Faculty Fellowship Awards: Application Guidelines

Applications are invited from full-time, tenured or tenure-track U of I faculty members for selection as HRI Faculty Fellows for the 2025–26 academic year.

The fellowship will enable fellows to develop their research projects and to participate in the year’s activities, including the yearlong interdisciplinary Fellows Seminar and other related programming.

HRI welcomes applications from scholars in all disciplines and departments with a research interest in humanities and humanities-inflected scholarship. HRI is especially interested in fostering interdisciplinary work, both within the humanistic disciplines, and between the humanities and the arts.

Read about the 2025–26 research theme, “Story and Place.”

Application Deadline Date


Only full-time tenured and tenure-track Urbana campus faculty are eligible to apply for the awards. Faculty members who have previously held an HRI fellowship may not reapply to HRI for five years following the award year.

All HRI Fellows are required to maintain residency on the Illinois campus during the award year and to attend the Fellows Seminar in person (Tuesdays, 9 to 11 a.m., roughly biweekly). Recipients of HRI Faculty Fellowships may not also hold a Center for Advanced Study, or other campus release-time, award (such as from the Campus Research Board) in the same academic year as their HRI Fellowship. Applicants should make certain that their teaching and research obligations do not prevent them from participating fully in HRI activities, and should identify in the narrative research statement any other applications being made for either sabbatical leave or for other campus or external grants and fellowships (HRI Faculty Fellowships cannot be held during sabbatical or held concurrently with external fellowship awards).


The fellowship provides release time for one semester in residence, and $3,000 in research funds, deposited to the faculty member’s departmental research account. The faculty member’s department(s) will be compensated $15,000 ($7500 per course) for releasing the faculty member. In the case of faculty members with two or more percentage appointments, each $7500 will be distributed to the department that holds the particular course being released.

HRI fellowships are intended to provide a release from teaching, not from service and continued engagement in the shared governance of the home unit. However, it is hoped that departments will keep service obligations for fellowship recipients—beyond dissertation, thesis, and other necessary forms of graduate advising—to a minimum, thus making service expectations compatible with the goal of maximizing the scholars’ ability to make excellent progress on their research projects during the semester of teaching release.

Application Guidelines

Applications must be submitted at the online application portal. (Form will be live starting September 1, 2024)

Applicants will be asked to create a password-protected account, to which they can return multiple times. The application system opens in September 2024. No paper or emailed applications will be accepted. The online application must be completed and submitted no later than 5 p.m. on December 6, 2024. Referees must submit their letters of reference by 5 p.m. on the following Monday, December 9, 2024. Please note that HRI staff will not be available for trouble-shooting after the close of business on December 6, so HRI strongly recommends applicants and referees submit their materials well before 4:30 p.m. on the 6th.

In addition to completing the online application form, applicants must submit the following materials through the online system (documents should be double-spaced, and in 12-point Times New Roman font, with one-inch margins; materials that exceed the required length will not be considered):

  • A 100-word abstract with project title. [Upload under “Abstract.”]
  • A current curriculum vitae (maximum 10 pages; this need not be double-spaced, but please spare a thought for the review committee in rendering it legible). [Upload under “Curriculum Vitae.”]
  • A statement of 2,000 words describing the faculty member’s research on the proposed project. The word count is exclusive of notes or bibliography, but in deference to the selection committee, a minimalist restraint should be applied to any citational apparatus. [Upload under “Research Statement.”]
  • A PDF of a signed EO Approval Form (Download approval form PDF). Applicants should complete their portion, print for the EO(s) to complete and sign, then scan. It is the applicant’s responsibility to upload the form to the application. [Upload under “Other Supporting Document.”] (Executive officers who are applying for a fellowship must include instead a PDF of a signed letter from the dean of their college, approving the application and any release time that would result from a successful proposal.)
  • Two (2) letters of recommendation to be uploaded by the applicant’s referees.

Reference letters: HRI recommends entering recommenders’ names and emails early in the online application process. The application system will generate an email request for letters to those whose names and emails the applicant submits, and the email will provide a link for uploading the letter. Please note that applicants must enter their personal contact information first before they can proceed to entering references. Doing so enables the system to insert the applicant’s name in the email request to referees. In order for the system to generate those emails, however, the applicant must click “continue” after entering referees’ names and emails—even if nothing else is to be done in the application at that time. Applications for which both letters of recommendation have not been uploaded by 5:00 p.m. on December 9, 2024 will be deemed incomplete and will not be considered. All letters must be uploaded through the application portal. No paper or emailed copies will be accepted.

Research Statement: In their 2,000-word narrative, applicants should describe their research in reasonable detail, elucidating its significance to the broader scholarly community at Illinois and elsewhere, and addressing the applicant’s readiness to undertake the project. The statement should also indicate how the interdisciplinary experience offered by the Fellows Seminar would be beneficial to the project. In the spirit of renewing the sense of community we aim to cultivate at HRI, we ask applicants to address the ways they plan to engage with HRI programming and Fellows Seminar participants, and to contribute to community building during their time as a fellow.

Guidelines Documents

Application Deadline Details

Online applications must be complete and submitted by 5 p.m. on December 6, 2024, after which the application portal closes. Letters of support must be uploaded by 5 p.m. on December 9, 2024, or applications will be deemed incomplete and will not be forwarded for review.

Visit the application system. (Link will be live starting September 1, 2024)

Deadline extensions will not be granted. The review committee will consider only complete applications. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that all documentation is complete, and that referees submit their letters before their deadline. Applicants should be sure that the application documents are complete and should proofread all materials carefully, as no changes are possible once one clicks “submit.” Note that one must click through the final section of the application portal, and hit “continue” in order to have the option to “submit.” Merely uploading all required documents does not constitute “submission.” Applicants must actively submit their applications. The portal will automatically generate an email acknowledgment of your submission. If you do not receive such an email within a reasonable time after clicking “submit,” and do not find one in your spam/junk folders, please touch base with HRI. HRI strongly recommends submissions be made prior to 4:30 p.m. on the day of the application deadline, as HRI staff will not be available to assist with troubleshooting after close of business on Friday, December 6.

Please ensure and verify that all uploaded documents are submitted under the correct category (as stipulated above). The system will read your file as incomplete and will not permit submission if an upload is erroneously misclassified and thus there is not an entry in each appropriate category (abstract, curriculum vitae, research statement, and other supporting document—the latter for the EO approval form).

Selection Criteria

The applications will be reviewed by the HRI Advisory Committee, who will make their award recommendations to HRI; the HRI Director and Deputy Director serve on the committee in an ex officio capacity. Submissions will be evaluated on the following criteria: the scholarly excellence and promise of the project, the applicant’s preparation/readiness to undertake the proposed research, the quality of the narrative proposal, the relationship to the annual theme, the case made for how the inter-disciplinary experience offered by the Fellows Seminar would be beneficial to the project, and the letters of support.


All applications will be acknowledged via email, and all applicants will be notified in the latter part of the spring 2025 semester, when the search has concluded. Please do not contact HRI about the status of an application, unless you are having difficulties with online submission; because of the volume of applications HRI receives, we are unable to answer questions about the suitability of particular research topics or the progress of the review and selection process.


Questions about these fellowships may be addressed to Nancy Castro at ncastro@illinois.edu or 217-244-7913.

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