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Request for Proposals

Advancing Public Scholarship on Religion and Theology

Seeking to advance public understanding of religion and theology, the Henry Luce Foundation’s Theology Program invites inquiries for university-based projects that are centrally animated by faculty members based at research institutions.

Any doctoral degree-granting university in the United States is eligible to submit a letter of inquiry. Due no later than December 15, 2017, inquiries must be submitted through the Luce Foundation’s online portal. Grant amounts of $250,000 to $750,000 will be considered, and approved grants will typically fund projects that can be completed in less than 5 years.

Please read the information provided below before applying through our online portal.

Through competitively-awarded grants to research universities, the Luce Foundation’s Theology Program aims to support collaborative, experimental, and field-shaping initiatives that enliven the practice of public scholarship.

The Foundation welcomes inquiries for public scholarship projects that:

  • Cross religious, geographic, and academic boundaries
  • Advance scholarship that critically examines received assumptions about religion, secularity, and public culture
  • Work inventively at the intersections of theological inquiry and the multidisciplinary study of religion

Grants may fund a wide range of possible activities, including (but not limited to):

  • Publicly engaged humanities and social science research
  • Support for the next generation of scholars, teachers, and public intellectuals
  • Creative uses of digital technologies and new publication platforms
  • Multi-institutional collaborations of various kinds

Engagement with religious, media, policy, activist and/or art communities is particularly encouraged, and special consideration will be given to proposed projects involving partnerships with non-academic organizations.

Examples of recently funded Theology Program projects include: a project on theology and the public university at the University of California, Berkeley; a project on religion and its publics at the University of Virginia; a project on public theology and racial justice at Vanderbilt University; a project on facing the Anthropocene at Duke University; and a project on public religion and public scholarship in a digital age at the University of Colorado Boulder.

For further information on Theology Program’s thematic emphases, see the overview and history of the program.

Should you have questions in advance of completing the Letter of Inquiry, you may e-mail them to

Application Calendar

October 1, 2017 - Application portal is open for submissions
December 15, 2017 - Deadline for institutions to complete the letter of inquiry form online
March 15, 2018 - Deadline for selected institutions to submit full proposals online
June 15, 2018 - Awards are announced

Additional Eligibility Requirements and Restrictions

  • Research universities outside of the United States may submit appropriate projects for consideration only if they provide evidence of non-profit status acceptable to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.
  • Multi-institutional collaborations are welcome and partnerships with non-academic organizations are especially encouraged. The lead grantee and administrative base for the proposed project must be an eligible doctoral degree-granting university.
  • Only one proposed project may be submitted per institution.
  • Funded projects may begin no earlier than July 1, 2018.
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