Doctoral/postdoctoral grants

Doctoral/postdoctoral grants are open to graduate students currently enrolled in a doctoral program at a U.S. university and to recent Ph.D. graduates currently in a postdoctoral position at a U.S. university. If you are currently a graduate student or in a postdoctoral position, you may choose to apply for either an academic or doctoral/postdoctoral grant, depending on the pool in which you’d like to compete.

The annual Request for Proposals is released in the fall of each year. Prospective applicants should review the RFP carefully prior to submitting a proposal via the online form provided. Please reach out to with any questions.

Funding interests

The Washington Center for Equitable Growth seeks to deepen our understanding of how inequality affects economic growth and stability. To do so, we support research investigating the various channels through which economic inequality, in all its forms, may or may not impact economic growth and stability.

Equitable Growth promotes efforts to increase diversity in the economics profession and across the social sciences. We recognize the importance of diverse perspectives in broadening and deepening research on inequality and growth.

Equitable Growth supports research inquiry using many different types of evidence, relying on a variety of methodological approaches and cutting across academic disciplines.

Our request for proposals is organized around four channels of growth: Macroeconomics, Human Capital & Well-being, Market Structure, and The Labor Market.

Click here to read our most recent Request for Proposals.

How to apply

To apply for a doctoral/postdoctoral grant, submit a proposal and curriculum vitae using the online submission portal.

Doctoral/postdoctoral proposals should be approximately six single-spaced pages with standard font and margins. Proposals more than seven pages long will not be considered. While we do not want to be overly prescriptive, the page limit is designed to encourage concision and clarity.

Proposals should address the following:

  • Problem or question your research seeks to address
  • How it relates to Equitable Growth’s mission
  • Engagement with the relevant literature
  • Anticipated contribution to the literature
  • Detailed methodological approach, including data sources and research design
  • Status of data access
  • Potential policy implications
  • Timeline for completion

If tables, graphs, or other images are helpful in explaining your project, they can be included either in the body of the proposal or as an appendix. While they will not count against the page limit, we encourage you to limit the use of images to one or two.

Citations can be included as endnotes and do not count against the page limit.

Doctoral/postdoctoral proposals are due by 11:59 p.m. EDT on March 20, 2023.

Budget guidelines

Budget format

The application form requires the submission of a preliminary budget in the form of a brief narrative (approximately 150 words). A budget section is not required in the body of the proposal. The budget narrative should describe direct costs such as data purchase or research assistance. If funding will be used for support only, simply state that.

Doctoral/postdoctoral grants are funded at $15,000 over 1 year.

Allowable costs

Equitable Growth is willing to fund a wide range of activities for Doctoral/postdoctoral grants, including stipend support, data purchase, travel and costs associated with conducting experiments, or participating in professional conferences. Our grants cannot cover indirect overhead.

Project length

Equitable Growth funds must be spent down during the 12-month grant timeframe, though research projects do not have to be completed in that time. Grantees are encouraged to notify Equitable Growth staff at least 30 days prior to the grant end-date if there is a need to request a no-cost extension.

Evaluation criteria

Doctoral/postdoctoral proposals are evaluated internally by Equitable Growth staff and approved by our Steering Committee.

All proposals will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Relevance to Equitable Growth’s mission
  • 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 policy and potential to make a contribution to evidence-backed policy solutions

Preference is given to projects creating new data that can be made publicly available, to studies that center race, and to studies that engage with relevant literature across disciplines.

Applicants may choose to use this suggested template when drafting their proposal.

If you have questions regarding your potential grant application to Equitable Growth, please reach out to us via

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to apply for a doctoral/postdoctoral grant?

Doctoral/postdoctoral grants are open to graduate students currently enrolled in a doctoral program at a U.S. university and to recent Ph.D. graduates currently in a postdoctoral position 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 doctoral grant?

As a current Ph.D. student, you are eligible to apply for either a doctoral/postdoctoral or an academic grant. If you apply for and are awarded a doctoral grant, the award will still be disbursed even if you are in a postdoc or faculty position. There may be some questions about how to administer the grant, but those are easily handled.

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

Please review our 2023 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 with a brief description of your research and the question(s) you have.

What if I have a co-author? Can we apply as a research team? How does that affect funding?

Yes, you may apply together. You should only submit one proposal. Doctoral/postdoctoral grants are set at $15,000 over 1 year. Funds can be used for direct costs associated with conducting research, such as data purchase, or for stipend support. If used for stipend support, funds are typically split between the two co-authors. We are happy to work with grantees to determine the best way to support the research.

What if my co-author is a faculty member? Can s/he be supported via a doctoral/postdoctoral grant?

No, only graduate students and postdoctoral scholars can receive support from a doctoral/postdoctoral grant. You can consider applying for an academic grant. Should you choose to apply for a doctoral/postdoctoral grant, the funding can be used for direct costs associated with conducting research, such as data purchase, but stipend/salary support can only be provided for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars.

Is it acceptable for the same researcher to be listed as a co-PI on multiple proposals? Would this affect either team’s eligibility?

Each proposal is considered on its own merits, so involvement as a co-PI would not affect either team’s eligibility or the assessment of the proposed research.

Is it possible to submit two proposals for different research projects?

Yes, applicants may submit more than one proposal. Equitable Growth is unlikely to fund more than one project from the same scholar/team, but each proposed research project will be considered on its own merits.

Universities in Puerto Rico are accredited by the Middle States Association. Does the Washington Center for Equitable Growth fund researchers located in Puerto Rico?

Universities in Puerto Rico are generally eligible for funding.

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