Joseph H. Fichter Research Grant Competition

Past Fichter Research Grant Winners

Grant Objective and Requirements:

Fichter Research Grants are awarded annually by ASR to members of the Association involved in promising sociological research on women in religion or on the intersection between religion and gender or religion and sexualities. A total of $12,000 is available to be awarded annually, and this amount is usually distributed among several of the leading applications in the year’s competition. Dissertation research qualifies for funding, as does postdoctoral research by junior and senior scholars. Although these grants are open to scholars who are pursuing or currently have a Ph.D. in a range of disciplines, the proposed research must be sociological in nature.

Applicants must also be members of the Association for the Sociology of Religion at the time of application and, if successful, must continue their membership through the end of their grant period, which runs through December 31st of the year following their application.

Applicants must also disclose whether they have previously received a Fichter award. Previous grant recipients are eligible for new funding, but not until the third competition year following their latest award. If two proposals have equal merit, preference is given to new awardees.

What the Research Grants Do and Do Not Cover:

The Fichter Grants cover only direct research expenses, such as: (1) transportation expenses to conduct research; (2) the cost of hiring a research assistant or transcriber; (3) computer software packages that are not typically provided by a college or university (e.g., specialized statistical software packages). They do NOT cover: (1) secondary costs, such as facilities and administrative costs (i.e., overhead expenses) or tuition for students; (2) salary, replacement salary, summer stipends or fringe benefits for the Principal Investigator; (3) membership dues to academic societies including ASR; (4) conference registration fees or travel costs to conferences; (5) items that can reasonably be expected to be provided by a college or university, such as computers, books, commonly used software packages, etc.; (6) any other costs which the Fichter Grant Committee and/or ASR deems to be excluded. When Fichter Grant recipients must travel to conduct their research, Fichter funds can be used to pay for up to 50% of their food and non-alcoholic beverage expenses. Any equipment approved by the Fichter Grant Committee for purchasing using Fichter Grant funds shall be considered the property to ASR and shall be sent to the ASR Executive Office upon completion of the research.

Application Procedure:

Applications should include the following elements bound together in a single MS Word or PDF document:

1) A proposal of not more than five double-spaced pages (1,250 words) which outlines the rationale and plan of research. It should have a descriptive title for the research project (e.g., “A Examination of Women’s Leadership Role in Two Catholic Parishes”), present a clear research question, review previous research and theory that forms the background for the study, describe the social scientific research method(s) that will be used to carry out the research as well as a research timetable, and summarize succinctly what the research aims to discover.

Please keep your proposals free of jargon. While language specific to your research area or theoretical orientation may be necessary, please be sure that your proposal can be easily grasped by someone who does not work in your particular area.

2) A detailed, one-page budget. It should indicate the items for which the applicant is seeking funding, and next to each item, the amount it will cost (in U.S. dollars) and the exact purposes for which it will be used. An itemized budget is necessary to enable the Fichter Committee to determine if the budget is reasonable and for decisions concerning partial funding. Applicants are advised to NOT include items in their proposed budget that ASR does not cover (see above). IMPORTANT NOTE: A single proposal should prepare a budget that includes no more than $5,000. Only exceptionally good proposals may receive this amount.

3) An updated and brief curriculum vitae (maximum of 5 pages) that highlights the applicant’s preparation and qualifications for carrying out the proposed research. The C.V should include a
current email address at which the applicant can be reached during the summer months.

4) The name and contact information of the research office of the college, university, research center, or other non-profit organization that will be managing the grant (see below). The ASR Executive Officer must approve the grant manager before an award is final.

Simultaneous submissions to other grant competitions are permissible if the applicant is explicit about which budget items in the Fichter grant proposal do not overlap items in other submitted proposals. In the case of simultaneous submissions, please provide the Fichter Grant Committee with the names and contact information of these other foundations or associations to which you are applying.

All applications, including the proposal, budget, c.v., and statement of qualifications, must be in English and submitted electronically as a single MS Word or PDF document in the online member portal by February 1, 11:59 PM EST.  You can access the member portal by logging into your ASR account. You will find the submission form listed at the bottom of the screen.

Grant winners and other applicants will be notified via email of the Committee’s decision by April 1st. Winners will be announced at the Executive Council Meeting in August. The awardees and project titles will be listed on the ASR website.

Expectations of Research Offices and Grant Recipients:

Recipients of Fichter Grants are advised to notify the research office of their college, university, research center, or other ASR-approved non-profit organization upon receipt of their award so ASR can arrange to channel the grant money through that research office. Before ASR distributes funds, the Executive Officer of ASR will need an official letter from the research office of the recipient’s college, university, research center, or other ASR-approved non-profit organization stating that:

  1. They will take full responsibility for administering the grant;
  2. There will be no overhead charges and that the funds will be distributed in accord with the specifications outlined in the “What the research grants do and do not cover” section above;
  3. They are aware that the grant period ends at the end of the following calendar year (i.e., December 31 of the year following the award letter); and
  4. Upon the completion of the research, the research office will provide the grant recipient and the Executive Officer of ASR with a “Final Expense Report” detailing how the funds were spent and certifying with a signature that the expenditures are correct and were made in accordance with the terms of the grant.

There will be no exceptions to this requirement.

Grant recipients are expected to:

  1. Complete their research by the end of the following calendar year (i.e., by December 31 of the year following the award letter);
  2. Compose a Final Research Report in which they describe (a) the “Background” of their study, (b) the “Research Methods” employed, (c) the “Preliminary Findings,” (d) the “Deliverables” (e.g., conference presentations, anticipated publications, etc.), and (e) how the funds were used (including a copy of the “Final Expense Report” provided by their research office);
  3. Present a paper at an ASR conference on the results of their study, ideally in the year following
    the end of their grant;
  4. Mention the financial support of ASR through its Fichter Grant Program in any presentations or publications resulting from the research; and
  5. Notify the Executive Officer of ASR whenever these publications appear in print so they can be listed on the ASR website. Researchers wishing to see samples of previous recipients’ research reports should contact the Executive Officer.

The actual “performance period” (or dates during which the research is conducted) is at the discretion of the awardee provided that it falls between the date that the award letter is sent in May and December 31 of the following year. Final Expense Reports and Final Research Reports are due to the Executive Office of ASR as soon after the grant period ends (i.e., December 31) as possible, but absolutely no later than 60 days from this date (i.e., by March 1). Please note that all report materials should be in English unless other arrangements with the Committee have been made. For example, for a grant awarded in April, 2024, the grant report must be received by ASR before March 1, 2026.

For questions regarding this policy, please contact the Chair of the Fichter Committee, who will consult as needed with the Executive Officer and the ASR President. Information about the committee and the Chair is located on this website’s “Current Officers, Council Members, and Committees” page.