Sawyer Seminars FAQs
Are former Sawyer Seminars recipients eligible for repeat nominations?
Yes, former recipients are eligible to be nominated, but the seminar should be newly conceived. Please note that only one proposal can be submitted to the Foundation for consideration. PIs with an active New Directions Fellowship grant are ineligible.
Must the Principal Investigator be tenured or tenure-track?
No, PIs do not need to be tenured or tenure-track. However, we strongly recommend that any tenure-track PI who has not yet earned tenure be paired with a tenured co-organizer.
Can system campuses apply for the seminar? Must the PI be based on the main campus?
A system campus isn’t eligible to submit a proposal as the primary institution. The main PI, Organizers, and Project Contacts listed in Fluxx should be from the invited/grantee institution, but the institutions may then designate “Lead Organizers” at other institutions or campuses.
Would a person who is a PI on another Mellon-funded project be allowed to participate as a Co-Organizer?
Yes, though it is advisable to diversify the university’s cohort of Mellon PIs as much as possible.
Can Co-Organizers be located at other institutions?
If awarded, when would the grant start?
The grant start date must be November 1, 2023. For this reason, the first grant period can be between 6 and 18 months long in order to align with your institution’s fiscal calendar.
What is the maximum time of the award?
The grant cannot exceed 36 months (3 years). We suggest a 24-36 month grant period, which should include a 6-12 month planning period and an 18-24 month long seminar.
Must the seminar begin immediately after receiving the award?
No. We advise that seminars be planned for one semester to one year, then take place the following academic year. (E.g., A seminar awarded on 11/1/2023 could take place in AY ’25-’26.) In general, most seminars have minimal or no spending during the scheduled planning period.
Is there a preferred time period for the seminar topic?
No, we do not have a preference for the time period the seminar would propose to examine.
Could you please clarify whether the program’s current focus excludes topics outside the Americas?
It is permissible for Sawyer Seminars to address topics that are international in scope, provided that such internationalism takes the form of a comparative project that incorporates consideration of contexts in the Americas.
Can the seminar produce a credit-bearing course?
Sawyer Seminars are not intended to be organized as credit-bearing courses. However, while executing such a course during the grant term would not be allowed, it would be permissible for a syllabus to be developed based on the Seminar during the grant period, so long as the course itself is not taught until after the grant term has ended.
Can graduate students be hired for the year following the seminar?
Graduate students are expected to be active in the intellectual life of the seminar and therefore may not be hired after the seminar has already taken place. Postdoctoral candidates must be engaged while the seminar is active.
Allowed Expenditures for Sawyer Seminars
- Part-time program administrator staff position
- Salary support for project/administrative coordinator for the seminar
- Tuition support
- Supplementary support (e.g., research and travel funds) for students funded by existing fellowships
- Travel and living expenses for short stays by visiting scholars
- Costs of coordinating the seminar, including those incurred by speakers and their travel
- Relocation expenses for postdoctoral candidate
- Stipend for PI, Co-PIs, and/or collaborators for their work in the seminar
- For seminars running outside of the academic year (i.e., in the summer months), stipends for faculty coordinators are capped at $7,500 per person
Disallowed Expenditures for Sawyer Seminars
- Costs of release time for regular faculty participants
- Indirect costs
- Costs related to hosting seminar sessions at international sites
- Summer salary support for faculty coordinators