Cluster Grants

RDE Cluster Grants are available through the Mellon Redefining Doctoral Education (RDE) funding at the Center for the Humanities. In the first years of the RDE initiative, individual faculty members applied for funding to create innovative courses or seek out new skills. With this next stage, the Cluster Grant approach asks faculty members to imagine how RDE funding could benefit a department or program as a whole. This approach can build momentum for necessary changes in areas like curriculum, dissertations, mentoring, and diverse career outcomes. With multiple faculty collaborating around shared concerns, the ripple effects of Cluster Grants can be exponential.

We are eager to collaborate with departments and programs seeking to reimagine and redefine doctoral education. Because the needs and aspirations of every program are different, we are taking a tailored approach to best serve those interested rather than a general open call. If this sounds like a good fit, we will work with you to develop a proposal. Efforts that RDE funding could support include (but are not limited to) workshops and trainings, working groups, community partner relationships and other public engagement, site visits, guest speakers, symposia, or other forms of program development. 

How to apply

Contact the center's assistant directors Laura Perry and Meredith Kelling (; to discuss how your departmental or program plans could align with the goals of RDE funding.

Available grants

Cluster Grants are conceived as a mix-and-match approach, allowing departments and programs to select multiple grant types in their proposal to support their graduate program aims. Multiple grants (even within the same category) are encouraged.

Cross-Training Grants

Up to $15,000. Support for faculty in the humanities to undertake course work in other departments or schools or at other institutions, as relevant to new, innovative strategies in graduate education.  

Curricular Innovation — Standard Grants

Up to $7,500. Support for innovative curricular offerings or initiatives for graduate education. Courses and curriculum developed as a result of this grant include a graduate program proposal writing programming, the interdisciplinary and community-engaged seminar “Memory for the Future: Theories and Practices of Critical Curation,” and the cross-disciplinary course “Embodied Multimedia Communication.”

Curricular Innovation — Bridge Grants

Up to $20,000. Support for collaboration between departments and schools at Washington University, as well as between humanities departments at Washington University and external institutions (universities, community colleges, museums, secondary schools, etc.).

Cluster grants awarded


Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures and Program in Comparative Literature

Curricular Innovation – Bridge Grants

Support for faculty members to develop expertise in individual development plans (IDPs) for graduate student advising; for the development of local, national and international networks and internship partners; and for the cultivation of a local, national and international model career network.


Department of African and African American Studies

Cross-Training Grants 

Participation for six faculty members in Training in Public Scholarship, Podcasting the Humanities, National Humanities Center     

Curricular Innovation – Standard Grant 

Summer stipends for graduate program proposal writing for a postdoc and non-tenure-track faculty 

Curricular Innovation – Bridge Grants 

Support for collaboration between the Department of African and African American Studies and neighboring institutions:

  • Site visits to leading Black studies graduate programs in the U.S. 
  • Conference travel to the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora 
  • Hosting workshops/symposium on Innovations in Global Black Studies Graduate Program