Request for Proposals: The Global Midwest

Application Deadline: October 30th, 2014, 5:00 p.m., Central Time

Application Portal

The Humanities Without Walls consortium invites applications for funding from cross-institutional teams of faculty and graduate students wishing to collaboratively pursue research topics related to “The Global Midwest.”

The 21st century presents a clear and pressing need to collaboratively mobilize the collective resources of the Midwest’s institutions of higher education. In his A Master Plan for Higher Education in the Midwest(2011), former University of Michigan President James Duderstadt stated that “the nation’s future will be shaped by forces that affect its heartland”(p. 1), and that cross-institutional collaboration is crucial to the creation of new knowledge ecologies in the Midwest...” The Humanities Without Walls consortium follows directly from these assumptions.

This initiative aims to reveal and rethink the Midwest as a major force in the formation of a global economy and culture—both now and in the past. Projects may focus directly on the Midwest or examine the ways locations far from the Midwest have shaped and continue to influence the region’s past, present, and future. Some projects may take the form of “applied humanities” research created through collaborations of artists, scholars in the humanities, and/or scientists (both social and natural); Others may follow more traditional forms of research, yet all studies must be conducted through cross-institutional collaboration. Successful proposals will advance innovative and experimental research and new pedagogical practices. The size of this consortium offers the opportunity to test ideas at scale if appropriate to a project’s goals. Teams are encouraged to consider the ways their various institutional resources—including special collections, archives, digital humanities resources, museums—can be utilized to best advance new knowledge. Potential audiences for Global Midwest studies include humanities scholars, policy-makers, government officials, social scientists, artists, and an enlightened public. The theme is intentionally abstract in order to allow scholars to help define this emerging area of study.

The Humanities Without Walls consortium aims to assemble a broad portfolio of projects that will illuminate various dimensions of the Global Midwest. We encourage teams of scholars to imagine their work as a contribution to a larger intellectual mosaic that will emerge as a result of this initiative. We thus seek to support a wide and varied range of projects and subject areas.

Additional information about emerging Global Midwest projects can be found on the Global Midwest Project Wiki.


Qualified applicants will be tenure-line faculty at any of the Humanities Without Walls consortium institutions. *

Research teams must include scholars from at least two consortial institutions in order to be eligible for funding.

Graduate students may be included as project team members, but the team must be led by one or more faculty members who will serve as project coordinators.

The lead applicant(s) must also come from a discipline within the humanities and/or arts, but teams may be comprised of scholars from any discipline.

Duration and Awards:

All allocated funds awarded to research teams must be expended by no later than August 16, 2016.

The amount of each award will vary according to the budgetary requirements detailed in each application, but no single team will receive an award amount greater than $100,000. Most awards will be for smaller amounts. Recipients must submit a signed agreement form indicating applicant’s responsibility for managing and reporting on the use of all grant funds, before award funds will be released. Recipients must also be prepared to work closely with those administering subaward grants on their campuses.

Application Requirements:

  • Completed application cover sheet.
  • Abstract of proposal (no more than 100 words)
  • List of name and contact information for the designated faculty coordinators on each campus participating in the project
  • Proposal narrative of no more than 1,500 words. This must include:
    • Description of project
    • Detailed plan of work
    • Detailed work schedule including detailed list of activities
    • Role(s) of project participants
    • Significance of project and its relationship to the “Global Midwest”
    • Statement of proposed outcomes
  • Detailed budget. This must be completed using the budget form (PDF). NOTE: Faculty salary replacements, staff salaries, overhead costs and basic equipment purchases (such as computers), and alcoholic beverages included in costs for meals/receptions related to projects will not be funded. Acceptable budget items include, air and ground travel, hotel/accommodations, meals/sustenance, speaker fees (honoraria), venue fees, copying/reproduction costs, reasonable reception costs, publicity costs, graduate student assistantship stipends, hourly research assistant costs. (See FAQ for more information on allowable expenses.)  All expenditures must be made in keeping with the relevant universities’ guidelines related to purchases, procurements, and travel.

  • 2-page cv for project leaders and participant

Application Portal

The Global Midwest Selection Criteria

Applicants will know the results of the competition by early December. Funds will be transferred to successful applicants as quickly as possible after the decision date with the expectation that work will commence as soon as possible following the award announcement.


* Consortium institutions include Indiana University Bloomington, Michigan State University, Northwestern University, Ohio State University, Pennsylvania State University, Purdue University, University of Chicago, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Iowa, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Notre Dame, and University of Wisconsin-Madison.