Faculty Research Grants

Request for Proposals 2018-19

October 29, 2018

The Center for the Study of Inequality (CSI) is delighted to announce the 2018-19 Faculty Research Grant program. This program supports cutting-edge social scientific research into the patterns, causes, and consequences of social and economic inequality. In particular, we are interested in funding research relevant on the following three theme areas: social mobility and equality of opportunity; inequality and democracy; and race and immigration

Proposals should engage contemporary social science inequality literature, demonstrate creativity and potential to advance inequality scholarship, and lead to publications in peer-reviewed social science journals and/or to successful external grant proposals. Proposals will be judged on their academic rigor, intellectual creativity, potential contributions to the inequality literature and inequality research infrastructure (e.g., collection of new and publicly available data), and social scientific merit.

The program is possible through a generous grant from the Atlantic Philanthropies. Deadline for application is February 15, 2019.

Grant Amount and Eligible Expenses

Grants will be made in amounts up to $75,000. We anticipate funding 3-4 grants at this level.

Funds should support data collection, data analysis, and write-up of the results. Eligible expenditures include undergraduate and graduate research assistance (including academic year stipends, internal tuition fees, and summer stipends), specialized research materials and equipment, survey costs, incentives for experimental subjects, and other direct costs of research.

Requests for summer salary support of up to 1/9th and for travel to meet with collaborators will be considered, but given the lowest priority in funding.

Grants cannot be used to cover computer purchases; association membership fees; conference travel or registration; publication fees; support for students’ qualifying papers, masters theses, dissertations; or expenses prohibited under University rules. Funds cannot be used to pay summer salaries or RA expenses for collaborators outside of Cornell. If you have a question about allowable expenses, please contact Mary Newhart (mjn3@cornell.edu).

Eligible Applicants

We welcome proposals from tenure-track faculty members of any rank in the social sciences. Established researchers should show that the proposed project explores a new research question or approach, and is not an incremental addition to ongoing lines of research. Collaborative proposals are encouraged, but not required.

Required Output

In addition to reporting any findings generated by the supported research in traditional academic outlets, grant recipients will be asked to prepare a report on their research for non-academic audiences. This may take the form of a policy brief, white paper, op-ed, podcast, interview, or some product that will reach a non-academic audience. CSI can assist with dissemination.

We will also ask grantees and their RAs (if any) to participate in an informal workshop held in Ithaca in summer or early fall of 2019 or 2020. The goal of the workshop will be to communicate preliminary results to CSI affiliates and to receive feedback on “work-in-progress.”

We strongly encourage PIs to co-author papers off the project with their graduate student RAs. We also encourage PIs to publish their papers in open access journals and/or post preprints to SocArXiv, a non-profit open science server for social sciences, and eCommons at Cornell.

Proposal Requirements

Eligible applicants should submit a proposal that includes the following:

  • Title, description of the research, objectives, planned activities, and expected outputs. This section of the proposal should not exceed 6 single-spaced pages.
  • A budget with an itemized list of, and justification for, expenses.
  • A timeline for the research.
  • Plans for follow-up research and, if relevant, external funding proposals.
  • Curriculum Vitae for PIs and co-PIs. CVs for RAs are not necessary.

Not including the CVs, the proposal should not exceed 8 pages. Please submit it as a single PDF file by email to mjn3@cornell.edu no later than 11:59 pm EST, February 15, 2019.

It’s not necessary to secure IRB approval prior to applying, but funded projects that involve human subjects will need IRB approval before CSI can disburse the funds.


We will review proposals in late February and March, announce awards by April 2019, and make funds available by summer of 2019.

Award winners must use the funds within 18 months of receipt or receive written permission from the Director to extend up to an additional 6 months. Any funds remaining at the end of the grant term need to be returned to CSI.

Grant Administration Requirements

The grant will be administered by the PI’s department. The PI will be asked to submit a brief, mid-grant report in December of the first year, and a longer report at the completion of the project. The “Required Output” section identifies additional terms of the grant.

Requests to reallocate funds across budgeted items of more than 10% of the total grant need to be approved by the CSI Director in advance.

Any questions? Start with our FAQ page!

For a printable version of this RFP, please click here.