RWJF’s Equity-Focused Policy Research Funding Opportunity in the United States

Deadline: 21 May 2019

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) is currently seeking applications for a program entitled “Equity-Focused Policy Research: Building Evidence on Income Supports for Low-Income Families with Young Children”.

The purpose of this funding opportunity is to support action-oriented research that advances health equity, builds the knowledge base, and informs policymaking on income supports for low-income families. Income supports may reduce poverty in households with young children; provide critical resources to help families support children’s development; diminish families’ stress levels, and thereby advance health equity. (RWJF plans to support research on the two other policy areas addressed in the research agenda—access to ECE and nutrition supports—through separate calls for proposals.) Evidence generated through funded projects should inform practice and policy, and guide practitioners and policymakers (federal, state, and local) in setting priorities and allocating resources.

The Foundation is particularly interested in research on two types of income supports: tax credits and cash transfer programs and policies.

  • Tax credits include Federal and state EITCs, the Child Tax Credit, and the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit. Refundable tax credits, such as the federal EITC, provide tax benefits to filers, regardless of their tax liability. Nonrefundable tax credits, on the other hand, provide tax benefits only to filers who have a tax liability.
  • Cash transfer policies provide income support to eligible families in the form of cash assistance. For this call for proposals, the Foundation is especially interested in research on the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (TANF). Under TANF, states receive block grant funding to operate programs and must also contribute to state “maintenance of effort” funds. States determine how to use TANF funds; in addition to providing cash assistance, funds can be used for child care supports; education and job training; transportation assistance; and other services to help recipients.

Total Awards

  • RWJF will make approximately 10 awards through this funding opportunity, totalling $1.5 million. They expect that awards will range from $50,000 to $500,000 each.
  • For projects that involve primary data collection through surveys, interviews, focus groups, observations, and other methods (or a combination of methods), applicants may request up to $250,000, for a project duration of up to 24 months.
  • For projects that rely solely on secondary data analyses, applicants may request up to $75,000, for a project duration of up to 12 months.
  • For projects that involve implementing and testing innovative strategies to expand access to income supports, participatory research methods, and/or substantial community partnerships, applicants may request up to $500,000, for a project duration of up to 30 months. The Foundation intends to make up to one award of this size.
  • Applicants should request amounts that are consistent with the scope and complexity of the research questions and methods they propose and for carrying out research methods aligned with the principles of equitable evaluation.

Eligibility and Selection Criteria

  • Eligible applicant organizations include academic institutions, public entities and private nonprofit organizations, state and local government agencies, and for-profit organizations. All organizations must be based in the United States or its territories. Applicants also may represent partnerships between service providers or practitioners and researchers.
  • While the principal investigator is not required to hold an advanced degree, the applicant team must demonstrate the ability to conduct the proposed research. Nonprofit and government entities that do not have in-house research capacity are strongly encouraged to partner with qualified researchers who have established track records in the topical area and research methods proposed.
  • They strongly encourage applications that include researchers who are from groups that are underrepresented in policy research and/or who are affiliated with institutions that serve underrepresented groups, such as historically black colleges and universities; academic institutions serving primarily Latino students; Tribal colleges; and other similar institutions. They also encourage applicants from diverse geographic areas and a range of disciplines that are relevant to policy research, including public administration; sociology; psychology; economics; community development; public health; education; social work; and others.
  • They encourage applications that incorporate approaches that are aligned with the principles of equitable evaluation, as described above. These approaches may include participatory research; community-based research; and other methods that enable individuals from groups who are the focus of research to be involved in defining and answering research questions.

How to Apply

Interested applicants must apply online via the given website.

Eligible Country: United States

For more information, please visit

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