University of Southern California


The Andrew W. Mellon Sawyer Seminars

Slots:                                                     1             

Internal Deadline:                           February 26, 2021, 5pm PT               

External Deadline:                          May 3, 2021

Award Information:                        Type:  Fellowship/Grant

Estimated Number of Awards: 10

Anticipated Amount: Proposals should not exceed $225,000

Process for Limited Submissions: PIs must submit their application through the Office of Research Initiatives & Facilities (ORIF) Application Portal: Any limited submission that is not Camille Dreyfus, NSF-MRI, or the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation Inventor Fellows can select the ‘Limited Submission’ up top to submit.

Materials to submit – unless otherwise noted in the Office of Research Initiatives & Facilities (ORIF) write-ups below – include:

(1) Single Page Proposal Summary (0.5” margins; single-spaced; font type: Arial, Helvetica, or Georgia typeface; font size: 11 pt). Page limit includes references and illustrations. Pages that exceed the 1-page limit will be excluded from review.

(2) CV – (5 pages maximum)

This portal requires information about the PIs and Co-PIs in addition to department and contact information, including the 10-digit USC ID#, Gender, and Ethnicity. Please have this material prepared before beginning this application.

Link to Award:                        

Who May Serve as PI:                   Faculty participants have largely come from the humanities and social sciences, although faculty members in the arts and from professional schools have also been key participants in a number of seminars. As the Foundation reviews proposals, preference is given to those that include concrete plans for engaging participants with diverse affiliations.


The Mellon Foundation’s Sawyer Seminars program was established in 1994 to provide support for comparative research on historical and contemporary topics of major scholarly significance.  The seminars provide an opportunity for intensive study of a variety of fields mainly—but not exclusively—in the humanities, arts, and interpretive social sciences.

Proposals are judged on the significance of the subject of inquiry, the aptness of plans for seminar meetings, the opportunities they present for comparative study, the rationale for the comparisons, and the scholarly accomplishments of the participants.

As you consider seminar topics it is important that you bear in mind the mission of the Higher Learning program at Mellon.  The Foundation is now fundamentally interested in the themes of social and racial justice.  In terms of scholarly projects such as the Sawyer Seminars we will look for a strong focus on race and ethnicity and related intersectional analyses as well as those that focus on filling in the gaps left by more traditional narratives about the history and culture of the Americas.  A more detailed description of the program’s aims, structure, budgetary guidelines, and selection procedures is appended and available on our website.

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