The Humanities Institute’s research clusters are experimental initiatives that can serve as incubators for larger projects in the future. Our institute offers faculty and graduate students seed funding, for up to three years, to explore innovative ideas and collaborations that can grow into self-sustaining programs. In particular, our clusters encourage scholars to engage in interdisciplinary research that breaks down silos and creates dynamic connections across disciplines.
See our application process and our current and past clusters below.
  • The Humanities Institute Research Clusters 2022-2023

    Deadline: Wednesday, May 18th, 2022

    Objective: This program is designed to encourage and support research in any area of the Humanities. In addition to programming (e.g., conferences, workshops, seminars, visiting scholars), we encourage the clusters to view this as seed funding and to think about ways the cluster can serve as an incubator for larger projects in the future (e.g., websites and other digital projects, edited volumes, the establishment of research centers, NEH Summer Seminars, UC multi-campus research groups, etc.) and how they can leverage cluster funds to secure extramural funding. Preference will be given to clusters that have not already received multiple years of funding, though all proposals will be considered.

    Strong preference will be given to groups who align with THI’s 2022-2023 theme: Travel (broadly understood). Proposal ideas could range from clusters that examine migration and displacement to international travel narratives to travel across consciousnesses through mind-altering substances, amongst other topics.

    Number of Awards: TBD; The Humanities Institute Steering Committee will decide the awards.

    Amount: Up to $5,000 per cluster.

    Eligibility: Groups of faculty from any UCSC Division may apply, as long as some Humanities faculty are involved. Graduate student involvement in the cluster is required, but clusters must be led by faculty PIs. Depending on funding availability, preference will be given to clusters whose PIs are faculty in the Humanities Division.

    Duration: Funding is awarded on a year-by-year basis. Any unspent money on Friday, June 30, 2023 will be returned to The Humanities Institute. All clusters will have to reapply for funding for 2023-2024.

    Reporting Requirement: The Humanities Institute will expect a final 1-page report by Saturday, July 1, 2023. This report will detail a) the activities of the cluster, b) how the activities enhanced the work of the faculty and graduate students involved and c) whether the cluster faculty applied for extramural funds (if yes, where; if no, why not).

    Staffing: Staff support to the cluster will be included as an in-kind award from The Humanities Institute. Staff support includes event planning, program management, as well as assistance with research development.

    Application Requirements:

    1. Cover sheet containing a) name(s) of faculty principal investigator(s), b) title of research cluster, c) amount requested, e) amount of matching funds, if any.
    2. Narrative of no more than 3 pages describing a) the purpose of the cluster, b) the connection to the annual theme, c) the names and affiliations of faculty and graduate students whom you anticipate will be involved, and d) projected activities of the cluster.
    3. Budget.

    Applications must be submitted electronically (in .pdf format) to

    Any questions about the program or the process can be addressed to The Humanities Institute Faculty Director, Nathaniel Deutsch (

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