Kelly Douglas Fund
Research and Teaching Grants | Application Process



The Kelly-Douglas Fund offers research and travel support awards twice a year on a rolling basis. Each semester it distributes funds until the limit for that semester has been reached. Any unused funds from one term are transferred over to the succeeding term. Once the limit for a particular semester has been reached, the Fund will cease to accept applications for that semester and an announcement will be posted on the Fund's home page.

For all travel and research to be completed by January 31st, applicants may turn in requests starting on August 1 of that calendar year.

For all travel and research to be completed by July 31st, applicants may turn in requests starting January 1st of that calendar year.

Summary of Application Process

  1. Download and Complete Cover Sheet
  2. Mail or email a copy of signed Cover Sheet and Letter of Request to the Administrator of the Fund
  3. If appropriate, arrange for a letter of recommendation to be mailed or emailed to the Director and the Fund Administrator or emailed to both the current Director, Shankar Raman ( and to the Literature Staff (
  4. A decision will be communicated to you via email or interdepartmental mail.
  5. Contact Fund Administrator at the appropriate time, and turn in the Reimbursements form along with necessary receipts.


The Application in Detail

The Cover Sheet – Download

Whether applying for a teaching or a research grant, the request must be accompanied by a signed cover sheet.

Apart from the usual information (name, contact information etc.), the cover sheet asks for the following:

  • A brief description of the project (no more than a couple of sentences indicating the purpose of the application).
  • A concise budget for the whole project. This should outline specific expenses (travel, lodging, and so on), and specify what part of the sum would be paid by the Kelly-Douglas Fund, assuming the application is successful.
  • A concise summary of other sources to which you are also applying for support (such as the Department or Section, the Dean's Office, NEH etc). If you have already been awarded support, indicate the amount you have received (or will receive). Remember that the Fund is a modest one, and do not pad your application. Failure to disclose other sources of funding may result in the Fund's grant being revoked.
  • Finally, all graduate students applying for research or conference-related support must indicate the name and email address of a recommender.

Letter of Request

Requests for funding should be outlined in a brief letter that clearly describes the proposed project. The letter should not exceed one single-spaced typed page.

What the letter says will depend, of course, on the project itself. For instance, a letter applying for an honorarium for a guest lecturer should provide the tentative title or topic of the lecture and briefly summarize the speaker's expertise and accomplishments in so far as they are relevant to the invitation. It should also tell us about the proposed audience — MIT subject number(s), size of class(es), whether open to the public or limited to students in a class, and so on — and convey the applicant's sense of how the planned event will contribute to the education of the listeners.

An application for a research grant would, by contrast, cogently describe the applicant's field of study and specify the particular purpose served by this grant (should the application be successful). For conference travel, please provide details about the conference, including the title and subject of your paper.


In general, recommendations are not required for teaching-related grants.

For research-related travel, students are required to arrange for one letter of recommendation from a person who is able to speak knowledgeably about the student's research and merit. Normally, the endorsement would come from a thesis advisor, a member of the dissertation committee, or departmental or sectional head. Lecturers are not required to submit a letter of endorsement. However, a brief statement of support from the departmental or sectional head will strengthen the application.

The recommendation need not physically accompany the application — if it does, it should be in a separate sealed envelope — and can be mailed or emailed independently to the address below. Note that an application will not be considered until the recommendation has been received by the Fund Administrator.

To whom should applications be sent?

All applications, consisting of a signed cover sheet and a letter of request, should be emailed or mailed to the Fund Administrator.

Attn: The Director, Kelly-Douglas Fund,
Literature Section
14N-407 MIT
77 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge MA 02139

Recommendations can also be mailed to the same address, or emailed to both the current Director, Shankar Raman (, and to the Literature Staff (

When do I hear back and how do I receive the funds?

Once your application is complete, your request will reviewed and you will receive a response as swiftly as possible. If you are the recipient of an award, please contact the Fund Administrator after your travel, to turn in the Reimbursements form and your receipts.

Please note that all travel and research grants are only paid out upon completion of the proposed project, and recipients need to provide receipts and evidence of completion before funds can be released. Always keep copies of any receipts you submit.

Certain types of activities may be paid for in advance. For instance, honoraria and support to take students to a performance can be received before the event. In such cases, the recipient should arrange with the Fund Administrator to have the money transferred internally to the departmental or sectional account responsible for the actual disbursement of funds. A brief confirmation that the funds have been expended for the purpose for which they were awarded should subsequently be sent to the Director or the Fund Administrator.