November 2016
Funding Opportunities in the Social Sciences

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Unless otherwise noted, all proposals to funders outside of Harvard must be submitted to the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) five business days prior to the sponsor deadline. We can help you navigate the routing process for your proposal.

Questions? Please contact Erin Cromack, Senior Research Development Officer at or 617-496-5252
Click on the links below to see additional information
Internal Opportunities
For a more comprehensive list of Harvard internal funding opportunities, please see  here .
External Opportunities
Non-Federal Opportunities:
Federal Opportunities:
Deadline: February 1, 2017
Award Amount: Up to $50,000 payable over one year
Eligible Applicants: Ladder faculty and junior fellows of the Harvard Society of Fellows
Funding research projects in the fields of medicine, geography, history and science, the winning projects must either promote the physical and material welfare and prosperity of the human race, or investigate and determine the value and importance of any discovery or invention, or assist in the discovery and perfecting of any special means of alleviating or curing human disease. Reviewers will evaluate applications on intellectual merit, interdisciplinary collaboration, innovation, and likely impact on all fields of medicine, geography, history and science.  Funds awarded through the Milton Fund support research to explore new ideas, to act as the catalyst between ideas and more definitive directions, and to consider new methods of approaching global solutions. Preference will be given to junior investigators. 

Deadline: last day of August, November, February, and May
Award Amount: $40,000 for ladder faculty; $5,000 for doctoral students and postdocs
Eligible Applicants: Harvard University  full time doctoral students, post-doctoral fellows, and ladder faculty.

The FHBI provides seed grants to support transformative research in the social and behavioral sciences. Successful proposals will be those that promise to advance understanding of the social, institutional and biological mechanisms shaping human beliefs and behavior. Funds will be used to support interdisciplinary social science research projects based on innovative experimental or observational designs that make use of sophisticated quantitative methods. The Fund also supports seminars, conferences, and other research-related activities.
External Funding Opportunities
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Harvard OSP Deadline: January 25, 2017
Sponsor Deadline: February 1, 2017
Award Amount: Up to $50,000

The Small Research Grants program is intended to support education research projects with budgets of $50,000 or less. In keeping with the Spencer Foundation's mission, this program aims to fund academic work that will contribute to the improvement of education, broadly conceived. 
Historically, the work funded through these grants has spanned, a range of topics and disciplines, including education, psychology, sociology, economics, history, and anthropology, and they have employed a wide range of research methods. 

Harvard OSP Deadline: January 18, 2017
Sponsor Deadline: January 25, 2017
Award Amount: Up to $150,000

This program supports digitally based research projects in all disciplines of the humanities and related social sciences. It is hoped that these grants will help advance humanistic scholarship by enhancing established digital projects and extending their reach to new communities of users.  The program aims to extend the opportunity to participate in the digital transformation of humanistic inquiry to a greater number of humanities scholars. To this end, projects supported by ACLS Digital Extension Grants may:
  • Extend established digital projects and resources with content that adds diversity or interdisciplinary reach
  • Develop new systems of making established digital resources available to broader audiences and/or scholars from diverse institutions
  • Foster new team-based work or collaborations that allow scholars from institutions with limited digital infrastructure to exploit digital resources
  • Create new forms and sites for scholarly engagement with the digital humanities. Projects that document and recognize participant engagement are strongly encouraged
  • Support projects aimed at preserving and making sustainable established digital projects and content.
OSP review not required
Sponsor Deadline: January 16, 2017
Award Amount: $125,000

The International Affairs Fellowship (IAF) in Nuclear Security, sponsored by the Stanton Foundation, offers university-based scholars valuable hands-on experience in the nuclear security policymaking field and places selected fellows in U.S. government positions or international organizations for a period of twelve months to work with practitioners. The IAF in Nuclear Security closes the gap between research and practice and enriches the teaching and scholarship of academics, while also benefiting policymakers by exposing them to cutting-edge scholarly research.

OSP review not required for letter of inquiry
Letter of Inquiry Deadline: January 11, 2017
Award Amount: Research grants on reducing inequality typically range from $100,000 to $600,000 over 2-3 years. Improving the use of research evidence grants range from $100,000 to $1,000,000 over 2-4 years. 

Research Grants support high-quality research that is relevant to policies and practices that affect the lives of young people ages 5 to 25 in the United States.   These grants fund research that increases our understanding of programs, policies, and practices that  reduce inequality  in youth outcomes, and research that identifies, builds, and tests strategies to  improve the use of research evidence  in ways that benefit youth.

OSP review not required for letter of inquiry
Sponsor Letter of Inquiry Deadline: January 9, 2017
Harvard OSP Deadline (if invited to submit full proposal): March 6, 2017
Sponsor  Full Proposal Deadline (by invitation): March 13, 2017
Award Amount: Up to $150,000

This initiative will support innovative social science research on social and economic outcomes that improves our understanding of the interactive mechanisms by which environmental influences affect biological mechanisms, and vice versa. This includes research that: (1) estimates how the structured nature of the social environment and intra- and intergenerational social inequalities affect biological processes, (2) identifies which indicators of biological processes interact with the social environment to affect different life domains and how, and (3) yields new conceptual frameworks that holistically characterize the complex relationships among biological, psychological and environmental factors to predict a range of behavioral and social outcomes. The foundation is primarily interested in research that explores and improves our understanding of social and economic predictors and outcomes

OSP review not required for letter of inquiry
Sponsor Letter of Inquiry Deadline: January 9, 2017
Harvard OSP Deadline (if invited to submit full proposal): March 6, 2017
Sponsor  Full Proposal Deadline (by invitation): March 13, 2017
Award Amount: Up to $150,000
These awards are restricted to support for social science research within the following five program areas:
  • Behavioral Economics: The program on Behavioral Economics focuses on research that incorporates insights of psychology and other social sciences into the study of economic behavior.
  • Future of Work: The Future of Work program is concerned primarily with examining the causes and consequences of the declining quality of jobs for less- and moderately-educated workers in the U.S. economy and the role of changes in employer practices, the nature of the labor market and public policies on the employment, earnings, and the quality of jobs of American workers.
  • Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration: The Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration program is concerned with the social, economic, and political effects of the changing racial and ethnic composition of the U.S. population, including the transformation of communities and ideas about what it means to be American.
  • Social Inequality: The program in Social Inequality focuses on whether rising economic inequality has affected social, political, and economic institutions in the U.S., and the extent to which increased inequality has affected equality of opportunity, social mobility, and the intergenerational transmission of advantage.
OSP review not required for concept proposals
Concept Proposal Deadline: December 26, 2016
Award Amount: $15,000-$50,000

USIP's China grant is a new initiative starting in 2017 that explores China's impact on conflict dynamics, particularly in Afghanistan, Iraq, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Sudan, and Syria. The China grant supports projects that promote education, training, dialogue, and capacity building for peacemakers in the United States, China, and third countries. These projects serve the purpose of enhancing U.S.-China understanding and cooperation on global conflict issues, developing strategies for managing differences, and helping ensure that China has a positive or mitigating impact on conflict dynamics around the world.

OSP review not required for letter of inquiry
Sponsor Letter of Inquiry Deadline: December 15, 2016
Harvard OSP Deadline (if invited to submit full proposal): January 24, 2017
Sponsor Full Proposal Deadline (by invitation): January 31, 2016
Award Amount: Not specified.  Recent grants have ranged from $5,000-$150,000

The United States-Japan Foundation supports US-Japan policy-related studies, initiatives and exchanges that help address issues of significant mutual concern to the United States and Japan. The Foundation seeks to respond to policy-relevant needs as identified by experts and practitioners in US-Japan policy studies field and are therefore open to innovative projects.

Harvard OSP Deadline: December 8, 2016
Deadline: December 15, 2016
Award Amount: Recent grants have ranged from $20,000 to $1,000,000, with the majority of grants under $100,000

The Searle Freedom Trust fosters research and education on public policy issues that affect individual freedom and economic liberty. Through its grant-making, the foundation seeks to develop solutions to the country's most important and challenging domestic policy issues.  The foundation invests primarily in scholarship that results in the publication of books, journal articles, and policy papers. Funding is typically provided in the form of research grants, fellowships, and other types of targeted project support.  The Searle Freedom Trust also provides funding for public interest litigation and supports outreach to the public through a variety of forums, including sponsorship of research conferences and seminars, film and journalism projects, and new media initiatives.

Visiting Research Fellowships
OSP review not required
Sponsor Deadline: December 12, 2016
Award Amount: Junior (untenured) fellows receive a stipend of $25,000 per semester; senior (tenured) fellows receive $30,000 per semester.

Each year, the Kroc Institute's Visiting Research Fellows Program brings outstanding scholars focused on peace research to the University of Notre Dame for a semester or a full academic year. The Institute particularly seeks scholars who will actively integrate their research with ongoing Kroc research initiatives. The Kroc Institute seeks applications for Visiting Research Fellows for 2017- 18 in the following areas:
  • Gender and Conflict/Peacebuilding
  • Diaspora Communities, Conflict & Peacebuilding
  • Peace Studies (open)
Harvard Internal Pre-Proposal Deadline: TBD
Harvard OSP Deadline: February 8, 2017
Sponsor Deadline: February 15, 2017
Award Amount: NSF anticipates funding 6-8 grants  for a total of $3,150,000 per year for all grants.  The maximum award duration is 5 years.

CCE STEM funds research projects that identify factors that are efficacious in the formation of ethical STEM researchers in all the fields of science and engineering that NSF supports. CCE STEM solicits proposals for research that explores the following: 'What constitutes ethical STEM research and practice, and which cultural and institutional contexts promote ethical STEM research and practice and why?' Factors one might consider include: honor codes, professional ethics codes and licensing requirements, an ethic of service and/or service learning, life-long learning requirements, curricula or memberships in organizations (e.g. Engineers without Borders) that stress social responsibility and humanitarian goals, institutions that serve under-represented groups, institutions where academic and research integrity are cultivated at multiple levels, institutions that cultivate ethics across the curriculum, or programs that promote group work, or do not grade. Do certain labs have a 'culture of academic integrity'? What practices contribute to the establishment and maintenance of ethical cultures and how can these practices be transferred, extended to, and integrated into other research and learning settings? Successful proposals typically have a comparative dimension, either between or within institutional settings that differ along these or other factors.

This is a limited submission opportunity, and only one proposal may be submitted from Harvard University. Interested applicants should contact Erin Cromack at as soon as possible to express interest in securing the Harvard nomination.

Harvard OSP Deadline: January 11, 2017
Preliminary Proposal Deadline:  January 19, 2017
Award Amount: Up to $350,000 for 1-3 years.  NARA  will provide no more than 50 per cent of total project costs

The National Historical Publications and Records Commission seeks projects that will significantly improve public discovery and use of major historical records collections. All types of historical records are eligible, including documents, photographs, born-digital records, and analog audio and moving images. Projects may:
  • Digitize historical records collections, or related collections, held by a single institution and make them freely available online
  • Provide access to born-digital records
  • Create new freely-available virtual collections drawn from historical records held by multiple institutions
  • Create new tools and methods for users to access records
Harvard OSP Deadline: December 22, 2016
Sponsor Deadline: January 6, 2017
Award Amount: Up to $290,000

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs invites proposal submissions from accredited U.S. post-secondary education institutions and U.S. public and private non-profit organizations or consortia of organizations for the design and implementation of three different Study of the U.S. Institutes for Scholars, each to take place over the course of six weeks beginning in June 2017.  These Institutes should provide multinational groups of experienced foreign university educators, scholars, teachers, and other professionals with a deeper understanding of U.S. society, culture, values, and institutions. The Institutes will be for groups of 18 foreign university level faculty, focusing on the themes of American Politics and Political Thought, Contemporary American Literature, and Religious Pluralism in the United States, with a total duration of six weeks each.

Only one proposal may be put forward from Harvard University.  To avoid multiple submissions, interested applicants should contact Erin Cromack at as soon as possible with a statement of intent to apply.


Department of State
National Institutes of Health
National Science Foundation
National Endowment for the Humanities
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For assistance, please contact:
Erin Cromack
Senior Research Development Officer | 617-496-2618

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