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FAS Research Development
Opportunities in the Arts, Humanities, and Humanistic Social Sciences
Call for Pre-Proposals for the Mellon Foundation Sawyer Seminars

Mellon Foundation Sawyer Seminars
Harvard Pre-Proposal Deadline: January 26, 2015 by 5:00PM
Mellon Foundation Full Proposal Deadline: March 1, 2015
Award Amount: Up to $175,000


The Mellon Foundation's Sawyer Seminars program provides support for collaborative research on historical and contemporary topics of major scholarly significance.  The seminars bring together faculty, foreign visitors, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students from a variety of fields mainly, but not exclusively, in the arts, humanities and interpretive social sciences, for intensive study of subjects chosen by the participants.  This program aims to engage productive scholars in multi-disciplinary and comparative inquiry that would (in ordinary university circumstances) be difficult to pursue, while at the same time avoiding the institutionalization of such work in new centers, departments, or programs.  Each seminar normally meets for one year.  


Sawyer Seminar awards provide support for one postdoctoral fellow to be recruited through a national competition, and for the dissertation research of two graduate students.  It is expected that the graduate students will be active participants in the seminars, and the seminars' contribution to graduate education in the humanities and social sciences will be carefully considered even though they are not intended to be organized as official credit-bearing courses.  


Application Process:


Harvard has been invited to submit one proposal to the Mellon Foundation for consideration.  The Office of the Vice Provost for Research (OVPR) invites interested faculty members to submit a one-page pre-proposal, briefly addressing:

  1. The originality and significance of the central questions to be addressed;
  2. The cases to be compared (e.g., nations, regions, social aggregates, time periods) and the rationale for the comparisons that are selected;
  3. The thematic "threads" that will run through the seminar.

Please send all pre-proposal submissions no later than 5:00PM January 26 to Autumn Bennett (   


More information on the program, including information on previously funded projects, can be found here