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New Frontiers FAQ

Q: How does New Frontiers define the humanities?
A: The review committee takes a broad view of the arts and humanities, and the key factor is the nature of the creative activity or the central question posed by the research, not the departmental or division affiliation of the faculty member(s) submitting the proposal. In determining whether a proposal falls within the humanities, the committee is guided by the National Endowment for the Humanities’ definition:

"The term 'humanities' includes, but is not limited to, the study of the following: language, both modern and classical; linguistics; literature; history; jurisprudence; philosophy; archaeology; comparative religion; ethics; the history, criticism and theory of the arts; those aspects of social sciences which have humanistic content and employ humanistic methods.” (National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities Act, 1965).

The committee recognizes that the division between the humanities and the social sciences is not rigid. If your proposal has social sciences content and you wonder how the committee will assess its eligibility, please contact the program officer for advice. You might also consult the statement "The Role of the Humanities" on the website of the IUB College of Arts and Sciences Policy Committee: (

Q: Where can I find help to complete the online application form?
A: Go to the InfoReady homepage ( and click “IU InfoReady Quick Start Guide”.

Q: May I exceed the page limits for my project description and c.v.?
A: Page limits for project descriptions and c.v.'s will be strictly enforced.

Q: May I request a grant for a period of time exceeding 12 months?
A: It is expected that most projects will be either completed or in a position to apply for external funding at the end of 12 months. Under exceptional circumstances you may request up to 18 months of support, but the request will need to be very strongly justified in your proposal.

Q: Does the program provide support for Academic Year course release?
A: The program will provide a single Academic Year course release. Please consult the Budget Guidelines on the New Frontiers web page or the online application site (InfoReady) for the course release allotment for your campus/school/department. The normal figures for applicants' campuses or schools will prevail if they are lower than the maximum listed on the Budget Guidelines. Applicants who already have course release for other reasons may NOT request course release through New Frontiers.

Q: Can New Frontiers funding be used for salary support during sabbatical?
A: NF funding would not cover salary support during either of the sabbatical semesters. Summer support would be legitimate, within budgetary guidelines and with justification. Academic Year Support is limited to a single course release, which isn't relevant in the case of sabbaticals.

Q: Are there other sabbatical-related expenses that New Frontiers may cover?
A: NF support for travel expenses of up to $5,000 during a sabbatical is possible, provided that the travel is directly related to the proposed project and that this relationship is explained in the proposal. The process by which you arrived at budget estimates for all travel expenses must be explained in the budget narrative.

Q:  Can New Frontiers award funds be used to reimburse for travel that occurred before the award funds were transferred?
A:  No NF awards funds can be used to reimburse for travel that happened before the award was made.

Q: Is New Frontiers funding available to host conferences, workshops, and symposia?
A: Funding of up to $20,000 is available for New Currents programs, specifically workshops, symposia, small conferences, roundtables that offer new perspectives on, and new insights into, areas of scholarship and research in the arts and humanities.

Q: Are fee remissions for graduate students available?
A: Graduate student support is provided as a lump sum. It is up to the PI, chair, and the dean to determine the distribution. It is best to discuss this part of the budget with the chair and/or the dean prior to submission.

Q: Are Librarians eligible to apply for New Frontiers in the Arts and Humanities Program grants?
A: Yes.

Q: Are Lecturers, Clinical Faculty, and Research Ranks Faculty eligible to apply for New Frontiers in the Arts and Humanities Program grants?
A: Yes.

Q: Are Academic Specialists eligible to apply for New Frontiers in the Arts and Humanities Program grants?
A: Yes.

Q: Are Adjunct and Visiting Faculty eligible to apply for New Frontiers grants?
A: No.

Q: Are Post-doctoral Fellows eligible to apply for New Frontiers grants?
A: No.

Q: Are graduate students eligible to apply for New Frontiers grants?
A: No.

Q: Are Part-time Faculty eligible to apply for New Frontiers grants?
A: No.

Q: Are Emeritus Faculty eligible to apply for New Frontiers grants?
A: Yes, but there are conditions. Emeritus applicants should be still actively engaged in the life of their campus, as evidenced in the letter(s) of support from the chair and dean/associate dean for research. Furthermore, there are financial restrictions. Salary or anything that looks like payment for services to an emeritus faculty member can jeopardize his or her retirement benefits, especially under 18/20, and should not be included in the budget. Only expenses directly incurred in carrying out the research or creative activity should be included in the budget. [According to the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs: During their 18/20 years, Emeritus Faculty can get support for direct research expenses without jeopardizing their retirement benefits. There can't be anything that smacks of a back door way of sweetening their retirement salaries, however.]

Q: My project is collaborative. May we have more than one PI (Principal Investigator)?
A: We need a single PI for account administration purposes. Other cooperating scholars should be listed as Collaborators.

Q: Are Collaborators from other institutions (e.g., Purdue) acceptable on New Frontiers grants?
A: Only IU faculty members may be PI's on New Frontiers proposals, but Collaborators may come from other institutions. Indiana University does not generally offer financial support for Collaborators from other institutions. Financial support for external collaborators will be considered only if the proposal makes a compelling argument that such support is necessary for the success of the project. The need for specific expenses related to outside Collaborators and the method of cost computation should be provided in the budget explanation.

Q: May the same PI apply for multiple New Frontiers grants in the same year?
A: A PI may not apply for multiple grants within the same program cycle (i.e., you cannot submit two Exploratory Travel Proposals on October 15 for different projects), nor can a PI submit multiple proposals for the same project to different programs (for instance, a New Frontiers Experimentation and an Exploratory Travel Fellowship for the same project).

More generally, we strongly discourage anyone from applying for multiple grants in the same year, even for different projects. One goal of New Frontiers is to enable people to focus on particular projects, and reviewers are therefore likely to be skeptical about an individual’s ability to do any project to the best of their ability if they are working simultaneously on multiple projects. Additionally, as our funds are limited, only in very rare circumstances would the review committee recommend funding for a second project by the same PI.

A PI is allowed to collaborate on more than one proposal in a year, but would be wise to be clear about the level of his/her collaboration so as to diminish reviewer concerns about spreading himself/herself too thin.

Q: Are support letters from department chairs or unit heads required for all Collaborators listed on the grant proposal?
A: The PI submitting a proposal must provide a letter of support from the department chair or unit head, and (for all programs except Exploratory Travel Fellowships) at least one letter of support from an expert in the field (see specific programs for other requirements). As a courtesy, faculty members who are listed as Collaborators should notify their deans (and chairs, if applicable) that they plan to participate in the project, but they don’t need letters unless there are budgetary implications or time commitment issues that need to be addressed. In such cases the letter(s) should specifically address those issues rather than the significance of the proposed work.

Q: Can a letter of support from a collaborator on the project be accepted as one of the three required letters of support for the grant proposal?
A: No. Given that the collaborator has a vested interest in the outcome, we cannot accept a letter from her/him as one of the three required letters.

Q: Must I submit more than one letter from an expert in my field?
A: For New Frontiers of Scholarship and Creativity proposals, you are required to submit letters from two experts in the field. For New Frontiers Experimentation Fellowship and New Currents proposals, a single letter of support from an expert in the field is required. These letters should help reviewers understand the likely significant of the proposed project to the field.

Q: If the proposal is for a collaborative project involving researchers from more than one department, should the funds be broken down by department they will be received in?
A: No, the PI will be responsible for financial matters and will be the primary contact for the Office of the Vice President for Research. Requests for transfers of funds to the units other than the one the PI belongs to should be directed to the PI and his or her unit fiscal officer.

Q: A New Frontiers grant won't cover the entire cost of my project, and I have other sources of support. Should I include those other funds in my budget spreadsheet?
A: No, please don't. If you have or are applying for support from other sources, you should discuss them in your budget explanation, but do not include them in the “Budget Total” box on your cover sheet or in your budget spreadsheet. Your Budget Total box and budget spreadsheet should list only the expenses that will be covered by the New Frontiers grant.

Q: My budgetary requirements are not as high as the limits stated in the Call for Proposals. May I ask for a New Frontiers grant of less than $50,000?
A: Certainly. The figure of $50,000 is the upper limit, and proposals for lesser amounts are welcome. If your budget is a lot less than the limit, however, the committee will ask whether there isn't someplace else you could find the money. In the committee's eyes asking for a grant of $2,000 would be quite different from asking for $15,000.

Q:The bullets describing what is needed for the New Currents initiative notes “concrete evidence of plans for significant dissemination, reflecting the importance placed upon dissemination for this initiative”. Could you provide some detail here?
A: Yes. One of the larger goals of the New Currents initiative is focusing on disseminating well beyond IU the outstanding scholarly and creative activity that the program supports. We recognize, however, that the enthusiasm a team has for following up a conference or symposium with a publication, exhibition or performance is not always sustained once the conference is completed. Thus, a simple phrase that the products of the meeting or conference will be a gallery show or a book is not sufficient. We require some documentation that you have already begun to make the effort to publish or show the work, based upon the type of creative activity involved. This could be in the form of a précis and outline of a book that you might submit to a publisher, along with that publisher’s response expressing interest in the final product; a draft proposal for an exhibit or performance, along with the exhibitor’s indication of interest in considering a complete proposal, etc.

Q: In my discipline, the arrangement of formal contracts is very unlikely before a meeting or conference is held. How critical is this to the review of the proposal?
A: The issue of dissemination is a very important part of the review and funding decision process. The degree to which such dissemination is definite is very helpful for the reviewers to be aware of. At minimum, there should be a strong interest noted by an outside publisher or gallery in disseminating the products of the meeting or conference. If this is atypical in your discipline, or other barriers prohibit a definite commitment, this will be critical to explain in the application.

Q: Can New Currents funding be used to fund workshops/ conferences/symposia that are held at other universities (not IU) but co-organized by an IU faculty member?
A: The priority of this grant program is to fund workshops/conferences/symposia that both advance scholarship and enrich the intellectual life of the IU campuses; by definition, such an event held elsewhere cannot do the latter. So, although one may apply to New Currents for a workshop/conference/symposium that takes place at another university (not IU), the proposal would have a low priority and funding would be unlikely.

Q: What time is the application due on the deadline date and can letters from outside supporters (Non-IU) be submitted on the following business day?
A: The application is due by 5:00 on the deadline date. The deadline includes all supporting material.

Q: Does the evaluation criterion for non tenure track faculty imply an annual evaluation?
In my case, to be advanced to adjunct associate, research would be one criterion, but my evaluation is not annual. A: A letter from your dean/associate dean (and chair, if applicable) addressing the requirement of research as a criterion for your evaluation is all that is necessary.

Q: If a dean is the grant proposal applicant, does the proposal require a letter of support from the applicant's superior?
I report directly to the campus chancellor, but do not think he should be burdened with reviewing grants. A: A dean should request a letter from the Vice Provost for Research (Bloomington), the Vice Chancellor for Research (Indianapolis), or the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs (other campuses); the Vice Provost or Vice Chancellor may delegate the letter to an Associate Vice Provost/Chancellor. You will also need a letter of support from an expert in the field, unless you’re applying for an Exploration Traveling Fellowship.

Q: What reports should I submit?
A. As PI, you need to submit narrative reports. (Your fiscal officer will take care of financial reporting.) You will need to submit a progress report within one month of the end of your grant period.

Q: How do I acknowledge my New Frontiers funding in publications, etc.?
A: "This project was supported [or “partially supported,” if appropriate] by Indiana University’s New Frontiers in the Arts & Humanities Program. A program of the Office of the Vice President for Research, New Frontiers in the Arts and Humanities is funded by the Office of the President.”