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COVID-19 Research Recovery Grants

In response to significant and ongoing challenges that emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic, Northwestern University established the COVID-19 Research Recovery Grant Program for 2021-2022 to help mitigate the disruption to faculty members’ research. This program is intended to assist faculty whose research or creative work has been markedly delayed, interrupted or otherwise disrupted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

About the Grants

Two levels of grants, Purple grants up to $50,000 and White grants up to $15,000,  are available for pre-tenure faculty with a demonstrated need for recovery funds. Eligible faculty members can submit one proposal for the most appropriate grant level based on their individual research recovery needs. Priority is 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 period of the pandemic.

Purple grants (up to $50,000)

Ongoing expenses that could warrant a Purple-level grant include, but are not limited to, supporting research personnel, maintaining animal colonies or restarting a stalled major project. 

White grants (up to $15,000)

Expenses that could warrant a White-level grant include, but are not limited to, travel to conduct archival research, fieldwork or creative work; purchase of research services such as transcription or laboratory services; acquisition of research materials or supplies; or funding student research assistants.


The COVID-19 Research Recovery Grant Program is intended for pre-tenure faculty members in Bienen, McCormick, Medill, SESP, SoC and Weinberg, 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 period of the pandemic.

Any applicants in humanities, social sciences, and arts fields not selected for the COVID-19 Research Recovery Grant automatically will be considered for a Provost Grant for Research in Humanities, Social Sciences, and the Arts


Proposals will be judged on:

  1. Potential impact of funding on recovery from COVID-19 disruption to research, on promotion and tenure progress, and on the applicant’s body of research or creative work
  2. Magnitude and nature of disruption to research due to COVID-19; academic, scholarly or creative merit and originality of the applicant’s research or creative work; potential for significant contribution to the field; and anticipated research or creative output and dissemination, including, for example, publications, papers, future grant applications, performance, etc. 

Grant proposals will be reviewed by a selection committee composed of faculty and Office of the Provost representatives. Priority consideration will be given to applicants whose research has been significantly disrupted due to primary caregiving responsibilities during the pandemic.


COVID-19 Research Recovery Grants will provide up to $50,000 for Purple grants or up to $15,000 for White grants, to be paid into faculty discretionary accounts during FY22. Funds must be used by Aug. 31, 2023. Submit one proposal for the most appropriate grant level based on your individual research recovery needs. Indirect costs will not be charged.

Eligible research expenses include:  

  • Graduate student or post-doc support  
  • Travel expenses related to conducting research or creative work 
  • Acquisition of research materials, supplies, user fees and lab services (including, for example, maintaining an animal colony)
  • Data collection, such as conducting surveys or interviews, including transcription services 
  • Artistic supplies beyond what would be considered normal and customary in the field 
  • Construction, rental or purchase of special equipment not available on campus

Non-allowable expenses include: 

  • Faculty salary, including summer salary 
  • Travel to conferences 
  • Entertainment of visitors, including purchase of alcohol  
  • Teaching activities

The FY22 Northwestern minimum salary for postdoctoral associates is $47,476. The FY22 TGS minimum stipend rate for graduate students is $2,848 per month or $34,176 per year.


All grantees must provide a one-page written report on the usage of funding and research progress by Sept. 30, 2023

Application Materials

All proposals should be submitted using the online proposal form, which requires: 

  1. Name, department(s), school(s), attestation of caregiver status, and area of research or project title, and which grant you are applying for (Purple or White)
  2. Statement of Funding Impact and Budget: Explain why you are requesting funding and how the funds will be used to support recovery of your research or creative work. Include how you will use the award to mitigate impacts and disruption caused by COVID-19 and support your progress to promotion and tenure. If appropriate, include potential opportunities for external funding. (750 words maximum)
  3. Research Description: Summary of the research or creative work and its goals, originality and contribution to the field; include discussion of your proposed activities, feasibility, and your anticipated findings, output and dissemination of your research. (750 words maximum)
  4. Budget Worksheet: Fill out and upload the budget worksheet to the online proposal form.
  5. Applicants with creative work should include work samples; please review the Guidelines for Creative Work Samples for more information.


The deadline for 2022 awards has passed.


If you have questions about the grants, including eligible expenses, please email