HGI Funding


At the inaugural HGI symposium in November 2016, President Faust encouraged faculty to think through the ways in which their work advances, or could advance, a broader strategy of global engagement by Harvard. It is in this spirit that HGI seeks to fund innovative, interdisciplinary projects that bring together Harvard faculty and overseas collaborators around matters of global significance.

In AY 2017-18, HGI will fund research projects that examine topics with local import and the potential for global impact. As in AY 2016-17, funding is available for work that has particular salience to China. This year, there will also be a small amount of funding available for projects with a research focus in India. Projects with a China-India comparative component will also be welcome. It is expected that project activities will not be limited to the Harvard campus but will also include work that happens in China and/or India. Faculty with interest in conducting research in China will have access to space at the Harvard Center Shanghai, and HGI will encourage project teams to make use of the Center as a convening site.

Faculty from across the schools who are already working on China and/or India-related topics, as well as those who wish to begin doing so, are invited to apply for funding by submitting preliminary Expressions of Interest (EOI). Funding will be provided at two levels, in the form of large grants and small grants.

EOIs will be reviewed by a committee consisting of Krishna Palepu, the President’s Senior Advisor for Global Strategy; Mark Elliott, the Vice Provost for International Affairs; Richard McCullough, the Vice Provost for Research; and Leah Rosovsky, the Vice President for Strategy and Programs. They will make recommendations to President Faust, who will invite a small number of finalists to submit expanded proposals. The Committee will consult with subject-matter experts as part of the process of evaluating the second-round proposal submissions, and President Faust will make the final award decisions.


The principal investigator on an HGI grant must be an active tenure stream faculty member. Other members of the faculty are encouraged to participate in research projects as members of a team. HMS faculty must hold the title of assistant, associate, or full professor in one of HMS’s basic or social science departments.

Students and postdoctoral scholars may participate in a grant under the supervisory auspices of the faculty member who applies for an award.

While staff are not eligible to apply as principal investigators, salary support may be requested for staff in the project’s budget.

Large Grants

Large-scale grants will support multi-faculty, cross-school, cross-discipline, integrative projects on problems or issues of global relevance that build on existing research and include significant collaboration with scholars in China. The goal is to help innovative research “scale up” and “scale out.” There should thus be a substantial track record of prior work upon which a more ambitious project would be developed. Ideally, such a project should represent not just quantitative enhancement of previous research, but qualitative transformation of that research through heightened collaboration with colleagues in other schools, disciplines, and countries. In other words, not just bigger, but different.

The range of funding for these larger projects will be $500,000 to $1 million annually, and a grant may receive that level of funding for either one or two years.

Please note that it is likely there will be no more than one such grant awarded in the 2017-18 academic year.

Small Grants

Smaller grants will support innovative, interdisciplinary projects that, like the large grants, focus on issues of global significance that would be unlikely to find funding from other sources. Funding is available at this level for projects with a focus on China, on India, or for comparative work. The majority of the funding, however, is available for projects that are related to China. Projects may involve multiple faculty members from a single school at Harvard, though preference will be given to research that draws in faculty from different schools across Harvard.

Smaller-scale grants will range from $50,000 to $100,000 per year, and a grant may receive that level of funding for either one or two years.

While grants may be designed to explore the possibility of developing into larger projects in the future, this is by no means a necessity.

Submission Requirements - Expressions of Interest

Expressions of Interest (EOIs) may be submitted individually or jointly with co-PIs through the Harvard University Funding Portal. The EOI should consist of a narrative and a budget estimate. 

The narrative may be no longer than 1000 words in length, and should include:

  1. Articulation of the problem to be studied and an explanation of the necessity of collaboration in achieving that goal.
  2. Names of collaborators from Harvard as well as from universities, institutes, and academies based in the People's Republic of China and/or India. [For the purposes of the EOI, it is not necessary to have secured the agreement of participants in China or India in advance.]
  3. Description of the project's expected contributions, their larger significance, and their potential for broad impact and influence.
  4. Approximate timetable for the project.

The budget estimate may be no longer than one page and should include a rough estimate of total expenses for the project.

Non-allowable expenses include:

  • Student tuition
  • Salary support for principal investigators.  [Requests for partial support of principal investigator summer salary will be considered in limited circumstances.]
  • Renovation costs and capital projects

Benefits-eligible personnel expenses (e.g. faculty, exempt employees, union employees, post-doctoral fellows, teaching assistants, temps) must include the appropriate fringe rates for each year of funding.  Applicants should consult with Human Resources at their home schools for applicable rates.

The recipient of any funding involving travel should adhere to Harvard University’s travel policies.

School assessments should not be included in your budget. The OPP will arrange this with home schools separately.

Submission Timeline

The deadline for submitting an EOI is 5:00pm on Wednesday, February 1, 2017. The HGI Review Committee will choose a subset of the initial proposals to participate in the final selection in early March 2017. Those applicants will be invited to submit full grant applications with a more complete description of the project by 5:00pm on Wednesday, May 31, 2017. Full grant applications will be reviewed by the Committee with the assistance of subject matter experts.  Final award decisions will be made by President Faust in the beginning of the 2017-18 academic year.


Please visit the Harvard University Funding Portal to submit an application.

Further Questions

E-mail inquiries may be directed to Heather McPherson, Project Manager for Harvard Global Institute, at globalinstitute@harvard.edu.