UCHRI | Annual Report

About UCHRI Grants

As a grantmaking organization, UCHRI primarily funds UC faculty and graduate students who participate in innovative research and projects that engage a variety of disciplines and stakeholders. In the 2014-15 academic year, UCHRI provided $500,000 in grants to fund projects throughout the UC system. These projects included conferences and seminars, community engagement programs, faculty working groups, and travel grants for graduate students. At the heart of UCHRI’s grantmaking activities are the Residential Research Groups: teams of researchers, often unknown to each other before residency, assembled to work on a commonly-defined research agenda. This long-standing grant offering exemplifies UCHRI’s mission of fostering cross-campus, interdisciplinary research on contemporary areas of inquiry.


Types of Grants

Residential Research Groups

Residential research groups (RRGs) are at the heart of UCHRI’s activities, convening key scholars to work in collaboration on interdisciplinary topics of special significance. UCHRI promotes new scholarship in the humanities by fostering collaborative inquiry outside institutional and disciplinary structures. RRGs are in essence teams of researchers, often unknown to each other before residency, and assembled to work on a commonly defined research agenda. They are composed of a range of UC faculty, visiting scholars (including UC postdoctoral scholars), UC doctoral students, and non-UC faculty as resources allow. RRGs are developed through a two-stage process. First, research topics for RRGs are determined by open competition or by UCHRI in consultation with its Advisory Committee. Once a topic is approved, UC and non-UC faculty, as well as postdoctoral and doctoral scholars, are invited to apply to participate. Through a competitive review process, RRG fellows are then selected based on their ability to contribute to the research agenda of the group. Collaboration may take many forms. In communicating across disciplines, there are challenges of language, terminology, and methodology for all RRGs. The organizing premise of the residential research program is that when those challenges are surmounted, breakthroughs in knowledge are possible.

Conferences & Seminars

UCHRI funds a regular program of conference and event support to promote innovative, collaborative and interdisciplinary research, being particularly responsive to those intellectual activities that cannot readily occur within existing departmental and programmatic structures.

The Institute also invites proposals for research seminars for small groups of UC faculty and advanced graduate students to engage in intensive study of topics chosen by the participants.  Seminars may be from a variety of fields in the humanities and humanistic social sciences, and should draw participants from across humanistic disciplines around a clearly defined topic or from a discrete discipline to explore interdisciplinary approaches to a defined top. Participation is encouraged by faculty from multiple UC campuses and disciplines and at all levels of career development, as well as national and international scholars.

Working Groups

UCHRI Working Groups awards provide financial resources for University of California faculty to support research collaboration and communication within the extended range of humanities disciplines. Working Groups should engage significant research questions and push the frontiers of knowledge production in the humanities or between the humanities and other fields or modes of inquiry. Working Groups should set and explore innovative research agendas in ways that contribute to the advancement of the Working Group topic specifically, and the humanities as a whole.

Working Groups are designed to catalyze collaboration between scholars from different disciplines and UC campuses around a specific problem, theme, object or topic. A Working Group may consist of 5 to 15 individuals who will collaborate over one academic year to address a clearly-defined and timely issue or the early stages of research on an emergent topic in the humanities. Members of a Working Group will be expected to be connected virtually for ongoing communication, and meet face-to-face at least two times throughout the year.

Short-term Residencies

Short-term residencies are committed research groups that come to UCHRI to work together on a project already underway and with a designated outcome in sight. Residencies may run up to two weeks and are intended for between two and ten residents representing any discipline or field in the humanities and humanistic social sciences, or in conjunction with scholars, artists, scientists, and experts across various disciplines. Research projects undertaken in short-term residencies advance the field of humanistic scholarship and engage in multi-disciplinary and multi-campus research.

Engaging Humanities

Engaging Humanities is a public humanities program invested in engagement with publics alongside and beyond the academy—it recognizes the importance of mutually-beneficial relationships, and builds upon the strengths of these partnerships to further enhance the development of engaged humanistic scholarship. In the spirit of the title, Engaging Public Humanities Fellowships seek to engage: to produce original scholarship that is interested in, and interesting to, a variety of publics.

Engaging Humanities offers a grant opportunity that supports innovative projects combining humanities research and/or pedagogy with community engagement, building ties between UC campuses and California communities through research engagements and/or partnerships with community organizations, museums, NGOs or other public-facing groups. These grants may support the initiation of new projects or advance the work (or completion) of projects and efforts already in progress. Interdisciplinary and multi-campus collaborations are strongly encouraged, though proposed initiatives may involve scholars from a single or multiple UC campuses, depending on the needs of the project. Ideally, projects will engage a diverse group of UC humanities faculty and students with individuals or groups outside the academy in both the production and dissemination of the project’s research.

Medicine and the Humanities

The Andrew Vincent White and Florence Wales White Scholarship is awarded to one or more regularly enrolled full-time UC graduate students working in appropriate fields. To be eligible for the Andrew Vincent White and Florence Wales White Scholarship, candidates must be: current full-time UC graduate students whose research involves the humanities and medicine or theoretical social sciences and medicine; advanced to doctoral candidacy by June 30, 2015, and enrolled at their home campus during the scholarship period. Preference is given to students who are more advanced in their PhD dissertation research and writing. The scholarship of $20,000 may be used for a mix of fees, living expenses, and research expenses for one academic year. The student will be based at his or her home campus; the scholarship is not a residency at UCHRI. The award is intended to help students complete the writing of their dissertations.

California Studies

As part of the University of California California Studies Consortium (UCCSC), the UCCSC Graduate Research Travel Grant is intended for direct support of graduate student research, designed to assist advanced graduate students at UC campuses for travel and access to archives and collections for research in California Studies.

By supporting and nurturing the work of graduate students and young scholars in the field, it hopes to unearth and build upon critical historical mappings and re-mappings of California and its cultures, as it is invested in sustained, multidisciplinary, and differently situated notions of intersection, power, history, language, migration and movement. The consortium wishes to supplement a more traditional sense of California Studies by dealing squarely with questions of public pedagogy that address the antagonisms comprising what it means to be a “Californian.” The steering committee seeks new research exploring and exploding current theoretical lenses that include topics as diverse as nativism and the environment to prisons, industry and the military. To refocus the topic of California away from its common identifiers to its underlying layers of contradiction—labor, resources, scarcity, race, tourism, technology, recreation, suburbia, for example—would expand our understanding of California’s complex relationship(s) to the world at large.

Public Partnerships in the Humanities

For the 2014-15 academic year, outgoing UC President Mark Yudof allocated $100,000 in one-time funding to support collaborations between UC faculty and cultural institutions. Funding was awarded in two categories:

  • Community Partnerships, for public humanities programs designed in collaboration with libraries, museums, state humanities councils, community groups, non-profit organizations, public agencies, filmmakers, and others to explore public policy issues or topics of public concern, and/or to advance the public dissemination of humanities research in the public sphere.
  • Vital Dialogues, for workshops, colloquia, and residencies designed to bring together faculty and graduate students with public policy experts, journalists, or industry leaders to share research and discuss issues of public concern.
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“The fellowship [I received] celebrates research that preserves the human spirit and our ability to use our creative faculties to change our world. I’m proud that the University honors and respects these undervalued characteristics of scholarly contribution.”
—Faculty Fellow


Our grants have produced a number of projects, which are shown here (if necessary, use the left and right arrows to scroll). Click on an individual project to learn more.