- Questions about What We Fund
- Questions about How to Apply
- Questions about Investigator-Initiated Research Grants
- Questions about Officers' Research Grants
- General Questions about Grants
1. Questions about What We Fund
What is your funding focus?
3. Questions about Research Grants
The majority of our funding supports research relevant to youth ages 8 to 25 in the United States. Our Current Research Interests focus on understanding how youth settings work, how they affect youth development, and how they can be improved; and understanding when, how, and under what conditions research evidence is used in policies and practices that affect youth, and how its use can be improved. For more information, please view our Current Research Interests.
How do you define youth social settings?
Social settings are defined as the social environments in which youth experience daily life. These settings include environments with clear boundaries such as classrooms, schools, and youth-serving organizations and environments with less prescribed boundaries such as neighborhoods or other settings in which youth interact with peers, family members, and other adults.
Are there settings in which you are particularly interested?
No. We are interested in a range of settings that are important for youth development. Much of our grantmaking supports studies of youth programs, schools, neighborhoods, families, and peer groups. We also support research on other settings if an applicant can provide a strong rationale for their importance to youth development and outcomes. These might include studies of social welfare agencies and their affects on youth or juvenile justice settings, such as juvenile detention centers.
Are there aspects of settings in which you are particularly interested?
We view settings as dynamic social systems. Within these systems, we are interested in the social processes (i.e., patterns of transactions between two or more people or groups of people), resources (i.e., human, economic, physical, temporal resources), and organization of resources (i.e., how resources are arranged and allocated). For an extended discussion on this topic, please review our 2006 Annual Report essay “Social Setting Theory and Measurement”.
Are there youth outcomes in which you are particularly interested?
No. We are interested in a range of important youth development outcomes, including but not limited to those related to schooling, employment, health, social and emotional well-being, and identity.
Is there an age range for youth in which you are particularly interested?
We are interested in youth ages 8 to 25.
Is your interest in the use of research evidence the same as dissemination or translational research?
It depends on how dissemination and translational research are defined. Very often, dissemination and translational research emphasize the pushing out of research from researchers to policymakers or practitioners. Our interests focus more on understanding research users, the contexts in which research is used, and interactions between research users and researchers. For an extended discussion of our interests on this topic, please review our Annual Report essay “Studying the Use of Research Evidence in Policy and Practice”.
Do you prefer particular research designs and methods?
We believe that research designs and methods should be driven by the research questions posed. Therefore, in application reviews, we look first at the research questions. Then, we look to the research design and methods to see if they would provide strong evidence on the research questions. Given the range of research questions we view as important, we support studies using a wide range of designs and methods, such as field experiments, non-experimental longitudinal studies, ethnographies, and comparative case studies. These studies use an equally wide range of measures and analytical methods.
Do you fund studies that include biological measures?
Yes. The Foundation funds projects that theorize and measure the interplay between social and biological phenomena in ways that advance our primary interest in social settings. For example, we are interested in how biological phenomena condition the effects of social settings on youth development and how biological phenomena mediate the link between social settings and youth development. We are also interested in studies using measures of biological phenomena when doing so is an improvement over observation, interviews, and similar techniques for measuring how social settings influence youth development. For an extended discussion on this topic, please view our Biology Guidelines document.
Do you fund evaluation studies?
Yes. Like our other research grants, any proposed evaluation study should be a strong fit with our Current Research Interests and adhere to the General Criteria for Funding, found in our Research Grants Application Guide. Evaluation studies should include strong theory about key setting constructs and explain how the setting operates, and about how and why the intervention strategies would create setting change. Studies should also use strong research designs, extend prior and concurrent research efforts, and be replicable and generalizable. Studies should also consider the influences of the research sample; the context of the study and change initiative; and the implementation and cost of the policy, program, or intervention being evaluated.
Do you fund studies of policies and their effects?
Yes. We seek to understand the way public, organizational, and administrative policy affects youth settings and thereby youth. Applicants should include strong theory and measures of settings. For an extended discussion of this topic, please view our Policy Guidelines document.
Do you only fund experiments?
No. Most of our grants are for non-experimental work. We fund experiments when they help us understand how settings affect youth and how these effects can be improved. For example, we fund experiments to examine whether change in peer group composition affects youth outcomes or whether a professional development intervention affects the quality of teacher-student interactions.
Do you fund international studies?
Rarely. The Foundation funds research abroad only when it addresses an issue or question that has clear, compelling policy and practice implications for youth ages 8 to 25 in the United States.
Do you fund the planning stages of studies?
No. We focus our support on empirical studies in which applicants have already performed a literature review, have identified specific research questions and/or hypotheses, and possess sufficiently detailed research methods and data analysis plans that reviewers can evaluate their rigor.
Do you fund pilot or feasibility studies?
Rarely. The Foundation will occasionally fund such studies, but these are generally initiated by the Foundation to advance work on our Current Research Interests.
Do you support scholarships, building funds, annual campaigns and fundraising drives, or endowments?
Do you fund working meetings?
Rarely. When we support working meetings, they are usually commissioned and focus on building an infrastructure for research on our Current Research Interests or on our current Action Topic of improving the quality of after-school programs.
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2. Questions about How to Apply
How can I apply for a Research Grant?
To apply for a Research Grant, the Principal Investigator must submit a letter of inquiry. See our Research Grants Application Guide for more information. To apply for other types of grants, please visit the Funding Opportunities section of this website, which discusses our different grant programs and the corresponding application procedures?
What are the deadlines for applying for a Research Grant or Officers' Discretionary Grant?
For specific deadlines, please visit the Funding Opportunities section of this website. Letters of inquiry are accepted three times each year for Research Grants and on a rolling basis for Officers’ Research Grants. If a Research Grant letter of inquiry demonstrates that the project falls within our Current Research Interests and potentially meets our General Criteria for Funding, we will invite a full proposal for further consideration. Full proposals are accepted in early April for consideration at our October Board of Trustees meeting and August for consideration at our March Board of Trustees Meeting and in early January for consideration at our June Board of Trustees meeting. The review process for a successful Research Grant application, beginning with the submission of a letter of inquiry and ending with approval by our Board of Trustees, is 9 to 12 months. The review process for Officers’ Research Grant applications is usually four to six weeks. Approved awards are can be made available shortly after Board meetings for Research Grants and after internal review for Officer’s Research Grants.
Do I need to include a reference page in my letter of inquiry?
A reference page is not required but many applicants choose to include one. For more detailed instructions, please refer to our Research Grants Application Guide.
Should I submit an application myself or through my institutional office?
At the letter of inquiry stage, the Principal Investigator should submit the application. If invited to submit a full proposal, the Principal Investigator must submit their application through their institutional office.
Do I have to submit a Human Subjects Approval with my application?
No. Approval is not needed at the time of letter of inquiry or full proposal submission. However, IRB approval must be submitted to the Foundation before a grant can be officially awarded. (No grant money will be awarded without IRB approval if the proposal is for activities applicable to IRB review.)
Are there specific budget forms I need to complete when submitting a full proposal?
Yes, the Budget and Budget Justification Form is required.
How much of my grant can go toward indirect costs?
Indirect cost allowance, if applicable, for Research Grants cannot exceed 15 percent of total direct costs. This ceiling includes any indirect costs contained in expenses for contracted services.
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What is the typical award amount for a Research Grant?
Research Grants usually range from $100,000 to $600,000 for the duration of the award. Newly initiated experiments in which settings (e.g., classrooms, schools, youth programs) are randomly assigned to condition usually have higher awards ranging up to $1.5 million.
How long is a typical research grant period?
Research Grants usually last for two to three years.
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4. Questions about Officers' Research Grants
What is the difference between an Officers’ Research and a Research Grant?
Officers’ Research Grants are a subset of our Research rants. They are discretionary awards for $25,000 or less that do not require Board approval. Research Grants are more than $25,000, and must be approved by the Foundation's Board of Trustees.
What is the typical award amount for an Officers’ Research Grant?
Officers' Research Grants are usually in the range of $15,000 to $25,000.
How long is a typical Officers’ Research Grant period?
Officers’ Research Grants usually range from one to two years.
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5. General Questions about Grants
What distinguishes a Research Grant from a William T. Grant Scholars Award?
The William T. Grant Scholars Program is a career-development award designed to enable promising early-career scholars to stretch their expertise into new areas. This is a highly prestigious award and early-career scholars often seek it as a first choice. Eligibility requirements can be found on the William T. Grant Scholars Program page. If you are not eligible to apply to a William T. Grant Scholars award, you may still be eligible for a Research Grant.
If I become a grantee, am I required to submit reports to the Foundation?
Yes. All grantees are required to submit annual Program and Financial Reports throughout their award period.
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