Get up to $75,000 for US-based Scholars in Humanities in the Mellon/ACLS Scholars and Society Fellowships 2020-2021

For US-based scholars working/enrolled in programs in the humanities, the Mellon/ACLS Scholars and Society program offers to provide support as they pursue publicly engaged scholarship and advocate for diverse professional pathways for emerging PhDs. 

Successful candidates will be awarded the opportunity for faculty with fulltime appointments in PhD-granting humanities departments or programs in the United States to engage significant societal questions in their research, serve as ambassadors for humanities scholarship beyond the academy, and deepen their support for innovations in doctoral education on their campuses.

Application Deadline: October 28th, 2020.


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Successful fellows in the 2020-2021 Mellon/ACLS Scholars and Society Fellowships for the 2021-2022 academic year will receive:

  • $75,000 stipend
  • An additional $6,000 during the fellowship year for research related expenses, travel, and project costs,
  • $10,000 for the selected partner organization. 
  • Funding of up to $15,000 in the post-fellowship year for programming at the fellow’s home institution and/or partner site.
  • Access to participate in two program-sponsored workshops


To be eligible, applicants must:

  • Be employed in full-time faculty positions in PhD-granting humanities departments or programs at a university in the United States, remaining so for the duration of the fellowship. 
  • Commit to a nine-month residency off-campus and at the non-academic institution that they have proposed.
  • Commit to participate in-person in two multi-day workshops (in late summer 2021 and late spring 2022) during the fellowship year.


  • US citizenship or permanent residency is not required.
  • ACLS will provide $10,000 to host institutions to defray the costs of providing the fellow with the resources and opportunities outlined above. 
  • Fellows are expected to work fulltime on their projects and to participate in the organizational life of their host sites. 
  • The program welcomes a range of approaches to collaboration with the host site. 
  • Applicants must describe in the proposal narrative how the project and residency alike will be beneficial to both fellow and host. As part of the application process, a senior representative of the host organization will be invited to provide a statement of support that outlines their interest in hosting the fellow and confirms that the fellow will be provided with workspace, administrative support and other resources, as well as opportunities to participate in the organization’s work during the residency.
  • The goals of the residency are to promote research inflected by work and conversations beyond the academy, and to provide humanities faculty with a greater understanding of the value of humanities perspectives, capacities, and questions to a range of social issues. 
  • Fellows need not relocate to take up a residency

Research and residencies that foster local partnerships between universities and organizations in their communities are welcome, but the primary criterion for selecting a host site should be its suitability for advancing an applicant’s project.

  • Applicants who are selected for a fellowship will be required to secure assurance from their home institutions before the award is finalized that the institution is prepared to accommodate and support on-campus programming in the year following the fellowship
  • Proposals should include a plan of work to be carried out during the fellowship year and describe any preliminary work already completed.
  • Applicants may also note their own approach to expanding opportunities for PhDs from backgrounds that have been historically underrepresented in the academy.

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Application Instructions

Learn more through the Faqs. 

Applications must be submitted online and must include:

  • A Completed application form, which includes a brief statement of interest describing the motivation for public engagement and the applicant’s capacity to carry out such work.
  • Narrative proposal that includes the following sections: 
    • Research aims and planned outcomes
    • A survey of the field that outlines how the proposed project articulates with current approaches to publicly engaged humanities scholarship
    • Necessary skills, training, and logistical support
    • A rationale for residency that includes a reflection on how the project and residency alike will be mutually beneficial for the fellow and host organization (maximum of seven pages, double spaced, in Times New Roman 11-point font)
  • Up to three additional pages of images, musical scores, or other similar supporting non-text materials (optional)
  • Bibliography (no more than two single-spaced pages)
  • Publications list (no more than two single-spaced pages)
  • One-page project timeline (any format)
  • One-page description (single- or double-spaced) of efforts by applicant’s department or institution to support diverse careers for doctoral students. 
  • Two reference letters
  • Statement of support from the applicant’s proposed host organization
  • Click here to apply. 

About the Mellon/ACLS Scholars and Society Fellowships

The Mellon/ACLS Scholars and Society program aims to enhance promising doctoral education in the humanities by supporting doctoral faculty in their pursuit of publicly engaged scholarship for emerging PhDs. 

The program offers opportunities for doctoral faculty who teach and advise doctoral students to pursue research projects while in residence at a US-based cultural, media, government, policy, or community organization of their choice. 

Fellows and their colleagues at host institutions are expected to create a mutually beneficial partnership in which they collaborate, interact, and learn about each other’s work, motivating questions, methods, and practices. 

The Scholars and Society program complements the Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows program, which places recent humanities PhDs in nonprofit and government organizations.

The program supports projects at all stages of development, and welcomes applications that propose to deepen or expand existing research projects as well as those that propose new projects. While projects should be informed by present-day issues in the public sphere, they need not be contemporary in focus. 

Discover more opportunities from the American Council of Learned Societies.

Key Dates and Order of Program

All submissions should be made by the deadline of 9 pm Eastern Daylight Time, October 28, 2020.

Notifications will be sent via email by mid-April 2021.

Awardees in the 2020-21 competition will be announced in the spring.

Peer reviewers in this program will be asked to evaluate all eligible proposals on the following criteria:

  • The potential of the project to advance the field of study in which it is proposed and to treat issues of public concern effectively.
  • The quality of the proposal with regard to its methodology, framework, and grounding in the relevant literatures.
  • The feasibility of the project and the preparedness of the applicant to undertake it.
  • The rationale for residency at the proposed site and likelihood that the collaboration with colleagues at the host institution will increase the applicant’s ability to carry the project forward.
  • The potential of the applicant’s work to engage with and make an impact on audiences beyond the academy.

Up to 12 fellows will be selected for a nine-month term during the 2021-22 academic year.

Fellows will be required to participate in two workshops that bookend the fellowship year. 

The first is designed to help fellows refine their projects and build connections with scholars and institutions engaged in public scholarship. 

The second, in the spring, will offer a chance for fellows to reflect on their experiences, learn and exchange ideas about innovations in doctoral education, and plan programming for the year following the fellowship.

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Babajide is a content writer and site admin at Camberene. He majored in zoology and is also a tech enthusiast proficient in the use of python, R and other data analytics tools.

Babajide is looking into using machine learning and artificial intelligence in the near future.

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