Public Humanities Seed Grants

A cluster of multicolored wildflowers

The Public Humanities Seed Grant program aims to provide support for new creative, collaborative, and experimental public humanities projects imagined broadly. These funds “seed” small projects by providing an initial investment to help incubate ideas and collaborations that might go on to find larger funding sources for long-term sustainability as the project grows. The purpose of this program is to seed public-facing humanities projects by helping to remove initial barriers, allow for experimentation, and foster collaboration to help mobilize humanities ideas in the public sphere. 

Seed grant funds are awarded two times per year in Winter Term 1 (late October) and Winter Term 2 (early April). No more than six seed grants will be awarded each term up to $2500 each. Seed grants are open to UBC-Vancouver faculty, staff, and graduate students. 

The seed grant is a project-based funding stream, which means your project must have a beginning and end, an articulated objective, a defined public audience, and a budget. Your project must meet all of the following criteria to be considered for a seed grant. The project must:

  1. Have a defined public audience in a non-classroom setting
  2. Be clearly designed in, with, and/or for your public
  3. Be framed, designed and delivered through humanities methods and scholarship
  4. Have at least one applicant from the Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Education, or Allard School of Law  

Sample projects may include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • A media project including digital archives, online exhibits, mapping projects, podcasts, video projects, etc.
  • An on-campus project or engagement that is open and accessible to the public including a film festival, exhibit, art installation, theatrical production, etc.
  • A community project co-created with members of a defined public (like partnering with a local organization to co-produce some kind of community programming)

What seed grants do not support:

  • Existing projects: seed funding is not intended for projects that already exist, are entering a “new” phase, or have already received funding from other sources.  
  • Classroom support: seed funding does not cover classroom support or course-based applied projects. For course-based support please consult the FAQ below.
  • Projects focused on traditional academic outputs: seed funding is intended to bridge the gap between the academy and the wider public and to provide new outlets for knowledge mobilization. Please reach out to us if you would like the Hub to co-sponsor an academic conference, workshop, or academic speaker that you are hosting. 

Seed grant funds may be used for costs associated with catering, venue rentals, software subscriptions (if not offered by UBC), web hosting, film licensing fees, speaker honoraria, travel, research assistant support and more. Once awarded, recipients must meet with and discuss plans with the Director of the Public Humanities Hub.  

Recipients agree to submit invoices/receipts to the Hub as well as a final brief report on the project supported by the seed grant, and to be featured in Hub communications (including our website, annual report, and social media). Any promotion of your project should acknowledge that this is a Public Humanities Hub-funded project by including the Hub logo. Depending on your project, the Hub may also be able to provide communications and event support.

Applications due April 3, 2023 by 4pm Pacific Time.
Appendix (Word)
Application Procedures
Please complete the online application form and upload a PDF or Word file of the appendix containing a list of team members and a simple budget.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will the PHH Seed Grant cover expenses for equipment/website hosting/platform services/software/etc.?

Our Public Scholarship toolkits provide lists of free resources available at UBC and beyond for a number of projects, including podcasts and exhibitions. If your project cannot use available resources at UBC, please justify the expense in your proposal.

Who can apply for a PHH Seed Grant?

The PHH Seed Grant is for all disciplines within Arts, Education, and Law. Graduate students, faculty, and staff at UBC-Vancouver can apply.

Can a previously-funded project apply for a PHH Seed Grant?

No, PHH Seed Grants prioritize new projects that have not received prior funding. 

What is the funding cap per year per person?

Individuals cannot appear on a successful Seed Grant as “applicant” more than once per year. Winter Term 1 and Winter Term 2 constitute one year for the purposes of the grant. If an applicant is successfully awarded in Winter 2, the year starts again in the coming Winter Term 1. 

How far in advance can I apply for a Seed Grant?

Your project must begin within 12 months of a successful Seed Grant, so you may apply up to two terms prior to your anticipated start date. For example, if your anticipated start date for your project is in September, you could apply as early as the Winter 1 term funding cycle the year prior (October). You will be asked for a timeline in your application. 

Can I claim event space as an expense?

Yes, but if you are primarily looking for venues or event support, you might consider a co-sponsorship with the Public Humanities Hub instead. Before applying, inquire at

Does the PHH Seed Grant fund short-term projects like events or workshops? 

Yes, short-term projects are eligible, but they must be public-facing and designed for a public audience. If you are looking for support for a conference, workshop or other academic event, you might consider a co-sponsorship with the Public Humanities Hub. Before applying, inquire at

How “public” does my project need to be?

Your proposal should indicate what kinds of public audiences your project intends to reach and your plan for promotion. For instance, if you are creating a podcast or digital archive, describe which platforms you intend to use to promote and maintain your project’s reach. 

Can I use the PHH Seed Grant for a research project (e.g. dissertation/thesis, academic articles, or policy reports)?

PHH Seed Grants do not fund research-related activities. While a proposed project may be related to your academic research, it should be an original project that mobilizes academic research for public audiences.

Can I use the PHH Seed Grant for a course?

No, there are many other UBC units that offer funding for course-based public projects. For course-based support you might consider the UBC Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund, the CCEL Advanced Community Engaged Learning Fund or the CTLT SoTL Seed Program. If you are looking for ideas for public humanities courses, please feel free to review sample syllabi on our resources page.

Can I use the PHH Seed Grant to hire student support or other professional services? 

Yes, the grant can be used for hiring student assistants (indicate the hourly wage and hours in your budget). You may also use the money for honoraria or professional services.