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Faculty Research Grants

Request for Proposals 2016

October 17, 2016

The Center for the Study of Inequality (CSI) is delighted to announce a new Faculty Research Grant for Cornell faculty who are studying the patterns, causes, and consequences of social and economic inequality. These grants will support cutting-edge social scientific research in one or more of CSI’s three theme areas: race, ethnicity, and immigration; inequality and democracy ; and social mobility and equality of opportunity.

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. They will be judged on their academic rigor, relevance, and social scientific merit.

The Faculty Research Grant program is possible through a generous grant from the Atlantic Philanthropies.

Grant Amount and Eligible Expenses

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

The majority of funds should support data collection, data analysis, and write-up of the results. Eligible expenditures include undergraduate and graduate research assistance (including stipends and internal tuition fees), specialized research materials and equipment, survey costs, incentives for experimental subjects, specialized software that is not already available through CSI or CISER, travel to research sites or to meet with collaborators, and other direct costs of research.

Requests for summer salary support of up to 1/9th or for costs associated with research dissemination will be considered, but given lower priority in funding.

Grants cannot be used to cover desktop, laptop, tablet, or other personal computer purchases; association membership fees; material available through Cornell Libraries; or support for students to conduct their masters or dissertation projects. Requests for data purchases should be directed to CISER first. If you have a question about whether a specific expense is allowable, please contact CSI (

Eligible Applicants

We welcome proposals from tenure-track faculty members in the social sciences at Cornell. The program is open to scholars of any academic rank. Senior faculty, in particular, must establish that the grant will fund a new research question or approach, rather than an incremental addition to an ongoing line of research.

Collaborative proposals are encouraged, but not required. Collaborations may be with social scientists outside of Cornell, but it must be clear that the Cornell faculty member is integral to the research. Collaborations with scholars outside the social sciences may be better suited for the ISS collaborative research grants or the OVPR’s innovation grant program.

We especially encourage collaborations with researchers at the International Inequalities Institute at the London School of Economics or the University of Cape Town’s Poverty and Inequality Initiative, the two other inequality centers funded by the Atlantic Philanthropies.

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 August or September of 2018. 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 modeled after Cornell’s ArXiv.

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.

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

Not including the CVs, the proposal should not exceed 8 pages. Please submit it as a single PDF file by email to

Proposals are due to CSI no later than 11:59 pm EST, January 15, 2017.


Beginning in late January, an external committee of social scientists will review the proposals and make funding recommendations to CSI. An internal committee will make the final decisions. We hope to announce awards by April 2017, and to make funds available by summer of 2017.

Grants must be used within 18 months of receipt. Any funds remaining at the close of the grant term will be returned to CSI.

Grant Administration Requirements

The grant will be administered by the PI’s department, in accordance with the terms of the grant. 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.

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