Research and Development

Division of Preservation and Access

Grant Snapshot

Maximum award amount

Tier I provides awards up to $75,000
Tier II provides awards up to $350,000

Open to


Period of performance

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

Application available

Application due

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 our audiovisual and digital heritage
  • Conserving our material past
  • Protecting our cultural heritage 
  • Serving under-represented communities

For more information about the program, you may refer to the pre-recorded webinar.  Captions are provided.

Review your application package

Begin by reading the Notice of Funding Opportunity. The files are linked below. You want 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, 2021 (PDF)

Research and Development application package

Program Resources

Research and Development Grant Program Notice of Funding Opportunity Webinar (YouTube)

Research and Development Frequently Asked Questions, 2021 (PDF)

List of recently funded awards in this program

Sample Application Narratives

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

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

Tier II Project: Bay Area Video Coalition, Quality Control Tools for Video Preservation

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

Tier II Project: Cornell University, Preservation and Access Framework for Digital Art Objects

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

Tier II Project: Rochester Institute of Technology, Determining Shape Deformation of Paper-based Collections

Tier II Project: University of Virginia, Enhancing Access to Contextual Information for Archival Collections

Tier II Project: University of Wisconsin, Investigation of Cellulose Nitrate Motion Picture Chemical Decomposition

    Register for a SAM number and an account on

    To apply for this grant, you will be need to be registered for a D-U-N-S® number, with the System for Awards Management (SAM), and with If you have registered with these systems previously, confirm that your registrations are current and up to date. If you fail to allow ample time to complete registration with SAM or, you will not be eligible for a deadline extension or waiver of the online electronic submission requirement.

    Complete your application package

    Be sure to follow the instructions outlined in the guidelines and in the instructions. 

    Submit your application package on

    You will receive a confirmation from when you've successfully submitted your application. 

    Verify you have received email messages from

    After you submit your application, will send you up to five e-mail messages confirming receipt of your application. These messages represent different stages in the application acceptance process. You should verify that you have received all confirmation messages. Please note that email filters may send these messages to your spam or junk folder.

    Program Statistics

    In its first two years this program received an average of
    per year
    This grant has a
    Funding Ratio
    NEH made an average of
    per year

    Examples of Projects Funded by this Grant Program