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Research and Development

Division of Preservation and Access

Receipt Deadline June 7, 2018 for Projects Beginning January 2019

Updated guidelines will be posted at least two months in advance of the deadline listed above.

In the meantime, please use the guidelines for the previous deadline, to get a sense of what is involved in assembling an application.

Brief Summary

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 recognizes that finding solutions to complex problems often requires forming interdisciplinary project teams, bringing together participants with expertise in the humanities; in preservation; and in information, computer, and natural science.

All projects must demonstrate how advances in preservation and access would benefit the cultural heritage community in supporting humanities research, teaching, or public programming.

Research and Development offers two funding tiers in order to address projects at all stages of development and implementation.

Tier I: Planning and Basic Research

Tier I grants support the following activities:

  • planning and preliminary work for large-scale research and development projects; and
  • stand-alone basic research projects, such as case studies, experiments, or the development of methods, models, and tools.

Tier II: Advanced Implementation

Tier II grants support projects at a more advanced stage of implementation for the following activities:

  • the development of standards, practices, methodologies, or workflows for preserving and creating access to humanities collections; and

  • applied research addressing preservation and access issues concerning humanities collections.

Program Statistics

In the last five competitions the Research and Development program received an average of nineeen applications per year. The program made an average of five awards per year, for a funding ratio of 26 percent.

The number of applications to an NEH grant program can vary widely from year to year, as can the funding ratio. Information about the average number of applications and awards in recent competitions is meant only to provide historical context for the current competition. Information on the number of applications and awards in individual competitions is available from preservation[at]neh[dot]gov.


Contact the staff of NEH's Division of Preservation and Access at preservation[at]neh[dot]gov and 202-606-8570. Applicants who are deaf or hard of hearing can contact NEH via Federal Relay (TTY users) at 800-877-8399.

Guidelines Resources

Download Application Materials

Budget Resources

Program Resources

Sample Application Narratives