The Award

The William T. Grant Foundation will make a $650,000 award to a research institution to support a research-practice partnership for three years. The award may be renewable for an additional two-year term. The grant will provide:

  • Up to $60,000 for 6-12 months of joint planning activities (e.g., refining protocols for partnering, selecting fellows, finalizing partnership agreements, etc.).
  • Fellowship support for the equivalent of one full-time or two half-time fellows per year, for two years. In addition, the research institution must contribute the equivalent of one full-time or two half-time fellows for the equivalent of a one-year, full-time term.
  • Up to three years of support for the partnership to conduct research to reduce inequality in youth outcomes.
  • Resources to develop the capacities of both partners.
  • Indirect cost allowance of up to 15 percent of total direct costs.

We encourage proposals from teams with African American, Latino, Native American, and Asian American members in leadership roles. The partnership leadership team includes the project’s principal investigator and the lead from the public agency or nonprofit organization.

Recipients of the award will have the opportunity to apply for a two-year continuation grant in order to solidify the partnership and institutional changes. At the end of a five-year grant, we expect the following results:

  • The research institution has established a set of strategies that facilitate sustained research collaborations with public agencies or private nonprofit organizations.
  • The public agency or private nonprofit organization has increased its capacity to use research evidence.
  • Participating researchers have improved partnership skills.
  • The research generated has been used in decision making and is likely to lead to improved outcomes for youth.

We hope that lessons from these grants radiate beyond the funded institutions and fellows. After the first few awards are made, we plan to gather the grantees and fellows to learn from one another.

Eligibility

Eligible research institutions

The award will be made to an organization, not to an individual. Organizations can include university-based research institutes, schools or centers, research organizations, think tanks, or other such research institutions. Grants are limited without exception to tax-exempt organizations.

Eligible principal investigators

The principal investigator should be a leader at the research institution. S/he should have visibility, influence on institutional policies and practices, and access to the resources needed to implement and optimize the award. S/he should also possess the skills needed to cultivate trusting relationships with leaders from the partner public agency or nonprofit organization.

Eligible public agencies or nonprofit organizations

Eligible public agencies include state or local agencies and their departments and divisions. Nonprofit, tax-exempt organizations are eligible if they are open to the general public and provide services for youth ages 5 to 25 in the United States. Eligible agencies and organizations engage in work relevant to youth in the areas of education, justice, child welfare, mental health, immigration, or workforce development and have the resources needed to implement and optimize the award.

Eligible leaders from the public agency or nonprofit organization

Leaders from the public agency or nonprofit organization should have the authority and influence required to successfully institutionalize the partnership and the use of research evidence in the agency or organization’s work.

Eligible partnerships

Research-practice partnerships are defined as long-term, mutually beneficial collaborations that promote the production and use of rigorous and relevant research evidence. These partnerships take a long view and should extend beyond the life of any one grant, project, or leader. While the competition is open to partnerships at different stages of maturity, applicants will need to convince reviewers that the grant adds significant value to what already exists. We anticipate that it will be difficult for a well-established partnership with strong institutional support to make a convincing case that the award adds value. For younger partnerships, reviewers will seek promising initial evidence that the partners have successfully worked together in the past and have the potential to sustain a long-term collaboration.

Eligible fellows

Fellows will primarily be mid-career researchers appointed at the research institution who collaborate with the public agency or nonprofit organization. We define mid-career as having received the terminal degree within 8 to 20 years of the date that the application is submitted. (This should be calculated by adding 8 and 20 years to the date the doctoral degree was conferred. For medicine, an institution should use the date from the completion of the first residency.) The fellow does not need to be an employee of the research institution, and can be recruited from another institution.

Applicants may choose to appoint one fellow from the public agency or nonprofit organization. This should be a mid-career professional at the agency or organization who will be called on to facilitate the use of research. A mid-career professional has 8 to 20 years of cumulative experience in his/her current role.

Application Materials

Applications will be accepted once per year, and must include the following:

Budget and Budget Justification

Provide budget information for three years using the budget grid in the online application. Also complete the Foundation’s budget justification form, which can be downloaded from the uploads section of the online application. The total budget can be up to $650,000. It can include an indirect cost allowance of up to 15 percent of total direct costs.

Funds for the planning period may not exceed $60,000 and should be split equally between the research institution and its partner(s). The remainder of funds may be used to support the fellows, capacity building activities, and research-related work. (The Foundation pays expenses for the research and practice or policy leaders of the partnership to participate in Foundation-sponsored meetings. Do not include funds for those expenses in the budget.)

If funds to the public agency or nonprofit organization exceed $50,000, complete a separate subcontract budget and budget justification. (The forms can be downloaded from the uploads section of the online application.) Subcontract funds $50,000 or less do not require separate forms, but must be explained in detail in the primary budget justification.

Short CV/Resume of PI (5 page maximum)

Include education; position history; recent and relevant publications; grants, roles and products related to work with policymakers and practitioners; leadership roles within the institution; and evidence of mentoring others.

Short CV/Resume for lead from the public agency or nonprofit organization (5 page maximum)

Include education, position history, key roles and responsibilities at the current agency or organization, positions or products related to work with researchers.

Short CV of any identified Fellows (optional; 5 page maximum each)

Include education; position history; recent and relevant publications; grants, roles and products related to work with policymakers or practitioners (for research fellows) or with researchers (for policy or practice fellows); awards; grants.

IRS Tax-Exempt Status Determination Letter (for the applying research institution)

You will be required to submit a copy of your institution’s IRS tax-exempt status determination letter.

Abstract (maximum of 5 pages and formatted as follows: 12-point font, single-spaced text with a line space between each paragraph, and 1-inch margins on all sides)

Abstracts will be a critical part of the application. Foundation staff will use these to screen applications for further review. In addition, Selection Committee members will review the abstracts of all finalists; they will not necessarily read all the full applications. We advise applicants to include sufficient details about the partnership, joint research agenda and research plans, capacity-building activities (i.e., criteria for selecting fellows, activities to support fellows and to build public agency or nonprofit organization capacity), and shifts in organizational practices to elevate the status of partnership work in order for reviewers to be assured that the partnership, research, and institutional change plans are strong.

Narrative (maximum of 25 pages and formatted as follows: 12-point font, single-spaced text with a line space between each paragraph, and 1-inch margins on all sides)

The narrative includes a description of the planning period, the institutional partnership, the joint research agenda, the capacity building activities, and the changes in institutional policies and practices. The reference list, tables, and appendices are not included in the 25 page limit. (See the application guidelines for more information on developing a strong narrative.

Partnership Agreement

This document must be signed by both the principal investigator at the research institution and the partnership leader at the public agency or nonprofit organization. The document should articulate the partnership goals, key roles, governance, principles guiding joint work, and timelines. Resources on building partnerships and samples of memorandums of understanding and working agreements can be found on the Foundation’s research-practice partnerships website: rpp.wtgrantfoundation.org.

Endorsement of the Application from the Research Institution

This document should come from the appropriate institutional office (e.g., university dean, provost, vice chancellor for research) and demonstrate support for the PI, partnership, research project(s), and changes in institutional policies and practices. The letter must also confirm the institution’s commitment to provide a match of one full-time equivalent fellow for one year and the presence of sufficient resources to carry out the proposed work.

Endorsement of the Application from the Public Agency or Nonprofit Organization

This document should come from the appropriate institutional office (e.g., agency leader, director, or executive) and demonstrate support for the leader of the partnership within the agency or organization. The letter must also confirm that there are sufficient resources within the organization to carry out the proposed work.

Submission Instructions

The William T. Grant Foundation accepts applications only through our online application system. We encourage applicants to begin the application as early as possible to review the online application, download forms, and allow sufficient time to resolve any technical issues that may arise.

  1. Log in (or register if you are a new user).
    • Click “LOG IN” at the top right of any page on our website. If you forgot your password, click the link to reset your password.
    • If you are the principal investigator (PI), and do not have an account, register on our website to create one. If you are not the PI, obtain the account login information from that person or help the PI create an account.
  2. Select the Institutional Challenge Grants funding opportunity, and complete the eligibility quiz.
    • Once you have completed the eligibility quiz, return to your Easygrants homepage and click on the “Application” link to enter the application.
  3. Enter PI contact information, PI demographic information, and contact information for each additional Co-Principal Investigator.
  4. Provide project information.
  5. Enter and upload all required information.
  6. Review and Submit.
    • Review the application PDF to make sure that your materials are in order. Once the application is submitted, you will not be able to make any changes.

Selection Criteria

Applications should meet the selection criteria detailed below:

  • Planning Period
    1. Activities for the planning period demonstrate potential to strengthen the partnership.
    2. Activities advance the research agenda, selection of fellows, and capacity building.
    3. The research institution and the public agency or nonprofit organization will each receive half of the dollars available for planning (up to $30,000 each).
  • Institutional Partnership
    1. The rationale for partnering provides compelling evidence that the research institution and the public agency or nonprofit organization can build a sustained partnership that will work together effectively.
    2. The plan for partnering demonstrates mastery of the literature on the challenges and strategies for collaborative work to promote the use of research evidence.
    3. Activities for building the partnerships will cultivate trust and deepen relationships.
    4. There is evidence that the public agency or nonprofit organization is invested in the partnership, will interact regularly with the fellows, and has strong plans for using the research.
    5. The partnership is likely to be sustained after the award ends.
  • Joint Research Agenda to Reduce Inequality in Youth Outcomes
    1. The long-term research agenda (including one or more research projects) aligns with the Foundation’s focus on building, testing, and improving programs, practices, and policies to reduce inequality in youth outcomes.
    2. The research questions and findings are likely to significantly advance the public agency or nonprofit organization’s efforts to reduce inequality in youth outcomes.
    3. The research plan demonstrates mastery of related theory and empirical findings and builds upon that work.
    4. The research plan reflects rigorous methods that are appropriate for the proposal’s goals.
    5. The research plan is feasible given the resources and time frame.
    6. Plans to interpret and use the research findings in policy or practice decisions are convincing and feasible given the resources and time frame.
  • Developing the Capacity of the Mid-Career Fellows and Partners
    1. The application includes written assurances that the research institution will provide institutional support for one full-time or two half-time mid-career fellows for one year and that all fellows will commit a minimum of half-time status for at least a six-month period.
    2. The criteria for selecting fellows ensures that the fellow possesses the relevant expertise to carry out the proposed work and can effectively communicate what is learned to the broader research community and to change makers in other state or local settings.
    3. The capacity-building plan for the research fellows significantly extends the fellows’ skills as effective partners to policymakers and practitioners.
    4. Capacity-building activities for the public agency or nonprofit organization leverage what is already known about strategies for mobilizing research knowledge for use in practice or policy.
    5. The capacity-building plan for the public agency or nonprofit organization significantly extends the organization’s ability to access and integrate high-quality research evidence into their work.
  • Changing Institutional Policies and Practices
    1. The application provides a thoughtful discussion of potential obstacles that may limit participation in research-practice partnerships and offers a plan for overcoming those obstacles.
    2. Assurances are compelling that the research institution will provide the necessary funding, alter policies, and/or enact new practices to attract, support, and reward strong investigators to conduct partnership research.
    3. The plan for institutional change is feasible given the resources and time frame.
    4. The application demonstrates a commitment to sustain the home institutions’ organizational changes beyond the conclusion of the award.

Application Review Process

Review occurs in the following stages: Staff screen abstracts, brief CVs, and, if warranted, full applications to determine whether they fit with the primary objectives of the award and potentially meet other Selection Criteria. Next, the Institutional Challenge Grant Selection Committee reviews the remaining applications. Each application receives detailed reviews by at least two Committee members. The Committee then chooses finalists, and the PI and leader from the public agency or private nonprofit organization will be invited to New York City for an interview in January of 2018. During the interview, finalists have the opportunity to respond to Committee members’ reviews. Following the interviews, the Selection Committee chooses one Institutional Challenge Grant recipient. The application is presented for approval by the Board of Trustees at its March meeting.

Selection Committee

The Foundation will announce members of the selection committee in the summer of 2017.

Post-Award Review

A program report will be required from the principal investigator 30 days prior to the end of the planning period. This report should describe the progress of the planning period, announce identified fellows, update the partnership agreement(s) (if necessary), and confirm that the planning period funds were disbursed equally between the research institution and partner public agency or nonprofit organization.

Thereafter, annual program and financial reports are required from the principal investigator and their institutions. Final reports are due at the conclusion of the award. Partners also complete final program reports.

Annual program reports describe work during the past year and facilitate the Foundation’s grants management activities. Grants are assigned for post-award review to a member of the Foundation’s Senior Program Team. Team members review program reports in order to: 1) find opportunities to link grantees to other scholars, policymakers, and practitioners working in relevant areas; 2) provide technical assistance, advice, or other resources to support the work; and 3) assist grantees with communication and dissemination efforts.

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