Andrew Mellon Foundation New Directions Fellowship

Please see the full solicitation for complete information about the funding opportunity. Below is a summary assembled by the Research & Innovation Office (RIO).

Program Summary

Serious interdisciplinary research often requires established scholar-teachers to pursue formal substantive and methodological training in addition to the PhD.  New Directions Fellowships assist faculty members in the humanities and humanistic social sciences who seek to acquire systematic training outside their own areas of special interest.  The program is intended to enable scholars in the humanities to work on problems that interest them most, at an appropriately advanced level of sophistication.  In addition to facilitating the work of individual faculty members, these awards should benefit scholarship in the humanities more generally by encouraging the highest standards in cross-disciplinary research.

Fellows pursue systematic training and academic competencies outside their own special fields in order to advance a cross-disciplinary research agenda. This fellowship does not aim to facilitate short-term outcomes, such as completion of a book. Rather, it is a longer-term investment in the scholar’s intellectual range and productivity.

Please note the following specific to this year’s New Directions Fellowship program:

  • Priority will be given to applications that manifest 1) a strong focus on issues of race, ethnicity, and migration, or 2) a focus on filling in the gaps left by more traditional narratives in the history of the Americas. 
  • In an effort to recognize and address travel and access constraints related to the COVID-19 global pandemic, supplemental funds up to $15,000 will be available for scholars who require access to collections that have not yet been digitized and cataloged, or who require the paid support of a librarian or archivist to assist with research where collections are closed to outside visitors because of the pandemic.  For example,  payments from this supplement may be budgeted for library or special collections partners who would work closely with the New Directions fellow to identify and define archival or library collections that can be digitized and made available for study by the fellow and—when feasible--to members of the general public.
  • All applicants should include a concise plan of no more than two paragraphs outlining alternative arrangements should research activities be constrained by the long-term continuation or a resurgence of the COVID-19 or other pandemic. 


CU Internal Deadline: 11:59pm MST August 9, 2020

Sponsor Application Deadline: September 28, 2020

Internal Application Requirements (all in PDF format)

  • Proposal (maximum 2,000 words, 13,000 characters with spaces): Please provide an explanation of the overall significance of the research being undertaken and how the proposed new direction will assist in the development of the field.
  • Recommendation Letter(s): The letter should be from the candidate’s department chair or other senior colleague and should address the candidate’s preparation and the relationship of the “new direction” to the nominee’s research and pedagogy. An additional letter of recommendation may be submitted from a colleague in the new field, if appropriate. If multiple letters are submitted, they should be combined into one PDF.
  • PI Curriculum Vitae (5 pages maximum)
  • Budget Overview (1 page maximum): A basic budget outlining project costs is sufficient; detailed OCG budgets are not required. Final fellow budgets commonly range from $175,000 to $250,000; the maximum is $300,000. The term of the grant should cover a minimum of two years. Note that the COVID-19 $15,000 research supplement is separate and additional to this budget, and should be entered in the budget category Consultants and Professional Services.

To access the online application, visit:


Humanities and humanistic social sciences faculty who have received their doctorates between 2008 and 2014 are eligible.

Limited Submission Guidelines

Only one nomination from CU Boulder is allowed.

Award Information

Final budgets commonly range from $175,000 to $250,000; the maximum is $300,000.  The term of the grant should cover a minimum of two years.  Note that the COVID-19 $15,000 research supplement is separate and additional to this budget, and should be entered in the budget category Consultants and Professional Services.

Fellows will receive: (1) the equivalent of one academic year's salary, (2) two summers of additional support, each at the equivalent two-ninths of the previous academic year salary, and (3) tuition or course fees or equivalent direct costs associated with the fellows' training programs. To permit flexibility in meeting individual scholars' needs, these funds may be expended over a period not to exceed three full academic years following the date of the award. The award normally can be delayed for a maximum of one year, if circumstances require it. The Foundation also expects the fellow's home institution to use budgetary relief resulting from the award for academic purposes, preferably in the fellow's department.

Review Criteria and Process

The principal criteria for selection are: (1) the overall significance of the research, (2) the case for the importance of extra-disciplinary training for furthering the research, (3) the likely ability of the candidate to derive satisfactory results from the training program proposed, and (4) a well‑developed plan for acquiring the necessary training within a reasonable period of time.

The Foundation convenes a panel of distinguished scholars which chooses 10-15 finalists to present to the Foundation’s Trustees.  Institutions and individual recipients will be notified and, if necessary, will work with the Foundation staff to develop their final requests.  Applications will not be considered by the review panel if they fail to comply with these guidelines. Once the Foundation’s Trustees have given their final approval, grants will be awarded to, and administered by, the fellows’ home institutions.