MUSE: Arts, Humanities, and Humanistic Social Sciences Funding at Tufts

Submission Due Dates
Standard Deadlines: Submissions are due annually on the third Wednesdays of October.

Submissions by: Project Start Date: Project End Date:
Wednesday, October 18, 2023 at 12PM April 15, 2024 April 14, 2025


The MUSE: Arts, Humanities, and Humanistic Social Sciences Program at Tufts is an intramural grant sponsored by the Office of the Vice Provost for Research. The goal of MUSE is to provide support for arts, humanities, and humanistic social sciences projects that have limited options for extramural funding. Projects supported by the MUSE program are expected to lead to concrete outcomes that advance the field, enhance the visibility of scholarship and artistic endeavors at Tufts, and/or advance Tufts’ focuses on social justice and racial equity.

Projects should build on the applicant’s prior work or expertise (if a new direction) and should demonstrate how the proposed work will lead to future scholarly or artistic endeavors, in line with the applicant’s long-term goals. While funded projects may be “one-offs” (i.e., not part of a larger scholarly or artistic endeavor) and a plan for extramural funding is not required, the most competitive proposals will demonstrate the ways in which the project will have impacts beyond the funding period and beyond the investigator(s) pursuing the work. Additionally, projects that involve multiple disciplines and/or departments are prioritized.

Any Tufts faculty or research staff member who is actively contributing to scholarship and/or creative work is eligible to apply, in line with School guidelines and restrictions as to ability to conduct scholarly/artistic work (e.g., in Arts & Sciences, applicants must hold a tenure track or professor of the practice position). If you have questions about eligibility, please check PI eligibility (the School’s guidelines for who can submit proposals) with your School/department research administrator, and please check program eligibility (ability to apply for MUSE specifically) by sending an email to springboard@tufts.eduAll applicants must hold a primary appointment at a Tufts School or unit.

While investigators from any school or department can apply to the MUSE program, projects must be in the fields of arts, humanities, or humanistic social sciences.

MUSE funds can be used to complement other non-OVPR internal funding or external funding (e.g., FRAC, NEH, NEA), but all funding sources must be disclosed and the ways in which MUSE funds will complement (and not duplicate) existing funding must be described.

ONE application per PI per cycle is allowed, and projects may be resubmitted once.


  • Projects in STEM, biomedical sciences, or education are not eligible for MUSE awards, and applicants in these fields should apply to Tufts Springboard.
  • MUSE will not fund projects related to currently funded Provost/OVPR programs, including Tufts Springboard, Tufts Initiative on Substance Use and Addiction, and other programs that may be funded by the Provost/OVPR related to strategic institutional investments.
  • Investigators may receive MUSE funding no more than once every three years.

Awards will be made up to $7,500 for up to one year. A timeline, detailed budget, and budget justification must be provided. Decisions will be made within five months of submission date, and all applicants will be provided de-identified reviewer feedback. All expenditures must be made by the project end date and any unused funds must be returned. No-cost extensions will not be permitted except under special circumstances. Feasibility of the budget and timeline related to the proposed work are key review criteria.

Funds may be to support undergraduate/graduate assistants, travel, materials/supplies, community engagement activities, publicity materials, or other direct costs. Faculty/research staff salary is not an allowable expense. For a complete list of allowable costs and budget restrictions, please see Award Conditions.

  1. Scholar/Artist: Does the scholar/artist provide evidence of their ability to complete the project (e.g., has a record of publication, presentation, and/or exhibitions)? If the scholar/artist is new to their profession, are their skills/expertise described sufficiently to evaluate the potential for the proposed project’s success?
  2. Significance: Does the proposed project have the potential to advance the field, engage the community in meaningful ways, enhance the visibility of arts, humanities, or humanistic social sciences at Tufts, and/or advance Tufts’ goals for social justice and racial equity?
  3. Impact and Outcomes: Does the application describe the expected impact of their work within Tufts and beyond? How does the proposed work advance the long-term goals of the artist/scholar? What concrete outcomes are expected from the work (e.g., exhibition, new collaboration, community impact)?
  4. Feasibility: What is the feasibility of the proposed project within the budget, budget justification, and timeline provided? What steps to mitigate potential risk have been outlined (e.g., travel delays, inability to find appropriate space, lack of speaker availability)?

MUSE will use a peer review process that includes a committee of arts, humanities, and humanistic social science experts, with oversight from the Office of the Vice Provost for Research (OVPR) and Provost’s office. In Year 1 of the MUSE program, these individuals will be identified by the OVPR with the Deans of Arts & Sciences and the SMFA. While committee members will be chosen for their expertise, applicants should remember that committee members will likely be outside your immediate field, so proposals should be written for a general scholarly audience, and any (sub)field terms or processes should be explained. All applicants recommended for funding must receive approval from the Dean(s) (or their delegates) of School(s) involved in the project.

In subsequent years, MUSE awardees will be selected up to two times in a three-year period to serve as reviewers. Awardees may delay their reviewer service once due to conflicts such as sabbatical or other time restraints.

The principal investigator or designate (grants administrator) will be responsible for financially managing the award. Funds will be disbursed to the School/unit where the lead PI is primarily affiliated based on the approved budget. The budget should follow the policies of the University and the applicable School(s). Expenses will be periodically reviewed to ensure allowability of funds and that the project is progressing in a timely manner.

Funds can only be used for the activities or experiments described in the proposal. All funds must be used within the project period; any unused funds must be returned to the OVPR. No-cost extensions (NCEs) to extend the project using unspent funds will not be permitted without a strong justification, and these must be requested at least 90 days before the project end date. Please note that NCEs will be granted only with strong justification and no more than one NCE will be granted for a particular project. Re-budget requests (i.e., should funds need to be moved from one category to another) should be submitted to and no-cost extension requests should be submitted via the NCE form.

Each investigator on the award must be eligible to participate in research, scholarship, or artistic endeavors according to School guidelines to receive funding.

Expenditures for course releases are permitted according to School policies and appropriate approvals. Approvals must be provided as a contingency of receiving the funding.

Reasonable requests to cover student pay are allowed. Fringe benefits charges for personnel must be included in preparing the project’s budget based on the University’s established rate.

Funds can be requested for materials/supplies, temporary space (e.g., for exhibits or speakers), honoraria, catering for public events (catering for internal Tufts events must have a very strong justification), publicity materials, travel, or other direct costs supporting the project.

The budget may not be used to pay for the following:

  • Indirect costs and overhead
  • Tuition costs
  • Faculty/investigator salary (please note that undergraduate/graduate student pay is allowed)
  • Laptops/computers or general office supplies
  • Equipment (defined as >$5,000)
  • Student health insurance
  • Salary for collaborators outside of Tufts; please note that honoraria for speakers and payment for consultants are allowed as long as University/School policies are followed

The proposal review committee and the OVPR retain the right to veto any budget item it deems unallowable. The receipt of an award may be conditional on budget modifications.

Awards involving human research participants, biohazards, use of animals, hazardous materials, and radiation sources must be approved through the respective regulatory office in the OVPR.

All awards are subject to the Tufts IP Policy.

Awardees must commit to preparing a final report on the outcomes of the work. Additionally, outcomes of the project must be reported to the OVPR team for a period of at least three years post funding period.

All applications must be submitted electronically via MUSE Submission Form by 12pm on the submission due date. Proposals will be due annually on the third Wednesday of October, beginning October 18, 2023. Extensions to the deadline will not be allowed, and any proposal submitted after the deadline will not be considered in the review process.

Applicants must complete the MUSE Proposal Template (All sections must be completed.) and upload as single PDF attachment to the proposal in the MUSE Submission Form with the following components:

  1. Project Description: Address each element in enough detail that the reviewers can determine the extent to which your proposal adheres to the review criteria:
    • Describe your previous work and how the proposed project fits into your long-term goals.
    • Describe any other scholarly/artistic work that informs your approach or the questions you seek to answer.
    • Describe the proposed project, including your project goals, your approach to achieving these goals, and how you determine that the goals have been achieved (i.e., assessment).
    • Describe the audience for your work (other scholars/artists working in your field, general public, wide academic audience, students, etc.).
    • Describe the impact that your work will have on your field and the impacts. beyond your field.
    • Provide a project timeline that includes the length of time your proposed project is expected to take with general milestones. A timeline template/example is provided below.
  2. Budget Categories: Provide detailed budget request.
  3. Budget Justification: Provide the following details for your budget request:
    • Details explaining the necessity of each budget item listed, including how the budget item will allow you to achieve your goals and outcomes.
    • Description of each person's role in the project.
    • List of any in-kind (no cost to the grant) contributions from Tufts central services and any other school or department (e.g., salaries and supplies).
    • Justify use of non-Tufts service when similar resources are available at Tufts.            

Timeline Examples/Templates

Example: 3-Month Project to Travel for Research over the Summer

Activity Month 1 Month 2 Month 3
Identify sources needed x    
Consolidate sources x x  
Develop manuscript for publication x x x

Example: 1-Year Project to Develop Art Exhibition

Activity Quarter 1 Quarter 2 Quarter 3 Quarter 4
Identify contributors to exhibit x      
Identify space appropriate for intended audience x x    
Review artist contributions as needed   x x x
Advertise exhibit targeting intended audience     x x
Identify speaker for opening event     x  
Set up and hold exhibit for X days       x