Sunday, October 31, 2010

RWA Research Grant Opportunity!

The Romance Writers of America have announced their seventh annual Research Grant competition, with a December 1, 2010 deadline for proposals. You can apply for up to $5,000 USD in support--that's a major grant, in my book: more than equal to what I'd make in a summer of teaching at DePaul.

This grant had a transformational effect on my own work, and on the current wave of contemporary romance scholarship. Sarah S. G. Frantz, founder of IASPR, was a previous recipient; Catherine Roach and Pam Regis, both of whom appear in the first issue of JPRS, have also received support. So did Jayashree Kamble, whose dissertation on popular romance is a tremendously useful resource--when my students ask about romance covers, I send them to her chapter!

You can find a full list of previous recipients on the RWA site, if you want a sense of just how varied the projects have been. If you're reading this, your work would probably fit. If you've applied in the past, and haven't received the award, go for it again. The mix of applicants is different every year, and there's no way to know how your project will look a second time around.

Here's an excerpt of the description at the RWA site:
Romance Writers of America announces the seventh annual Research Grant competition. The grant program seeks to develop and support academic research devoted to genre romance novels, writers, and readers. Appropriate fields of specialization include but are not limited to: anthropology, communications, cultural studies, education, English language and literature, gender studies, linguistics, literacy studies, psychology, rhetoric, and sociology. Proposals in interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary studies are welcome. The ultimate goal of proposals should be significant publication in major journals or as a monograph from an academic press. RWA does not fund creative work (such as novels or films).

RWA's review committee, which includes academics with doctorates, makes grant recipient recommendations to the RWA Board of Directors. RWA will fund one or more grants up to a total amount of $5,000. Funds will be calculated/awarded in U.S. dollars. Individual applicants may request up to the total amount. The research grant(s) are intended to support direct research costs associated with the project, including travel, but not equipment.

RWA retains the right to award less than a proposal’s budget, or less than the total amount designated for the competition, should the review committee so recommend.


The objectives of the program are:
  1. To support theoretical and substantive academic research about genre romance texts and literacy practices.
  2. To encourage a well-informed public discourse about genre romance texts and literacy practices.

The RWA Research Grant Program is open to faculty at accredited colleges and universities, independent scholars with significant publication records, and dissertation candidates who have completed all course work and qualifying exams. No candidate need be a member of the RWA.

Criteria for Selection:

Preference will be given to scholars with a distinguished record of research and publication. In addition, criteria for evaluation are:
  1. The significance of the proposed research
  2. The definition, organization, clarity, and scope of the research proposal.
  3. The quality or promise of the candidate.
  4. Likelihood of timely completion of the proposed research
If you have any questions, you can ask the RWA or get in touch with us previous winners. We're a friendly bunch, as a rule.

Good luck!

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