Course:FNEL 380/Budgets, Timeline & Delivery in Language Documentation Projects

From UBC Wiki

Grants are amounts of money that, in the research context, can be used to help fund projects. [1] This money can be distributed by either governmental or non-governmental organizations.


Grants are awarded by organizations for language documentation projects. Some grants will specifically ask for documentation while others will ask for revitalization efforts[2]. Applying for grants generally takes place online, although some organizations may ask for a hard copy. Online pages for each grants will detail the specific requirements necessary. Some grants may ask for references.

Types of Grants

Jane Simpson identifies three major types of funding [3]:

  • research grant bodies
  • non-government grant bodies
  • endangered languages grant bodies

Penfield and Zepeda identify two major types of grants[4]:

  • public (federal)
  • private foundations

These all vary in their scope and eligibility requirements. Larger and more well established organizations generally offer more grant money, but it is also more competitive. However, Douglas H. Wahlen advises securing multiple smaller grants before applying for a larger grant since having small grants shows fiscal responsibility, thus heightening one's chances of winning a larger grant[5].


Each organization will have different eligibility requirements depending on the organization's focus and scope. Some funding bodies, such as the SSHRC, require that the primary applicant be affiliated with a university[6]. Others, such as the FPCC's language grants, limit applicants to First Nations communities rather than individuals, although exceptions occur[7].

Funding bodies' considerations can also extend to the projects themselves. Some organizations will require evidence of community involvement and support[8]. Others, such as UNESCO, require "potential to have a sustainable impact"[9]. These specific guidelines are on the grant websites, as they can vary from organization to organization and from grant to grant.


Budgets comprise one part of the grant application. The budget spells out what the money from the funding body will be used for, as well as detailing any other outside sources of funding[10]. Key aspects of a budget include identifying financial recompense for contributors and accommodation[11]. The FPCC language grant emphasizes the importance of a "realistic and balanced budget"[12]. The budget must reflect working with the community to prevent misunderstandings, e.g. if the project will take place outside of typical work hours, how the contributor will be compensated for their time[13].

Budgets are typically accompanied by a budget narrative, which goes into depth explaining each figure[14]. This narrative also ties together the timeline and the budget into one cohesive project[15].


Timelines, also known as work plans, detail the progressive steps of the project and how it will achieve the community's and/or the researcher's stated goals. A work plan must not be too ambitious, but it also must reach its target. Penfield and Zepeda establish five basic factors that go into preparing a work plan[16]f:

  • time
  • personnel
  • data collected, analyzed and archived
  • materials developed
  • classes or workshops offered

The schedule should be created with contributors in mind. Overwhelming community members or negatively impacting their quality of life due to the project should be avoided[17].

Other Resources

The FPCC has prepared examples of a good and a bad grant, available on their website[18]. These sample applications are scripted, but provide a good baseline as to what level of detail grants should entail and how specific technical aspects such as budget and timelines should be.