CAS Faculty Grants

The Harvard Center for African Studies will support opportunities for which other funding is not readily available. The primary purpose is for faculty-led projects related to Africa that aim to seed new areas of research and education or deepen existing areas.  

Funding Priorities

While not limited to these fields, our priority areas for funding are:

  • Religion and Public Life
  • Climate Change, Agriculture, and Nutrition
  • Global Health
  • Technology and Innovation
  • Business and Entrepreneurship
  • African Arts and Curatorial Practice
  • African languages

Grants may focus on any country in Africa, or that advance ideas that are related to Africa-Asia, or other regional engagements that connect Africa to the Global South. Research or educational opportunities at any school at Harvard are welcomed. 

Awards may support research; associated travel costs; publication and dissemination of findings; conferences; lecture series; or other educational activities.

Eligibility and Review Criteria

Proposals will be evaluated based on academic merit, feasibility, and their anticipated advancement of the objectives of our funding priorities. Special consideration will also be given to projects that propose multidisciplinary collaboration between Harvard faculty across more than one school and Africa-based academics.

Only Faculty Affiliates of the Center for African Studies may apply, but proposed research may include other scholars and practitioners from inside and outside of Harvard. Applications are limited to individuals who hold a faculty appointment at a Harvard school and who have principal investigator rights at that school. Harvard Medical School faculty must hold a faculty appointment with PI rights in one of HMS’s basic or social science departments. Faculty may request support for Harvard postdocs, graduate students, and undergraduates; your home department is responsible for managing these appointments.

Individuals who are Principal Investigators on an active Motsepe Presidential Research Accelerator Fund for Africa award or who have already received a CAS Faculty Grant within the past academic year will not be funded. Previous awardees are invited to apply for a new project provided their prior award cycle has concluded.


  • Contact Information for principal investigator and any co-investigators or collaborators.
  • Proposal narrative of no more than 750 words describing the research or educational topic and its significance. The proposal should outline the purpose and goals of the research, provide a brief description of the methodology to be employed, and describe both the proposed results (article, book, seminar, etc.) and how the research will be shared with the African Studies community. Proposals for conferences, lectures, or other educational support should include a list of proposed speakers, dates/times, and venue. Referenced relevant literature is not part of the word count.
  • Budget. Grants are typically $5,000 to $10,000 in size. Funds must be used before the end of the academic year following the application deadline. (Funds may not be re-budgeted without prior approval from CAS, and all foreign travel must be approved in-advance of purchase.)
  • 2-page CV that includes significant publications relevant to this proposal. If funding is requested for postdoctoral scholar(s) or graduate student(s), please also include a CV or biosketch for each such individual.
  • Other Support. Please list any other sources of financial support available for this project, if applicable.

Other budget considerations

  • Grants are typically $5,000 to $10,000 in size. Faculty interested in larger awards should consider the Motsepe Presidential Research Accelerator Fund for Africa, administered by CAS in collaboration with the Office of the Vice Provost for Research.
  • If the total cost of the proposed project is greater than the amount requested, please provide brief details of other support in the budget.
  • Applicants should note that any benefits-eligible personnel expenses in the budget must include the appropriate fringe rates for each year of funding. If the application proposes to fund a certain amount of an existing employee’s time, then the budget must also include that percentage of applied fringe. Applicants should consult with Human Resources at their home school for applicable rates.
  • Include direct costs only.
  • It is strongly recommended that, for proposals including work performed in Africa, applicants seek budget advice from knowledgeable representatives at their local school or from Harvard Global Support Services.
  • All applications must adhere to university and school-level guidance on travel. All University-related travel, both international and domestic, is prohibited until further notice and should not be planned or scheduled at this time.
  • Unallowable expenses include: student tuition; renovation and capital project costs; and foreign travel requires approval before booking. CAS will not cover the costs of foreign travel booked prior to CAS approval.

Assurance of Compliance

All recipients of an award are expected to comply with all University, (or local institutional, if awarded through an affiliated entity), policies governing the conduct of research including, but not limited to, the use of animals, human subjects, hazardous materials, and export controls. Awardees will be asked to provide the name and signature of a school or department administrator who, in addition to the principal investigator, will certify that the project complies with all relevant policies. Funds will not be made available, and invoices from non-Harvard entities will not be reimbursed, without such certification. All applicants are subject to audit.


The deadlines for grant proposals are April 1 and December 1.


Faculty who receive support from the Center should acknowledge it in future publications of their research. All grant recipients must submit a progress report reporting on the use of Center for African Studies grant funds. This report should focus on the intellectual and scholarly results of the project as well as any products and outcomes (publications, speaker series, teacher resources, etc.). Funding is available for a 12-month project period unless otherwise specified in your award letter.

Alex Taylor, Executive Director,