The Spencer Foundation has announced the Large Research Grants on Education Program to support education research projects that will contribute to the improvement of education, broadly conceived.
This program is “field-initiated” in that proposal submissions are not in response to a specific request for a particular research topic, discipline, design, method, or location. The goal for this program is to support rigorous, intellectually ambitious and technically sound research that is relevant to the most pressing questions and compelling opportunities in education.
The Spencer Foundation recognizes that learning occurs across the life course as well as across settings—from the classroom to the workplace, to family and community contexts and even onto the playing field—any of which may, in the right circumstance, provide the basis for rewarding study that makes significant contributions to the field. They value work that fosters creative and open-minded scholarship, engages in deep inquiry, and examines robust questions related to education.
The program supports proposals from multiple disciplinary and methodological perspectives, both domestically and internationally, from scholars at various stages in their career. They anticipate that proposals will span a wide range of topics and disciplines that innovatively investigate questions central to education, including for example education, anthropology, philosophy, psychology, sociology, law, economics, history, or neuroscience, amongst others.
- They anticipate awarding grants with budgets across each of the following funding tiers — $125,000 to 250,000; $250,001 to $375,000; and $375,001 to $500,000.
- Proposals to the Research Grants on Education program must be for academic research projects that aim to study education. Proposals for activities other than research are not eligible (e.g., program evaluations, professional development, curriculum development, scholarships, capital projects). Additionally, proposals for research studies focused on areas other than education, are not eligible.
- Principal Investigators (PIs) and Co-PIs applying for a Large Research Grant on Education must have an earned doctorate in an academic discipline or professional field, or appropriate experience in an education research-related profession. While graduate students may be part of the research team, they may not be named the PI or Co-PI on the proposal.
- The PI must be affiliated with a non-profit organization or public/governmental institution that is willing to serve as the administering organization if the grant is awarded. The Spencer Foundation does not award grants directly to individuals. Examples include non-profit or public colleges, universities, school districts, and research facilities, as well as other non-profit organizations with a 501(c)(3) determination from the IRS (or equivalent non-profit status if the organization is outside of the United States).
- Proposals are accepted from the U.S. and internationally, however all proposals must be submitted in English and budgets must be proposed in U.S. Dollars.
- Large Research Grant budget totals should be between $125,000 and $500,000, including up to 15% indirect cost charges. They will distribute the grant awards across these three tiers. They strongly encourage applicants to carefully consider this when constructing their project budgets and not only reach for the highest budget category.
- Projects proposed may not be longer than 5 years in duration.
- PIs and Co-PIs may only hold one active research grant from the Spencer Foundation at a time. (This restriction does not apply to the administering organization; organizations may submit as many proposals as they like as long as they are for different projects and have different research teams.)
- PIs and Co-PIs may not submit more than one research proposal to the Spencer Foundation at a time. This restriction applies to the Small Grants Program, Large Grants Program, Racial Equity Research Grants Program, and Research-Practice Partnership Program. If the PI or any of the Co-PIs currently have a research proposal under consideration in any of these programs, they are required to wait until a final decision has been made on the pending proposal before they can submit a new proposal.
- Note on Funding Tiers: They recognize that applicants are often encouraged to apply to the highest tiers and amounts of funding. However, in the case of Spencer’s large grant program, they prefer that budgets are well-suited to the project design. In previous cycles, tier one has been the most competitive group of submissions, proposals submitted to lower tiers have had better odds of being funded. They encourage researchers to consider what level of funding makes the most sense for their project and design.
For more information, visit Spencer Foundation.