(CLOSED) William T. Grant Scholars Program 2020

Sponsor Name: 
William T. Grant Foundation
Description of the Award: 

The William T. Grant Scholars Program supports career development for promising early-career researchers. The program funds five-year research and mentoring plans that significantly expand junior researchers’ expertise in new disciplines, methods, and content areas.

Applicants should have a track record of conducting high-quality research and an interest in pursuing a significant shift in their trajectories as researchers. The Foundation recognizes that early-career researchers are rarely given incentives or support to take measured risks in their work, so this award includes a mentoring component,as well as a supportive academic community.

Awards are based on applicants’ potential to become influential researchers, as well as their plans to expand their expertise in new and significant ways. The application should make a cohesive argument for how the applicant will expand his or her expertise. The research plan should evolve in conjunction with the development of new expertise, and the mentoring plan should describe how the proposed mentors will support applicants in acquiring that expertise. Proposed research plans must address questions that are relevant to policy and practice in the Foundation’s focus areas.

Please review the full application guidelines carefully using the URL Link above before applying.

Focus Areas

The Foundation’s mission is to support research to improve the lives of young people ages 5-25 in the United States. We pursue this mission by supporting research within two focus areas. Researchers interested in applying for a William T. Grant Scholars Award must select one focus area:

Reducing Inequality
In this focus area, the program supports research to build, test, and increase understanding of approaches to reducing inequality in youth outcomes, especially on the basis of race, ethnicity, economic standing, language minority status, or immigrant origins. Also, interest in research on programs, policies, and practices to reduce inequality in academic, social, behavioral, and economic outcomes.

Improving the Use of Research Evidence
In this focus area, the program supports research to identify, build, and test strategies to ensure that research evidence is used in ways that benefit youth. Particular interest in research on improving the use of research evidence by state and local decision makers, mid-level managers, and intermediaries

Applicant Eligibility: Applicants must have received their terminal degree within seven years of submitting their application. In medicine, the seven-year maximum is dated from the completion of the first residency. Applicants must be in a tenure-track position. Applicants of any discipline are eligible.

Focus Area Details:

Reducing Inequality Focus Area

To propose research on reducing inequality, applicants should:

  1. Identify a specific inequality in youth outcomes, and show that the outcomes are currently unequal. The Scholars Program is especially interested in supporting research to reduce inequality in academic, social, behavioral, or economic outcomes.
  2. Clearly identify the basis on which these outcomes are unequal, and articulate its importance. The Scholars Program is especially interested in research to reduce inequality on the basis of race, ethnicity, economic standing, language minority status, or immigrant origin status. Proposals for research on reducing inequality on a basis not listed here, or on ways in which a basis of inequality intersects with another, must make a compelling case that this research will improve youth outcomes.
  3. Articulate how findings from your research will help build, test, or increase understanding of a specific program, policy, or practice to reduce the specific inequality that you have identified. In sum, proposals for research on reducing inequality should make a compelling case that the inequality exists, why the inequality exists, and why the study’s findings will be crucial to informing a policy, program, or practice to reduce it.

Tackling a problem as large as inequality will require fresh, innovative ideas, and they welcome creative studies that have potential to advance or even transform the field.

Improving Research Evidence Focus Area

Proposed research in this focus area must pursue one of the following lines of inquiry:

  1. Identify or test strategies to improve the use of existing research.
  2. Identify or test strategies for producing more useful research evidence.
  3. Test the assumption that using high-quality research improves decision making and youth outcomes.
Sponsor Final Deadline: 
Jul 01, 2020
OVPR Application or NOI Instructions: 

One applicant may be nominated from each college/campus. If there are multiple applicants from a single college the Office of the Senior Vice President for Research will coordinate a downselect with Foundation Relations and the relevant Research Deans.

Please upload one PDF file (File name: Last name_GrantScholars_2020) containing the following items in order no later than 4:00 p.m. on the internal submission deadline:

1). A 5-year research plan (2 pages max) which should include:

  • the unique contribution of the research,
  • its significance in terms of policy and/or practice,
  • research design and methodology,
  • data sources and collection procedures.

2). A mentoring plan (1 page max):

  • applicant’s current areas of expertise and the new ones that will be added during the award;
  • the rationale for the proposed mentor(s);
  • the mentoring activities designed to develop the new expertise;
  • how the award will add significant value to the proposed mentoring relationship.

3). Brief CV (2 pages max).

Formatting Guidelines:

Font/size: Times New Roman (12 pt.)
Document margins: 1.0” (top, bottom, left and right)
Standard paper size (8 ½” x 11)

The Office of Foundation Relations is the designated institutional contact with the Foundation and is available to consult on proposal narrative elements and answer other foundation-related questions. University Park applicants, should please contact Adrienne Krasowitz, Assistant Director, Foundation Relations (ajk68@psu.edu or 814-863-4308 ).

To be considered as a Penn State institutional nominee, please submit a notice of intent by the date provided directly below.
This limited submission is in downselect: 
Penn State may only submit a specific number of proposals to this funding opportunity. The number of NOIs received require that an internal competition take place, thus, a downselect process has commenced. No Penn State researchers may apply to this opportunity outside of this downselect process. To apply for this limited submission, please use this link:
OVPR Downselect Deadline: 
Tuesday, May 19, 2020 - 4:00pm
Gabriela Richard (Education)