Purdue Libraries announces Travel Grants program for scholars

May 7, 2015  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Virginia Kelly Karnes Archives and Special Collections Research Center, Purdue University Libraries, on Thursday (May 7) announced its inaugural Research Travel Grants program for visiting scholars.

The purpose of these grants is to support the research of scholars (faculty, students, and independent researchers) whose research cannot progress satisfactorily without consulting materials onsite in the collections of the Karnes Research Center. One or more grants of up to $2,000 will be awarded to individual scholars studying one or more subjects represented in the Karnes Center’s collections onsite between June 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016.

“As part of our mission in Archives and Special Collections, we collect unique primary sources to advance research and scholarship,” said Sammie Morris, associate professor and university archivist, and head of archives and special collections. “Since the majority of archival collections are not yet available online, and the collections of each archival repository are unique, one of the greatest challenges humanities researchers face is in obtaining access to the archival sources they need to conduct their research. Many times the sources they need to consult are out of state, or even out of the country.  The cost to travel and consult these sources can be an impediment to their scholarship. These research travel grants, generously funded by the Betsy Gordon Foundation, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, and alumni donors, allow us to provide support to distant researchers who are in need of onsite access to our one-of-a-kind archives, manuscripts, and rare books. The results of these grants will be the new scholarship these researchers create, with the added benefit of increasing global access to and knowledge of Purdue’s outstanding archives and special collections.”

Eligibility and Criteria

Anyone (faculty, students, and/or independent researchers) who wishes to use the Karnes Center collections for research may apply, regardless of his or her academic status. Intended to support research using the Karnes Center as a historical resource, the grants require the onsite use of at least one of the Center’s collections.

Archival collecting areas include the history of flight and space (Barron Hilton Flight and Space Exploration Archives); the history of women affiliated with Purdue University or the state of Indiana (Susan Bulkeley Butler Women’s Archives); the history of psychedelics for medicinal and healing purposes (Psychoactive Substances Research Collection); and the history of Purdue University, including papers of Purdue alumni, faculty and staff, and records of university departments reflecting the founding, growth and evolution of the land-grant university for the state of Indiana and its mission to provide instruction in the mechanical arts (University Archives). Rare book collections include the history of engineering, science, and transportation (Goss Library of the History of Engineering), the history of economics and political thought (Krannert Special Collection), the history of typography and book design (Bruce Rogers Collection of books and personal papers), and books about Indiana history or written by Indiana authors (including the personal libraries and manuscripts of George Ade and Charles Major and the cartoons of John T. McCutcheon).

Preference will be given to applicants needing funds to travel from out-of-state or out of the country and who plan to publish or publicly disseminate the scholarly results of their research. Funds may be used for business-related expenses incurred by the researcher in association with his or her research, travel, and use of the Karnes Center facilities and collections as well as costs in making the research broadly available to the scholarly community. Grants are awarded to individual applicants, not to institutions, as awarded funds are meant to help offset the costs associated with visiting and utilizing the Karnes Center and not for institutional overhead. Only in exceptional cases would an individual be awarded more than one research travel grant per year.

Criteria used to judge the applications will include how well the case is made that the proposed project will support the candidate’s research and that conducting this research requires travel to use the unique collections in the Karnes Center; the appropriateness of the budget; the plan for making the results of the research available to the public; and the feasibility of the project within time constraints. Proposals will be evaluated by a panel chaired by the director of the Karnes Center and composed of two or more additional archivists employed by the Karnes Center.

Application Process

Applicants are asked to provide:

* Cover sheet containing the following information: name, rank/title, mailing address, email address, phone number, the title of the project, projected dates of travel, and the total amount of funding requested. Grants will be made for any amount up to the maximum amount allowed per grant ($2,000) (1 page)

* Narrative description of the research project, including the research topic and an explanation of how onsite use of the Karnes Center’s collections is essential to successful completion of the project. Specify which collections will be used; the projected timeline, including approximate dates of travel to the Karnes Center; expected outcome(s) of the research, and how it will be made available (for example: publication of a book or journal article, thesis/dissertation, conference presentation, development of a course, etc.) (1-2 pages)

* Budget itemizing activities and their estimated costs, with total amount requested (1 page)

The following websites may be used to estimate lodging, meals and incidentals.

– For U.S. General Services Administration – Domestic destinations:


– For U.S. Dept. of State — Foreign destinations:


* CV or resume, including a list of relevant publications and presentations (3 pages maximum)

* For student applicants, please include a letter of recommendation from an advisor, thesis director, professor, or mentor who is a good judge of the student's work (1-2 pages)

Please send all materials as email attachments to: morris18@purdue.edu, with “Travel Grants” in the subject line. Questions about the grants may be sent to the same address. 

Reporting Requirements

A brief report or presentation on the research-related activities supported by the grant, and the significance to the research of the recipient, is required and must be submitted to the Director of the Karnes Center within one year following receipt of grant funds. Each individual awarded a grant will be invited to give a presentation about his or her research either during the research visit or at a convenient date following the visit. 


Awards will be in given in any amount up to the maximum amount allowed per grant ($2,000). Grant funds will be provided to the award recipients upon completion of the site visit and use of the facility. Beyond the initial year of the program, the amount of awards and the continuation of the program will be dependent on the funding available.


For researchers planning to travel between June 2015 and December 2015, the deadline for applications is May 30, 2015. For researchers planning to travel between January 2016 and June 2016, the deadline for applications is December 30, 2015. All applications must be submitted by email to morris18@purdue.edu , with the subject line: Research Travel Grants. Applications received following the deadline cannot be considered, but can be resubmitted for consideration during the following funding cycle.

For further information on the Karnes Center and its collections, please visit our website: http://www.lib.purdue.edu/spcol

Questions may be submitted by email to morris18@purdue.edu

Contact: Shannon Walker, Purdue University Libraries director of strategic communication, 765-496-9610, walker81@purdue.edu

Source: Sammie Morris, 765-494-2905, morris18@purdue.edu

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