summer research grants

 Applications for Summer 2020 are now closed.
Applications for Summer 2021 will open Spring Quarter 2021.


The Sexualities Project at Northwestern (SPAN) is pleased to announce that applications for Summer Research Grants for Summer 2020 are now being accepted. Northwestern University doctoral students – at any stage – who have a research project that relates to the topic of sexuality (including health in social context) are welcome to apply. SPAN Summer Research Grants are designed to cover expenses related to research (within the guidelines outlined below). Projects of all sizes are welcome, up to a maximum of $2,500 per grant.

Applicants should submit their proposal to conduct research during this summer and assume that it will move forward as planned. We will continue monitoring travel restrictions during the pandemic and will work with award recipients to make appropriate adjustments in terms of the timing and methods of their research. A possible outcome is that some “summer” projects may extend to the following academic year, to be approved on a case-by-case basis.

This application has three components:

  1. An online application.
  2. Within the application, you will be asked to upload a Your summary (no more than 3 pages, double-spaced, with standard fonts and margins) should be explicit about your research questions, research methods, and the connections to sexuality studies (including, if relevant, sexual orientation and health in social context). Please provide details about the data you will be collecting or analyzing (for example, how many interviews, which databases or archives, which ethnographic sites, etc.). Please also indicate how this summer project fits within your broader program of research (including whether it is related to your dissertation or other required research for your program).
  3. Within the application, you will also be asked to upload a budget and budget justification. Please list your research expenses in order of priority to you and provide a dollar amount for each research expense. Eligible research expenses include, for example, travel to conduct research, necessary equipment to conduct research or analyze data (such as digital recorders and analytical software not available through the University), research supplies, and incentives paid to research participants. Funds may not be used for basic living expenses (except when traveling to conduct research) or for travel to conferences. Please be as precise/specific as possible. For travel, please use estimates obtained from travel websites and use standard per diem rates by city. Please note that no awarded funds may be used for alcohol or for purposes other than those specified in the proposal unless approval of the changes is obtained in advance.

Your application will not be complete unless we have received all three components: the online application, the summary, and the budget. You will receive a confirmation from once your application has been received. If you do not receive an email confirming its receipt within one week, please inquire at that email address. 

Additional information

Applications will be judged according to the merits of the projects, but also in relation to the degree of closeness to SPAN’s mission. That is, while any project related to sexuality is potentially eligible, those projects that rely on social science approaches will be given priority, including those that have health implications.

Unless they are out of the area, awardees will be expected to participate during the subsequent year in the graduate student mentoring sessions and the SPAN Summer Research Fest in the spring quarter. Awardees will be required to submit a short progress report at the completion of the summer.

Please note: Students are encouraged to apply for a SPAN Summer Research Grant or a SPAN Dissertation Fellowship, or both. Students who apply for but do not receive a summer grant are welcome to reapply in a subsequent year. Students who receive a summer grant may also reapply in a subsequent year for a different project.

Substantive questions about the summer grant program can be directed to SPAN Co-directors Héctor Carrillo (hector@northwestern.eduand Gregory Ward ( Questions concerning the electronic submission should be directed to Cassilyn Ostrander at

For information on summer research grants that have been awarded in the past, click here.

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