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Social, Political and Economic Inequality (SPEI)

Grants to USA Researchers for Innovative Research
Addressing the Causes of Inequality in American Society

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Russell Sage Foundation (RSF)

LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

03/12/20 2:00 PM ET / 11:00 AM PT


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Grants to USA scholars for innovative research addressing factors that contribute to inequality in America. Applicants must submit an LOI prior to submitting a full application. Studies will address how economic, political, and social inequalities have affected outcomes in these areas. This includes equality of access and opportunity, social mobility, civic mobilization and representation, and the intergenerational transmission of advantage and disadvantage.

The Foundation seeks investigator-initiated research projects that will broaden understanding of the causes and consequences of rising economic inequalities in the United States. RSF encourages methodological variety and inter-disciplinary collaboration.

Topics of Interest:

  • Economic Well-Being, Equality of Opportunity, and Intergenerational Mobility
  • Political Institutions and the Policy Process
  • Psychological and/or Cultural Change
  • Education
  • Labor Markets and Occupations
  • Child Development and Child Outcomes
  • Neighborhoods and Communities
  • Families, Family Structure, and Family Formation
  • Other Forms of Inequality

Examples of the kinds of questions that are of interest can be found on the URL for Full Text link below.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 175588

Estimated Size of Grant:

Project Grants are generally capped at $175,000, including 15% indirect costs. Projects that use publicly available data are capped at $75,000, including indirect costs.

Presidential grants are capped at $35,000 (no indirect costs). In rare circumstances, investigators may apply for a Presidential Grant of up to $50,000 (no indirect costs) when the proposed research project has special needs for gathering data (e.g.: qualitative research) or gaining access to restricted-use data.

Term of Contract:

Projects are limited to no more than two years; RSF may consider longer projects in exceptional circumstances.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

All applicants (both PIs and Co-PIs) must have a doctorate. In rare circumstances, RSF may consider applications from scholars who do not hold a doctorate but can demonstrate a strong career background that establishes their ability to conduct high-level, peer-reviewed scholarly research. Students may not be applicants.

RSF particularly encourages early career scholars to apply for Presidential grants. All nationalities are eligible to apply and applicants do not have to reside in the U.S., but the focus of the proposed research project must be on the U.S. as per our mission.

Pre-Application Information:

Application Requirements:
Letter of Inquiry (LOI): All research grant applications must be preceded by a letter of inquiry to determine whether RSF’s present interests and funds permit consideration of a full proposal. LOIs must be submitted through the online portal directly by an eligible principal investigator or co principal investigator.

Only invited proposals will be considered.

Key Dates:

-Letter of Inquiry Deadline: May 23, 2019
-Invited Proposal Deadline: August 15, 2019
-Funding Decision: November 2019

-Letter of Inquiry Deadline: November 26, 2019
-Invited Proposal Deadline: March 12, 2020
-Funding Decision: June 2020

ALL applications (LOIs & Proposals) are due by 2pm ET/11am PT.

Pre-registration: Pre-registration is important for various reasons: to ameliorate “publication bias,” as a source of results for meta-analysis, to find out about available survey instruments, and to access and download data. As a condition for providing substantial support for randomized controlled trials (RCTs), RSF requires RCTs to be pre-registered. Investigators must include as part of their application where and when they plan to pre-register the trials. In other cases, RSF may strongly recommend pre-registration as a funding condition.

The Foundation cannot guarantee a response to any questions submitted within 10 days of a deadline. Any applications submitted after the cut-off time will automatically be deferred to the next round of applications. This applies even if you submit your application 10 minutes late.

Upcoming Deadlines:

Eligibility Information:

Application requirements:

Budget Requirements:

Research Grant information:


Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Submit an LOI:

Russell Sage Foundation
112 E. 64th Street
New York, NY 10065

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming