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Research Grants FAQ

The 2023-2024 application is now open and will close at 12pm EST on January 17, 2023.

Please note: The Princeton University Library Research Grant is a monetary award to support individuals' personal research in the library's special collections. This is not a fellowship and you are not considered an employee of the University during your research visit.

Before applying for a grant

Q. Who can apply for a grant? 
Doctoral students, recent doctorates, tenured and non-tenured faculty, and independent scholars are all welcome to apply. 

Q. If I apply for a grant, will I automatically receive funds? 
No, this is a competitive process. In 2021, we received over 70 applications and funded about 30 projects. Prior to the pandemic, typically we would receive in excess of 150 applications per year and fund about 35.

Q. Can I see the application before creating an account?
You are welcome to view a blank, sample application.

Q. What kind of proposals are funded?
We seek to fund proposals on new, important, and original topics. Projects involving collections that have been well-used and from which much has already been published are far less likely to be funded.  Applications from doctoral students, recent doctorates, independent scholars, and applicants from under-resourced communities, are especially welcome. The proposal should address specifically the relevance to the proposed research of unique resources found in the Princeton University Library collections.

The Friends have allocated funds to provide honoraria for articles published in its refereed journal, the Princeton University Library Chronicle, that are based on PUL research.

Q: I am a former recipient of a PUL research grant. May I apply again?
There is no rule against applying for a second grant, and there have been successful second research grant applicants over the years. In your application, you would need to clearly explain the need for a second grant.  If it is for a different project, that is more likely to be funded. If it is an extension of your original work, you would need to detail why you need additional time. One possible explanation is that you originally came for two weeks (for example) but found more than you anticipated (and why or how that occurred) and now need additional time. Given that we receive many more applications than we can fund and that each year many worthy applications do not get funded, there is a higher bar for this type of application to be funded.

Q. The materials I am interested in are on microfilm or are of a small volume. Should I apply? 
Generally speaking, applications that seek to primarily use materials also available on microfilm that can be loaned or purchased are not funded. Projects needing only a modest amount of materials that can be fulfilled by a digitization request are not funded.

Q:  I want to have access to Firestone’s general collections. Will this program support that?
The access you will receive is for Special Collections and rare materials found in the East Asian and Marquand Libraries. The general collections in Firestone are not available as part of your access. For more information on accessing the general collections, please review the Library's Access Policy. The purpose of this program is to support work involving the unique resources found in Princeton University Library. Applications solely focused on the general circulating collections and electronic resources of the Princeton University Library will not be considered for this grant program. 

Q: Will the University sponsor my visa?
No, these are not appointments through the Dean of the Faculty’s office, and therefore not eligible for visa sponsorship. If you are not a U.S. citizen, you should consult with your home institution about visa issues before applying/traveling. 

Q. Is my grant award taxable? 
Yes. U.S. citizens will need to report the grant as income. All others will have 30% tax withheld from their award; however, if your country has a tax treaty with the United States, you may recover the taxes by filing a U.S. tax return in the year following your trip.

Q. How do I access the application?
You can apply for a research grant through the Application System which is now open until 12:00pm EST on January 17, 2023.

After applying for a grant

Q. After submitting my application, will I receive notification that it has been received and is complete? 
The application system will send automatic replies when you have completed your application. The system will first require that two (2) letters of recommendation be received before you can submit an application. You can complete the application in stages. All of your information will be saved. You will be notified via email when your recommendation letters are received. At that point, you can return to the system and review and submit your application. Be sure the automated messages are not marked or blocked by your email service provider as spam.

Q: I have applied for a grant. When can I find out if I have been successful?
All applicants will be informed by May 2023.

Q: If I email before then, can I learn of my status?
No, the review process does not conclude until just prior to notification. Once the decisions have been made, applicants are informed immediately.

After being awarded a grant

Q: I’ve received a research grant award. How do I collect my funds?
The payment for your award will not be requested until after your arrival. If you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you will be required to complete a W-9 Form. For foreign nationals, the forms required vary and you should contact pulgrant@princeton.edu for more information.

Non-US citizens should especially note, once all paperwork is submitted, it can still take several weeks for you to receive your payment and it may not be delivered until after your time on campus. Therefore, recipients should not depend on these funds to be available to cover expenses as they are incurred.

We also recommend that grant recipients acquire their own travel insurance ahead of their research trip.

Q: Will I have WiFi access while on campus?
Free wireless access to the University’s network is available. More information can be found on the Princeton University Library website or on the Office of Information Technology website. Please reach out to our Research Grants Liaison (pulgrant@princeton.edu) with any questions. Please note: Princeton University also participates in the Eduroam federated network access service. This service allows visitors from participating institutions to gain access to the Princeton University wireless network using authentication credentials from their home institution. 

Q: Can the library sponsor me so that I am eligible to use campus services such as the gym, have library borrowing privileges, etc.?
Unfortunately, no. Your award does not entitle you to use campus facilities where departmental sponsorship is required.

Q. When should I plan my trip? 
While many come during the summer, the awards are viable through April of the following year of the award. We STRONGLY SUGGEST AVOIDING coming to campus during Reunions and Commencement, which in 2023 falls on May 25-30. Please consult the University calendar for holiday closures before booking your trip.

Q. What’s the best way to get to Princeton? 
Please go to the Visit Us page on the university's website for the latest information on traveling to campus by air or train.

Q:  Do you have any suggestions for housing while in Princeton?
Unfortunately, housing is expensive in Princeton, especially within walking distance of the campus. There are pricey hotel options in town, including Nassau Inn and Peacock Inn. There are more affordable hotel options on the outskirts of town; many provide a shuttle service. The Erdman Center permits individuals to rent when they have rooms available. Another option is to find a short-term sublet. TigerReTail is the Princeton University community classified ad site. Local hotel options and additional lodging information can be found on the university’s website

Please see the University's Transportation website for information about accessible transit services around campus.

Q:  I am driving, where can I park?
A current campus map and parking and shuttle information can be found on the University's Visit Us page. There is also metered parking on William Street and Olden Street that allows 10-hour parking. There are also public parking garages in downtown Princeton.

Q: To whom may I direct additional inquiries? 
For questions about materials use our Ask Us Form.

For other grant-related questions email: pulgrant@princeton.edu