Prospective applicants should review the Luce/ACLS Program in China Studies page, the 2023 China Studies in an Uncertain Age report, and the recently launched China Digital Archives Mapping Project to understand ACLS’ goals, the needs of the field, and the activities ACLS is already undertaking.

Applicants are encouraged to submit proposals in response to the following prompts. ACLS will also consider applications that address challenges not described below. Applicants who are NOT responding to one of these prompts are strongly advised to submit a Letter of Intent prior to submitting a full proposal.

  • Teaching and Curricular Resources – Developing and/or making accessible course syllabi and teaching resources (e.g., texts, media, primary sources in translation) aimed at diversifying undergraduate and/or graduate curricula, supporting early career and teaching faculty, and/or enhancing programs in China studies. 
  • Open-Access Resources – Expanding open-access digital resources for teaching and research through digitization, preservation, and platform development, including increased accessibility to existing digital databases and strengthening print collections.
  • Cross-institutional Cohort-building – Providing cohort-based professional development that promotes the diversification of faculty in China studies, opportunities for China scholars at under-resourced institutions, and professional support for at-risk researchers.  
  • Language Training – Expanding access to language training, especially for less commonly taught languages (e.g., Tibetan, Uyghur), for students and faculty at under-resourced institutions while drawing on technologies and best practices for language pedagogy and remote instruction developed during the COVID pandemic. 
  • Digital Research Methods – Training China scholars in digital skills and research methods to foster new methodological approaches and cross-disciplinary collaborations.
  • Securitization – Building capacity among China scholars and institutions of higher learning to develop responses to securitization, anti-China bias, and the community impacts of state pressure, including through engagement with university administrators and civic organizations.

Grant Details

  • Grant amount: Up to $150,000 (approximately $25,000 per group member for up to six members)
  • Grants may support projects of 12-18 months in duration. Projects must be initiated between September 1, 2024, and December 31, 2024, and completed no later than June 30, 2026.
  • Grant funds may be used for planning activities, living expenses, or research costs, including, but not limited to:
    • workshops or convenings for project teams
    • research leave, course releases, or summer salary
    • funds for research (e.g., research assistants, database access, travel to libraries)
  • Grant funds may be disbursed in one of two ways: as a single grant to a host institution which will then administer all grant funds; or as separate awards (up to six) to each individual team member. If the grant is made as a single award, the host institution must be a US- or Canada-based institution.
  • No indirect costs or institutional overhead is permitted.
  • Other support may be accepted for the proposed project.
  • A final report is required on completion of the grant period.


  • Project teams may comprise up to six members.
  • The project’s principal investigator must have a PhD in the humanities or interpretive social sciences or equivalent AND be based at an institution (e.g., college, museum, university, library) in the US or Canada.
  • Project teams must represent more than one institution. Preference will be given to groups that include:
    1. Scholars in both well-funded institutions and institutions facing financial or other institutional constraints (evidence of which includes no sabbatical or leave policy and teaching loads greater than 2-2).
    2. A range of academic constituencies as relevant (e.g., administrators, adjunct faculty, language training specialists, graduate students, librarians, experts on digital humanities, pedagogy, etc.)
    3. Scholars working at universities in countries outside the United States.
    4. Members from different backgrounds, cultures, and any aspects that make one unique. In China studies we seek balance in regard to national origin, educational background, and current university affiliation, as well as in disciplinary approaches, topics, and historical periods studied.

Application Guidelines

All application materials should be written in English and formatted in Arial or Helvetica 11-point font. The application materials must be submitted as a single email attachment in PDF or Word document format to

Letters of Intent (Optional) – Due April 17, 2024 Any applicant can submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) to learn if their project will be competitive. Applicants who are NOT responding to one of the listed prompts are strongly encouraged to do so. ACLS will provide brief feedback on the project scope in early May. The LOI should follow the formatting conventions listed under ‘Application Guidelines’ and the same procedure for submission.

LOIs must include the following components:

  • Name and contact information for the principal investigator, who will serve as the main contact for the project.
  • Draft narrative summarizing the proposed project, and its goals and activities (no more than one page).
  • A preliminary list of project team members and affiliations (if known), summarizing their roles in the project and brief plan for collaboration (no more than one page).

Full proposal – Due June 13, 2024

Full proposals must include the following components:

  • The name and contact information of the principle investigator, who will serve as the main contact for the project.
  • An abstract of the proposed project (250 words).
  • A proposal (no more than five pages). The narrative should include:
    • Project Title: A brief, descriptive title.
    • Project Overview: Applicants should explain the proposed project goals and demonstrate how they relate to the aims of the Luce/ACLS program, as well as the contribution the project will make toward the field.
    • Workplan: Proposals should explain, briefly but specifically, what the project participants plan to do and why. Applicants should explain the means and tools to be used to execute the project.
    • Collaboration: Applicants should outline each team member’s proposed contribution to the project and how the members will collaborate across their institutions, departments, initiatives, and/or external organizations. Examples of successful prior collaborations between the team members are encouraged.
    • Sustainability Plan: The application should briefly address plans for project maintenance, scaling, or future development beyond the grant tenure, including strategies for the preservation of project assets and identifying long-term infrastructure produced through the project.
  • A project timeline (no more than one page). Outline the development and execution of the project, including a description of tasks to be accomplished within the grant period.
  • A budget and budget justification (no more than two pages). The budget should provide a detailed account of the proposed use of grant funds.
    • Project participants do not need to take a supported research leave (such as course buyout), although grant funds may be used toward this purpose if desired. If grant funds will support course buyout or another type of research leave for project team members, the budget must itemize the funds dedicated toward the salary and benefits replacement of each relevant team member.
    • Grant funds must be distributed equitably amongst the team, taking into account the institutional resources available to each team member. Members at less well-resourced institutions should be allocated more funds.
    • Grant funds may not pay for institutional overhead; direct administrative costs (e.g., office expenses, space rental, honoraria for office assistance) are allowed.
    • The budget should reflect any proposed cost-sharing measures undertaken by a host institution or third party.
    • The budget justification should explain if the grant will be awarded to a host institution which will then administer all the grant funds, or in separate awards (up to six) to each individual. The rationale for the distribution of grant funds should be provided.
  • A list of the names and institutional affiliations of project team members with a summary of each member’s role and capacities on the project, and two-page CVs for the principal investigator and each team member.
  • If the grant is to be disbursed as a single award, an institutional statement of support from a senior administrator at the host institution (e.g., dean, provost, or president). This statement should confirm that the host institution is prepared to administer all grant funds and will support the activities to be undertaken. If the grant is to be disbursed as separate awards to individuals, an institutional statement of support is not required.

The Luce/ACLS Program in China Studies promotes inclusion, equity, and diversity as integral components of merit that enhance the scholarly enterprise. It is a priority that every cohort of fellows and grantees is broadly inclusive of different backgrounds, cultures, and any aspects that make one unique. In China studies we seek balance in regard to national origin, educational background, and current university affiliation, as well as in disciplinary approaches, topics, and historical periods studied.


Evaluation Criteria

Applications will be reviewed by an external advisory committee made up of scholars and experts in China studies. ACLS will award grants to projects on the following basis:

  • The demonstrated ability of the proposed project team to accomplish the project’s goals successfully.
  • The feasibility of the proposed project plans.
  • The project’s potential impact on the field.
  • The project’s potential for implementation at scale and/or the project’s potential for long-term sustainability.


Please email with questions. Before submitting an inquiry, please read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

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