The Spencer Foundation invests in education research that cultivates learning and transforms lives. The Spencer Foundation has been a leading funder of education research since 1971 and is the only national foundation focused exclusively on supporting education research. We believe education research is integral to improving education, making education systems more equitable, and increasing opportunities to learn across the lifespan.
- Invest in education research that is transformative, methodologically rigorous, and helps create a better society.
- Support high-quality education research training.
- Broaden the diversity of scholars and scholarship in education research.
- Strengthen the impact of education research for improving educational practice.
- Make education research more accessible to public audiences.
About the Grant
The Large Research Grants on Education Program supports education research projects that will contribute to the improvement of education, broadly conceived, with budgets ranging from $125,000 up through $500,000 for projects ranging from one to five years. We accept applications twice a year.
This program is “field-initiated,” meaning that proposal submissions are not in response to a specific request for a particular research topic, discipline, design, or method. Our goal for this program is to support rigorous, intellectually ambitious and technically sound research that is relevant to the most pressing questions and compelling opportunities in education. We seek to support scholarship that develops new foundational knowledge that may have a lasting impact on educational discourse.
We recognize that learning occurs across the life course as well as across settings—from the classroom to the workplace, to family and community contexts and even onto the playing field—any of which may, in the right circumstance, provide the basis for rewarding study that makes significant contributions to the field. We value work that fosters creative and open-minded scholarship, engages in deep inquiry, and examines robust questions related to education. To this end, this program supports proposals from multiple disciplinary and methodological perspectives, both domestically and internationally, from scholars at various stages in their career. We anticipate that proposals will span a wide range of topics and disciplines that innovatively investigate questions central to education, including for example education, anthropology, philosophy, psychology, sociology, law, economics, history, or neuroscience, amongst others.
Moreover, we expect and welcome methodological diversity in answering pressing questions; thus, we are open to projects that utilize a wide array of research methods including quantitative, qualitative, mixed-methods, ethnographies, design-based research, participatory methods, historical research, to name a few. We are open to projects that might incorporate data from multiple and varied sources, span a sufficient length of time as to achieve a depth of understanding, or work closely with practitioners or community members over the life of the project. In addition, we welcome proposals submitted by multidisciplinary and multigenerational teams who are positioned to both contribute to the project as well as contribute to the teaching and learning of fellow team members.
Finally, we encourage teams to thoughtfully consider and describe plans regarding the trajectories of their project’s findings, implications, and potential effects, especially how the knowledge may be shared and utilized across the field in practice, policy making, or with broader publics.
Proposals to the Research Grants on Education program must be for academic research projects that aim to study education. Proposals for activities other than research are not eligible (e.g., program evaluations, professional development, curriculum development, scholarships, capital projects). Additionally, proposals for research studies focused on areas other than education, are not eligible.
Principal Investigators (PIs) and Co-PIs applying for a Large Research Grant on Education must have an earned doctorate in an academic discipline or professional field, or appropriate experience in an education research-related profession. While graduate students may be part of the research team, they may not be named the PI or Co-PI on the proposal.
The PI must be affiliated with a non-profit organization or public/governmental institution that is willing to serve as the administering organization if the grant is awarded. The Spencer Foundation does not award grants directly to individuals. Examples include non-profit or public colleges, universities, school districts, and research facilities, as well as other non-profit organizations with a 501(c)(3) determination from the IRS (or equivalent non-profit status if the organization is outside of the United States).
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.
How to Apply
Deadline: January 24, 2024, 12:00 PM Noon (Central/Chicago time)
The application process begins with an Intent to Apply form. Once submitted, you will have access to the Full Proposal application in our online portal. Intent to Apply forms are due by 12:00pm Central Time on the deadline date.
You can apply by visiting: Link
For more information, visit: Link