Funding your ideas












HILT offers two types of funding to seed experimentation with teaching and learning:


SPARK GRANTS – for faculty and staff:

Our Spark Grants are for our faculty and staff community to encourage teaching and learning innovations that benefit the Harvard community. The goal of this fund is to nurture a culture of innovation around teaching and learning across Harvard.

Spark Grants summary: 

  • Up to $15K for research or projects to improve teaching and/or learning at Harvard
  • Application opens February 20, 2019
  • Application closes March 20, 2019
  • Ideas must be generalizable
    • i.e. think about how someone at another Harvard school might benefit from learning about your work; how will your idea collectively help us improve teaching and learning at Harvard?


PILOT FUNDS – for students: 

Our new Pilot Fund is for all students from all schools who have early-stage ideas to improve education broadly – at Harvard or beyond. The goal of this new fund is to help students gain traction with their ideas and to learn an innovation mindset.

Pilot Fund Summary: 

  • Up to $500 for student teams who are working on early stage education innovation ideas to improve Harvard or any other community
  • Applicants must be on teams of at least 2 people that represent a diversity of skills and backgrounds
  • There are four application rounds each year with the following deadlines:
    • October 19, 2018
    • November 30, 2018
    • February 22, 2019
    • April 19, 2019


Have a question about the HILT Grants program? Contact us at:

History of HILT Grants

The first phase (2011-2013) of the HILT Grants Program was designed to catalyze innovative activities and promote effective learning and teaching across the University. In phase two (2014-2016), HILT bifurcated the Grants Program into semesterly Spark Grants—awards of $5K-$15K designed to help “spark” promising teaching and learning projects from idea to reality and position innovations for future success—and Cultivation Grants of up to $200K, designed to extend promising educational innovations into new intellectual and institutional contexts, and to rigorously investigate the potential of their wide-scale adoption across the University.

In phase three (2017-present), based on the successes, challenges, and feedback from previous grant award recipients, the HILT Grants Program continues to offer Spark Grants as well as two new grant initiatives:Targeted Support and Student Pilot Funds.