Operation Impact

2019 HILT Spark Grant Recipients

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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. Forty-five projects were awarded for up to $50,000 to faculty, staff, and students at Harvard. Feedback from participants in the inaugural round demonstrated to HILT that, depending on the scope of outlined projects, the funding amount was either too small or too large to complete the necessary work.

In phase two (2014-2016), HILT bifurcated the Grants Program into semesterly Spark Grants, for awards of up to $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 further feedback from previous grant award recipients, HILT made the decision to offer Spark Grants to faculty, staff, and researchers only, on an annual basis. In the fall of 2018, the student-only offering, Pilot Funds, launched. These funds are offered in four rounds during the academic year and are designed to help students who have early-stage ideas for improving education broadly to gain traction on those ideas and lean an innovator’s mindset.

Between 2011 and 2019, HILT received 927 applications for funding with a 22% application success rate; to date, 203 projects have been funded. 

$5,642,400 AWARDED TO SCHOOLS to fund long-term initiatives, led by deans’ offices, with outcomes to be shared across the schools
$3,375,696 AWARDED TO INDIVIDUALS AND GROUPS to spark promising teaching and learning projects from idea to reality
927 TOTAL APPLICATIONS to the HILT Grants Program
203 TOTAL PROJECTS awarded HILT funding
1,671 UNIQUE APPLICANTS applied to the HILT Grants program; applicant pool each round on average 75% new grant applicants and 50% new to the HILT network

HILT also supports longer-term, school-based Decanal Priorities.