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 will be unavailable May 18-21, 2024, due to systems maintenance. NEH has extended the deadline for the Research and Development program to May 28, 2024.

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.

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

  • Furthering theory and practice in core heritage collections work
  • Preserving audiovisual and digital heritage
  • Applying artificial intelligence to collections-based activities
  • Conserving the material past
  • Protecting cultural heritage
  • Stewarding collections by and with underrepresented communities
  • Responding to the impact of climate change

Note about Humanities Perspectives on Artificial Intelligence

This grant program is one of ten NEH programs that are part of NEH’s Humanities Perspectives on Artificial Intelligence initiative, which is encouraging research on the ethical, legal, and societal implications of AI. To learn more about the initiative, please see our page about the AI initiative.

What’s new for 2023-2024:

  • The maximum funding amount for Tier I projects has been raised to $100,000 for a period of performance of up to two years. Tier I projects no longer have a white paper requirement.
  • In addition to long-standing areas of interest, two new areas have been highlighted:
    • Furthering theory and practice in core heritage collections work such as appraisal, arrangement, description, cataloging, knowledge organization, and digital curation.
    • Applying artificial intelligence to collections-based activities by heritage institutions such as libraries, museums, and archives. 
  • For Tier II proposals the main narrative page limit has been reduced from 15 to 12 pages.
  • 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.

The following pre-recorded webinar provides information about the 2024 Research and Development Notice of Funding Opportunity.

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, 2024 (PDF)

Research and Development application package

Program Resources

Research and Development Frequently Asked Questions, 2024 (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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    Program Statistics

    In the last three years, this program has received an average of
    21 Applications
    per year
    This grant has a
    31% Funding Ratio
    NEH made an average of
    7 Awards
    per year

    Examples of Projects Funded by this Grant Program