Research and Development

Division of Preservation and Access

Grant Snapshot

Maximum award amount

Tier I provides awards up to $100,000
Tier II provides awards up to $350,000

Funding Opportunity for


Period of performance

Tier I: one to two years, Tier II: one to three years

Application available (anticipated)

Next deadline (anticipated)

Expected notification date

Project start date

The Research and Development program supports projects that address major challenges in preserving or providing access to humanities collections and resources.  These challenges include the need to find better ways to preserve materials of critical importance to the nation’s cultural heritage—from fragile artifacts and manuscripts to analog recordings and digital assets subject to technological obsolescence—and to develop advanced modes of organizing, searching, discovering, and using such materials.

This program supports projects at all stages of development, from early planning and stand-alone studies to advanced implementation.  Research and Development projects contribute to the evolving and expanding body of knowledge for heritage practitioners, and for that reason, outcomes may take many forms.  Projects may produce any combination of laboratory datasets, guidelines for standards, open access software tools, workflow and equipment specifications, widely used metadata schema, or other products.

Research and Development supports work on the entire range of humanities collection types including, but not limited to, moving image and sound recordings, archaeological artifacts, born digital and time-based media, rare books and manuscripts, archival records, material culture, and art.  Applicants must demonstrate how advances in preservation and access through a Research and Development project would benefit the cultural heritage community by supporting humanities research, teaching, or public programming.

Research and Development projects are encouraged to address one or more of the following areas of special interest: 

  • Preserving audiovisual and digital heritage
  • Conserving the material past
  • Protecting cultural heritage
  • Serving under-represented communities
  • Responding to climate change

What’s new for 2022-2023:

  • The maximum funding amount for Tier I projects has been raised to $100,000 for a period of performance of up to two years.
  • A new area of special interest encourages work investigating the impacts of climate change on heritage collections along with developing responses to advance sustainability and resilience.
  • A new category for Tier II Advanced Implementation projects supports topic or area studies in heritage preservation and access. Projects may propose some combination of convenings such as forums, symposia, workshops, or conferences; surveys; and other qualitative and quantitative modes of investigations that would result in publications; resources; guidelines; or agenda for collective action with substantial national or international interest.
  • We encourage projects aligning with NEH’s new special initiative, American Tapestry: Weaving Together Past, Present, and Future. American Tapestry supports projects that address one or more of the following themes: strengthening our democracy, advancing equity for all, and addressing our changing climate. Please note that Research and Development projects that do not address one of these themes are still eligible to apply.
  • Applications will be declared ineligible for review if they do not include all required sections and components.
  • Applications will be declared ineligible for review if they do not comply with all formatting requirements including page limits and file formats.

A new pre-recorded webinar with updated information discussing the Research and Development program was posted on February 24, 2023. You can watch the webinar here.

Review your application package

Read the Notice of Funding Opportunity to ensure you understand all the expectations and restrictions for projects delivered under this program and are prepared to write the most effective application.

Application Materials

Research and Development Notice of Funding Opportunity, 2023 (PDF)

Research and Development application package

Program Resources

Research and Development Frequently Asked Questions, 2023 (PDF)

List of recently funded awards in this program

Sample Application Narratives

Tier I Project: University of Chicago, Far from Home: Exploring the application of non-destructive XRF clay analysis for the provenience study of cuneiform tablets

Tier I Project: Georgia Institute of Technology, Archiving Performative Objects

Tier I Project: Indianapolis Museum of Art, Rapid Pollution Off-Gassing Assessments of Museum Construction Materials

Tier II Project: Dartmouth College,  Accessible Civil Rights Heritage Project

Tier II Project: Rochester Institute of Technology, Integrating Risk Assessment for Pollutants into Energy-saving Strategies for Sustainable Environmental Management of Collection Storage Spaces

Tier II Project: Moving Image Preservation of Puget Sound, Digital Video Commander

Tier II Project: Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works, Building a Life Cycle Assessment Tool & Library of Preventive Conservation Methods
Tier II Project: Rochester Institute of Technology, Digital Preservation and Access to Aural Heritage Via A Scalable, Extensible Method

Tier II Project: Alexandria Archive, Data Curation as Scholarship in Archaeology

Tier II Project: Carnegie Institute, Standardizing Digital Provenance Documentation for Cultural Objects

Tier II Project: New York University, Implementing Traditional Knowledge Labels

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    Follow the instructions in the Notice of Funding Opportunity and

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    Program Statistics

    Since 2018, this program has received an average of
    19 Applications
    per year
    This grant has a
    32% Funding Ratio
    NEH made an average of
    6 Awards
    per year

    Examples of Projects Funded by this Grant Program