Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Grant Opportunities at the Smithsonian's Lemelson Center

The Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation offers fellowship and travel award programs to support projects that present creative approaches to the study of invention and innovation in American society. These include, but are not limited to, historical research and documentation projects resulting in dissertations, theses, publications, exhibitions, educational initiatives, documentary films, or other multimedia products.

The programs provide access to the expertise of the Institution's research staff and the vast invention and technology collections of the National Museum of American History (NMAH).  The NMAH Archives Center documents both individuals and firms across a range of time periods and subject areas. Representative collections include the Western Union Telegraph Company Records, ca. 1840-1994 and the Earl S. Tupper Papers, documenting Tupper, and his invention, Tupperware. In addition, the NMAH Library offers long runs of historical technology serials like Scientific American and American Machinist, while the American Trade Literature collection features 300,000 catalogs, technical manuals, and advertising brochures for some 30,000 firms, primarily from 1880 to 1945.

The Lemelson Center invites applications covering a broad spectrum of research topics that resonate with its mission to foster a greater understanding of invention and innovation, broadly defined.  However, the Center especially encourages project proposals that will illuminate the role of women inventors; inventors with disabilities; inventors from diverse backgrounds; or any inventions and technologies associated with groups that are traditionally under-represented in the historical record. 

The Lemelson Center Fellowship Program annually awards 2 to 3 fellowships to pre-doctoral graduate students, post-doctoral scholars, and other professionals who have completed advanced training. Fellows are expected to reside in the Washington, D.C., area, to participate in the Center's activities, and to make a presentation of their work to colleagues at the museum. Fellowship tenure is based upon the applicants' stated needs (and available funding) up to a maximum of ten weeks. Stipends for 2014-2015 will be $575/week for pre-doctoral fellows and $870/week for post-doctoral and professional fellows. For application procedures and additional information, see http://invention.smithsonian.org/resources/research_fellowships.aspx. Researchers are encouraged to consult with the fellowship coordinator prior to submitting a proposal - please contact historian Eric S. Hintz, Ph.D. at +1 202-633-3734 or hintze@si.edu.

The Lemelson Center Travel to Collections Award Program annually awards 2 to 3 short-term travel grants to encourage the use of its invention-related collections.  Awards are $150 per day for a maximum of 10 business days and may be used to cover transportation, living, and reproduction expenses; they are intended only for applicants who reside or attend school beyond commuting distance of the NMAH. For application procedures and additional information, see http://invention.smithsonian.org/resources/research_travel.aspx. Researchers are encouraged to consult with the travel award coordinator prior to submitting a proposal - please contact archivist Alison Oswald at +1 202-633-3726 or oswalda@si.edu.

Applications for both programs are due January 15, 2014.