Research funding for language documentation

research & stipend ; research only ; stipend only

Most of these are from funding agencies/programs that specifically favor research on underdocumented/endangered languages or research in collaboration with Indigenous communities, although some are more generally focused on research outside of the US or promoting equity & diversity in higher education.

Unless otherwise noted, funding amounts are in US dollars.

Grants that provide research funds & stipends

Smithsonian Ten-Week Graduate Student Fellowship in Anthropology

  • Restrictions: for graduate students; "Research topic must be focused on contemporary indigenous communities, linguistics and endangered languages, or cultural diversity"; should demonstrate active connection with the holdings of the National Museum of Natural History
  • Grant type:
  • 10 weeks (in D.C.); $8,000 stipend; $4,000 research allowance; relocation allowance as appropriate
  • Typical deadline: early November; application through the Smithsonian Institution Fellowship Program

ELDP Individual Graduate Scholarships

  • Restrictions: for graduate students; specific to language documentation projects
  • Grant type: 12-36 months, may include stipend
  • Special application requirements: 2 letters of recommendation; statement of support from host institution
  • Typical deadline: mid January

ELDP Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship

  • Restrictions: specific to language documentation projects; early stage researchers (less than 5 years post PhD)
  • Grant type: maximum £150,000 (may include salary), 12-24 months
  • Special application requirements: 2 letters of recommendation; statement of support from host institution
  • Typical deadline: mid January

APS/NASI Predoctoral Fellowship

  • Restrictions: graduate students only
  • Grant type: 12-month residential fellowship including desk space at the APS Library & Museum; $25,000 stipend (plus benefits), $5,000 research/travel funding
  • The APS also offers short term Digital Knowledge Sharing Fellowships for scholars & Indigenous communities collaborating on digital projects and Residence Fellowships for scholars working with APS Library collections.
  • Typical deadline: late January

APS/NASI Postdoctoral Fellowship

  • Restrictions: PhDs only
  • Grant type: 12-month residential fellowship including desk space at the APS Library & Museum; $45,000-60,000 stipend (may include health benefits), $5,000 research/travel funding
  • The APS also offers short term Digital Knowledge Sharing Fellowships for scholars & Indigenous communities collaborating on digital projects and Residence Fellowships for scholars working with APS Library collections.
  • Typical deadline: late January

International Dissertation Research Fellowship

  • Restrictions: US-based graduate students only; restricted to dissertation research conducted outside the US
  • Grant type: 9-12 months (minimum of 6 months research outside the US); average $22,000 (may include living expenses)
  • Special application requirements: 2 letters of recommendation; potentially a language evaluation
  • Typical deadline: early November

NSF Dynamic Language Infrastructure Senior Research Projects

  • Restrictions: US-based senior researchers only
  • Grant type: $12,000-$150,000, 1-3 years
  • Special application requirements: data management plan & letter of collaboration from archive
  • Typical deadline: mid September

ELDP Major Documentation Project Grants

  • Restrictions: specific to language documentation projects; graduate students should apply for Individual Graduate Scholarships
  • Grant type: £150,000 (may include salaries/stipends), 6-36 months
  • Special application requirements: 2 letters of recommendation; statement of support from host institution
  • Typical deadline: mid January

Laura W.R. Appell Fellowships

  • Restrictions: for documentation of oral literatures and traditional ecological knowledge; for building a long term relationship with a community
  • Grant type: up to $40,000

Grants that provide only research funds

ELF Language Legacies

  • Restrictions: "The language involved must be in danger of disappearing within a generation or two."
  • Grant type: one-year period, average of $2,000
  • Typical deadline: mid March
  • Special application requirements: two letters of support (including one from a community member, if the researcher is not part of the community)

Foundation for Endangered Languages

  • Restrictions: FEL members only; priority to revitalization projects
  • Grant type: $1,000 grants

Awesome Foundation

  • Grant type: $1,000
  • Special application requirements: Must be awesome! This is a non-traditional funding source.
  • Typical deadline: rolling deadline (grants awarded monthly)

Jacob's Research Fund

  • Restrictions: "linguistic and anthropological research on aboriginal peoples of North and South America" (priority given to Pacific Northwest); may be used for research and documentation, but not purely applied research
  • Grant type: $3,000 for individuals, $6,000 for groups
  • Special application requirements: 2 letters of recommendation
  • Typical deadline: mid February

Louis and Clark Fund for Exploration and Field Research

  • Restrictions: US-based graduate students only
  • Grant type: up to $5,000
  • Special application requirements: 2 letters of recommendation
  • Typical deadline: mid October

Tinker Field Research Grants

  • Restrictions: to support students doing early fieldwork in Latin American
  • Grant type: awarded through a university's Latin American studies program; usually for less than $2,000

APS Phillips Fund for Native American Research

  • Restrictions: for very early-career scholars and graduate students writing theses/dissertations; "research in Native American linguistics, ethnohistory, and the history of studies of Native Americans, in the continental United States and Canada"
  • Grant type:
  • up to $3,500
  • Typical deadline: early March

NSF Documenting Endangered Languages DDRIG

  • Restrictions: US-based graduate students only; restricted to dissertation research
  • Grant type: maximum $15,000 in direct costs; up to 24 months
  • Special application requirements: requires advisor as PI; data management plan & letter of collaboration from archive
  • Typical deadline: rolling deadline

ELDP Small Grants

  • Restrictions: specific to language documentation projects
  • Grant type: maximum £10,000, 12 months
  • Special application requirements: 1 letter of recommendation; statement of support from host institution
  • Typical deadline: mid January

ELF Native Voices Endowment Grants

  • Restrictions: restricted American Indian Nations whose ancestors had contact with the Lewis & Clark Expedition; grantees must be enrolled tribal members or associated with tribal government/school language programs; grants may be used for education programs, individual language study, or documentation
  • Grant type: 1-3 years, $2,500-$10,000 per year
  • Special application requirements: supporting letters (including one from appropriate governing body); statement of ethics approval
  • Typical deadline: mid October

Jacob's Research Fund Kinkade Grants

  • Restrictions: "linguistic and anthropological research on aboriginal peoples of North and South America" (priority given to Pacific Northwest); may be used for research and documentation, but not purely applied research
  • Grant type: $9,000 for an intense period of fieldwork
  • Special application requirements: 2 letters of recommendation
  • Typical deadline: mid February

Firebird Fellowship

  • Restrictions: for documentation of oral literatures and traditional ecological knowledge; ideally for 9-12 months of fieldwork
  • Grant type: up to $10,000

Endangered Material Knowledge Programme (EMKP)

  • Restrictions: this grant is specifically for documenting the creation and use of objects; they acknowledge that language recording may be involved, but do not fund it directly; PI must have official affiliation
  • Grant type: small grants up to £15,000 (1 year) and large grants up to £70,000 (1-2 years)
  • Special application requirements: requires institution with an ethics board; contact info for external reviewers
  • Typical deadline: late January

Fellowships that provide only stipends

NSF/NEH Dynamic Language Infrastructure–Documenting Endangered Languages Fellowship

  • Restrictions: US-based researchers only; students are not eligible
  • Grant type: $5,000/month stipend for 6-12 months (does not include research-specific funds)
  • Typical deadline: late September

Ford Foundation Dissertation & Postdoctoral Fellowships

  • Restrictions: US-based researchers only; evaluation based on academic achievement, commitments to promoting diversity in higher education, membership in an underrepresented minority
  • Grant type: 1-year; $28,000 stipend for disseration, $50,000 stipend for postdoctoral
  • Typical deadline: early January