The Discourse Initiative Research Grant

The Discourse Initiative Research Grant

Program Overview

IHS is soliciting proposals in support of its Discourse Initiative, a series of conversations—in-person and written—aimed at drawing scholarly attention back to the broad intellectual tradition of liberalism. As part of this initiative, IHS offers faculty grants of $10,000-$25,000 to support major research projects that hold significant promise of advancing a deeper understanding of ideas within the liberal tradition. Areas of interest include but are not limited to:

  • Liberalism and Its Critics, including engagement with and response to critiques from both ends of the ideological spectrum.
  • Key Challenges within a Free Society, such as tensions between liberty and equality, dynamism and stability, and freedom of speech and social cohesion.
  • Cultural Challenges within Liberal Society, such as protections for minority rights, the pace of change in an increasingly digital and globalized world, and the cultural requirements of a tolerant and pluralistic society.
  • Contentious Topics within the Liberal Tradition, including negative vs. positive rights, moral obligations within the liberal order, and contested meanings of liberal principles such as justice, equality, and democracy.

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These grants may be used to underwrite direct expenses; pay research assistants, editors, or other contractors; or buy out time. As a non-profit organization, the Institute for Humane Studies has a policy against supporting institutional overhead or indirect costs when making grants to university scholars.


To be eligible to apply for a major research award from IHS, you must:

  • Be employed as a permanent, full-time faculty member at a four-year degree granting institution. Preference will be given to institutions based in the United States.
  • Possess a strong research interest in or knowledge of liberalism and/or classical liberal scholarship as demonstrated in the proposed research project.

IHS supports a diverse collection of faculty members across a wide range of academic disciplines within the humanities and social sciences. Qualifying fields of study include economics, political science, philosophy, PPE, law, history, sociology, business, psychology, literature, the visual and performing arts, and related disciplines in the social sciences and humanities.

Application and Deadline

The next application deadline is March 1, 2020, and IHS is currently accepting applications for summer and fall 2020 projects. Applicants will be notified of their application status within four weeks of the deadline. Applications submitted after 11:59 pm EST on March 1, 2019, will be considered in the subsequent review period. Applications for IHS Discourse Initiative Research Awards are reviewed biannually.

Unsuccessful candidates still seeking funding are encouraged to apply to our other funding opportunities.