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Northwestern establishes research recovery grants to help with COVID-19 challenges

Office of the Provost launches new program to assist faculty whose work has been disrupted by the pandemic

Northwestern recently announced the establishment of a COVID-19 Research Recovery Grant Program to assist pre-tenure faculty whose research or creative work has been delayed, interrupted or otherwise disrupted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The new program divides grants into two levels: Purple grants up to $50,000 and White grants up to $15,000, depending on expenses. Eligible faculty members can submit one proposal for the most appropriate grant level based on their individual research recovery needs.  

The COVID-19 Research Recovery Grant Program is intended for pre-tenure faculty members in Bienen, McCormick, Medill, School of Education and Social Policy, School of Communication and Weinberg College, with priority given to those who are in their final three years before tenure review after accounting for clock extensions already granted and who have had significant caregiving responsibilities during the pandemic.

Many schools also extended school-based research, teaching and other support programs to their faculty. Some examples include: 

“Northwestern faculty members have made incredible efforts over the past year-and-a-half to continue teaching and research at the highest levels through this unrelenting pandemic,” said Provost Kathleen Hagerty. “Their work has been impactful and inspirational.”

In spring 2021, Provost Hagerty called for the formation of the Faculty Pandemic Impact Response Workgroup to determine the extent and nature of the effects of the pandemic on Northwestern faculty and recommend strategies for addressing and mitigating challenges attributable to the pandemic that are specific to faculty.

The workgroup — co-chaired by professors Karen Smilowitz and Sumit Dhar, who also serves as associate provost for faculty — is wrapping up its work and will publish its comprehensive findings and recommendations soon. 

Among other topics, the forthcoming report will address delays to faculty research, particularly for junior faculty and individuals who also serve as caregivers. The finding on caregivers recently was reinforced by Professor Dashun Wang of Kellogg, who found COVID-19 has had a profound effect on academic research that could take years to stabilize.

Additionally, the Office of the Provost will increase funding for the 2021-2022 Humanities, Social Sciences, and the Arts Grants. Grants of up to $5,000 will be made to tenure-line and non-tenure-eligible faculty in the humanities, social sciences and arts fields. Priority will be given to non-tenure-eligible faculty, to faculty at any rank who have had significant caregiving responsibilities during the period of the pandemic, and to projects that assist faculty with recovery from COVID-19-related disruptions to their research and creative work.


Applications for both Research Recovery Grants and Humanities, Social Sciences, and the Arts Grants will be reviewed by a faculty committee. The deadline to apply for these grants is Jan. 7, 2022.

For more information, email