Early career grants

Early career grants are open to researchers affiliated with a U.S. university whose Ph.D. was issued within the past 8 years, as well as graduate students currently enrolled in a Ph.D. program at a U.S. university. Graduate student applicants should be in the dissertation phase of their graduate program. If you have received tenure, you are not eligible for an early career grant.

Grants to current graduate students and postdoctoral scholars are set at $15,000 over 1 year. International students at U.S. universities are eligible to apply, though if awarded, the grant would likely need to be administered through the university. International students are advised to communicate their intention to apply with their institution to ensure adherence to institutional protocol if funded.

Grants to all other early career scholars are set at $30,000 over 1–2 years, depending on the timeline of the research project. Applicants do not have to be in a tenure-track position to be eligible. The affiliated university must administer the grant.

We understand that research is collaborative. Applicants may have co-authors who are further along in their career, though those co-authors are not eligible for funding.

We frequently partner with other foundations to support projects jointly or to share proposals that are not a fit for our grant program, but which may be of interest to other funders.

Equitable Growth is willing to fund a wide range of activities, including researcher salary and benefits, research assistance, data purchase, and costs associated with conducting experiments or participating in professional conferences. Our grants cannot cover indirect overhead.

Prospective applicants should review the Request for Proposals carefully prior to submitting a proposal via the online form provided.

Please reach out to grants@equitablegrowth.org or call (202) 545-3343 with any questions.

Funding interests

The Washington Center for Equitable Growth seeks to invest in early career scholars whose research agendas are policy relevant, related to how inequality affects economic growth, and who are also interested in engaging with nonacademic audiences. We are particularly interested in researchers who, as their career progresses, are willing and able to engage with media and policymakers on their research.

Social scientists and their research can play a powerful role in shaping policy. Grantees will have the opportunity to participate in trainings and receive assistance in translating research for media and policymakers to help equip Equitable Growth’s academic network with the necessary skills and opportunities to shape public debates and policy outcomes, including via temporary government service.

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, and the need to elevate diverse voices to shape debates and policy solutions.

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

Read the Request for Proposals: Research Grants for Early Career Scholars.

Eligibility

This Request for Proposals is open to:

  • Graduate students currently enrolled in a Ph.D. program at a U.S. college or university who are in the dissertation stage of their graduate career
  • Early career scholars at a U.S. college or university whose Ph.D. was issued within the past 8 years. If you have received tenure, you are not eligible for an early career grant

How to apply

To apply for an early career grant, submit a five-page proposal, a one- to two-page research statement, and two-page abbreviated curriculum vitae using the online application portal. Applicants are encouraged to use this template for the five-page proposal.

Proposals must include:

  • Problem addressed by the research
  • Engagement with and expected contribution to the literature
  • Methodological approach, including data sources and research design
  • Status of data access
  • Policy implications
  • Timeline for completion

If tables, graphs, or other images are helpful in explaining your project, they can be included. 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.

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. Because grant amounts are set, we are interested in how you anticipate using the funds. If you will use them for salary or stipend support only, simply state that.

The research statement should include the motivation behind your research agenda, your current work, and the future direction and potential of your work, particularly in a policy context.

The deadline to apply is 11:59 p.m. EST on January 29, 2024.

Funding decisions will be announced in May, and funding is typically dispersed at the start of the academic year.

Evaluation criteria

Proposals are evaluated by Equitable Growth staff and external reviewers. All grants are approved by our Steering Committee. External reviewers consist of subject-matter and methodological experts ranging from early career to established researchers. External reviewers are selected with a commitment to diversity of race, gender, discipline, area of study, and university affiliation.

All applications will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Relevance of the overall application package to Equitable Growth’s funding priorities
  • Potential of the proposed research and overall research agenda to generate actionable insights and inform policy design and implementation
  • Researcher’s potential to engage beyond academia to inform evidence-backed policy solutions
  • 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

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.

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

Budget guidelines

Allowable costs

Equitable Growth is willing to fund a wide range of activities, including researcher salary and benefits, research assistance, data purchase, and costs associated with conducting experiments or participating in professional conferences. Our grants cannot cover indirect overhead.

Fringe/benefit costs are allowable up to a maximum rate of 35 percent.

Tuition and related fees are an allowable cost if student research assistants are included in the budget request.

Project length

Grants to graduate students and postdoctoral scholars are set at 1 year. Grants to other early career scholars can be 1–2 years.

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.


Frequently Asked Questions

WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO APPLY FOR AN Early Career GRANT?

Early career grants are open to researchers affiliated with a U.S. university. Early career includes graduate students currently enrolled in a Ph.D. program at a U.S. college or university who are in the dissertation stage of their graduate career, postdoctoral scholars at a U.S. college or university, and untenured scholars at a U.S. college or university, assistant professors or otherwise, whose Ph.D. was issued within the past 8 years. If you have received tenure, you are not eligible to receive an early career grant. The affiliated university must be willing to administer the grant.

Researchers who are the Principal Investigator for an open Equitable Growth grant with an end date beyond July 1, 2024 are not eligible to apply. Co-Principal Investigators/Collaborators with open grants are eligible to apply.

I qualify as an early career scholar, but my co-Pis do not. Can i apply for a joint project?

Yes, the funding can support the project but cannot include support for the mid-career or senior co-PIs. Salary and travel support can only be allotted to the graduate students or early career scholars on the project.

I’M NOT SURE IF MY RESEARCH IS A GOOD FIT. HOW CAN I GET FEEDBACK?

Please review our 2024 Request for Proposals 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, or sign up for an Office Hours appointment to meet with Equitable Growth staff.

IS IT ACCEPTABLE FOR THE SAME RESEARCHER TO BE A CO-PI ON MULTIPLE PROJECTS? 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 Applications FOR DIFFERENT RESEARCH PROJECTS?

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

I AM AFFILIATED WITH A UNIVERSITY OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES. AM I ELIGIBLE TO APPLY?

Scholars at non-U.S. colleges and universities can be part of a research team and can receive support via funded research. However, the Principal Investigator must be affiliated with a U.S. college or university, and the grant must be administered by the U.S. institution.

I HAVE MULTIPLE AFFILIATIONS, INCLUDING AT A U.S. UNIVERSITY. AM I ELIGIBLE TO APPLY?

Yes, so long as the U.S. college or university you are affiliated with agrees to administer the grant. Equitable Growth does not award grants to think tanks or other research organizations.

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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