Information for Institutional Administrators

Recipients, Funding Structure, and Administration of Fellowships and Grants

1. Recipients

Fellowships are awards applied for, won by, and made to, individual scholars. They are paid to those individual scholars, either directly or through the scholar’s institution (in accordance with the preferences of the awardee and his or her institution, and as arranged with ACLS).

Research grants, by contrast, are most commonly awarded to institutions—typically, the colleges or universities employing the individual scholars. For example, ACLS Digital Extension Grants and Luce/ACLS Collaborative Programming Grants, fall under the category of research grants. In some cases, however, grants are awarded to individuals (such as our ACLS Project Development Grants). Please read the information on the respective program page for more information.

2. Fellowship Funding Structure

Funds that accompany ACLS fellowships generally take the form of salary replacement at the postdoctoral level and support stipends at the doctoral level. Unlike institutional grants, there are no budgets per se for any facilities or research costs. Many ACLS fellowships (such as Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowships in American Art and Mellon/ACLS Scholars and Society Fellowships) provide supplementary funding and assign these funds directly to individual fellows.

There is no “Principal Investigator” (PI) for a fellowship, as there is with an institutional grant. The awardee for an ACLS fellowship is an ACLS fellow.

There is no institutional responsibility regarding a fellow’s stipend funds except where the university agrees to act as the vehicle or agent for payment of funds at the request of the fellow. This arrangement is typically done to facilitate payment of additional "top-up" funds needed to bring the award’s stipend up to the scholar’s regular salary, and to ensure continuous provision of benefits at the fellow’s home institution.

Since fellowship funds take the form of salary replacement or support stipend, the responsibility for any applicable taxes on the award rests with the individual fellow.

3. Administration

Unlike institutional grants, ACLS fellowships are not awards paid to the university per se. The amount and timing of the salary replacement is worked out individually by fellows with their institution in advance of the fellowship period.

For many fellowship programs, ACLS makes its awards on the condition that fellows devote themselves fulltime to the projects they propose during the award term. This does not assume sabbatical pay or leave, though those are often the conditions under which the awards are taken up. (Some ACLS programs, such as Mellon/ACLS Community College Faculty Fellowships, have different structures. Please consult the relevant program webpage for more information.)

In many cases, the fellowship stipend does not equal the fellow’s normal salary. In calculating the shape, scope, and amount of its awards for programs that require semester- or year-long supported research leaves, ACLS expects that fellows’ institutions will “top up” ACLS awards to meet the normal salary and benefits, in order for faculty members (and therefore, their institutions) to take advantage of the award and the honor it represents.

ACLS fellowships do not provide benefits. ACLS expects that fellows’ institutions will continue to provide regular benefits to fellows during the fellowship period.

In contrast to institutional grants, institutions may not “charge” costs of any kind to ACLS fellowships, such as benefits, indirect costs, or overhead. This rule obtains even in cases where the fellowship stipend is routed through the institution.

ACLS fellowships will not have “unspent” or “excess” funds. An ACLS fellow is entitled to the entire amount of his or her award as initially designated in accordance with their salary replacement need (unless he or she violates the terms of the fellowship). Since ACLS fellowships are made to individual scholars rather than to their institutions, ACLS cannot ask for funds back from the institution. The standard scenario is that funds are “fully expended”—paid out per regular salary payments—by completion of the fellowship period.

Unlike institutional grants, ACLS fellowships have no requirements for financial or expenditure reports from the accounting office or Office of Sponsored Research (OSR) at fellows’ institutions. ACLS fellows may be asked to account for funds expended under any special budgets for research costs attached to their stipends.

Unlike institutional grants, ACLS fellowships have no requirements for narrative reports from the accounting or OSR offices at fellows’ institutions. ACLS fellows are obliged to submit final reports to ACLS on their research or writing during the fellowship year.

It is not possible to transfer a fellowship from one institution to another, given that it is an award to an individual. If an ACLS fellow changes institutions before or during the tenure of the award, ACLS may route the fellowship stipend through the new institution—but no transfer of funds is necessary between the fellow’s old and new institutions. It is not possible to take funds from an ACLS fellowship salary stipend and re-grant them to any other individual or institution.

Note on research budgets attached to ACLS fellowships: 

Some ACLS fellowship programs provide for small research budgets attached to the fellowship. There is no exhaustive list of what line items are allowable in such research budgets: equipment, personnel, travel, and services costs are all acceptable in accordance with the terms of the specific fellowship award.

It generally is not possible to cover administrative overhead or fellows’ salary or benefits as costs under such research budgets.