Innovation Research Grant

Through a financial commitment of $330,000, the USITT Board of Directors will sponsor research and development projects that investigate diverse areas of interest to its Membership and the entertainment industry at large. Each cycle of grant proposals will release up to $100,000 in total, noting however that proposals requesting up to that full amount will be considered.

USITT's Innovation Research Grants Program takes a new turn from past research efforts. USITT’s existing grant funds will remain fully in place and continue to fund identified organizational uses, this nascent effort seeks creative, distinctive, and transformative research that addresses areas of research that expand the scope of entertainment industry knowledge and awareness. To allow the most freedom and expanse to interested researchers, USITT has identified three very broad classifications intended to serve as guides for acceptable submissions. Guidelines address these three groups.


  • Aspiration: Subjects that allow an investigator an opportunity to explore an area of interest that bears on the performing arts in some clearly identified way. What the applicant aspires to achieve is something that he/she has a serious intention to investigate, and which articulates potential to expand the capabilities of the researcher, an identified organization, or the entertainment industry in general (including performers as well as technical/design practitioners).
  • Inspiration: These are subjects of investigation that may initially be aspirational in nature, but which have the potential to lead others to research further, or which explore offshoots of emerging ideas intended to enhance (transform) the investigator’s own research. Examples might be projects that open doors to new performance methodologies, or approaches that expand the reach and impact of any aspect of the performing arts.
  • Adaptation: Routinely artists cross paths with methodologies, equipment, spatial layouts, or some similar observation, perhaps already used in other fields, that could be refashioned or adapted in ways to make the project directly useful to the entertainment world.

While the USITT acronym includes the word “theatre,” the intent of this funding is to incorporate all phases of the performing arts including, but not limited to fields such as video, touring shows, trade shows, and both indoor and exterior performance. USITT seeks to expand our current constituency and to share our mission with all phases and artists within the entertainment industry. Proposals that help participants and audiences engage in newly established or identified creative performance enhancements are the foci that USITT hopes to attract.