February 2017
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 cromack@fas.harvard.edu 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:
Lemann Brazil Research Fund
Deadline: March 15, 2017
Award Amount: Up to $150,000 payable over one or two years
Eligible Applicants: Ladder faculty
The Lemann Brazil Research Fund supports cross-disciplinary research projects relating to Brazil. Proposals are sought for projects that address education management and administration; social science and its applications; public administration and policy; technological advances in education; and evidence-based research. Consideration will also be given to projects that propose collaboration between Harvard faculty and Brazilian academics in the life sciences, physical sciences and engineering, and basic and applied sciences. Proposed projects must meet at least one of the following three criteria:
  1. Include collaboration with Brazilian academics
  2. Be undertaken in Brazil in whole or in part
  3. Focus on Brazil
Deadline: March 6, 2017
Award Amount: $5,000-$50,000
Eligible Applicants: Ladder faculty, professors in residence, and professor of the practice
The Dean's Competitive Fund for Promising Scholarship is a targeted program that provides funding in the following categories:  
  1. Bridge funding, to allow faculty to continue work on previously funded research that does not currently have external funding. Faculty who apply in this category should demonstrate that efforts have been made or will be made to obtain new external funding.
  2. Seed funding, to encourage faculty to pursue exciting new research directions that might not yet be ready to compete in traditional funding programs. 
  3. Enabling subventions, to provide small funds to purchase (or upgrade) critical equipment or for travel.  Applicants for such funds must have no existing startup funds on which they could draw for this purpose.
  4. Sabbatical top-up, to provide additional salary support to supplement a funded external fellowship.  Apply in this category only if you have received confirmation that an external fellowship will be awarded.
Deadline: February 28, 2017
Award Amount: $20,000-$200,000
Eligible Applicants: Ladder faculty members in FAS and SEAS are eligible to apply. Joint proposals by researchers from the FAS or SEAS and other parts of the University are welcome.
The Star Family Challenge for Promising Scientific Research provides seed funding to interdisciplinary high-risk, high-impact projects in the natural or social sciences. Early stage projects which are unlikely to receive funding from traditional grant-making agencies are encouraged. Award recipients will present and discuss their projects with a range of scholars in multiple disciplines at a Challenge event, April 11, 2017 at 3pm, prior to receipt of funding.

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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
OSP review not required for letter of inquiry
Sponsor Letter of Inquiry Deadline: May 31, 2017
Harvard OSP Deadline (if invited to submit full proposal): August 8, 2017
Sponsor  Full Proposal Deadline (by invitation): August 15, 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.
Harvard OSP Deadline: May 24, 2017
Sponsor Deadline: May 17, 2017
Award Amount: Limit not specified.  Applicants may request costs for personnel, travel, materials and/or other costs.

The special programme "Islam, the Modern Nation State and Transnational Movements" is aimed at researchers who, with an eye to current developments, are examining the emergence of political movements in the Islamic world at the national and/or transnational level. Historical studies are encouraged and supported, together with projects in the areas of religious, cultural or political science.  Proposals will be supported that address the particularities and contexts of cultural and historical environments and relationships. The projects' deliverables should be able to make a contribution to diverse and expert discussions in public and political circles.

Sponsor Letter of Inquiry Deadline (OSP review not required for LOI): May 3, 2017
Award Amount: $100,000 to $600,000 over 2-3 years for reducing inequality research grants; $100,000 to $1,000,000 over 2-4 years for improving the use of research evidence grants

The W.T. Grant Foundation is focused on youth ages 5 to 25 in the United States, funding research that increases our understanding of
  • programs, policies, and practices that reduce inequality in youth outcomes, and
  • strategies to improve the use of research evidence in ways that beneit youth. 
The foundation seeks research that builds stronger theory and empirical evidence in these two areas and informs change. While it is not expected that any one study will create that change, the research should contribute to a body of useful knowledge to improve the lives of young people.

Harvard OSP Deadline: April 24, 2017
Sponsor Deadline: May 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 employ a wide range of research methods.

Harvard OSP Deadline: April 7, 2017
Deadline: April 16, 2017
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.

OSP review not required
Sponsor Deadline: April 3, 2017
Award Amount: $20,000

The aim of the IBM Center for the Business of Government is to tap into the best minds in academe and the nonprofit sector who can use rigorous public management research and analytic techniques to help public sector executives and managers improve the effectiveness of government.  The  Center is looking for very practical findings and actionable recommendations - not just theory or concepts - in order to assist executives and managers to more effectively respond to mission and management challenges.  Individuals receiving a stipend should produce a 10,000- to 12,000-word report written for government leaders and public managers, providing very practical knowledge and insight.

Harvard OSP Deadline: March 27, 2017
Sponsor Initial Proposal Deadline: April 3, 2017
Harvard OSP Full Proposal Deadline: September 20, 2017
Sponsor Full Proposal Deadline (if invited): September 27, 2017
Award Amount: $50,000-$250,000 for single institution applications; $50,000-$500,000 for multi-institution applications

The purpose of this program is to digitize and provide access to non-digital collections of rare or unique content in cultural heritage institutions. Its aims are to enhance the emerging global digital research environment in ways that support new kinds of scholarship for the long term and to ensure that the full wealth of resources held by memory institutions becomes integrated with the open Web.

Other important dates:
  • Thursday, February 2, 2017, 2:00 pm Eastern time: CLIR will host an informational webinar for prospective applicants in Adobe Connect.
  • Thursday, March 2, 2017, 2:00 pm Eastern time: CLIR will host an informational Q & A webinar for prospective applicants in Adobe Connect.
  • Thursday, March 9, 2017, 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm Eastern time: CLIR will host an office hours session for prospective applicants in Adobe Connect via chat.
  • Thursday, March 16, 2017, 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm Eastern time: CLIR will host an office hours session for prospective applicants in Adobe Connect via chat.
  • Tuesday, March 21, 2017, 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm Eastern time: CLIR will host an office hours session for prospective applicants in Adobe Connect via chat.
Harvard OSP Deadline: March 16, 2017
Sponsor Deadline: March 23, 2017
Award Amount: $60,000

The Luce/ACLS Program in Religion, Journalism & International Affairs (RJIA) aims to increase the presence of scholarship on religion in journalistic training and practice and to encourage greater interaction between scholars of religion and journalists covering international affairs.  Grants for universities will support efforts to catalyze collaborations at universities with strengths in the study of religion, journalism and media, and international affairs. ACLS seeks proposals for projects hosted at US-based universities with research and curricular strengths in journalism and communication and in the humanistic and social science fields concerned with the study of religion in international contexts (including, but not limited to, anthropology, area studies, history, literature, political science, religious studies, and sociology). In addition to pursuing their proposed projects, grantees also must be prepared to host up to two visiting research fellows funded by the RJIA program in the 2018-19 academic year.

Sponsor Concept Paper Deadline: March 13, 2017
Harvard OSP Deadline: May 8, 2017
Sponsor Full Proposal Deadline (if invited): May 15, 2017
Award Amount: Up to $50,000 for standard research grants; up to $30,000 for postdoctoral resaerch awards; and up to $15,000 for dissertation research grants

The Tufts/UConn RIDGE Center seeks to support innovative economic research on domestic nutrition assistance programs and to broaden a network of researchers applying their expertise to USDA topics. The RIDGE Center seeks applications from a diverse community of experienced nutrition assistance researchers, graduate students, early career scholars, and established researchers who bring expertise in another research area.

Additional information will be provided during the RIDGE Center Informational Webinar for Applicants on Thursday, February 2, 2017 at 2PM EST.

OSP review not required
Sponsor Deadline (OSP review not required): March 1, 2017
Award Amount: Paris IAS covers costs related to each resident's stay in France, with compensation varying based on the resident's personal situation. Residents can also receive financial support and materials for their work and research activities. 

The Paris Institute for Advanced Study (Paris IAS) is a research center in the field of the humanities and social sciences, and related disciplines. It offers globally-recognized senior and junior researchers a chance to carry out five- to nine-month research stays in Paris.  Paris IAS is launching three calls for applications for research fellowships open to researchers of all nationalities:
  • Blue Sky Research Program: 5 or 9-month fellowships in 2018-2019 open to all disciplines and themes in the humanities and social sciences.
  • Brain, Culture and Society Program: 5 or 9-month fellowships in 2018-2019 for researchers willing to conduct a project at the interface between neuroscience, cognitive science and the humanities and social sciences.
  • Paris-Saclay - Paris IAS "Jean d'Alembert" Research Chair in 2017-2018. This 6-month chair in 2017-2018 enables a researcher to work in close collaboration with a research team of Université Paris-Saclay on one of the following themes: "Markets, businesses, work and innovation", "Heritage, culture and  knowledge", or "Sciences and society".
Harvard OSP Deadline: March 20, 2017
Sponsor Deadline: March 27, 2017
Award Amount: The funding level for each fellowship will be largely determined by the salary requirements of the applicant, which must be fully documented in the budget and budget narrative.

NIJ seeks proposals for innovative research, scholarship, and/or knowledge-building projects addressing high-priority criminal justice issues. Awards made under the NIJ Visiting Fellows Program will bring leading researchers, practitioners, and/or others into residency at NIJ to make important scholarly and policy contributions with practical application to the criminal justice field, and to work with the NIJ Director, staff, and relevant NIJ stakeholders to help shape the direction of NIJ's research programs. During their fellowships at NIJ, visiting fellows will work on a significant piece of scholarship or evidence-based initiative that has the potential to advance significantly criminal justice research and practice, such as a major "capstone" effort culminating a new line of research or the development and socialization of an innovative, evidence-based initiative that has significant potential to advance criminal justice research and practice in the United States. NIJ fellows are expected to work full-time as a fellow for a period of at least 12 months, with at least 6 months spent in residency at NIJ.

Harvard OSP Deadline: March 20, 2017
Sponsor Deadline: March 27, 2017
Award Amount: Up to $200,000 for a period of up to 24 months. 3 additional awards of up to $40,000 will be made for projects solely engaging in secondary data analysis.

NIJ's New Investigator/Early Career Program provides support for non-tenured assistant professors to conduct applied research on topics relevant to NIJ's Office of Research and Evaluation (ORE) and/or Office of Science and Technology (OST). ORE's primary areas of interest include but are not limited to: social science research on criminal justice systems (e.g., courts, policing, corrections); violence and victimization (e.g., victims of crime, human trafficking, bias crime); and crime control and prevention (e.g., school safety, firearms, gangs). OST's primary areas of interest include but are not limited to: the development and application of technology to criminal justice issues, understanding technology's impact in the field, and exploring policy-related research questions with regards to technology use and impact.

Eligible applicants are assistant professors awarded a terminal degree in their field within the four years prior to September 30, 2017 who have not previously served as PI on an NIJ research grant or fellowship. Those who have held Graduate Research Fellowships with NIJ or have served as a PI on an award under the "Data Resources Program" solicitation are not deemed "PIs" under that award and are eligible under this solicitation.

Sponsor White Paper Deadline: February 29, 2017
Harvard OSP Deadline (if invited): June 23, 2017
Sponsor Full Proposal Deadline (if invited): July 1, 2017
Award Amount:  $150,000-$1,000,000 per year for up to three years

The Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) seeks proposals from university researchers and university-led teams for the Minerva Research Initiative, a university-led defense social science program seeking fundamental understanding of the social and cultural forces shaping U.S. strategic interests globally. Submissions should propose basic research relevant to the five core topic areas:
The more detailed descriptions of each found in the released FOA are intended to provide the proposer a frame of reference though not to be restrictive. Topics are not mutually exclusive and proposals may consider issues relating to questions, scope, or regions beyond those listed.


Department of State
National Institute of Justice
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
cromack@fas.harvard.edu | 617-496-2618

To see previous Social Science Funding Newsletters, please visit our email archive.

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