Scope of Support
The primary mission of the Foundation, as articulated by its founder, Lyle M. Spencer, is "to investigate ways in which education can be improved, around the world." To achieve this goal, the Foundation is committed to supporting high-quality investigation of education through its research programs and to strengthening and renewing the educational research community through its fellowship and training programs and related activities. The Foundation defines education broadly to include all of the situations and institutions in which education proceeds, across the entire life span. An important expectation of the Foundation is that the activities it supports, taken together over the years, will contribute significantly to the enhancement of educational opportunities for all people.
The Foundation's programs fall within three general categories: Research, Fellowships, and Institutional Initiatives. In addition, a small number of programs are operated out of the Office of the President and the Office of the Vice President.
The Foundation's Research programs support work that shows promise of contributing new knowledge or understanding that may contribute to improvement of educational thought or practice. Spencer Fellowship programs support educational researchers at different stages of their professional careers, providing resources to both beginning and senior researchers to pursue concentrated intellectual activity. Institutional Initiatives are aimed at improving the work and performance of agencies and institutions, primarily universities and graduate schools of education at universities, that have as a primary mission the training and apprenticing of educational researchers. Funding programs within the President's and Vice President's Office are experimental or developmental, spanning and augmenting the Foundation's overall programmatic objectives.
As a matter of policy, the Foundation is unable to support requests for capital funds, operating or on-going program expenses, direct support for teacher or staff pre-service or in-service training, funds for developing tests, curricula, or programs, or funds for conducting program evaluation.