New Funding Opportunity - Open Educational Resources Grants

The Affordable Instructional Resources (AIR) initiative invites faculty to apply for grant funding to explore the use and creation of open educational resources (OER) for undergraduate courses. Commercial textbooks and course packets can create significant financial and technical barriers for students.

OER are free educational materials that provide faculty the freedom to adapt and distribute course materials without restrictions and at no cost to students. In addition to grant funding, librarians will be available to provide faculty with individualized curriculum and technology support for identifying, using, adapting, and publishing open educational content.

Funded by the Office of the Provost and the Libraries, these grants are intended to support faculty who are interested in using, adapting, and remixing openly-licensed research and educational materials in order to reduce course materials costs for students and highlight the pedagogical power of OER. No experience with OER is necessary to apply.

Available Grants

  • $2,500 grants for course revisions to replace textbooks and/or course packs with existing OER
  • $5,000 grants for developing and publishing OER in an academic discipline


  • Potential savings on course materials costs for Northwestern students
  • Significance of OER to the course’s objectives
  • Ability to be implemented in the 2019-2020 academic year
  • Willingness to provide feedback on using OER to the Northwestern community

Benefits of using OER

  • Open licensing allows instructors to have greater control over course content
  • Librarians can help reformat text and add multimedia elements to course materials
  • Provides opportunities to explore open pedagogy for scholarly publication and presentation

Application Materials

One application per course. Applications must be submitted online.  The application requires a brief project narrative (500 word limit), where we ask you to address the following:

  • How you plan to incorporate an OER into your course
  • How you will spend the grant funds to support this work
  • How you will evaluate the success of the OER in your class
  • The number of students typically enrolled in the class, an estimate of the current cost of course materials, and an estimate reduction in course cost by using an OER

Project narratives will be accepted in Word or PDF format via the application form. If you’d like to prepare your application ahead of time, download a copy of the application questions.



Full-time, benefits-eligible faculty, tenure-line or instructional, with continuing appointment in the 2019-2020 academic year.

Selection Process

Applications must be received by April 15, 2019. Applications will be evaluated by faculty and members of AIR. Selected applicants will be notified on a rolling basis, no later than May 17th, 2019.

Grant Requirements

Selected grantees would be required to meet with librarians for an OER consultation, submit a work plan, and publish any new or derivative OER using the Libraries’ digital publishing services under a Creative Commons license. Completed projects are expected to be implemented in a course offered during the 2019-2020 academic year.


Please email Chris Diaz, Digital Publishing Librarian, at