HFG Distinguished Scholars

BERLIN – MAY 06: A visitor looks at an exhibit of index cards from the post-World War II investigation of members of the Reich Security Main Office (RSHA), one of the main security orgainzations of the Nazis and led by Heinrich Himmler, at the Topography of Terror documentation center and museum on May 6, 2010 in Berlin, Germany. The center, which stands on the site of the former Gestapo and SS headquarters building, documents the role of the Gestapo, the SS and other instruments of terror of the Nazis with exhibition spaces, a library, events and a special scholars’ archive. The Topography of Terror center is scheduled to officially open with an official ceremony later today. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

The Harry Frank Guggenheim Distinguished Scholar Awards (formerly the Harry Frank Guggenheim Research Grants) recognize leading researchers proposing to make a significant contribution to illuminating an issue of violence.

The Foundation welcomes proposals from any of the natural and social sciences and aligned disciplines that promise to increase understanding of the causes, manifestations, and control of violence and aggression. Highest priority is given to research that addresses urgent, present-day problems of violence—what produces it, how it operates, and what prevents or reduces it.  

The Foundation is interested in violence related to many subjects, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • War
  • Crime
  • Terrorism
  • Family and intimate-partner relationships
  • Climate instability and natural resource competition
  • Racial, ethnic, and religious conflict
  • Political extremism and nationalism

The Foundation supports research that investigates the basic mechanisms in the production of violence, but primacy is given to proposals that make a compelling case for the relevance of potential findings for policies intended to reduce these ills. Likewise, historical research is considered to the extent that it is relevant to a current situation of violence. Examinations of the effects of violence are welcome insofar as a strong case is made that these outcomes may serve, in turn, as causes of future violence. 

The Distinguished Scholar Awards 

Most awards fall within the range of $15,000 to $45,000 per year for periods of one or two years. Applications for larger amounts and longer durations will be considered but must be strongly justified. The awards are made to individuals (or sometimes two or, rarely, three principal investigators) for specific projects, not general research support. They are not awarded to institutions for institutional programs. Individuals who receive research grants may be subject to taxation on the funds awarded.


Applications must be submitted by August 1, for a decision in December. Final decisions are made by the Board of Directors at its meeting in December. Applicants will be informed promptly by email of the Board’s decision. Awards ordinarily commence on January 1, but later starting dates may be requested if the nature of the research deems this appropriate.


Applicants for an award may be citizens of any country. While almost all recipients of these awards possess a Ph.D., M.D., J.D., or equivalent degree, there are no formal degree requirements for the award. The award, however, may not be used to support research undertaken as part of the requirements for a graduate degree. Applicants need not be affiliated with an institution of higher learning, although most are college or university professors.


Candidates for the Harry Frank Guggenheim Distinguished Scholar Award may apply online annually between May 1 and August 1. Applicants must create an account to access the application and guidelines. The guidelines are also available through the second link below.

Online Application (Login required)

Application Guidelines (PDF)

Recent Recipients

2021 – 2022

Margherita Belgioioso (University of Kent). Rebel Tactics, Local Public Support and the Upcoming Phase of the Peace Talks in Southern Thailand
Laura Blume (University of Nevada, Reno). Cataloguing Murder: Tracking Violence Against Public Figures in Central America
Abby Cordova (University of Notre Dame). Violence against Women and Political Engagement in Multi-Violence Contexts: Evidence from El-Salvador
Stephen Davis (University of Kentucky). The Bitter Aloe Project: Building a Prosopographic Understanding of Apartheid Era Violence Through Advanced Machine Learning
Mohammed Ibrahim Shire (University of Portsmouth). Targeted recruitment: Explaining why certain clans join and eschew Al-Shabaab in Somalia
Ore Koren (Indiana University Bloomington). Zoonotic Disease Outbreaks and Political Conflict in Africa
Eduardo Moncada (Columbia University). State Responses to Non-State Security Provision: A Comparative Urban Study in the Americas
Andrew Papachristos (Northwestern University). Murder by Structure: How Street Gangs Built the Great American City
Raul Sanchez de la Sierra (University of Chicago). Morality, Violence, and Opportunism: Inside the Nduma Defense of Congo Militia
Renard Sexton (Emory University). Ground-Truthing Fishing Conflicts in the South China Sea
Eric Tenkorang (Memorial University). Kinship, Lineage Norms and Intimate Partner Violence Against Women in Ghana

See Full List

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