Mellon/ACLS Scholars & Society Fellowships

Funding Agency:
American Council of Learned Societies

The Mellon/ACLS Scholars & Society program supports scholars who wish to engage with significant societal questions, serve as ambassadors for humanities scholarship beyond the academy, and encourage public engagement in doctoral education on their campuses.

Inspired by the Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows program, which demonstrates the broad value of doctoral education by placing recent humanities PhDs in nonprofit and government organizations, the Scholars & Society program offers tenured humanities faculty in PhD-granting departments or programs in the United States the opportunity to pursue research projects while in residence at a US-based cultural, media, government, policy, or community organization of their choice. Scholars and their colleagues at host institutions are expected to create a mutually beneficial partnership in which they collaborate, interact, and learn about each other’s work, motivating questions, methods, and practices.

The goal of the fellowship year should be to conduct a major research project in the humanities or humanistic social sciences that treats a significant issue or grand challenge in society—such as democratic governance; technological change; racism and inequality; climate change; economic exclusion; or migration and immigration, to name a few possibilities. The program supports projects at all stages of development, and welcomes applications that propose to deepen or expand existing research projects as well as those that propose new projects. While projects should be informed by present-day issues in the public sphere, they need not be contemporary in focus. Indeed, it is assumed that the insights yielded by humanities research, broadly considered, can inform work on contemporary challenges.

Deadline: Oct. 23, 2019

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants must:

  • be employed in tenured positions in PhD-granting humanities departments or programs at a university in the United States, remaining so for the duration of the fellowship. US citizenship or permanent residency is not required.
  • commit to a nine-month residency off-campus and at the non-academic institution that they have proposed.
  • commit to participate in-person in two multi-day workshops (in the early fall and late spring) during the fellowship year.



Amount Description

In the 2018-19 competition year, ACLS will award up to 12 Scholars & Society Fellowships for a nine-month term during the 2019-20 academic year. Each fellowship carries a stipend of $75,000, plus funds of up to $6,000 for research, travel/optional relocation, and related project costs. Fellows must commit themselves to relocating (if necessary) in order to be in residence for the entire nine-month tenure of the fellowship. Fellows also are required to participate in two workshops over the course of the fellowship year—the first, in the fall, is designed to help fellows refine their projects and build connections with scholars and institutions engaged in public scholarship and innovation in doctoral education; the second, in the spring, will offer a chance for fellows to reflect on their experiences and plan programming for the year following the fellowship. ACLS will cover the costs of fellows’ attendance at the workshops. The award also carries $10,000 in support for each fellow’s host organization, and provides additional funding to sponsor on-campus and off-campus programming in the year following the fellowship. 

Funding Type





Arts & Humanities
Social Sciences

External Deadline

October 23, 2019