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RSVP Curran Fellowships for Research on 19th-century British Press

The Curran Fellowships are research and travel awards intended to support the use of primary sources for the exploration of any aspects of the British periodical press in any of its manifold forms, forms that may range from within Britain itself to the many countries, within and outside of the Empire, where British magazines and newspapers circulated during the “long nineteenth century” (ca. 1780-1914).

The Research Society for Victorian Periodicals (RSVP) anticipates making at least six Curran Fellowship awards for research to be undertaken in 2018.  Applicants may request any amount of support up to $5000; the Curran Fellowships Committee may choose partial funding of successful applications.

The Curran Fellowships are intended to provide a researcher with funds to cover only those expenses directly related to research, such as transportation, lodging, photocopies, scanning,, database subscriptions, and the like.  Indirect expenses are not covered.

The fellowship is named for the late Eileen M. Curran (1928-2013), Professor Emerita of English at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. She taught English at Colby from 1958 to 1992, and was a pioneer of periodicals research, serving as associate editor of the Wellesley Index to Victorian Periodicals, Vols. 1-3. A founding member of RSVP, Professor Curran established the Curran Fellowships in 2009, and bequeathed funds to RSVP for their continuance and expansion.  Her vision of the importance of basic research, compellingly presented, animates her namesake competition.


The Curran Fellowships are intended to support primary research on the nineteenth-century periodical press: magazines, newspapers, and serial publications of all kinds.  Therefore, eligible projects must engage with primary sources, whether those sources appear in print, manuscript, or digital facsimile.  All else being equal, preference will be given to projects that use or bring to light new or little-known materials about the periodical press.

Only one application may be submitted by an individual per deadline.

Only one applicant is permitted per application. (Those seeking support for collaborative projects should consider the RSVP Field-Development Grants.)

The fellowship research must begin during the 2018 calendar year.

Those holding academic appointments as well as graduate students and independent or retired scholars are equally welcome to apply.  An academic degree or affiliation is not required.

Applicants are strongly encouraged, but not required, to become RSVP members.

Applicants may hold grants or fellowships from other organizations concurrent with a Curran Fellowship.  However, a Curran Fellowship winner may not hold other RSVP awards in the same calendar year.

How Applications will be Evaluated

A group of interdisciplinary evaluators with knowledge of periodicals in the long nineteenth century will use the following criteria to evaluate applications. Applications and letters of recommendation should be crafted with these criteria in mind.

  • The importance of the project, including its use of materials relevant to deeper understanding of the British periodical press in the nineteenth-century.
  • The quality of the application, including its clarity of expression.
  • The applicant’s preparation to pursue the project.
  • The feasibility of the plan of work and the likelihood that the applicant will be bring the entire project to a successful completion in due course.

    Evaluators will use the evaluation criteria to identify the best applications.  Final decisions and award amounts (up to $5,000) will be based on the overall budget of the program, an applicant’s specific requested amount, and the justification of that amount as put forward in the plan of work.

    Please note that need is not a criterion.

    Notification and Award Administration

    RSVP anticipates naming at least six winners at the end of the competition.

    Notification will take place by email not later than February 1, 2018. The winner will have until March 1, 2018 to accept or decline the award.

    All decisions are final.  Unsuccessful applicants may choose to revise and resubmit their applications in future competitions.

    Awards are made directly to individuals but may be paid, upon instruction from an awardee, through the awardee’s employing institution.  Indirect costs are not permitted.

    Awardees must submit a narrative report at the end of the grant period.  All publications resulting from fellowship support must include the following acknowledgement:  “This publication received support of a Curran Fellowship awarded by the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals and funded from the bequest of the Eileen Curran estate.”

    Application date
    1 Dec 2017
    America United States Mid-Atlantic
    Humanities History
    Required post-doc experience: 
    between 0 and 99 years
    Grants available
    Award granted
    Up to US$ 5.000