William T. Grant Scholars Program

William T. Grant Foundation

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Anticipated deadline: Jul 1, 2021 12:00pm PDT

Grant amount: Up to US $350,000

Fields of work: Children’s Mental Health Child Welfare Services Workers’ Rights Indigenous Sovereignty & Rights Immigration & Refugee Rights Racial / Ethnic Justice & Rights Educational Access & Equity Economic Rights & Justice Show all

Applicant type: Faculty, Nonprofit

Funding uses: Training / Capacity Building, Research

Location of project: United States

Location of residency: Anywhere in the world

Age restriction: Between 5 and 25 years of age

Degree requirements: Applicants must be within 7 years of receiving their PhD

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About this funder:



The William T. Grant Scholars Program

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 researchers’ expertise in new disciplines, methods, and content areas.

Applicants should have a track record of conducting high-quality research and an interest in pursuing a significant shift in their trajectories as researchers. We recognize that early-career researchers are rarely given incentives or support to take measured risks in their work, so this award includes a mentoring component, as well as a supportive academic community.

Awards are based on applicants’ potential to become influential researchers, as well as their plans to expand their expertise in new and significant ways. The application should make a cohesive argument for how the applicant will expand his or her expertise. The research plan should evolve in conjunction with the development of new expertise, and the mentoring plan should describe how the proposed mentors will support applicants in acquiring that expertise. Proposed research plans must address questions that are relevant to policy and practice in the Foundation’s focus areas.

Focus Areas

The Foundation’s mission is to support research to improve the lives of young people ages 5-25 in the United States. We pursue this mission by supporting research within two focus areas. Researchers interested in applying for a William T. Grant Scholars Award must select one focus area:

Reducing Inequality

In this focus area, we support studies that aim to build, test, or increase understanding of programs, policies, or practices to reduce inequality in the academic, social, behavioral, or economic outcomes of young people, especially on the basis of race, ethnicity, economic standing, language minority status, or immigrant origins.

Studies on reducing inequality should aim to build, test, or increase understanding of programs, policies, or practices to reduce inequality in youth outcomes. We welcome descriptive studies that clarify mechanisms for reducing inequality or elucidate how or why a specific program, policy, or practice operates to reduce inequality. We also welcome intervention studies that examine attempts to reduce inequality. In addition, we seek studies that improve the measurement of inequality in ways that can enhance the work of researchers, practitioners, or policymakers. The common thread across all of this work, however, is a distinct and explicit focus on reducing inequality—one that goes beyond describing the causes or consequences of unequal outcomes and, instead, identifies leverage points for reducing inequality.

Improving the Use of Research Evidence

In this focus area, we support research to identify, build, and test strategies to ensure that research evidence is used in ways that benefit youth. We are particularly interested in research on improving the use of research evidence by state and local decision makers, mid-level managers, and intermediaries.

Studies on improving the use of research evidence should identify, build, and test strategies to ensure that research evidence is used in ways that benefit youth. We welcome ideas from social scientists across a range of disciplines, fields, and methodologies that can advance their own disciplines and fields and reveal insights about ways to improve the production and use of research evidence. Measures also are needed to capture changes in the nature and degree of research use. We welcome investigations about research use in various systems, including justice, child welfare, mental health, and education. Research teams have drawn on existing conceptual and empirical work from political science, communication science, knowledge mobilization, implementation science, organizational psychology and other areas related to the use of research for improvement, impact, and change in research, policy, and practice institutions. Critical perspectives that inform studies’ research questions, methods, and interpretation of findings are also welcome. Broadening the theoretical perspectives used to study ways to improving the usefulness, use, and impact of research evidence may create a new frontier of important research.


Award recipients are designated as William T. Grant Scholars. Each year, four to six Scholars are selected and each receives up to $350,000, distributed over five years. Awards begin July 1 and are made to the applicant’s institution. The award must not replace the institution’s current support of the applicant’s research.

Capacity Building

The Foundation holds annual meetings during the summer to support the Scholars’ career development. These summer retreats are designed to foster a supportive environment in which Scholars can improve their skills and work. Scholars discuss works-in-progress and receive constructive feedback on the challenges they face in conducting their projects. The retreat consists of workshops centered on Scholars’ projects, research design and methods issues, and professional development. The meeting is attended by Scholars, Scholars Selection Committee members, and Foundation staff and Board members. Scholars are also invited to attend other Foundation-sponsored workshops on topics relevant to their work, such as mixed methods, reducing inequality, and the use of research evidence in policy and practice.

In years one through three of their awards, Scholars may apply for additional awards to mentor junior researchers of color. The announcement and criteria for funding are distributed annually to Scholars. Our goals for the grant program are two-fold. First, we seek to strengthen the mentoring received by junior researchers of color and to position them for professional success. Second, we want to support William T. Grant Scholars and principal investigators in developing a stronger understanding of the career development issues facing their junior colleagues of color and to strengthen their mentoring relationships with them. In the longer term, we hope this grant program will increase the number of strong, well-networked researchers of color doing research on the Foundation’s interests and help foster more diverse, equitable, and inclusive academic environments. 

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Eligible Organizations:
    • Grants are made to organizations, not individuals. Grants are limited, without exception, to tax-exempt organizations. A copy of the Internal Revenue Service tax-exempt status determination letter is required from each applying organization.
  • Eligible Applicants:
    • Applicants must be nominated by their institutions. Major divisions (e.g., College of Arts and Sciences, Medical School) of an institution may nominate only one applicant each year. In addition to the eligibility criteria below, deans and directors of those divisions should refer to the Selection Criteria to aid them in choosing their nominees. Applicants of any discipline are eligible.
    • Applicants must have received their terminal degree within seven years of submitting their application. We calculate this by adding seven years to the date the doctoral degree was conferred. In medicine, the seven-year maximum is dated from the completion of the first residency.
    • Applicants must be employed in career-ladder positions. For many applicants, this means holding a tenure-track position in a university. Applicants in other types of organizations should be in positions in which there is a pathway to advancement in a research career at the organization and the organization is fiscally responsible for the applicant’s position.
    • Applicants outside the United States are eligible. As with U.S. applicants, they must pursue research that has compelling policy or practice implications for youth in the United States.


  • The award may not be used as a post-doctoral fellowship.


This page was last reviewed July 02, 2020 and last updated July 02, 2020