Supporting Transformative Research for Equity
We have identified a critical need for research that will transform educational systems. Fostering this kind of transformative research will require creating spaces for scholars to work in novel ways - to imagine new ways of transforming education at a systemic level; to work across methods and disciplines; and to collaborate with policymakers, practitioners, community members, and others. Our strategy is to support this work via our new (1) Vision Grants (VG), and (2) Transformative Research Grants (TRG).
Building the Field Through Collaborative Work
The Vision Grants are designed for teams to plan multi-method and/or interdisciplinary, collaborative studies that address a clear opportunity or challenge whose solution could transform educational systems toward equity.
Transformative Research Grants
Reimagining Education Through Collaborative, Interdisciplinary, Impactful research
The Transformative Research Grants are open only to those who have completed a Vision Grant. They are research grants, of up to $3.5 million, which will allow teams to execute the research and impact plans outlined in their Vision Grants, with the ultimate goal of creating more equitable education systems. We intend to fund one to two of these grants annually.
These programs are designed to support transformative research and, to cultivate that work, the transformation of how the field conducts research for equity and impact. Indeed, we believe that working toward a Vision Grant or a Transformative Research Grant opens up a number of transformative pathways for scholars: Deeper engagement with policymakers, practitioners, and educators in envisioning new systems; more robust ties to families, communities and other groups invested in educational change; stronger connections across disciplines and methods; bold ideas for future research; and, ultimately, equitable and sustainable education systems that cultivate learning and thriving.
What Do We Mean by Transformative Research?
We believe that visionary scholarship - conducted in generative collaboration with educators, policymakers and practitioners and drawing on insights from multiple disciplines and methods - can contribute to transforming educational systems toward equity. Therefore, we expect that Vision Grant proposals will foster collaboration, center equity, and foreground impact.
Work across methods and disciplines and in deep engagement with practitioners, policymakers, and communities (and others).
Move toward equitable systems change in a way that honors and builds on the expertise and strengths of families, communities, and young people.
Focus on key challenges and opportunities for increasing equity, with sightlines to systems change.
How are we conceptualizing transformative research for equitable education systems?
Spencer Board Chair
Associate Dean of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
Graduate School of Education and Information Studies
University of Calfornia, Los Angeles
Former Spencer Board Member
Quetelet Professor of Social Science
Department of Sociology
What do our grantees say about their Vision Grants?
We interviewed four teams awarded Vision Grants from our initial pilot cycle. They talked about the big questions they were pursuing, the new collaborations they were forming, and the real-world changes they hoped might result from their projects.
Lee L.Jacks Professor of Education
Graduate School of Education
Center for Democracy and Civic Life
University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Manager of Research and Evaluation
San Francisco Unified School District
Director of Research
Computer Science Equity Project
University of California, Los Angeles
Department of Educational Policy Studies
University of Wisconsin-Madison
School of Education
University of California, Irvine
School of Education and Social Policy
McCormick School of Engineering
Professor of Early Childhood Studies
Graduate School of Education
University of Melbourne
We expect that these grants will go far beyond solely documenting inequality, to instead make significant movement toward policy, practice, or pedagogical change in a way that transforms education systems.