RESEARCH GRANTS IN THE ARTS: Frequently Asked Questions

How can I find out when new guidelines are released?
Guidelines for Research Awards are typically posted in January of each year, with an application deadline in late March. Please monitor our website for updates. You may also email to sign up for our distribution list to receive updates. You can also sign up via

I am a state arts agency (SAA) or a regional arts organization (RAO), and I am interested in applying for a Research Grants in the Arts grant. Can I apply?
No. SAAs and RAOs cannot apply for a Research Grants in the Arts grant as a recipient, but can apply to the NEA as the official applicant under the Partnership Agreements category.

I am a SAA or RAO, and I am interested in being a partner on an application for a Research Grants in the Arts grant. Can I serve as a partner?
Yes. SAAs or RAOs may participate as a partner; however, no federal or cost share/matching funds included in the Partnership Agreement or any other NEA award can be given to or provided by the SAA or RAO in support of the Research project.

Do I need to include citation references in my proposal, and if so, where do I put them?
Yes. References should be included in the Project Narrative section of the Grant Application Form. Do not include them as a special attachment; the files will be removed.

What method of citation is preferred?
We do not currently have any requirements regarding the style of citation. Common citation formats include but are not limited to APA, AMA, Chicago, and MLA. Do not use footnoting in the text fields of the Grant Application Form, although this is acceptable for any PDF attachments.

We missed the application deadline. Can I submit a late application?
No. Late, ineligible, and incomplete applications will not be reviewed. Exceptions to the deadline will be considered only for registration or renewal issues or technical malfunctions that are the result of failures on the part of, SAM,, or NEA systems, as determined by the NEA. To be considered for this exception, you must provide documentation of a, SAM,, or NEA systems failure that prevented your submission by the deadline. 

Examples of Reasons the NEA Will Not Accept Late Applications:

  • Heavy administrative responsibilities on the part of the applicant’s staff, relocation of an office/other workspace, personal events, or a very busy schedule.
  • Problems with the applicant’s computer systems or Internet access, or failure to complete or renew required registrations in advance of the application due date.
  • Failure to follow instructions in the guidelines or funding opportunity announcement.
  • User error, including failing to verify that your application was successfully submitted to or the Applicant Portal.

The NEA is under no obligation to accept applications that are late for these reasons.


  • The NEA expects applications will be submitted on time.
  • On time submission means an error-free application is submitted no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the application due date.
  • We cannot grant permission for a late application submission in advance.
  • We will not process, review, or consider for funding applications submitted late or outside the system or NEA system (e.g., an emailed SF-424).

Will you contact me if my application is missing anything?
No. Due to the volume of applications, we have a strict approach to incomplete applications. By the time we identify an application is incomplete, it is several weeks after the application deadline. For your application to be considered complete, every required item MUST be included in your application package, which must be submitted no later than the application deadline date. Staff will not contact applicants to request missing material. Use the "How Apply" section for your category to make sure that you have included every item. Have one of your own staff members check the application for the completeness and accuracy. Allow at least six weeks to prepare your application and other supplementary information. Do not wait until the day of the deadline to submit! If new or updated information that significantly affects your application becomes available after the deadline, you may send it to the Research staff at

One of the proposed research staff is unable to complete the ethics training on human subjects research protections and thus cannot supply the required certificate of completion of the training. Is there an alternative to the requirement for this person that would allow him/her to continue as a researcher on the project without the certificate?
We require ALL researchers involved in human subjects research and data to demonstrate a plan for completion of a human subjects research protections ethics training course. If a particular researcher is unable to provide a plan for this training, then that person may not collect, process, or analyze data from human subjects as part of the project, but may serve in another research capacity.

Can I get a sample application?
Examples under the Research Grants in the Arts category (previously known as the Research: Art Works grant category) can be found in the FOIA Library, Frequently Requested Records.

How soon after the "Earliest Start Date for Proposed Project" for my deadline does my project have to begin?
The project can start any time on or after that date.

Can my project start before this date?
No. Proposed project activities for which you're requesting support cannot take place before this date. Pre-award costs are not authorized. Ask the NEA to fund only the portion of your project that will take place after the "Earliest Start Date for Proposed Project." If you include project costs that are incurred before the "Earliest Start Date for Proposed Project" in your Project Budget, they will be removed.

How long can my project last? May I apply for another project during this period?
Research Grants in the Arts generally allows a period of performance of up to three years. Within the limits of the guidelines, ask for the amount of time that you think is necessary to complete your project.

If you get close to the end of your award period and need more time, you may request an extension, but approval is not guaranteed.

An eligible organization may apply for funding for another project (with totally different project costs) in a subsequent year(s) even if a NEA-supported project is still underway. Note that if you do receive an extension on an existing award, it may affect your new proposed project. All requests for changes and extensions to awards must be submitted through a proper REACH account.

Can federally recognized tribes apply?
Yes, in keeping with federal policies of Tribal Self Governance and Self-Determination, we may provide support for a project with a primary audience restricted to enrolled members of a federally recognized tribe. Applicants (federally recognized tribal governments, nonprofits situated on federally recognized tribal lands, or other nonprofits whose mission primarily serves federally recognized tribal enrollees) should consult with to verify their eligibility before preparing an application.

Can non-federally recognized tribes apply?
Yes, and as long as the applicant is a nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3), U.S. organization. Projects for non-federally recognized tribes and indigenous groups may be supported, but project participation cannot be restricted to only tribal members.

Can Native Hawaiian groups apply?
Yes, and as long as the applicant is a nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3), U.S. organization. Projects for Native Hawaiians may be supported, but project participation can’t be restricted to only Native Hawaiians.

Can our organization use funds we received from the Small Business Administration (SBA) as cost share/match for an NEA grant?
No. Federal funds are not allowed to be used as cost share/match for federal grants (2 CFR §200.306). In addition, the NEA’s enabling legislation does not allow any federal funds to be used as cost share/match for its awards. This includes the Paycheck Protection Program from the SBA, as well as other federal funding, including but not limited to funding from:

  • AmeriCorps
  • National Endowment for the Humanities
  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Park Service
  • National Science Foundation
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • U.S. Department of Education (e.g., grants from the Institute of Education Sciences)
  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or
  • An entity that receives federal appropriations, such as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting or Amtrak

Note that organizations are eligible to apply for NEA funding even if they have applied for and received funding from the SBA or another federal entity, provided the organization isn't double-claiming any individual's salary. Recipients will be required to keep documentation to show which employees are being paid from each funding source so that the government isn't paying more than 100 percent of a salary. Applicants with additional questions about this should contact the other federal entity directly as we are unable to provide guidance on programs other than our own.

My organization received other NEA awards, such as Grants for Arts Projects and Our Town funding. Can we also apply to Research Awards?
Yes. You can apply as long as you meet the eligibility criteria. However, you need to be sure that there are no overlapping costs during the same grant period.

How should my organization formulate its project if we’re not sure whether in-person research and associated activities will be possible? Will it be possible to make project changes if needed later in the process?
You should do your best to complete information within the application to the best of your knowledge. If you are recommended for an award, you will have an opportunity to request changes (e.g., a time extension, a modification to project activities) at that stage of the process. If you receive an award, you will have the opportunity to request project changes later in the process, as outlined in the How to Manage Your Award Handbook.

We will work with you to try to accommodate changes to your project, but approval is not guaranteed. If you need to request a change, please contact the NEA at both and to discuss what is possible. Only the NEA Office of Grants Management is authorized to amend or change an NEA award. Written and/or verbal approval of proposed project changes from any other NEA office does not constitute an approved change to an award.

My organization usually applies for in-person research activities. Can we apply for virtual activities, or the costs associated with planning for virtual activities?

Our exhibition space and/or performance venue will need to make physical changes to meet social distancing requirements, such as the removal of seats or installation of plexiglass to protect staff. To what extent can these costs be included in the project budget?
You can apply for costs related to physical changes as long as they fit into the proposed project. However, we do not fund the costs of physical construction or renovation, or the purchase costs of facilities or land.

Can project budgets include expenses related to increased sanitation measures, such as additional personnel, cleaning services, PPE, and other supplies?
Yes. You can apply for costs related to increased sanitation as long as they fit into the proposed project.

Are Research Lab awards being offered in 2024 (FY25)?
No, a Research Lab awards competition will not be offered this cycle. However, we are assessing the program parameters for possible reintroduction in 2025 (FY26). You may find out more about our current and previous Lab awardees here.