Competitive Lectures

Deadlines: Sept. 6th; Nov. 15th; Feb. 7th; Apr. 17th
Sample Applications

Taft supports public lectures on a competitive basis, in addition to the Taft Departmental Lectures, Conferences, and Commemorative event funds. The maximum award is $10,000. Generally, the committee will not fund honoraria requests in excess of $1,000, except in cases of a preeminent, interdisciplinary scholar (grants generally range from $1,000 to $2,000). Priority is given to highly distinguished speakers who further departmental of interdepartmental research productivity (e.g., publications and grant writing by faculty and students), and speakers that will engage the community.

For each award, up to $180 will be made available to the organizing faculty member to support hosting the visiting speaker. There is no need to stipulate this amount in the application.


Each lecture application must be approved by the department prior to uploading an additional application. If an applicant attempts to upload more than one application prior to departmental approval, each subsequent application will replace the one previously uploaded. In other words, each application must be approved by the appropriate supervisor, within the submissions system, before a subsequent application is submitted.

All applications must be submitted through the Taft Research Center website/ Researcher's Gateway no later than 5 PM by the published deadline. Proposals for Competitive Lecture Funds should include:

  • Type of Activity: single lecture, lecture series, seminar presentation(s), lecture(s) as part of conference or special event;
  • Name of speaker(s), lecture title(s), and date of lecture(s);
  • A short (400 word) description of the proposed speaker, their work, and their reputation, and how this event will contribute to the either the public humanities, or inter-/disciplinary knowledge and research for Taft faculty and/or students;
  • A two-page version of the proposed speaker's or speakers’ vita(s), or an outline that accounts for the quality and accomplishments of the speaker(s)
  • An outline of the intended activities (i.e. conference or special event lecture, public lecture, lecture series, seminar lecture, roundtable discussion, etc) and audience (size, composition). If other sponsors are involved, support letters from those sponsors should be included.
  • Budget Rationale, listing all budget items and justification (proof of costs). In the case of honoraria funding, explain the amount requested based on such variables as disciplinary norms, the speaker's prestige or other factors. Honoraria in excess of $1,000 require significant justification.
  • Proposals must be submitted at least ten weeks prior to the intended speaking date, and may be submitted up to a year in advance. Generally, the fall deadline should include applications for lectures occurring in the spring semester and the spring deadline should include applications for lectures occurring in the fall semester of the following year.
  • In the case of international speakers, notice must be sent to the Taft Business Manager no less than two months in advance of the speaker's arrival, in order to coordinate payment and visa status with UC International Services (
  • No grant will be provided for events scheduled at the same day/tome of other Taft sponsored events, most especially during the humanitiesNOW graduate conference (March 13 & 14) or the Annual Research Symposium (March 4-8).
  • Requests for Competitive Lecture Funds must be prospective, i.e. prior to the event itself.
  • Although tentative agreements may be made with the speaker prior to receiving a grant, no promise of Taft funds may be made without first receiving said grant.
  • Taft Competitive Lecture grants it should not be expected to support annual departmental events.
  • Competitive lecture grants may be combined with Taft Departmental Lectures and Taft Conference monies. Applications to any Taft program should include an account of such combined fund uses.
  • Competitive Lecture requests must account for the current Taft Departmental Lecture balance. A department which has not yet otherwise committed its Taft Departmental Lecture funds is expected to commit at least $1,500 towards the speaker. Requests for strong interdisciplinary events do not require this "matching” commitment, though an account of the interdisciplinary speaker and cross-department collaboration must be provided.
  • Grants in excess of $2,000 must secure permission from the speaker and the Taft Faculty Chair for a TAFTtalk. Visit the appropriate page for more information on TAFTtalks.
  • Competitive lectures not part of a conference program should be held in the Taft Center Lecture space in Edwards One. Grant success does not automatically reserve lecture space. Successful applicants must contact the Taft Program Coordinator to arrange for lecture space.
  • Taft will provide poster and advertising support. Departments should publicize lectures in classes, and to faculty, alumni, and the general public.

terms of the grant

  • Once financial support from Taft has been secured, the faculty organizer should then contact the program coordinator to arrange an event date. Once the event date has been secured, the faculty organizer should then extend the official invitation to the speaker.
  • If you are inviting a speaker who lives outside the United States and is not a U.S. citizen, please check with the Taft Administrative & Financial Coordinator visa requirements and payment policies well in advance of the event (2 months). In response to federal regulations, the University is observing new policies for foreign speakers. These policies must be observed if such speakers are to be paid for their lectures.
  • All grant funds must be expended exclusively in furtherance of the grant and all expenditures of grant funds must comply with university policies relating to financial transactions, including the Code of Conduct and, as discussed in the Code of Conduct, the ethics laws of the state of Ohio which prohibit certain private financial interests in university matters. (University Rule 3361:10-17-03(D);
  • Full disclosure of non-Taft funds received, both inside and outside the university, is required. The Taft grant may not duplicate other funds granted for the same purpose, except when a deficit in the project budget is anticipated even with such non-Taft funds. For example, Taft Travel Grants may supplement funds from non-Taft sources in cases where the necessary and reasonable costs exceed the established Taft limits.
  • If there are any changes in plans from the originally approved application, the Taft grant recipient must notify the Chair of the Taft Executive Board in writing and receive written approval for the changes. Failure to comply with this rule will nullify the grant and require return of the award.
  • Any event supported by a Taft Competitive Lecture Grant must acknowledge Taft support at event and on all published materials. Material production that invokes the Taft name or makes use of the Taft emblem must be approved by Taft prior to production and dissemination.  
  • Publications and creative work generated with the help of Taft grants should acknowledge the Charles Phelps Research Center. Copies of such publications should be sent to the Chair of the Taft Executive Board.
  • If reimbursing for travel, a Travel Authorization Form (TA) must be signed on behalf of the visiting speaker by the faculty organizer, as well as the authorized supervisor (generally, the Department Head).