William T. Grant Foundation: 2021 Scholars Program

The William T. Grant Scholars Program, an initiative of the William T. Grant Foundation, 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.

Award recipients are designated as William T. Grant Scholars. Each year, four to six Scholars are selected to receive 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.

The foundation’s mission is to support research to improve the lives of young people ages 5-25 in the United States. It pursues this mission by supporting research in two focus areas:

Reducing Inequality — Studies that aim to build, test, or increase understanding of programs, policies, or practices signed 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.

Improving the Use of Research Evidence — Research to identify, build, and test strategies to ensure that research evidence is used in ways that benefit youth. The foundation is particularly interested in research on improving the use of research evidence by state and local decision makers, mid-level managers, and intermediaries.

Researchers interested in applying for a William T. Grant Scholars Award must select one focus area:

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 their 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.

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

Applicants outside the United States are eligible to apply. As with U.S. applicants, they must pursue research that has compelling policy or practice implications for youth in the United States.

For a detailed program description, eligibility and selection criteria, and application instructions, see the William T. Grant Foundation.