Grant Process

Grant Process

HGI funding is awarded on an annual basis. The application process takes place during the academic year and culminates with final award decisions at the beginning of the ensuing academic year.

In the 201920 academic year, HGI will fund research projects in China that have the potential for impact both locally and globally. Project activities are not limited to the Harvard campus but also include work that happens in China. Faculty conducting research in China have access to space at the Harvard Center Shanghai, and HGI encourages project teams to make use of the Center as a convening site.

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Faculty from across the Schools who are already working on China, as well as those who wish to begin doing so, are invited to apply for funding by submitting preliminary expressions of interest (EOIs). Funding will be provided at two levels, in the form of large grants and small grants.

EOIs will be reviewed by a committee of Harvard faculty chaired by Mark Elliott, the vice provost for international affairs. The committee will invite a small number of finalists to submit expanded proposals. The committee will evaluate second-round submissions in consultation with subject-matter experts and then will determine the final award decisions.

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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 the basic or social science departments at HMS.

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.


2019–2020 Submission Timeline

*Please note, the deadline for submitting expressions of interest has passed and HGI is no longer accepting new applications for the 2019 academic year.

  • The deadline for submitting an expression of interest is Tuesday, January 22, 2019 at 5:00pm (EST). Please visit the Harvard University Funding Portal to apply.
  • In February 2019, the HGI Review Committee will select a subset of the initial proposals to submit full grant applications in a second round. Full grant applications will be due by Wednesday, April 17, 2019 at 5:00pm (EST).
  • The Committee will review full grant applications with the assistance of subject matter experts.  Final award decisions will be determined in June 2019. 


Large grants

Large grants will support multifaculty, 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 201920 academic year.

Small Grants

Small 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, or for comparative work. 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.