Sponsor Deadline
Posted: 12/18/2023

NEA Research Grants in the Arts (Grants to Research Value and Impact of the Arts)

Research Grants in the Arts support research studies that investigate the value and/or impact of the arts, either as individual components of the U.S. arts ecology or as they interact with each other and/or with other domains of American life.

As in previous years, we welcome applications from diverse research fields (e.g., economics; psychology; education; sociology; medicine, health, and therapy; communications; business administration; urban and regional planning). We expect our total awards portfolio to be diverse in terms of geographical distribution, the artistic and research fields or disciplines involved, and the research topics proposed. We also expect our portfolio to reflect an array of study design characteristics.

Accordingly, applicants may propose research projects drawing from a range of study design types. In recent years, the NEA has supported a growing cohort of studies that hypothesize a cause-effect relationship between the arts and key outcomes of interest (e.g., in health, education, or the economy). For projects seeking to explore causal claims about the arts, experimental approaches (e.g., randomized controlled trials) are generally preferred. Where experimental approaches are not feasible, then high-quality, quasi-experimental design studies offer an attractive alternative for impact studies about the arts.

In many cases, however, other or different study design characteristics will be preferable. These designs may include, but are not limited to, case studies, complex surveys, mixed methods, and meta-analyses. In particular, we encourage community-based participatory research approaches where warranted by the research objective. Program evaluations also are eligible for funding.

The NEA research agenda states that, through such awards, the agency will “incentivize the creation of practitioner tools grounded in research.” In keeping with this aim, we especially welcome translational research that moves scientific evidence toward the development, testing, and standardization of new arts-related programs, practices, models, or tools that can be used easily by other practitioners and researchers.

Deadline: March 25, 2024

Areas of Interest

With these guidelines, the NEA welcomes research proposals that address priority topics and possible questions as outlined in the agency’s FY 2022-2026 research agenda. The priority topics are described below. Note: for each of the four topics, the research agenda also lists several “related sample questions” that may be used or adapted by applicants to the Research Grants in the Arts program. Applicants are strongly urged to consult this more detailed list.

  • What are measurable impacts of the arts on the following outcome areas: health and wellness for individuals; cognition and learning; and U.S. economic growth and innovation? Under what conditions do such impacts occur, through what mechanisms, and for which populations and/or sectors?
  • In what ways do the arts contribute to the healing and revitalization of communities? What factors mediate these contributions, and for the benefit of which populations? What are common elements of such programs or practices, and what are appropriate measures of success?
  • What is the state of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in the arts? What progress has been made in achieving these outcomes for arts administration, employment, learning, and participation? What are some promising practices and/or replicable strategies in these domains, and what are appropriate measures of success?
  • How is the U.S. arts ecosystem (e.g., arts organizations and venues, artists and arts workers, and participants and learners) adapting and responding to social, economic, and technological changes and challenges to the sector, including trends accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic? What are promising practices and/or replicable strategies for responding to such forces, for different segments of the arts ecosystem?

Proposals to the Research Grants in the Arts program should align with at least one of the aforementioned topics, and, if possible, address research questions identical or similar to the related sample questions in the NEA’s research agenda for FY 2022-2026.

Eligibility Requirements

The lead applicant organization must be a:

  • Nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3), U.S. organizations;
  • Units of state or local government; or
  • Federally recognized tribal communities or tribes.

Colleges and universities that fall under one of these three categories may serve as the lead applicant organization.

An organization may submit more than one application under these Research Grants in the Arts guidelines. In each case, the request must be for a distinctly different project. However, an organization will not receive more than one Research Grants in the Arts award in any given cycle.

Amount Description

We anticipate awarding 10 to 20 grants, based on the availability of funding.

Grants will range from $20,000 to $100,000. For projects that intend solely to use pre-existing data—and that will not involve primary data collection—we anticipate making awards in the $20,000-$50,000 range. Projects that include primary data collection as part of the research activities are eligible for awards between $20,000 and $100,000.

Grants cannot exceed 50% of the total cost of the project. All grants require a nonfederal cost share/match of at least 1 to 1. These cost share/matching funds may be all cash or a combination of cash and in-kind contributions, and can include federally-negotiated indirect costs. You may include in your Project Budget cost share/matching funds that are proposed but not yet committed at the time of the application deadline.