(CLOSED) William T. Grant Scholars Program 2021

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

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.

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

Reducing Inequality Focus Area

In this focus area, we support studies that aim to build, test, or increase understanding of programs, policies, or practices to reduce inequality in the academic, social, behavioral, or economic outcomes of young people, especially on the basis of race, ethnicity, economic standing, language minority status, or immigrant origins.

To propose research on reducing inequality, applicants must:

  1. Identify a specific inequality in youth outcomes, and show that the outcomes are currently unequal. by engaging with the extant literature on the causes and consequences of inequality. The Scholars Program is especially interested in supporting research to reduce inequality in academic, social, behavioral, or economic outcomes.
  2. Make a compelling case for the basis of inequality the study will address. 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. We encourage applicants to draw on extant theoretical and empirical literature to provide a rationale for why the programs, policies, or practices under study will equalize outcomes between groups or improve outcomes of the disadvantaged group. Likewise, applicants must identify how the study will investigate this rationale to determine whether it holds up to empirical scrutiny.

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

In this focus area, we support research to identify, build, and test strategies to ensure that research evidence is used in ways that benefit youth. We are particularly interested in research on improving the use of research evidence by state and local decision makers, mid-level managers, and intermediaries.

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

  1. Build, 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: 
Jun 19, 2021
OVPR Application or NOI Instructions: 

Please upload one PDF file (File name: Last name_GrantScholars_2021 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. Penn State College of Medicine applicants should please contact Jess Kiely, Associate Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations, (jkiely1@pennstatehealth.psu.edu) for additional support. University Park applicants should please contact Sophie Penney, Director, Foundation Relations (swp2@psu.edu) for additional support.

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 4, 2021 - 4:00pm
Notes: 
Gabriela Richard (Education)