The Small Research Grants program is intended to support education research projects with budgets of $50,000 or less. In keeping with the Spencer Foundation’s mission, this program aims to fund academic work that will contribute to the improvement of education, broadly conceived.
Historically, the work we have funded through these grants has spanned, a range of topics and disciplines, including education, psychology, sociology, economics, history, and anthropology, and they employ a wide range of research methods. The following examples of recently funded small grants illustrate the diversity of what we support:
- an experimental study of how college students use visual representations in solving math problems
- a study exploring the process of racial and rural identity formation among African American high-school students who attend de facto segregated schools in the rural South
- a mixed-methods study focusing on the different types of knowledge novice and experienced teachers draw on in teaching for reading comprehension
The majority of small grant proposals that are funded by the Foundation are “field-initiated” in the sense that they are not submitted in response to a Request for Proposal (RFP). In the past, we have requested that proposals within the Small Grants program be submitted within one of the areas of inquiry listed below. The Foundation does not use this information in the review process, but captures it in the application to better understand the variety of research that is proposed. The areas are broadly organized as follows:
Small Research Grants Eligibility and Process
- Principal Investigators (PIs) and Co-PIs applying for a research grant must have an earned doctorate in an academic discipline or professional field, or appropriate experience in an education research-related profession.
- The PI must be affiliated with a college, university, school district, non-profit research facility, or non-profit cultural institution that is willing to serve as the fiscal agent if the grant is awarded. The Spencer Foundation does not award grants directly to individuals.
- 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.
- Small Research Grant budgets are limited to $50,000
- Small Research Grant budgets may not include indirect cost charges.
- PIs and Co-PIs may only hold one active research grant from the Spencer Foundation at a time. Simultaneous submissions to the Foundation from PIs and Co-PIs are discouraged due to this policy.
The review process for the Small Research Grants program takes approximately 4 months following the deadline date. PIs will be notified via email of the final decision regarding their proposal. We receive over 500 proposal submissions per year and are able to fund 5-10% of those received. Information on the criteria used to review proposals can be found in the Program Statement.