Spencer Foundation launches Racial Equity Special Research Grants Program
The Spencer Foundation has launched the Racial Equity Special Research Grants program to support education research projects that will contribute to understanding and ameliorating racial inequality in education.
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The foundation is interested in funding studies that aim to understand and disrupt the reproduction and deepening of educational inequality in education, and which seek to remake and imagine a new form of equitable education. Thus, they are also interested in research projects that are working to reimagine educational opportunities in a multiplicity of education systems, levels, settings, and developmental ranges and that reach beyond documenting conditions and paradigms that contribute to persistent racial inequalities.
Their goal for this program is to support rigorous, intellectually ambitious, and technically sound research that is relevant to the most pressing questions and compelling opportunities in relation to racial equity in education.
They are interested in proposals at all levels and in all settings of learning, including early childhood, higher education, and in schools, families, and communities. They are also interested in studies that seek to understand the situated experiences of minoritized groups, including Black, Latinx, AAPI, Indigenous and other minoritized communities.
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In addition, they are interested in studies that focus on those learners that are multiply marginalized, including intersections with English language learners, immigrants, students with disabilities, highly mobile and institutionalized youth (e.g., foster youth or those in youth prisons), LGTBQ youth, and those in rural communities.
This program is “field-initiated” in that proposal submissions are not required to focus on a particular research topic, discipline, design, or method. They hope that scholars will identify the most compelling and needed areas of research. For instance, scholars might focus on:
Instructional challenges and innovations;
Racial and geographic disparities and promising directions for engaging and supporting children, families, and communities;
Informal learning environments and informal educators;
Assessment challenges and opportunities;
Social-emotional learning and well-being;
Educator and leader development, identity, and well-being;
Digital learning environments;
Systems change and policy making;
Intersections between housing, health, and education.
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The foundation will be accepting applications for projects ranging from one to five years with budgets up to $75,000.
Proposals to the Racial Equity Research Grants program must be for academic research projects that will contribute to understanding and ameliorating racial inequality in education, broadly conceived. Proposals for activities other than research are not eligible (e.g., program evaluations, professional development, curriculum development, scholarships, capital projects). Additionally, proposals for research studies focused on areas other than education, are not eligible.
Principal Investigators (PIs) and Co-PIs applying for a Racial Equity Research Grant must have an earned doctorate in an academic discipline or professional field, or appropriate experience in an education research-related profession. While graduate students may be part of the research team, they may not be named the PI or Co-PI on the proposal.
The PI must be affiliated with a non-profit organization that is willing to serve as the administering organization if the grant is awarded. The Spencer Foundation does not award grants directly to individuals. Examples include non-profit colleges, universities, school districts, and research facilities, as well as other non-profit organizations with a 501(c)(3) determination from the IRS.
Proposals are accepted from the U.S. and internationally, however, all proposals must be submitted in English and budgets must be proposed in U.S. Dollars.
Proposed budgets for this program are limited to $75,000 total and may not include indirect cost charges per Spencer’s policy.
Projects proposed may not be longer than 5 years in duration.
PIs and Co-PIs may not submit more than one application for a given deadline in this program. Spencer is making an exception for this research program wherein PIs or Co-PIs can have two projects under review in different programs. PIs or CO-PIs that currently have a proposal under review in a different program may submit to this program. However, the proposed project must be different than the one under review. Alternatively, a PI or CO-PI can choose to withdraw a proposal under review and resubmit it to this program.
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The Racial Equity Special Research Grants program uses a peer review process for all eligible submissions. Each proposal will be reviewed by both external panel reviewers and internal staff. The review process for this program takes approximately 3-4 months from the full proposal deadline date.
The review panel for this program is made up of scholars in the field of education research with expertise across many disciplines and methodological areas. Panelist are asked to rate and comment on the following aspects of your proposal:
Significance of the Project: Reviewers will evaluate the centrality of racial equity and education in the research, the importance of the topic to transforming inequality, and the quality of the research question(s) and/or direction of inquiry.
Connection to Research and Theory: Reviewers will evaluate the adequacy of the description of how other researchers have treated the same topic and how well the proposal responds to prior work and theory.
Research Design: Reviewers will evaluate the overall quality, sophistication, and appropriateness of the research design as well as its alignment with the research question(s) and/or conceptual framing.
Budget and Timeline: Reviewers will evaluate the adequacy of the budget and timeline.
Project Team: Reviewers will comment on the potential of the investigator(s) to complete the study as described and share the results or other findings.
For more information, visit https://www.spencer.org/grant_types/racial-equity-special-research-grants