Call for Proposals: 2015-2016 New Scholars Grant Competition

Request for Proposals: 2015-2016 New Scholars Grant Competition

Research on Trends in Poverty and Inequality


The Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality (CPI), a National Poverty Research Center funded by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, seeks to support research that will expand our knowledge of key trends in poverty and inequality. The CPI anticipates funding up to 3 proposals with a maximum award of $20,000 each. The awards will be made to “New Scholars” (i.e., scholars who have received their Ph.D. no earlier than 2008) who will then work collaboratively with one of the CPI’s Research Groups to carry out the proposed research project.


The Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality is focused on monitoring trends in poverty and inequality, explaining what’s driving those trends, and developing science-based policies on poverty and inequality. The Director of the Center is David B. Grusky of Stanford University.

The supported scholars will join one of ten research groups (RGs) examining (a) poverty, (b) income inequality, (c) social mobility, (d) educational access and achievement, (e) the safety net, (f) the effects of the economic downturn and possible recovery, (g) residential segregation, (h) racial and ethnic inequality, (i) discrimination in the labor market, and (j) poverty, inequality and mobility among Hispanics. These research groups are led by distinguished scholars of poverty and inequality (Michael Hout, Gary Solon, David Betson, Kathy Edin, Henry Brady, Raj Chetty, Sean Reardon, David Grusky, Kim Weeden, Robert Mare, Matthew Snipp, Dan Lichter, Shelley Correll, Cecilia Ridgeway, Doug Massey). The RGs include faculty at Stanford University and elsewhere, postdoctoral fellows appointed by the Center, scholars who are winners of the Center’s grant competitions, and Stanford University graduate and undergraduate research fellows.

The proposed research should use new or existing data to analyze key trends related to one of the ten domains listed above. The types of research that will be supported within each of the domains are described in more detail at: (and applicants are strongly encouraged to read these research descriptions before formulating their proposals). The main questions of interest, as detailed in the website descriptions, are as follows:

  • How might current tools for measuring poverty in the United States be improved?
  • Why has income and earnings inequality increased in the United States?
  • Is economic and occupational mobility in the United States declining, increasing, or unchanged? What accounts for such changes (or stability)?
  • Are the effects of family background on educational performance and achievement increasing (and if so why)?
  • How well has the “safety net” performed in the wake of the economic downturn?
  • What are the lasting effects of the economic downturn on the labor market, demographic processes, attitudes and beliefs, and other outcomes in the United States?
  • How is the structure of segregation changing and what accounts for such change?
  • How is the structure of racial and ethnic inequality changing?
  • Are gender, racial, and other forms of labor market discrimination becoming weaker or stronger over time? What accounts for such trends?
  • How are Hispanic populations faring now, as compared to historically, and what differences are evident by nativity and national origin?

The proposed projects may rely on qualitative data, quantitative data, or a combination of the two.


  1. Applicants must hold a Ph.D. or its equivalent by December 31, 2015 and must have received their Ph.D. or its equivalent by no earlier than January 1, 2008. Stanford University faculty and postdoctoral fellows are ineligible for funding.
  2. Grants should begin on or before December 1, 2015, and end no later than September 29, 2016. A final report will be due to the CPI no later than September 29, 2016. No-cost extensions are not allowed.
  3. The grant will generally be awarded as a personal services contract to one or more researchers or, in necessary circumstances, through the applicant’s home institution. Due to the limited funds available, indirect costs will be limited to no more than 10 percent of the grant amount (only if made through the applicant’s home institution).
  4. Funds may only cover reasonable research expenses up to $20,000. These may include summer salary, research and project assistance, consultant payments, costs of purchasing data or software, and research-related travel. Applicants should include expenses in their budget to cover two trips to Stanford University: the first visit is for a workshop planned for February, 2016 to present the proposed research plan (and possibly initial findings), and the second visit is for a mini-conference in September, 2016 to present the completed research.
  5. Recipients must submit two short progress reports to the CPI, one by March 15, 2016, and the second by July 15, 2016.

Selection Criteria

The CPI will evaluate applications in collaboration with affiliated scholars and staff from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Proposals will be evaluated according to:

    • The quality and appropriateness of the research design, methodology, and data
    • The proposed study’s feasibility
    • The proposed study’s policy significance
    • How the study contributes to the principal investigator’s career development

The CPI will not fund a research project that has also been funded in the current year by a similar grant from the University of California-Davis or the University of Wisconsin-Madison poverty centers. We expect researchers to notify us if, while their proposal is under review, their project receives additional funding from any source.

Application Instructions Applicants should submit their proposal electronically to Proposals must be received by 5pm Pacific Standard Time on November 1, 2015. The proposal should be submitted as a single file and contain the following components in the order listed below:

  1. A cover sheet including the title of the proposed research project, all investigators’ names, affiliations, and contact information, and a principal investigator (PI) for correspondence purposes.
  2. A brief narrative (3-4 single spaced pages, excluding figures and references) delineating: (a) the research question and the study’s aims, (b) a review of the literature informing the study, (c) the research design, methods, and data sources, and (d) the likely policy significance of the proposed research.
  3. An itemized budget and budget narrative explaining each line item.
  4. A project timeline that is consistent with the conditions outlined in the “Terms” section above. This timeline should list the milestones necessary to complete the study in the allotted time.
  5. A CV for each investigator

Please note that Human Subjects review approval (or a waiver in the case of secondary data analysis) is required before any funding may be disbursed.

Contact Information

Alice Chou, Administrative Associate
Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality, (650) 724-6912

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