University of Southern California


National Endowment for the Humanities: Infrastructure and Capacity Building Challenge Grants

Slots:                                                     1                             

Internal Deadline:                           February 9, 2018, 5pm PDT                     

External Deadline:                          March 15, 2018

Award Information:                        Type:  Grant

Estimated Number of Awards: Not Specified.

Anticipated Amount: Though requests for up to $750,000 are eligible, the federal portions of NEH challenge grants will generally not exceed $500,000. Grant recipients must raise—from nonfederal third-party donors—three times the amount of federal funds offered for grants up to $500,000 and four times the amount of federal funds offered for grants in excess of $500,000. For example, a $500,000 grant requires a $1.5 million match.

Submission Process:                     PIs must submit their application as a Limited Submission through the Office of Research Application Portal:

Materials to submit:

Link to Award:                        

Who May Serve as PI:                    No eligibility restrictions.


The mission of this Challenge Grants program is to strengthen the institutional base of the humanities by enabling infrastructure development and capacity building. Grants aim to help institutions secure long-term support for their core activities and expand efforts to preserve and create access to outstanding humanities materials. Applications are welcome from colleges and universities, museums, public libraries, research institutions, historical societies and historic sites, scholarly associations, state humanities councils, and other nonprofit humanities entities. Programs that involve collaboration among multiple institutions are eligible as well, but one institution must serve as the lead agent and formal applicant of record.

Through these grants organizations can increase their humanities capacity with spend-down funds that generate expendable earnings to support and enhance ongoing program activities. Eligible activities include the documentation of cultural heritage materials that are lost or imperiled; the preservation and conservation of humanities materials; and the sustaining of digital scholarly infrastructure.

Challenge grant funds (both federal and nonfederal together) must enhance the humanities in the long term. Challenge grant funds should not merely replace funds already being expended, but instead should reflect careful strategic planning to strengthen and enrich an institution’s humanities activities. Institutions may use challenge grant funds to meet both ongoing and onetime humanities-related costs, provided that the long-term benefit of the expenditure can be demonstrated.

Visit our Institutionally Limited Submission webpage for updates and other announcements.

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