Carnegie Mellon University
Berkman Faculty Development Fund

Berkman Faculty Development Fund

The Berkman Faculty Development Fund is supported by a gift in the memory of Sybiel Altman Berkman, A'31. Next Call for Proposals: TBD.

In order to be considered fully, please apply online here. Please reference the application process below, and contact with any questions.


The Berkman Faculty Development Fund is a small grants program in support of professional development. The program may provide funds up to $10,000 for a 3-year period [1-2 years typical], although funding amounts are typically less. The Berkman program was established to help support projects that would otherwise be difficult to fund. The program is directed primarily to junior faculty whose access to external support is less substantially developed and to faculty working in generally under-funded areas. In cases where a specific need is well documented, grants may be made to senior faculty and those working in fields that more easily attract outside support.


All full-time teaching, research, tenure or librarian/archivist track faculty are eligible to apply.  

Special faculty, visiting scholars, professors or researchers are not eligible to apply for the Berkman Faculty Development Fund.


Successful proposals will:

  • Provide a clear indication of what is new and innovative in the proposed initiative;
  • Demonstrate the social, cultural, scientific, and/or political impact of the proposal;
  • Clear justification of financial need and description of how the project is in an under-funded area of research;
  • Include a budget and detailed plan for completion of the proposed initiative that is feasible, and detail how the funds will support professional goals and your development as faculty;
  • Describe the results of any prior consultation with appropriate individuals at the departmental, college and administrative levels.

Funding Details

The Berkman Faculty Development grant can be requested up to $10,000 for a 3-year period (1-2 years typical).

As part of the application process, applicants are required to submit an itemized budget with supporting justification of expenses.  

Application Process

proposals must contain the following content:

  • Narrative description of your project: total of no more than five pages.
  • Detailed budget: Berkman grants may be requested for any amount up to $10,000. If the project budget amount is greater than $10,000, please indicate in the budget where additional funds will be obtained.
  • A list of all current internal and outside funding.
  • Dates and amounts of any previous Berkman Faculty Development grants.
    • For any previous Berkman grants, include the final project report.

Narrative description (maximum 5 pages, including figures and excluding references): This document is to explain the project's intellectual, artistic, and/or professional goals, the form of the final product, and its relationship to work that you have done in the past and intend to do in the future. Please provide a description on how the intended activities aid your professional development, provide a statement indicating the external funding climate for work in your field, and describe any efforts you have made to find external support.

Please use layman's language and avoid acronyms, letter abbreviations, and terms that require specific knowledge relevant to your field. 

Please note the following when preparing proposal narrative: 


The Berkman Faculty Development Fund does not support routine professional travel or travel normally supported by departmental funds. Funds for conference travel are available only for uniquely relevant events and when the applicant is on the program (excludes funds to exclusively attend conferences). If you are requesting funds for a conference where you are on the program, please indicate your participation in the proposal. In rare cases, conference travel for faculty may be supported if departmental funds are unavailable and a clear case is made for how the conference attendance will support a junior faculty's career development.

Computers and research equipment

When requesting funds for new computers and research equipment, please briefly describe the current computer facilities available to you and relate the capabilities of the proposed computer or equipment to the research being studied. Please note that intently determining whether this equipment exists elsewhere is helpful. Requests for computer hardware should be confined to equipment that you have not been able to obtain through other funding venues such as departmental funds, start-up accounts or external sources of funding.


Faculty and staff salaries and graduate tuition stipends cannot be charged to Berkman grants. Student assistant hourly wages are permitted. Please include the pay rate and total number of hours in the budget.

Detailed budget: (1 page) Your proposal must include a detailed budget, including specific information about all items. Applicants are encouraged to provide modular budgets and comment how partial funds might be used should the full requested amount not be possible to fund. If the budget includes travel, the budget should include information on location (specific research institutes, libraries, and/or archives), length of stay, and per diem expenses. If the research involves interviews, include the interviewee’s names and where. If the research involves the use of library resources, provide a specific description of the resources.

Summary of Other Funding: (1 page) 

  • Please provide a list of other current funding for internal and external funds
  • Indicate whether you have previously received a Berkman Grant (Note that you will be asked to upload the final report from previous Berkman grants as part of proposal submission. If you have not completed a final report, you can do so via the final project form.)

If you have not submitted a final project report, please submit here.

Statement from your dean or department head - NOT REQUIRED: The Berkman Faculty Development Fund has recently moved from Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Science to the Office of the Provost. While letters of support were a requirement under Dietrich College and the investigator was to acquire the letter directly, the Office of the Provost will contact the Dean directly for input.

Review Process

Proposals will be reviewed and recommendations for funds will be made by a faculty panel. Final funding decision will be made by the Provost in consultation with Vice Provost for Faculty and relevant deans.

Dates and Deadlines

Submissions are accepted twice during the academic year, once in the fall semester and once in the spring.  

Next Call for Proposals: TBD


Contact with any general questions about the application, eligibility or criteria.