2019 William T. Grant Scholars Award


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 junior 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. The Foundation 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.

The Foundation's mission is to support research to improve the lives of young people ages 5-25 in the U.S. Researchers interested in applying for Scholars Awards must select one focus area: 

  • Reducing Inequality
    In this focus area, the Foundation supports research to build, test, and increase understanding of approaches to reducing inequality in youth outcomes, especially on the basis of race, ethnicity, economic standing, language minority status, or immigrant origin status. The Foundation is interested in research on programs, policies, and practices to reduce inequality in academic, social, behavioral, and economic outcomes. 
  • Improving the Use of Research Evidence
    In this focus area, the Foundation supports 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 evidence by state and local decision makers, mid-level managers, and intermediaries.


  • Applicant must have received their terminal degree within seven years of submitting their application. 
  • Applicants must be tenure track
  • Proposed project must advance the Foundation's interest in understanding programs, policies, and practices that reduce inequality or improve the use of research evidence.
  • Applicants of any discipline are eligible.
  • The award must not replace the institution's current support of the applicant's research. 

Award Background:

  • A five-year grant of up to $350,000 (awards begin July 1, 2020)
  • Only one applicant may be nominated from a major school or college of an institution each year.
  • Each year, four to six Scholars are selected.
  • List of Past Awardees - we strongly recommend reviewing past grants to determine competitiveness.


Internal Application Process:

Only one applicant may be nominated from a major school or college of an institution each year. The internal selection process will be informed by the grant program's guidelines and submission requirements and led by a committee composed of the deans of applicants' respective schools and colleges or their designees and, if necessary, the Provost, Vice Chancellor for Research Engagement, and/or faculty with relevant expertise.

If you are interested in applying to this program, please submit the following as a single PDF to cfr@umass.edu by Friday, March 29, 2019:

  • A five-year research and mentoring plan (2 pages max.) that includes:
    • A brief description of one or more research projects that address one of the Foundation's focus areas;
    • A description of current areas of expertise and new ones that will be added during the award; andx
    • The rationale for the proposed mentor(s).
  • One to two proposed mentor(s) and at least three potential recommendation writers (these can be colleagues, supervisors, of your department chair) and a brief overview of their credentials.
  • Curriculum Vitae.
  • A list of current and pending support


Internal: March 29, 2019
Sponsor Applications: July 2, 2019
Mentor and Reference Letters: June 12, 2019

Additional Information

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.

For more information, please review the program's website and detailed Application Guide. If you have technical questions on the W.T. Grant Scholars Program or your eligibility, please contact Liz Smith in Corporate and Foundation Relations.