May 2018
Funding Opportunities in the Social Sciences

You are receiving this newsletter because you are subscribed to our mailing list. All Harvard University faculty and administrators may subscribe here, and you may unsubscribe at any time. Please feel free to   to interested colleagues.
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 Hale, Senior Research Development Officer at or 617-496-5252.
Internal Opportunities
For a more comprehensive list of Harvard internal funding opportunities, please see  here .
External Opportunities
Non-Federal Opportunities:
Federal Opportunities:
Internal Funding Opportunities
Deadline: Last day of February, May, August and November
Award Amount: $40,000 for ladder faculty; $5,000 for doctoral students and post-docs
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
Sponsor Deadline: Rolling
Award Amount: $1-$5M 

A central goal of U.S. evidence-based policy reform is to focus government and philanthropic funding on social programs that have credible evidence of meaningful positive effects on people's lives. The imperative for doing so is clear: Most social programs are unfortunately found not to produce the hoped-for effects when rigorously evaluated-a pattern that occurs not just in social policy but in other fields where rigorous evaluations are conducted, such as medicine and business. Thus, without a strong focus on evidence-based programs, it is hard to see how social policy can successfully address poverty, educational failure, violence, drug abuse, and other critical U.S. problems. Fortunately, there are some social programs that have been rigorously shown to improve important life outcomes. While relatively few in number, their strong evidence of sizable effects suggests that, if expanded, they offer a path to meaningful progress that spending-as-usual cannot. 

The Laura and John Arnold Foundation's Moving the Needle initiative seeks to spur expanded implementation of such programs in order to make significant headway against U.S. social problems. Specifically, the initiative is designed to encourage state or local jurisdictions, or other entities, to: (i) Adopt social programs shown in well-conducted randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to produce large, sustained effects on important life outcomes; (ii) Implement these programs on a sizable scale with close adherence to their key features; and (iii) Determine, through a replication RCT, whether the large effects found in prior research are successfully reproduced so as to move the needle on important social problems.
Letter of Intent Deadline: August 31, 2018
OSP Deadline (if invited to submit full proposal): January 24, 2019
Sponsor Full Proposal Deadline (if invited): January 31, 2019
Award Amount: Individual grants vary in amount. Smallest active grant is about $35,000 and largest is $7.6 million.
The Foundation offers grants in support of research and public engagement in the following major Funding Areas:
  • The Science & the Big Questions Funding Area supports innovative efforts to address the deepest questions facing humankind. Why are we here? How can we flourish? What are the fundamental structures of reality? What can we know about the nature and purposes of the divine?
  • The Character Virtue Development funding area seeks to advance the science and practice of character, with a focus on moral, performance, civic, and intellectual virtues such as humility, gratitude, curiosity, diligence, and honesty.
  • The Individual Freedom & Free Markets Funding Area supports education, research, and grassroots efforts to promote individual freedom, free markets, free competition, and entrepreneurship. Grounded in the ideas of classical liberal political economy, we seek and develop projects that focus on individuals and their place in a free society. 
  • The Exceptional Cognitive Talent & Genius Funding Area supports programs that aim to recognize and nurture exceptional cognitive talent, especially for those at an early stage of life. This Funding Area also supports research concerning the nature of cognitive genius, including extraordinary creativity, curiosity, and imagination.
  • The Genetics Funding Area seeks to advance genetics research by supporting novel approaches and contrarian projects, especially research that is undervalued by traditional funding sources. In addition to basic and translational research, this Funding Area supports educational programs that increase public awareness concerning the ways in which genetics-related research and its applications can advance human flourishing at the individual, familial, and societal levels.
  • The Voluntary Family Planning Funding Area supports programs that provide such resources for parents and families worldwide.
OSP review not require for concept papers
Sponsor Concept Paper Deadline: August 15, 2018
Award Amount: $10,000-$20,000

The Sociological Initiatives Foundation was established to support research that furthers social change, including language learning and behavior and its intersection with social and policy questions.

The Foundation specifically supports research that focuses on impacting:
  • Social policy
  • Institutional and educational practices
  • Linguistic issues (e.g. literacy, language loss and maintenance, language policy, language and national security, bilingualism, language and gender, language and law, language disabilities, language and health, language and education, different language cultures)
  • Community capacity and the organization of previously unorganized groups
The Foundation supports projects that address institutional rather than individual or behavioral change. It seeks to fund research and initiatives that provide insight into sociological and linguistic issues that can be useful to specific groups and or communities.
Harvard OSP Deadline: July 24, 2018 
Sponsor Deadline: August 1, 2018 
Award Amount: $15,000 to $40,000 per year for one or two years

The foundation welcomes proposals from any of the natural and social sciences and the humanities that promise to increase understanding of the causes, manifestations, and control of violence and aggression. Highest priority is given to research that can increase understanding and amelioration of urgent problems of violence and aggression in the modern world. Questions that interest the foundation concern violence and aggression in relation to social change, intergroup conflict, war, terrorism, crime, and family relationships, among other subjects.  
OSP review not required for letters of inquiry
Sponsor Letter of Inquiry Deadline: July 15, 2018
Harvard OSP Deadline (if invited to submit full proposal): August 24, 2018
Sponsor Full Proposal Deadline (by invitation): August 31, 2018
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 we are therefore open to innovative projects.

Harvard OSP Deadline: June 27, 2018
Sponsor Deadline: July 5, 2018
Award Amount: $350,000 distributed over five years
Target Applicants: Tenure-track faculty who received their terminal degree in 2011 or later

This is a limited submission opportunity and Harvard may put forward only one nominee from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. To determine if an internal competition is required, FAS faculty who wish to apply for this opportunity should contact Erin Hale at

The W.T. Grant Foundation funds research that increases understanding in one of two focus areas:
  • Programs, policies, and practices that reduce inequality in youth outcomes, and
  • Strategies to improve the use of research evidence in ways that benefit youth.
The foundation seeks research that builds stronger theory and empirical evidence in these two areas. 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.
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. Scholars Program applicants should have a track record of conducting high-quality research and an interest in pursuing a significant shift in their trajectories as researchers. Proposed research plans must address questions of policy and practice that are relevant to the Foundation's focus areas.
OSP review not required
Sponsor Deadline: June 28, 2018
Award Amount:  Supplemental salary support of up to 50 percent of recipient's academic year salary when unavailable from other sources (up to a maximum of $125,000 for the full academic year, or up to a maximum of $62,500 for a half year)

The Russell Sage Foundation's  Visiting Scholars Program  provides a unique opportunity for select scholars in the social, economic and behavioral sciences to pursue their research and writing while in residence at the Foundation's New York headquarters. Research carried out by Visiting Scholars constitutes an important part of the Foundation's ongoing effort to analyze and understand the complex and shifting nature of social and economic life in the United States. While Visiting Scholars typically work on projects related to the Foundation's  current programs , a few scholars whose research falls outside these areas are occasionally invited as well. 

All scholar applicants must have a Ph.D. or comparable terminal degree, or a career background that establishes their ability to conduct high-level, peer-reviewed scholarly research. Most selected applicants are typically several years beyond the Ph.D. 
OSP review not required
Sponsor Deadline: June 15, 2018
Award Amount: $60,000

The Smith Richardson Foundation Strategy and Policy Fellows Program supports young scholars and policy thinkers on American foreign policy, international relations, international security, military policy, and diplomatic and military history.  The purpose of the program is to strengthen the U.S. community of scholars and researchers conducting policy analysis in these fields.  Within the academic community, this program supports junior or adjunct faculty, research associates, and post-docs who are engaged in policy-relevant research and writing. Within the think tank community, the program supports members of the rising generation of policy thinkers who are focused on U.S. strategic and foreign policy issues. 

Please note that the Fellowship program will only consider single-author book projects.  It will not consider collaborative projects (e.g., edited or multi-authored books, conference volumes or reports, or a collection of previously published articles, chapters or essays.)
Federal Funding Opportunities
Sponsor Deadline: Rolling through April 29, 2023
Award Amount: No specified limit

The ARI is the Army's lead agency for the conduct of research, development, and analyses for
the improvement of Army readiness and performance via research advances and applications of the behavioral and social sciences that address personnel, organization, and soldier and leader development issues. Programs funded under this BAA include basic research, applied research, and advanced technology development that can improve human performance and Army readiness

Those contemplating submission of a proposal are encouraged to contact the ARI Technical Point of Contact (TPOC) identified in this BAA or the responsible ARI Manager noted at the end of the technical area entry to determine whether the proposed project warrants further inquiry. If the proposed project warrants further inquiry and funding is available, submission of a white paper or proposal will be entertained. The recommended three-step sequence is (1) initial contact with the ARI TPOC or responsible ARI Manager, (2) white paper submission, (3)
proposal submission.
OSP review not required
Sponsor Deadline: August 1, 2018
Award Amount: Varies by award type
The Core Fulbright Scholar Program offers over 500 teaching, research or combination teaching/research awards in over 125 countries. Opportunities are available for college and university faculty and administrators as well as for professionals, artists, journalists, scientists, lawyers, independent scholars and many others. In addition to several new program models designed to meet the changing needs of U.S. academics and professionals, Fulbright is offering more opportunities for flexible, multi-country grants.   U.S. citizenship is required. 
Harvard Pre-Proposal Deadline: July 9, 2018
Sponsor Deadline (if nominated): September 26, 2018
Award Amount: $6,000 for two consecutive months of full-time research and writing beginning May 2019 or later
This is a limited submission opportunity. Faculty members teaching full-time at colleges or universities must be nominated by their institutions to apply for a Summer Stipend. Harvard may nominate two faculty members for this program. Please see the link above for information on the internal competition.

Summer Stipends support individuals pursuing advanced research that is of value to humanities scholars, general audiences, or both. Eligible projects usually result in articles, monographs, books, digital materials and publications, archaeological site reports, translations, or editions. Projects must not result solely in the collection of data; instead they must also incorporate analysis and interpretation. Summer Stipends support continuous full-time work on a humanities project for a period of two consecutive months. Awards support projects at any stage of development.
Harvard OSP Deadline: June 6, 2018
Sponsor Deadline: June 13, 2018
Award Amount: Up to $200,000. The Commission provides no more than 50 per cent of total direct project costs so cost sharing is required.

The National Historical Publications and Records Commission seeks proposals to publish documentary editions of historical records.  The goal of this program is to provide access to, and editorial context for, the historical documents and records that tell the American story. Projects may focus on the papers of major figures from American history or cover broad historical movements in politics, social reform, business, military, the arts, and other aspects of the national experience. The historical value of the records and their expected usefulness to broad audiences must justify the costs of the project.  Applicants should demonstrate familiarity with the best practices recommended by the  Association for Documentary Editing  or the  Modern Language Association Committee on Scholarly Editions. 

All new projects must publish a digital edition which provides online access to a searchable collection of all documents. (Ebooks or volumes in PDF do not qualify for the purposes of this grant program.) New projects may also prepare print editions as part of their overall publishing plan, but the contents of those volumes must be published online within a reasonable period of time following print publication.  


Agency for International Development (USAID)
Department of State
National Institutes of Health

National Endowment for the Humanities
Sign up for agency-specific funding alerts:

For assistance, please contact:
Erin Hale
Senior Research Development Officer | 617-496-5252
To see previous Social Science Funding Newsletters, please visit our email archive.

Research Development | RAS |