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ESSWE’s Sponsorship Programme for Independent Scholarly Initiatives is a modest funding instrument designed to help small-scale, grass-root academic initiatives get off the ground. Whether arranging a workshop, setting up a research website, or running a journal, these grants are helpful for small projects where a little bit of money make a big difference. Grants are typically awarded in the € 200–400 range. Below you may read more about the programme, requirements, the application procedure, and what can be applied for.


The ESSWE Sponsorship Programme for Independent Scholarly Initiatives seeks to stimulate new activities by allocating funds to grass-root initiatives where a little bit of money can make a big difference. Examples include the organization of workshops (for students and/or researchers), arranging lectures (e.g. in geographic areas where the study of esotericism is not well established), or setting up independent publications or other media outlets (journals, student magazines, web resources). We are especially looking to support projects that are collaborative in nature, and likely to increase the visibility and impact of research and teaching in our field.

Application requirements and evaluation procedure

The sponsorship is awarded on the basis of a submitted budget, a short cover letter explaining the plans and objectives of the initiative (1-3 pages), and a short CV of the main applicant(s) (1 page). The main applicant must be a paid-up member of ESSWE in order to be considered. In assessing applications, the committee will emphasise the initiative’s potential for stimulating new activity in the field – hence it is important that the expenses listed in the budget are directly related to achieving the goals described in the cover letter. Applicants are also encouraged to seek additional funding from other sources.

In order to stimulate new projects the sponsorship may be awarded as an advance. In such cases, accounts and receipts of actual expenses must be submitted to ESSWE no later than the end of the granting year. Unused funds should be returned to ESSWE.

Grant Cycle and Deadlines

Applications can be submitted to the committee chair, Egil Asprem (, at any time throughout the year. The committee will evaluate received proposals four times a year (around the 15th of February, May, August, November), with decisions following shortly thereafter.

Tips for writing your application

  • The cover letter
Be specific and concise. Say what the project will do, who will do it, when, and where. Explain briefly how your project fits within the framework of this call, and (unless it is obvious) what sort of outcomes you expect. Please also indicate whether you are seeking additional funding.
  • The budget
You should specify how much money you are applying for and how it relates to the total budget of your project. In other words, list all the expenses you expect for this project. ESSWE will focus on covering essential costs. For example, if it involves a workshop, the sponsorship may fund room rental or travel expenses, but not a free lunch.
  • CV of main applicant
Make it short (1 page). The committee is primarily interested in seeing evidence of commitment to the field and to ESSWE’s academic values. Documenting any prior experience with the type of project that is being proposed is also a good idea.
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