(CLOSED) William T. Grant Scholars Program 2022

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 link to the right before applying.

Focus Areas

The Foundation supports research in two distinct focus areas: 1) Reducing inequality in youth outcomes, and 2) Improving the use of research evidence in decisions that affect young people. Proposed research must address questions that align with one of these areas.

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. Note: While we value research on the causes and consequences of inequality, we do not fund this work. Instead, we support research that informs or examines a policy, program, or practice response that can be implemented through an organization, institution, or system.

Proposals for research on reducing inequality 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 research to reduce inequality in academic, social, behavioral, or economic outcomes.
  2. Make a convincing case for the dimension(s) of inequality the study will address. The Scholars Program is especially interested in research to reduce inequality along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, economic standing, language minority status, or immigrant origin status.
  3. Articulate how findings from your research will help build, test, or increase understanding of a program, policy, or practice to reduce the specific inequality that you have identified. Applicants should 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 a particular 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 on strategies to improve the use of research evidence in ways that benefit young people ages 5-25 in the United States. We welcome descriptive studies that reveal the strategies, mechanisms, or conditions for improving research use, as well as evaluations of deliberate efforts to increase routine and beneficial uses of research in decision-making. Note: The Foundation is particularly interested in research on ways to improve the use of research evidence by state and local policymakers, mid-level managers, and intermediaries. These decision-makers play important roles in deciding which programs, practices, and tools to adopt; deliberating ways to improve existing services; shaping the conditions for implementation; and making resource allocation decisions.

In this focus area, The foundation welcomes studies that pursue one of three aims:

  1. Building, identifying, or testing ways to improve the use of existing research evidence
  2. Building, identifying, or testing ways to facilitate the production of new research evidence that responds to decision-makers’ needs
  3. Testing whether and under what conditions using research evidence improves decision-making and youth outcomes

Eligible Applicants

  • Applicants must be nominated by their institutions. Major divisions of an institution (e.g., College of Arts and Sciences, Medical School) may nominate only one applicant each year. In addition to the eligibility criteria below, deans and directors of those divisions should refer to the Selection Criteria to aid them in choosing their nominees. Applicants of any discipline are eligible.
  • Applicants must have received their terminal degree within seven years of submitting their application. We calculate this by adding seven years to the date the doctoral degree was conferred. In medicine, the seven-year maximum is dated from the completion of the first residency.
  • Applicants must be employed in career-ladder positions. For many applicants, this means holding a tenure-track position in a university. The award may not be used as a post-doctoral fellowship.
  • Applicants outside the United States are eligible. As with U.S. applicants, they must pursue research that has compelling policy or practice implications for youth in the United States.

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.

Sponsor Final Deadline: 
Jul 06, 2022
OSVPR Application or NOI Instructions: 

Please upload one PDF file (File name: [Last name]_GrantScholars_2022) containing the following items in order no later than 4:00 p.m. on the internal submission deadline:

1). Cover Page

  • Descriptive title of the proposed activity
  • PI name, departmental affiliation(s) and contact information
  • Proposed mentors names, titles and departmental affiliation(s)

2). 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.

3). 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.

4). 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)

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:
OSVPR Downselect Deadline: 
Monday, April 4, 2022 - 4:00pm
For help or questions: 

he 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, Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations, (jkiely1@pennstatehealth.psu.edu) for additional support. University Park and Commonwealth Campus applicants should please contact Jara Dorsey-Lash, Associate Director, Foundation Relations (jed72@psu.edu) for additional support.

No Applicants, Now first come, first served - Contact LimitedSubs@psu.edu if you wish to apply