Dissertation Scholars Program

The Dissertation Scholars program seeks to support pre-doctoral scholars pursuing academic research that explores how inequality affects economic growth and stability. The program includes opportunities for professional development and mentorship, trainings, and exposure to how to make research relevant to today’s policy debates and accessible for the policymaking community. Our Dissertation Scholars program is typically in-residence, though is currently operating virtually. The majority of scholars’ time is spent pursuing their own research. Scholars are, however, required to assist with grant review, which consists of reading letters of inquiry and full proposals, logging reviews in our grants management system, and attending review meetings.

The Dissertation Scholar position is open to pre-doctoral scholars whose research aligns with Equitable Growth’s funding priorities. They are provided a $50,000 stipend, prorated over a 12-month term, to support their research and in recognition of the support they provide for Equitable Growth’s competitive grant program. Scholars’ tenure is at least one academic year, with the possibility of extension into a second year. Should an extension be of interest, the scholar must reapply and will be considered among that grant cycle’s applicants.

How to apply

Equitable Growth accepts applications for the Dissertation Scholars program in response to our annual Request for Proposals, which is released in the fall of each year. Application materials include a curriculum vitae, six-page proposal describing your research project, a two-page statement of work, and two letters of recommendation. Dissertation Scholar applicants who are not selected for the program are automatically considered for a Doctoral grant.

Dissertation Scholar finalists will be invited to a virtual site visit to give a presentation and meet with staff from our Policy, Communications, External and Government Affairs, and Academic Programs teams.

The deadline to apply is 11:59 p.m. EST on January 26, 2022.


Evaluation criteria

Dissertation Scholar application packets are evaluated internally by Equitable Growth staff. 

Research proposals are evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Proposed research questions are appropriately framed within the existing literature
  • Proposed research has the potential to advance the literature
  • Methodological soundness of the research design, including appropriate data
  • Relevance to Equitable Growth’s mission
  • Relevance to policy and potential to make a contribution to the policy community

Statements of purpose are evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Clarity on motivation of overall research agenda
  • Clarity on how proposed research fits within overall research agenda
  • Relationship of research agenda to Equitable Growth’s mission
  • Relationship of research agenda to current policy debates
  • Specific and concrete goals on how spending time with Equitable Growth would further your career/research

If you have questions regarding your potential grant application to Equitable Growth, please reach out to us via grants@equitablegrowth.org.


Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to apply to the Dissertation Scholars program?

The Dissertation Scholars program is open to pre-dissertation scholars who are currently enrolled in a Ph.D. program at a U.S. university.

I am a current Ph.D. student but will have likely graduated by the time grant funds are disbursed. Am I still eligible for the Dissertation Scholars program?

As a current Ph.D. student, you are eligible to apply for either a doctoral/postdoctoral or an academic grant. Students who will have completed their Ph.D. program before the start of the Dissertation Scholars program are not eligible to apply for the program.

What is the difference between a doctoral/postdoctoral grant and the Dissertation Scholars program?

The Dissertation Scholars program is a year-long, in-residence opportunity, where selected scholars continue their research while in Washington, D.C. on at least a partial basis, receive professional development and other supports, and participate in the review process for Equitable Growth’s competitive grants program. Our Dissertation Scholars program is typically in-residence, though is currently operating virtually. A doctoral/postdoctoral grant provides financial support for scholars to support their research at their home institution.

What responsibilities do Dissertation Scholars generally have?

Dissertation Scholars are expected to support our grant review process, by reading submitted grant applications, providing reviews, and attending meetings where applications are discussed. They are an integral part of our decision-making process and provide valuable expertise in their area of focus.

I’m not sure if my research is a good fit. How can I get feedback?

Please review our 2022 RFP for a general sense of our funding priorities. If you still have questions or would like feedback about whether your research project may be of interest, please email grants@equitablegrowth.org with a brief description of your research and the question(s) you have.

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