William T. Grant Scholar Awards

Below please find a limited submission opportunity for early career investigators conducting research to improve the lives of young people ages 5-25 in the U.S. UMass Amherst may submit one application per school/college. If you are interested in submitting to this program, please email the following to foundation.relations@umass.edu as a singled PDF by April 12:

  • A five-year research and mentoring plan (3 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; and
    • 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.


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.

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.

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 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.

•             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. We are particularly interested in research on improving the use of research 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, 2021)
  • 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.

Sponsor Deadline:

Mentor and Reference Letters due June 19, 2020

Applications due July 1, 2020

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.