art history projects. If you are applying for a Kress grant to support the publication of a book or article in art history, your book/article must be accepted for publication; please indicate the journal or press where it will be published and the timeline for publication. The Kress Foundation and the RSA expect the support of the grant to be acknowledged in the completed publication.


Section Three: Renaissance Society of America Grants

The Renaissance Society of America will award up to nine RSA Research Grants in amounts up to $3,000. Three grants will be awarded in each of the three rank categories of Non-doctoral Scholar, Junior Scholar, and Senior Scholar (see below for category descriptions). RSA Research Grants are available to applicants in all disciplines and topics dealing with the Renaissance. RSA also awards two named grants. One is the Rensselaer W. Lee Grant in Art History, awarded for $3,000 and open to all three rank categories in the discipline of art history. RSA also awards three Paul Oskar Kristeller Grants, awarded at $3,000 each, and open to all disciplines in all three rank categories.

Required Submission Materials

Applications must be written in English.


Applicants for all grants submit the following:

1. A 1000-word project description. This description should discuss the research questions or aims of the study, the sources and methods employed in the study, and the significance of the project to the field of Renaissance studies. Applicants should also specify what portion of the study they plan to complete during the grant period (e.g., research for chapters 2 and 3 of a book, initial research for a new project, research for an article) and the timeline for completing the project as a whole. Applicants will paste the text into a textbox.

2. The applicant must upload a CV of no more than five pages (pdf format is recommended to preserve formatting).

3. A budget. Please include your total budget as well as line items for specific expenses. An RSA grant may be used for the following expenses: airfare, local transportation (trains, buses, taxis), accommodations, food and meals, and any library or archive fees associated with your research, such as charges for digital photography and photocopies. Please note that applicants of Residential Grants do not include a budget. Costs for bringing a spouse, child/children, or any other person should not be included in the budget. Please make sure that all budgeted costs are reasonable and customary. NOTE: Applicants of Residential Grants do not submit a budget because these grants come with fixed stipends.

Applicants for Residential Grants submit the following additional materials:

1. A 500-word description of how the applicant would use the collections and resources of the specific library.

2. Required for Newberry applicants only: a 300-word abstract of the project description and the library resources, which summarizes the main points of the 1000-word and 500-word descriptions.

Letters of Recommendation:

Two letters of recommendation are required for the RSA–Folger grant. Three letters of recommendation are required for the RSA-Newberry grant. Letters of recommendation will not be accepted for other grant types. If you're applying for a grant that requires recommendations, you will invite your recommenders through the online application, and they will submit their recommendations through the grant application site. You will need the following information for each recommender: name, email, address, telephone, title/position, institution. Recommenders will not have access to your grant project description in the online application; please provide that to your recommenders separately if you feel it will help them write your recommendation letter. Letters of recommendation must be written in English.



Eligibility, Criteria, and Selection Process

Please note that all applicants must be members of the Renaissance Society of America for the required number of years (see below for the minimum requirement in each category). RSA grants and Residential Grants are not intended to cover costs associated with the publication of books or articles; only the Kress Grants may be used for that purpose. Grants will be awarded in three categories according to the career stage and employment circumstances of applicants:

These awards will support doctoral candidates, pre-university teachers, and other applicants lacking doctorates.
Junior Scholar:
These awards will support assistant professors; associate professors in the first two years of appointment at that rank; temporary, adjunct, and/or part-time professors; and junior independent scholars holding the PhD.
Senior Scholar:
These awards will support associate professors with more than two years at that rank, full professors, retired professors, and senior independent scholars.

Research projects in all subjects and language areas within Renaissance studies are eligible for support.

Submitters at the non-doctoral rank must be members of RSA for at least one year at the time of application plus renew membership for the grant year. All other applicants must be members of RSA for at least three years at the time of application plus renew membership for the grant year. Please note that applications that do not meet these eligibility requirements will not be considered by the jury.

The Executive Board will appoint a jury drawn from different disciplines within Renaissance studies. Applications will be evaluated using the following criteria:

1. The scholarly quality of the proposal (scope, theoretical framework, and grounding in the relevant scholarly literature) and the project's potential to make a significant and original contribution to knowledge about the Renaissance.
2. The scholarly record and achievements of the applicant.
3. The demonstrated need for access to research materials and the feasibility of accomplishing this research in the given time frame; or the worthiness of the project for publication support, in the case of Kress grants only.


The jury reserves the right to award fewer or more grants in one category, but only if there are insufficient applications of merit in that category or another category.

All Previous Grant Recipients

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