Midcareer Grant Program

The Spencer Foundation is pleased to announce a new grant program to enrich the work of academic midcareer scholars who are seven to twenty years post doctorate. This targeted program provides support for those who are interested in advancing their understanding of a compelling problem of education by acquiring new skills, substantive knowledge, theoretical perspectives or methodological tools. It is not intended to encourage researchers to abandon their existing area of expertise, but rather to build on, enrich, and extend that training with the acquisition of new methodological tools and/or perspectives about a subject to which they have been deeply committed throughout their academic career. In developing this program of additive scholarly learning, the Foundation intends to heighten the potential for midcareer productivity and contribution by operationalizing through its grant making an understanding about scholarship that we believe has merit: that reaching beyond familiar ways of thinking about education puzzles and problems has the potential to bring innovative ideas to the work and, by extension, to lines of inquiry in the field.

Applicants will be asked to center their request around the clear articulation and exploration of an important problem, or set of problems, of education that is well-aligned with their core interests and past scholarship. In addition, applicants will be asked to fully describe how the acquisition of new tools or perspectives enriches their understanding of that problem and to present a well-thought out plan for acquiring them.

Grant awards will not be confined to proposals to learn a new discipline, although in a number of cases that would fit. A psychologist studying techniques for promoting positive character development in children might spend a year studying philosophical work bearing on character development and the proper role of families and schools in shaping children’s character. A historian of American education might spend a year studying some aspect of the history of education in Brazil or France. A scholar who works on the teaching of writing in colleges might have reason to acquire a deeper understanding of early literacy.

In this initial pilot phase of the program, the Foundation is planning for two award cycles for projects to be undertaken during the 2015-16 and 2016-2017 academic years. Up to five awards will be made in each cycle.


Candidates will be faculty members who were awarded doctorates within the last seven to twenty years.

This program is intended to provide support for a year-long program of study during which time the recipient will be released from teaching and from committee service and governance responsibilities on his or her home campus.



Important Dates
  • Proposals due: October 15, 2014 by 4:00 p.m. Central Time.

Proposals should be submitted electronically through the Spencer Foundation online system. We recommend referencing the Midcareer Grant Proposal Submission Guidelines as you complete your application.

  • Final funding decisions will be made in late January 2015, with awards available for a start date between June 1, 2015 and October 1, 2015.

Midcareer Grant Proposal Submission Guidelines – click here.

Midcareer Grant Selection Process – click here.

Midcareer Grant Program FAQs - click here.

Midcareer Grant Program Review Panel - click here.


If you have questions about the program, please email them to midcareer@spencer.org.