Bates Faculty Development Fund

Bates values faculty who are active scholars and artists, highly effective educators, and engaged participants in the shared governance of the institution. The Bates Faculty Development Fund is intended to strengthen the faculty of the College by providing resources for scholarship, creative production, or other professional development.

Most sources of internal funding for faculty research and professional development have been pooled to form the Bates Faculty Development Fund, thereby creating a streamlined application and review process. BFDF proposals are evaluated by the Faculty Scholarship and Grants Committee.

Other funding opportunities which retain their own application processes and deadlines include the Learning Associates Program, NEH Language Teaching Support Fund, STEM Faculty-Student Summer Research Grants,  Summer Research Apprenticeships, and all grants funded through the institutional INBRE grant.

BFDF Application Deadlines
BFDF applications are due by 11:59 PM on:
  • 01 October 2023
  • 15 January 2024
  • 01 April 2024

Note: There are no extensions to the deadlines. Late applications will be reviewed at the next application deadline.

Awards may range from $100 to $10,000. The project schedule cannot exceed ONE full academic year following the year of application (i.e., approximately 18 months maximum). Total awards to an applicant per academic year are capped as described below under Eligibility.


All current faculty members are eligible to apply for BFDF awards.

Maximum awards vary with scale of faculty employment at the college. Full-time faculty (1 FTE) can apply for and receive up to $10k per academic year within the 3 competitive BFDF deadlines. The clock then restarts at the start of the new academic year and the first BFDF deadline. Part-time faculty can apply for amounts that vary with their contract – e.g., up to $8k per academic year for a 0.8-FTE faculty member, up to $6k for a 0.6-FTE faculty member, and so on.

Faculty with start-up funds must use those funds before applying for BFDF funding.

Eligibility requires timely submission of reports from prior awards, responsible expenditure of prior awards, and timely submission of faculty annual reports.

See additional important notes in the section on Budgets and Allowable Expenses.

Criteria for Evaluation

Proposals are evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Impact of the work on the applicant’s scholarly/creative achievement, teaching, or governance & engagement
  • Clarity and feasibility of proposed work (who, what, where, when, how) and of expected outcomes (i.e. bringing the work to fruition or laying the groundwork for an external funding proposal)
  • Detailed evidence of clear, responsible budgeting (i.e. supporting documentation including quotes, contracts, and email agreements from providers or collaborators)
  • Productive and responsible use of prior BFDF awards, including completed reports from prior awards

When funds are limited, preference is given to tenure-track or tenured faculty or long-term lecturers and to faculty who have not received prior funds from the BFDF.

Proposal Structure

Section 1, Summary: Title and a summary of no more than 150 words.

Section 2, Impact: One page, describing how the work impacts your scholarly/creative achievement, teaching, or governance & engagement. This impact statement should have a clear narrative thread that provides a uniting rationale for all of the activities being proposed in the application

Section 3, Plan: One to two pages, describing specific outcomes and a timeline and work plan for achieving those outcomes. This narrative should also address attempts to secure other sources of funding for the project.

Section 4, Budget: A detailed budget, followed by screenshots or formal quotes for planned expenses. Please carefully read the information below on Budgets and Allowable Expenses.

The submission form also collects information on project start date and end dates (used to establish and terminate grant accounts) and information about the nature of the project (used in assigning awards to specific source funds). For faculty whose contracts at Bates have fixed end dates, note that the project end date for a BFDF award must be at least 30 days before the end of employment, to allow a final 30-day window for BFDF accounting and report submission.

Budgets and Allowable Expenses

All budget items require screenshots or formal quotes for planned expenses.

Faculty with start-up funds must use those funds before applying for BFDF funding.

Faculty members applying to the BFDF to support travel to professional meetings above and beyond the funds available through their annual travel allocation must present a compelling argument in their proposal that attendance at an additional meeting is beneficial to their professional development or scholarly work. In general, the BFDF will not support travel to more than two additional professional conferences per year.

Allowable expenses:

  • Travel for research, curriculum development, or academic meetings (air and ground travel, lodging, meals, registrations, admissions, etc.) See note above about limits on conference travel.
  • Research materials (books, datasets, scores, assessment tests, microforms, electronic resources, etc.)
  • Communication (phone, fax, mail, subject/consultant reimbursement, etc.)
  • Laboratory research (supplies, instruments, consumables, analytical services, and testing)
  • Technology (computer software and hardware, digital cameras, video equipment, tape recorders, etc.)
  • Supplies and materials for artistic work (visual and performing arts)
  • Performance costs (fees for professional actors or musicians, instruments, staging, space rental, etc.)
  • Publication costs (typing, editing, graphics, transcriptions, indexing, illustrations, reproduction fees, subvention fees
  • Tuition/fees for postdoctoral education programs
  • Student or staff assistants (research, curriculum development, or editorial assistants)
  • Matching funds for extramural grants, where required

BFDF grants do NOT support:

  • Faculty salaries or stipends
  • Regular living expenses during a leave
  • Professional memberships
  • Travel or living expenses for family members
  • Personal gear (clothing, medicines, personal items)
  • Computer equipment or digital production equipment that can be borrowed from ILS or the Digital Media Studies loaner pool

When awarding funds to support publications, please note that when faculty at Bates co-author with faculty elsewhere, we expect the publication costs to be shared among the co-authors.

If you are publishing a book, and the publisher requests a subvention fee, please discuss that request with Don Dearborn

Please see the FAQs for the following topics, among other useful details:

  • Travel with family members, including budgeting for such travel
  • Travel by non-Bates individuals
  • Reimbursement limits for food during travel
  • Budgeting for travel by car
  • Reimbursement for already-incurred expenses
  • Changes in costs or plans between proposal submission and the actual expenditure

As with external grants, any equipment, books, or supplies purchased with BFDF funds become – and remain – the property of the college. If your Bates employment ends, please work with Jason Scheideman to ensure that those items are available for future use by Bates.

Using the Funds

Funds can be used only during the period of the grant (i.e., the start and end dates indicated on the application cover sheet).

Faculty members with temporary appointments (or those who retire or leave the college for other reasons) are reminded that all expenditures must occur by the project end date, which in turn must be at least 30 days before the end of employment to allow a final 30-day window for BFDF accounting and report submission. Receipts must be submitted promptly to ensure that reimbursement can occur while still an employee.

Funds can be accessed per Accounting policies through (1) reimbursement upon submission of original receipts; (2) travel advances, including subsequent reconciliation with receipts; (3) direct payment of invoices from vendors or outside contractors.

Faculty members who receive BFDF awards to conduct work as part of a leave and then do not go on leave will have their BFDF awards rescinded.

End of Grant and Reporting Obligations

Any funds remaining at the end of the grant period are returned to the Bates Faculty Development Fund.

Faculty members must submit a one page final report that describes the work accomplished and that includes an accounting of expenditures in alignment with the proposal’s budget.

The report is due in PDF format to the Office of the Dean of the Faculty ( within 60 days of the end of the grant period as indicated on the application cover sheet or by the end of employment at Bates, whichever comes first. Submission of this report is a prerequisite for access to internal sources of scholarly funding, including conference travel funds and the Bates Faculty Development Fund.

Apply here.


What work has been supported by BFDF in recent years?

How should I budget for travel expenses if my family is planning to accompany me on a BFDF-supported trip?

If a proposed trip meets these college guidelines for traveling with family, the BFDF budget should be based on solo travel. For example, the budget for a rental car should be based on an economy car, even if a larger vehicle is needed for family. The faculty member would be personally responsible for the cost difference.

If my Bates employment ends, can I take with me any items purchased with BFDF funds?

No. As with external grants, any equipment, books, or supplies purchased with BFDF funds remain the property of the college. If you are leaving the college, please work with Jason Scheideman to discuss appropriate dispensation for items purchased with college funds.

Can BFDF funds be used to support the travel of non-Bates individuals?

BFDF proposal budgets can include travel funds for bringing non-Bates artists or scholars to Bates to collaborate with Bates faculty. However, BFDF funds cannot support the travel of non-Bates individuals to other locations.

How should I budget for hiring student workers?

Proposal budgets can include hiring students as research assistants or for other kinds of work. Please refer to the Student Employment Office website for information about how many hours per week a student is allowed to work and what hourly wage they are paid.

What are the reimbursement limits for food during travel?

There are two different daily limits on how much can be reimbursed for meals during travel – a higher value that requires receipt submission, and a lower value that does not require receipts. See this webpage for details.

How do I budget for traveling by car?

If you rent a car, you should budget for the cost of rental plus the cost of buying gas for the car. If you use your own vehicle instead, you simply budget for the IRS-determined per-mile reimbursement rate (which is intended to compensate you for gasoline and for the inherent costs of vehicle ownership). The IRS rate is updated every few years, and the current rate is reflected in the Bates Accounting website. For details on car rental or personal vehicle use, see this webpage.

What other details do I need to know about Bates-sponsored travel?

Please read the Bates travel policy here.

Can I apply for funds to reimburse an already-incurred expense?

Because of the occasional unpredictable timing of opportunities for professional development, applicants are allowed to apply for BFDF funds to reimburse already-incurred expenses, with the following caveats:

  • Like other BFDF proposals, a proposal for reimbursement is not guaranteed to succeed, and faculty members are ultimately responsible for already-incurred expenses.
  • There is a one-proposal-cycle statute of limitations. Any retroactive reimbursements must be applied for at the first BFDF application deadline after the expense is incurred. After that, such requests will not be considered.
  • It remains the case that total awards may not exceed $10,000 per applicant for any 12 month period.

What if my plans change or the cost of a budgeted item changes between the time of proposal application and the time of expenditure of the funds?

We understand that cost estimates or the details of a project can change. Awardees can make small adjustments to how they allocate their funds, within the total budget of their award. Significant changes to the activities funded need to be approved by the committee, before undertaking the activities. If this happens, please note that the award amount will not change.

What are the sources of BFDF funds?

The following endowments and programs support the Bates Faculty Development Fund:

  • Kathleen Curry Akers ’41 Fund for Sabbatical Leave Support. Supports special projects undertaken by faculty members during a sabbatical leave, with preference for year-long projects.
  • The Glaser Fund for Faculty Research.  Originally established by Jill Reich and Richard Glaser, this fund received additional support from faculty and staff to honor Professor Reich for her service as dean of the faculty from 1999-2011.
  • The McGinty Faculty Research Fund. Supports postdoctoral research by faculty in the Division of the Humanities, with preference to projects whose results are intended for publication.
  • The Philip J. Otis Faculty Curricular Development Grants. Support faculty who wish to introduce into their teaching themes or materials pertaining to natural environments or to human affairs in the context of natural environments, including the revision of courses, the design of new courses, or the conduct of background reading or research that would enhance teaching in these directions. These curricular developments may pertain to courses throughout the curriculum. Research in these areas may also be funded through this grant.
  • Professional Development Grants. Supported by an endowment established from the Christian A. Johnson Foundation, these grants support research and teaching enhancement projects undertaken by faculty during their professional leaves.
  • The President’s Fund for Faculty and Curricular Development. An endowed fund, used at the discretion of the President in counsel with the Committee on Faculty Scholarship, for support of faculty and curriculum development.
  • Research Indirect Cost Reserve Fund. Funded by money set aside by the college from the indirect costs it receives from external grants, these grants support faculty scholarship, with the goals of increasing external funding and facilitating scholarly publication and production.
  • The Roger C. Schmutz Faculty Research Grants. For support of postdoctoral research by members of the Faculty.