Submission Guidelines for Major Grant proposals in the Areas of Inquiry
The guidelines below are meant to clarify questions about the Spencer Foundation’s online application and provide details about what will be requested. We recommend referencing these guidelines as you complete your application.
Step 1: Determine within which Spencer Foundation Area of Inquiry your project best falls.
Step 2 - Registration: PIs are required to register and create an account. By clicking on the link at the bottom of this page and then clicking the “Register Here” button, you will be able to create an account within the online system. After you have received your temporary password via email, you will be able to log in to your new account. If you do not receive your temporary password within 5 to ten minutes, check your Junk and Spam folders in case the automated email has been flagged as such.
Step 3 - My Profile: After logging in, complete the information requested on the My Profile page (upper right corner of the screen) and upload your current CV (10 page limit). If you have interacted with the Spencer Foundation in the past, you will find that some of the fields are already completed within your profile; update as needed. The following information will be requested on the My Profile page:
- General Information: Name, title, organization, email address, mailing address(es), phone number
- Education: Highest degree earned, year earned, university where degree was earned, discipline of degree
- Profile Data: You will be asked to check off the appropriate selections in the following categories: disciplinary perspective, topics, methodologies, as well as some demographic information about yourself.
- CV: You will be asked to upload a current copy of your CV (10 page limit) in PDF format (see Tip #2 below).
Note: Co-PIs must also register and complete their profile information in order to be added to the application.
Step 4 - New Proposal: Click the New Proposal tab and choose the Major Grant button for the appropriate Area of Inquiry. As you work on your preliminary proposal, consider the two following tips:
Tip #1: Remember to frequently click the “Save Draft” button at the bottom of the application page. Any changes you make will not be recorded until you click the “Save Draft” button; click it often.
Tip #2: You will be required to upload PDF files during this process. If your file name has special characters within it (e.g. period, dash, etc), the file will not upload. Remove all special characters from your file names before attempting to upload them.
The following information will be requested within the application:
This section reminds you to complete your My Profile page (as in Step 3) and contains instructions on how to add a Co-PI to the grant application.
- Project Title - headline style formatting is preferred
- Requested Amount – auto-populated after the budget form is completed
- Research Area – auto-populated based on your application choice
- Start Date – should be at least 10 months after the preliminary proposal deadline and start on the first day of the starting month
- End Date – should fall on the last day of the ending month
- Number of months of the project – auto-populated based on the start and end date
You are asked to attach a PDF document that contains the preliminary proposal narrative (1800 word limit) and reference/citation list (not counted toward the word limit). The narrative should include the elements listed below:
- a description of the project, the central research question(s) and its significance;
- a brief summary of the relevant literature, the relationship of the proposed research to that literature, and the new knowledge expected to result from the proposed research;
- a summary of the conceptual framework, research methods, data collection instruments, and modes of analysis that the project will employ;
- an explanation of (a) how the proposed work fits within one or more of the Spencer Areas of Inquiry, or, (b) the unique contribution of the work if it does not fit within one of the Spencer areas; and;
- a clear identification of the principal investigator(s) and a clear definition of the role(s) he/she and any supporting researcher(s) will play.
Formatting guidelines: The narrative text should be double-spaced and in a standard, readable font and font size.
Note: Before clicking the “Edit Budget” button to add your proposed expenses, click the “Save Draft” button at the bottom of the page. This will create a budget form that has the appropriate number of years based on the start and end dates entered in the Proposal Details section.
Check off the appropriate selections with regard to your research project in the following categories: topics, methodologies, disciplinary perspective, subjects/informants, and geographic scope.
If you have additional documents that you would like to attach to your preliminary proposal submission, you are able to upload them as PDF files in this section. Examples of accepted Appendices include survey instruments, interview protocols, letters of agreement, etc.
This section lists the project personnel currently associated with the proposal. (You may also update your My Profile page using the Edit Profile link available in this section.)
Once you have completed all of the required information within the application click “Submit” at the bottom of the page. The PI will receive an email acknowledgement once the preliminary proposal has been accepted for review.
Deadlines and Review Process
The next deadline for preliminary proposals is noon CST, Friday, March 14, 2014: (this deadline was originally set for January 14, but has been moved; click here for further explanation). Below is a timeline for this review cycle; as future cycles are scheduled, they will be posted to this website:
Preliminary Proposal Deadline: March 14, 2014
Prelim Decision Notification: by late May 2014
Invited Full Proposal Deadline: June 30, 2014
Final Funding Decision: February 2015
Eligibility and Restrictions:
- Principal Investigators (PIs) and C0-PIs applying for a Research Grant must have an earned doctorate in an academic discipline or professional field, or appropriate experience in an education research-related profession.
- The PI must be affiliated with a college, university, research facility, school district, or cultural institution that is willing to serve as the fiscal agent if the grant is awarded. Research Grant proposals from individuals are not eligible.
- Proposals are accepted from the U.S. and internationally, however all proposals must be submitted in English and budgets must be proposed in U.S. Dollars.
- PIs and Co-PIs may only hold one active research grant from the Spencer Foundation at a time. Simultaneous submissions to Spencer from PIs and Co-PIs are discouraged due to this policy.
Online Application, click here.