Norden Fund 2020: Frequently Asked Questions

This page will continue to be updated throughout the duration of the call for proposals. Please check back periodically for updated information.

Is there a deadline to complete my research travel?

We ask winners to complete their travel within a year of the winners’ announcement, but this can be decided on a case-by-case basis.

Is COVID-19 going to affect the 2020 travel grant?

Please note that the League will comply with any travel restrictions due to COVID-19 in the following months, but we are hopeful that this situation will not affect the ability of grantees to travel within the next year.

Can teams apply?


How many recommendation letters do I need if applying individually or as a team?

Only two letters of recommendation are required per submission. Each member of the team should be addressed somehow in the letters; for example for a two-member team, one letter could address the qualifications/capacity of one applicant, and the other letter the other, or a letter could address the qualifications and capacity of both members of a team.

How do the recommendation letters get used in the jury process?

The letters play a very important role in the process, in the second round. The jury selects a shortlist of proposals for further consideration, without looking at the letters. Then, in the shortlist round, the letters are given significant weight. You should request letters from people who know you, your work, and/or your proposed project well.

What does the jury look for in proposals?

The jury looks for proposals that clearly convey why this particular projectwhich should be well-conceived and able to be accomplished in the time proposedis important to the proposer. You should be able to describe clearly why you are interested in this subject matter and how you think it might affect your future development.

Do I need to be a citizen of the United States, Canada, or Mexico to apply for the Norden Fund?

You do not need to be a citizen of the US, Canada, or Mexico, but you do need to be a full-time resident of one of these countries at the time of the competition submission deadline.

I am a current resident of the United States, Canada, or Mexico, but my visa will expire/ I will move out after the submission deadline. Am I eligible to apply?


Are there any restrictions on what countries I can propose travel to?

No. However, the jury is generally wary of proposals that involve travel to a “home” country, on the premise that the person would likely be able to travel to that country using personal means.

Can I submit more than one proposal?

No. Individuals may submit only one proposal, either alone or as part of a team.

Can I use the grant to support my participation in an academic program abroad?

Grant funds cannot be used for tuition, and grants will not be awarded to support participation in an organized program, such as a university’s summer abroad program.

Can I use the grant to support my Ph.D. dissertation?

While requests for support of dissertation research will be considered, they are not a priority of the fund.

My project does not include international travel, but travel within the United States. Am I eligible to apply?

Yes. Projects need to require travel, but travel can be domestic rather than international.

Is there a strict definition of “recent graduate”?

No, we are flexible about this requirement. Usually, it can be considered up to about 10 years out of school, but we consider it on a case by case basis.  

What do I need to include in my submission?

A maximum three-page project proposal, the grant amount requested (up to $5,000), a maximum two-page résumé, and a projected schedule and budget for travel and other costs. An addendum of no more than four pages may be submitted in order to include images, maps, or other supporting material. All materials should be submitted as one letter-size PDF document. The two letters of recommendation must be sent directly by the recommenders.

Will The Architectural League publicize the Norden Fund winner?

Yes, the League will publicize the winner online. Once the travel research is completed, we require winners to submit a travel report, which we will review, edit, and publish on our website. A list of past winners and their reports can be found here.