Hellman Fellowships

The Hellman Fellows Program has provided the College with a generous annual gift to support research grants for assistant professors.

Purpose. These grants can be used flexibly to support any significant research endeavor, either in Williamstown or while traveling. The grants can be used for purposes such as equipment, external grant matching, student research assistants, transportation, lodging, residency fees, and publication costs. The only major restriction is that these grants may not be used as salary, and the proposed research project must be completed before a candidate earns tenure. The amounts awarded are not pre-determined but will range from $2,000 to $20,000, depending on the scope of the proposal and the promise of significant results. Awards will be made without regard for the apparent timeliness or popularity of the field of study proposed.

Eligibility. Hellman Fellowships are to be applied for and awarded to assistant professors:

  • who show promise for great distinction in their research,
  • who have served for two years at Williams College, but are a year away from submitting their tenure packet (typically those who are currently in their third or fourth year of serving at the college and on a typical tenure track), and preferably
  • who have applied and been denied funding from external sources, and/or
  • whose research is not supported substantially by other sources

Online Application Procedure. This competition runs each year with an initial application deadline of November 1. Awards are made available the following summer on July 1.

Click here to link to the PeopleSoft application. Login using your PeopleSoft ID and password, then click through, in turn, Main Menu / Self Service / Learning and Development / Competitive Grants. You will then be prompted to select the Hellman Fellowships form, fill in summary information, and attach a short proposal and other supporting documents. The following information will be required:

  • Project title and very short summary. One or two brief sentences on the research objective.
  • Proposal consisting of three parts:
    1. Project description and timetable. Describe the basic ideas, problems, works, or questions to be addressed. Give an overview of the planned approach, methodology, and schedule for the project.
    2. Context statement. Review the relationship of the proposed work to your overall program of scholarship, placing it in context of previous research. Clarify how this project will contribute substantially to the conduct of your research, advancing it beyond the scope possible without the support of a Hellman research grant.
    3. Budget. Provide a detailed budget request for anticipated research fees and expenses, and be sure to indicate the contribution (or not) of internal funds already at your disposal (e.g., divisional research funds, named chair funds, travel allowance, etc.). Please also list any applications you have made to have the proposed work funded by additional internal funds or any external granting agency, and the results of those applications. We need to know whether your Hellman Fellowship application is a request for a backup or supplement to another grant or fellowship (see third and fourth items in the eligibility criteria, above). For guidance on budgeting and the uses of faculty travel and research funds, see the detailed guidelines at Controller’s expense guidelines.
  • Curriculum Vitae: Attach a current CV.
  • Statement of Department Support. Include a one-paragraph statement from the department or program chair on the feasibility of the project.

There is no set length for the application. It should be thorough but concise, and accessible to non-experts in the field. Supporting materials (e.g., bibliography) are welcome but not required.

Selection Process. In determining the recipients of Hellman Fellowships and the size of the awards, the dean of the faculty will review applications with the Committee on Appointments and Promotions. Previous Hellman Fellows will be included in the selection process, as appropriate.

Post-Award Requirement. All recipients of Hellman Fellowships will be required to write a brief report summarizing the work accomplished.  The Hellman Fellows Program may contact fellows to survey them for more information about their experiences.