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Simpson Center for the Humanities

Tips for Effective Proposal Writing

The Simpson Center eagerly invites project proposals that support our goals of crossdisciplinary exchange and scholarship at the leading edge of change. We hope the following will be helpful in drafting your proposal.

Scope and Context

  • Describe your project in language clear to academic non-specialists—that is, for a broad, crossdisciplinary group of reviewers in the humanities and humanistic social sciences.
  • What are the intellectual ambitions of the project? What are the research questions around which the project revolves?
  • Explain the topic of research within a broader context: What is its contribution to your scholarly field, to larger issues, or to society at large? Describe the intellectual significance and the value of the project.
  • What has been done thus far to address the question, and how does your approach fit into that? What will be your methodology?
  • What research interests and skills do you and other team members bring to the project?


  • What is the timeline for the project? Will there be different phases to the project? What will be accomplished in the timeframe of the grant?
  • What project components will require funding? Your budget should detail expenses including stipends or honoraria, travel, accommodations, promotional materials, postage, hospitality (food and drink), and facilities rentals.
  • How much money are you requesting from the Simpson Center, and how much have you requested from other sources?


  • What impact will your project have? What will be the results of your project? For example, will you build an online archive or website?
  • How will the project benefit the UW? Will the project provide any opportunities for graduate students?
  • Is there a public dimension to the project? Will it address or benefit the broader public?
  • For public projects, describe the audiences, partners, and other stakeholders.
  • For digital projects, identify the platforms and tools to be used and address the issues of access and preservation.
  • For conferences, who will be the participating scholars or organizations? If professional organizations or other academic units are involved, specify the administrative and financial support they will provide.

More Resources


We encourage applicants to meet with us before submitting a proposal. To schedule a meeting, contact Assistant Director Rachel Arteaga.