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Spencer Foundation Small Research Grants on Education Program 2024 | up to $50,000

Spencer Foundation Small Research Grants on Education Program 2024 | up to $50,000

The Small Research Grants Program funds education research projects that will contribute to the overall improvement of education, with budgets of up to $50,000 for projects lasting one to five years.

This program is “field-initiated” in the sense that proposal submissions do not respond to a specific request for a specific research topic, discipline, design, method, or location.

The goal of this program is to support rigorous, intellectually ambitious, and technically sound research that addresses the most pressing questions and compelling opportunities in education.

They seek to support scholarship that develops new foundational knowledge that may have a lasting impact on educational discourse.


  • Proposed budgets for this program are limited to $50,000 total and may not include indirect cost charges per Spencer’s policy.


  • Proposals to the Research Grants on Education program must be for academic research projects that aim to study education. 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 Small Research Grant on Education 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.

Selection Process

The Small Research Grants Program in Education 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 5-6 months from the 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 education in the research, the importance of the topic to its field, 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.

Deadline: September 11, 2024

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