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Research Grant

The Materials-Based Research Grant encourages mutually-beneficial collaboration between craft and the STEM fields—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Photo courtesy of Donald Fortescue & Gwenhaël de Wasseige

The Materials-Based Research Grant was added in 2016 to support a tendency among contemporary craftspeople to explore how their material-specific knowledge, skill, and creativity can apply outside the field of fine art.

Grant goals


To foster new craft-based approaches to STEM research


To support craft practice, experimentation, and applications outside the field of art


To advance innovative research in craft materials (e.g. wood, metal, fiber, clay, glass)


To explore the inter-relationship among the fields of craft, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics


2020 Materials-Based Research Grant

The Materials-Based Research Grant encourages mutually-beneficial collaboration between craft and the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). This grant was added in 2016 to support a tendency among contemporary craftspeople to explore how their material-specific knowledge, skill, and creativity can apply outside the field of fine art.


  • Award Amount:
  • Up to $15,000
  • Grant Period:
  • 18 months


  • Applications Open:
  • Dec 9, 2019
  • Deadline:
  • March 1, 2020
  • Notification:
  • Late May 2020
  • Grant Period Begins:
  • June 2020
  • Grant Period Ends:
  • Nov 2021

2020 Materials-Based Research Grant - Eligibility

Proposals are welcome from teams of researchers (Lead Collaborators) comprised of one maker and one professional from a STEM discipline. Lead Collaborators must be a professional in their given field. This may include academics, researchers, scientists, full-time makers, or other skilled specialists. Applicants should hold the education, training and skills needed to complete their proposal and contribute to their field of research.

The collaboration should share one common goal and result in a mutually beneficial outcome. Although curriculum development, implementation, outreach, and/or informal learning may be a component of the research process, the primary goal of this grant is to foster new, mutually beneficial, materials-based research.  Applications with the primary goal or outcome of curriculum development, implementation (teaching), outreach, and/or informal learning will be disqualified.

- General overhead (indirect administrative expenses) is not eligible.

- Applicants must be able to receive taxable federal income in the U.S. or U.S. territories for the duration of the Fellowship and report this grant as income.

- Applicants must be must 18 years of age or older.

- Previous recipients of the Materials-Based Research grant are ineligible to apply.

Grant funds may be used to support a realistic project budget that is consistent with the proposed grant activities. This might include stipends and honoraria for additional support (such as graduate research assistants), research-related travel, and/or contracted services. Capital equipment, tools and materials directly related to the research are eligible for support but should only represent up to 75% of your budget. The grant awards are not for the dissemination of already completed research.

Proposals must identify intended audiences and include a plan for dissemination. This may take the form of an article, film, website/blog, photographic documentation, models and prototypes, or a combination thereof.

Examples of materials-based research may include:

- Using craft-based research and process to solve a problem (industrial, social, environmental, or other)

- Presenting a new understanding of the relationship between hand-made production and technology

- Inventing or testing new materials

- Developing applications for new materials

- Or other collaborative efforts between craft and STEM that offer fresh perspectives within the fields

2020 Materials-Based Research Grant - Requirements

- Seventy percent of the grant will be awarded upon return of a signed agreement.

 - Recipients will provide a status report on the project at an agreed date, mid-way through the project period.

 - Recipients will provide content for at least one Center for Craft social media post, including images.

 - Recipients will make their research available for an exhibition at the Center for Craft. Recipients will work with the Center for Craft’s Curator to determine what to display – for example: a film, images, prototypes, product, etc.

 - The final thirty percent will be awarded upon receipt of a final report of the research to include a budget report, project narrative and two copies of any publication produced relating to the project research. Project and final report must be completed in 18 months.

 - Recipients will acknowledge support of the “Center for Craft Materials-Based Research Grant” in any publications, relevant exhibition signage or other online or print materials resulting from the grant.

 - Recipients will provide two copies of any publication produced relating to the exhibition research for the archives at the Center for Craft, preferably as part of the final report.

 - The Center for Craft will hold an exhibition in their downtown Asheville, NC  gallery to include awarded projects (date TBD).

2020 Materials-Based Research Grant - Review Process

A group of peer readers, who are recognized craft and STEM scholars, free of any conflict of interest, will evaluate applications based on the following criteria:

- The proposed project encourages mutually beneficial innovation in craft and STEM.

- The project is feasible based on the timeline, expertise, and budget reflected in the application.

- The project addresses the goals of the Materials-Based Research Grant.

2020 Materials-Based Research Grant - How to Apply

DEADLINE: The application for 2020 Materials-Based Research Grants must be submitted via SlideRoom no later than 11:59pm on Monday, March 2, 2020. Notification of Materials-Based Research Grant Awards will be announced in May for projects beginning June 1, 2020.  Work outlined in the grant request must be completed with a final report within 18 months of the award, with a status report due midway through the research.

APPLICATION FEE: A non-refundable application fee of $15 (US) is required with each application. Payment must be submitted via SlideRoom. DO NOT mail checks, cash or send money via Western Union, Money Gram, Postal MoneyGram to the Center for Craft’s office.

NOTIFICATION: Notifications of the results will be sent via e-mail no later than end of May 2020. The e-mail address listed on the application form will be used to send out notifications. Please be sure that it is a valid account that you check regularly.

APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS: Applicants must apply using the online application program SlideRoom. Please review the application requirements listed below before beginning your application.

All applicants should create a login to be able to partially complete the form and return to finish it at a later date. Before submitting your application, you will be directed to a confirmation page where you will be able to review your form and return to edit or delete your uploaded files as needed. Once you submit your application, you will not be able to access your form again. Applicants will receive a confirmation email once the application form has been successfully submitted.

1. NAME OF APPLICANT & CONTACT INFORMATION: Each Lead Collaborator must provide a current address, a valid e-mail address, and select their field of practice [craft, science, technology, engineering, mathematics]. One Lead Collaborator must be working in craft and one must be working in STEM. Providing a website is optional but encouraged. The e-mail address provided will be used to send out the final notification letter.

Collaboration: Applicants who wish to apply as collaborators need only submit one application form and application fee. Two Lead Collaborators must be selected as the main applicant; their contact information will be used for all correspondence and notification.

2. TITLE: Please list the title of your research proposal (15 words)

3. RESEARCH PROPOSAL SYNOPSIS (Short): Please briefly describe the problem, intended outcome, and objectives addressed by the proposed interdisciplinary research. (100 words)

4. RESEARCH PROPOSAL (Extended):  Applicants should address each of the following questions in 250 words or less:

  1. Provide a brief outline of the research question/questions that you are seeking to answer through this research
  2. How do you plan to accomplish your objectives?
  3. What relevant research has already been done in the area of your project? What similar work is being conducted in the field and how is your proposed research different? Please include relevant bibliographic references where applicable.
  4. What is the history of the collaboration? If the Collaborators have worked together before, when and why did your collaboration start and what has made it successful in the past? If this is a new collaboration, how did you connect and why do you believe this will be a successful project?
  5. Who is the intended audience and how do you plan to disseminate your findings? Please note: If this involves the creation of a website please explain how the website will be maintained and updated beyond the timeline of this project.
  6. How the results will be evaluated?
  7. What makes your proposed research interdisciplinary? How will this collaboration benefit both fields of practice?
  8. Why is the proposed research relevant today? What difference will this project make to one or more of the following: your community, your university, your students, your discipline, or any other concerned parties?


Applications Open: Dec 9, 2019
Deadline: March 1, 2020
Notification: late May 2020
Grant Period Begins: June 2020
Grant Period Ends: November 2021


  • Completed Budget Form uploaded as a PDF. A match is not required, but encouraged.
  • One-page budget narrative including justifications and conflicts of interest including a description of the available facilities and priorities for its use, if applicable. For projects requiting additional equipment please justify the need for these resources in the context of the research proposed. Please note any real or potential conflicts of interest.

7. IMAGES: Applicants may upload up to 10 supporting images. This might include examples of previous projects by the Maker or STEM Researcher or images related to the proposed research, including sketches, prototypes, photographs, etc. We suggest uploading half representative of past projects and half supporting your proposed project. You have the option of uploading any combination of images or video links (from hosting sites such as Vimeo, Flickr or YouTube.) During the review process only the first 2 minutes of each video sample so please edit your materials accordingly. Images should be in JPEG format no larger than 1000 pixels on any side @ 72 dpi. Name each jpeg file with “Collaborator’s LastNameImageTitleNumber.jpg,” i.e. “SmithUntitled1.jpg”, “SmithUnititled2.jpg” etc. Each uploaded image or video link must be accompanied by a corresponding image description (up to 50 words). This list should correspond to the order in which the images were uploaded.

8. CV: A copy of each Lead Collaborator’s most up to date CV should be uploaded in either Word or PDF format. Name your CV file “Collaborator’s Last NameFirst NameCV.doc/docx/pdf”, i.e. “SmithRobertCV” All additional team member’s information and CVs must also be submitted. No more than 4 pages for Lead Collaborators and 2 pages per additional collaborators.

9. LETTER OF SUPPORT: Please include one letter of support that addressed the feasibility and relevance of your project. PLEASE NOTE: Your letter of support is due at the same time as your completed SlideRoom application. Letters received after 11:59pm EST on February 8, 2019 will not be considered as part of your application. You can send a request to your recommender via SlideRoom as soon as you set up an account. We recommend that you make this request at least two weeks before the due date.

10. ADDITIONAL SUPPORT MATERIAL (optional): Support materials such as relevant articles, reviews, images. Each application may upload up to three supporting documents.

PLEASE NOTE: Your letter of support is due at the same time as your completed SlideRoom application. Letters received after 11:59pm EST on March 2, 2020 will NOT be reviewed. Images will not be accepted by email. Submitting an application does not constitute a promise or guarantee of acceptance.

NON-DISCRIMINATION: The program encourages and welcomes the participation of curators from all backgrounds and does not discriminate with regards to any individual or group of individuals on the basis of age, color, disability, gender, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation or veteran status. The Center for Craft encourages applications from traditionally under-represented populations.

2020 Materials-Based Research Grant - FAQ

What is the final deadline for submitting my online application form?

The application for 2020 Materials-Based Research Grants must be submitted via SlideRoom no later than 11:59pm on Monday, March 2, 2020.

May I mail a hard copy of my application materials to the Center for Craft’s office?

No, hard copy submissions will not be accepted. The application must be completed and submitted through SlideRoom.

Can I work on my application and return to complete it at a later date?

Yes, creating a login account will enable you to complete the form in several online sessions.

I just submitted my application but I want to return to it and make an edit. Is this possible?

No, once your application is submitted, you will not be able to return to the form or change any submitted information. The application fee must also be paid at the time of submitting your application as you will not be able to log-in again to access the payment page again.

How do I pay the application fee?

Payment must be submitted via credit card through the online application form system. After you complete and submit your application, you will be directed to a confirmation page and a link to pay your application fee. The application fee must be paid at the time of submitting your application as you will not be able to log-in to access the payment page once you have submitted your application.

Can two people from the same field apply as Lead Collaborators (e.g. two craftspeople or two STEM researchers)?

No. This grant requires a team of two collaborators – one Craft practitioner and one researcher from the field of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics.

Can I apply without a collaborator or choose a collaborator after the application is accepted?

No. This grant requires a team of at least two collaborators for the application to be considered – one from a Craft background and one from STEM.

Can more than two people collaborate on the project?

Yes, more than two people can be considered collaborators. However, for the sake of the application two Lead Collaborators should be identified, one from Craft and one from STEM. The Lead Collaborators will be held responsible for completing the requirements of this grant, including the disbursement of funds, completion of grant reports, etc.

Can a collaborator be a non-US citizen or internationally-based?

Both Lead Collaborators must be U.S. Citizens and/or hold a U.S. Social Security Number at the time of application and for the duration of the Project Period and report this grant as income. The same stipulations do not apply to other collaborators, however grant funds cannot be used for obtaining visas, transfer fees, or any other cost (monetary or otherwise) associated with working with an international collaborator.

What do you mean by a professional maker?

For this grant we define a professional maker as a mid-career or established craftsperson with a high degree of skill working in one or more craft-based media (e.g. wood, metal, fiber, clay, glass) and an interest in combining craft-based practice with science, technology, engineering, and/or mathematics (STEM).

What do you mean by interdisciplinary?

For this grant the Center for Craft acknowledges the Wikipedia definition: “Interdisciplinarity involves the combining of two or more academic disciplines into one activity (e.g., a research project). It is about creating something new by crossing boundaries, and thinking across them… Interdisciplinarity involves researchers, students, and teachers in the goals of connecting and integrating several academic schools of thought, professions, or technologies—along with their specific perspectives—in the pursuit of a common task.”

Can I submit more than one proposal?


Can I include more than one letter of support?

Yes. If you wish to include more than one letter of support, you can upload it in the additional support material section.

I have a question that wasn’t answered. How can I reach the Center for Craft?

If you have any further questions, please contact


Meet the 2020
Materials-Based Research Recipients

Field Building

Julian Goldman and Victoria Manganiello


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Melissa Conroy and Dr. Cindy Hsin-Liu Kao


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Travis Fitch, Anette Millingon, & Yuchen Zhang


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Visualizing the Invisible in 3-Dimensional Textile

Benedikt Diemer & Isaac Facio


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Amara Abdal Figueroa & Braulio Quintero Nazario


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Crafting Instruments for a Sea of Noise

Donald Fortescue & Gwenhaël de Wasseige


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Robotic 3D Felting

Jonas Hauptman & Stephanie Metz


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Field Building