(CLOSED) Henry Luce Foundation Advancing Public Scholarship on Religion and Theology

Sponsor Name: 
Henry Luce Foundation
Description of the Award: 

Seeking to advance public understanding of religion and theology, the Henry Luce Foundation’s Theology Program invites inquiries for university-based projects that are centrally animated by faculty members based at research institutions.

Any doctoral degree-granting university in the United States is eligible to submit a letter of inquiry. Due no later than October 15, 2019, inquiries must be submitted through the Luce Foundation’s online portal. Grant amounts of $250,000 to $750,000 will be considered, and approved grants will typically fund projects that can be completed in less than 5 years.

Through competitively-awarded grants to research universities, the Luce Foundation’s Theology Program aims to support collaborative, experimental, and field-shaping initiatives that enliven the practice of public scholarship.

The Foundation welcomes inquiries for public scholarship projects that:

  • Cross religious, geographic, and academic boundaries
  • Advance scholarship that critically examines received assumptions about religion, secularity, and public culture
  • Work inventively at the intersections of theological inquiry and the multidisciplinary study of religion

Grants may fund a wide range of possible activities, including (but not limited to):

  • Publicly engaged humanities and social science research
  • Support for the next generation of scholars, teachers, and public intellectuals
  • Creative uses of digital technologies and new publication platforms
  • Multi-institutional collaborations of various kinds

Engagement with religious, media, policy, activist and/or art communities is particularly encouraged, and special consideration will be given to proposed projects involving partnerships with non-academic organizations.

Please see the Luce Foundation's grants database for the eleven projects funded through the Theology Program’s 2017 and 2018 RFPs for research universities.

Examples of other recently funded Theology Program projects include: a project on theology and the public university at the University of California, Berkeley; a project on religion and its publics at the University of Virginia; a project on public theology and racial justice at Vanderbilt University; a project on the Anthropocene at Duke University; and a project on public religion and public scholarship in a digital age at the University of Colorado Boulder.

For further information on Theology Program’s thematic emphases, see the overview and history of the program.

Additional Eligibility Requirements and Restrictions:

  • Multi-institutional collaborations are welcome and partnerships with non-academic organizations are especially encouraged. The lead grantee and administrative base for the proposed project must be an eligible doctoral degree-granting university.
  • Only one Letter of Inquiry may be submitted per institution.
  • Funded projects may begin no earlier than July 1, 2020.
Limit (Number of applicants permitted per institution): 
Sponsor Final Deadline: 
Oct 15, 2019
OVPR Application or NOI Instructions: 

Interested applicants should send the following documents in sequence in one PDF file (File name: Last name_Luce_2019) no later than 4:00 p.m. on the internal submission deadline:

  • Cover Page:

    • Proposal Title
    • Principal Investigator’s (PI's) names and departmental affiliation
    • Co-PI's names and departmental affiliation(s)
    • A list of possible participating organizations (if applicable)
  • Project Proposal (no more than 2-pages ), to include:

    • a description of the project—its goals, significance, contribution to the field
    • anticipated outcomes
    • the anticipated timeframe
    • team members
    • the project's total budget
    • the amount requested from the Foundation and other existing or potential sources of funding
  • CV for lead PI (no more than 2-pages)

Formatting Guidelines:

  • Font/size: Times New Roman (11 pt.)
  • Document margins: 0.75” (top, bottom, left and right)
  • Standard paper size (8 ½” x 11)

The Office of Foundation Relations is the designated institutional contact responsible for communicating with the Foundation and is collaborating with Limited Submissions on the internal downselect process. Questions concerning the application process and other foundation-related questions should be directed to Holly Lowe, Assistant Director of Foundation Relations (814-863-4308 or hal5220@psu.edu).

To be considered as a Penn State institutional nominee, please submit a notice of intent by the date provided directly below.
This limited submission is in downselect: 
Penn State may only submit a specific number of proposals to this funding opportunity. The number of NOIs received require that an internal competition take place, thus, a downselect process has commenced. No Penn State researchers may apply to this opportunity outside of this downselect process. To apply for this limited submission, please use this link:
OVPR Downselect Deadline: 
Tuesday, August 27, 2019 - 4:00pm
Salguero, C. Pierce (Abington Campus, Arts & Humanities) 9/11/19