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OER Faculty Grant

*The 2022 OER Faculty Grant application window is now closed*

The Affordable Instructional Resources (AIR) initiative invites faculty to apply for grant funding to develop open educational resources (OER) for undergraduate courses.

OER are teaching materials that are free, distributed online, and allow anyone to copy, use, adapt, and remix the materials for free. OER are commonly used as alternatives to expensive textbooks by providing students with high quality course readings at no cost.

Funded by the Office of the Provost and University Libraries, these grants are intended to fund the work involved in finding, creating, using, and sharing OER as replacements for required commercial textbooks. No experience with OER is necessary to apply.

Grant benefits

  • $5,000 to develop, use, and publish OER for a Northwestern undergraduate course. 
  • Grant recipients receive individualized support from librarians on finding, using, and publishing OER.

Grant funds can be taken as a stipend, or used to pay for aspects of OER development, such as student assistants, recording equipment, or travel. Standard taxes and benefit deductions apply.

Prior to submitting a proposal, faculty can contact Lauren McKeen McDonald, Open Education Librarian, at to discuss project ideas.


Project proposals will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
  • Potential savings on current textbook costs for Northwestern undergraduate students
  • Significance of OER to the course’s objectives and subject area
  • Significance of contribution to the broader OER field
  • Ability to be implemented in a timely manner, with priority given to projects expected to be implemented by the 2023-2024 academic year

Application materials

We will consider one application per course. Two or more faculty members may submit a combined application for a project that covers multiple courses, in which case each faculty member may be eligible for a $5,000 grant. Applications must be submitted online.  The application requires a brief project narrative (500 word limit), where we ask you to address the following:
  • 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
  • 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

Project narratives will be accepted in Word or PDF format via the application form. 

To see a list of grant recipients and projects from past years, visit our grant recipients page.


Full-time, benefits-eligible faculty, tenure-line or instructional, with continuing appointment in the 2023-2024 academic year.

Selection process

Applications received by March 25, 2022 will receive first consideration. Applications will be evaluated by a selection committee comprised of members from the AIR team, as well as a former grant recipient, representative from faculty senate, and a learning engineer. Selected applicants will be notified in mid-April. 


Grant requirements

Selected grantees will be required to complete the following:

  • Attend a launch meeting to connect with fellow grantees, learn the basics of OER, and discuss project ideas.
  • Meet with librarians for an individualized OER consultation to discuss a timeline and work plan.
  • Check in with librarians periodically or as needed to report progress and request support.
  • Publish any new or derivative OER under a Creative Commons license using the Libraries' digital publishing services.
  • Participate in at least one speaking engagement or interview to share your experience of creating an open resource with the Northwestern community.

Completed projects are expected to be implemented in a course offered by Spring 2024.