NEA Research Labs Solicitation

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

The Arts Endowment’s five-year research agenda aims to build public knowledge about the arts’ contributions to individuals and society. Through the NEA Research Labs program, we seek to extend this agenda and its impact by cultivating a series of transdisciplinary research partnerships, grounded in the social and behavioral sciences, to produce and report empirical insights about the arts for the benefit of arts and nonarts sectors alike.

Each NEA Research Lab will define its own agenda, conduct project activities to implement that agenda, and prepare reports that will contribute substantively to a wider understanding of one of three areas of special interest to the Arts Endowment:

  1. The Arts, Health, and Social/Emotional Well-Being
    1. Therapeutic Approaches and Benefits
    2. Non-Therapeutic Approaches and Benefits
  2. The Arts, Creativity, Cognition, and Learning
  3. The Arts, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation

We anticipate that a sustained engagement with these topic areas, and with the corresponding research questions we frame below, will have distinctive benefits not only for the arts community, but also for sectors such as healthcare, education, and business or management.

NEA Research Labs are intended to serve as “hubs” or centers of excellence in the domain of interest. Each NEA Research Lab will develop a pipeline of projects or products, even while conducting at least one major study. Priority will be given to applications that show capacity to design and implement a series of studies based on theory-driven research questions and methodologies that will yield important information about the impact of the arts within the selected topic area.

As such, NEA Research Labs require a partnership between the official applicant organization (the Cooperator) and a nonprofit arts organization confirmed at the time of application. The proposed partnership organizations (official applicant, required nonprofit arts partner, and optional other non-arts and arts partners) must include individuals representing at least two research specialties.


CU Internal Deadline: 11:59pm MST June 11, 2019

Sponsor Application Deadline: 9:59pm MT July 15, 2019

Internal Application Requirements (all in PDF format)

  • Project Summary (2 pages maximum): Please include the following: project director, research project agenda and activities (one topic area, at least two research questions within the topic area), project timeline and schedule of key project planning and implementation dates. Please demonstrate the artistic excellence and artistic merit of the project.
  • PI CV
  • Budget Overview (1 page maximum): A basic budget outlining project costs is sufficient; detailed OCG budgets are not required. Please include the source of the required matching funds.

To access the online application, visit:


Organizations whose partnership organizations (see “Required Partnership” section, below) are listed on more than one application for this solicitation are not eligible to apply. For example, two different organizations may not both apply listing the same nonprofit arts partner. This prohibition applies, as listed in the paragraph above, to organizations whose primary purpose is to channel resources to an affiliated organization if the affiliated organization is also a partner on another application.

Limited Submission Guidelines

An organization may submit only one proposal under this program solicitation.

Award Information

Award Amount: $150,000

Award Duration: This Cooperative Agreement will begin no earlier than March 1, 2020, and extend for up to 24 months and no fewer than 12 months.

Cost Share Requirement: The Arts Endowment’s legislation and policies generally require that each Cooperative Agreement includes a nonfederal cost share of at least 1 to 1. At its discretion, the Arts Endowment may choose to negotiate a lesser cost share rate at the time of the award. Matching funds cannot include funds from any federal sources, including the Arts Endowment.