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Request for Proposals

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

Request for Seed Grant Proposals

CSI invites proposals for grants that will support research on inequality by Cornell University graduate students. The proposed research projects will be judged on their academic rigor and social scientific merit, relevance to contemporary inequality scholarship, and potential to advance knowledge about inequality.

The Center for the Study of Inequality (CSI) advances research on the patterns, causes, and consequences of social and economic inequalities, how inequality varies across time and space, and how it is perpetuated or mitigated through day‐to‐day interactions, families, schools, neighborhoods, prisons, employing organizations, local and national labor market institutions, the law, politics, and the state. CSI values theoretically driven empirical research, whether it is in the service of “basic” knowledge about the fundamental nature of inequality or of “applied” knowledge that is relevant to public policy.

How Much are the Awards?

Not to exceed $1000. Proposals that include hiring and training undergraduate research assistants are eligible for a “top up” of up to $500, for a maximum of $1500.

What is the Proposal Deadline?

February 1, 2018. Awards will be announced in April, and the funds will be available as soon as we can process the paperwork.

What Activities are Supported?

Grants may support specialized research materials and equipment, software that is not already available through CSI or CISER site licenses, undergraduate research assistance, experimental subject incentives, travel to and from research sites (where such travel is not covered by the Graduate School), and other direct expenses of data collection and analysis. All requests for data purchases should be directed toward CISER first.

Grants cannot be used to cover travel to conferences or workshops to present the results of research (see Graduate School grants); desktop, laptop, tablet, phone, or other personal computer purchases; academic year or summer stipends; health care or related benefits; student fees; or publication fees.

If you have a question about whether a specific expense not mentioned here is allowable, please contact CSI. Generally speaking, we will follow NSF SBS directorate’s guidelines (and, obviously, Cornell rules).

Who Can Apply?

We welcome proposals from graduate students at any stage of their training. Graduate students who have received small grants in the past are welcome to apply for support for a different project, although we reserve the right to prioritize first‐time applicants.

The grants are open to graduate students enrolled in any social science PhD program at Cornell.

Proposals to conduct research in collaboration with other Cornell graduate students are welcome, although the $1000 award cap will still apply. Proposals to conduct collaborative research with Cornell faculty or with scholars outside of Cornell will be evaluated on a case‐by‐base basis; at a minimum, the proposal needs to be clear that the Cornell graduate student is taking the lead intellectual role on the project, not acting (implicitly or explicitly) as the senior or external scholar’s RA.

What Strings are Attached?

All funds must be used within one year of the award date.  Recipients will be required to:
– submit a brief, final report on the use of the funds and the outcome of the research, and
– acknowledge CSI support in all presentations or publications that result from the funded

How to Submit a Proposal

Interested graduate students should submit a proposal that includes the following:
– Cover letter with the following information: Name of applicant, netid, field of study, faculty advisor, anticipated graduation date and a brief overview of the proposal. If this is a collaborative project, include the names and academic affiliations of all collaborators.
– Title, description of research, objectives, planned activities, and expected outputs. The research objectives and planned activities should be as specific as possible. The description of the research needs to show how the project will advance existing knowledge about inequality. This section of the proposal should not exceed 1000 words.
– 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
– Human Subjects approval, where necessary

Not including the CV or IRB documentation, the proposal should not exceed 1700 words.

Please email the proposal in one document (.pdf or .docx) to Mary Newhart by February 1, 2018.


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