Award recipients are designated as William T. Grant Scholars. Each year, four to six Scholars are selected and each receives up to $350,000, distributed over five years.

Awards begin July 1 and are made to the applicant’s institution. The award must not replace the institution’s current support of the applicant’s research.


The Foundation holds annual meetings during the summer to support the Scholars’ professional development. These summer retreats are designed to foster a supportive environment in which Scholars can improve their skills and work. Scholars discuss works-in-progress and receive constructive feedback on the challenges they face in conducting their projects. The retreat consists of workshops centered on Scholars’ projects, research design and methods issues, and professional development. The meeting is attended by Scholars, Scholars Selection Committee members, and Foundation staff and Board members. Scholars are also invited to attend other Foundation-sponsored workshops on topics relevant to their work, such as mixed methods and the use of research evidence in policy and practice.

In years one through three of their awards, Scholars may apply for additional awards to mentor junior researchers of color. The announcement and criteria for funding are distributed annually to Scholars. Our goals for these two-year awards are to build Scholars’ mentoring skills and understanding of the career development issues faced by junior colleagues of color. We also seek to expand their mentees’ research assets and increase the number of strong, well-networked researchers of color doing work on the Foundation’s research interests. The Foundation convenes annual workshops to strengthen these mentoring relationships and support career development.


Eligible Organizations

Grants are made to organizations, not individuals. Grants are limited, without exception, to tax-exempt organizations. A copy of the Internal Revenue Service tax-exempt status determination letter is required from each applying organization.

Eligible Applicants

Applicants must be nominated by their institutions. Major divisions (e.g., College of Arts and Sciences, Medical School) of an institution may nominate only one applicant each year. In addition to the eligibility criteria below, deans and directors of those divisions should refer to the Selection Criteria on pages 12-14 to aid them in choosing their nominees.

Applicants must have received their terminal degree within seven years of submitting their application. We calculate this by adding seven years to the date the doctoral degree was conferred. In medicine, the seven-year maximum is dated from the completion of the first residency.

Applicants must be employed in career-ladder positions. For many applicants, this means holding a tenure-track position in a university. Applicants in other types of organizations should be in positions in which there is a pathway to advancement in a research career at the organization and the organization is fiscally responsible for the applicant’s position. The award may not be used as a post-doctoral fellowship.

Applicants outside the United States are eligible. As with U.S. applicants, they must pursue research that has compelling policy or practice implications for youth in the United States.

Applicants of any discipline are eligible.

Application Materials

Applications to the William T. Grant Scholars Program are accepted once per year, and must include the following:

Mentor and Reference Letters

We recommend beginning the online application early in order to give mentors and references ample time to complete their sections. You may work on other sections of the application while waiting for your mentors and references to submit their letters, but you will not be able to submit your application until all letters are received.


Each proposed mentor should submit a letter. Mentor letters are not recommendations, and applicants should discourage cursory letters of support. Please refer to the Scholars Program Selection Criteria for more information. The letter should include:

  • a brief assessment of the applicant’s research plan, and a summation of the applicant’s potential, his or her strengths, and areas for growth;
  • his or her current relationship to the applicant, and how the award will add significant value beyond what would normally occur in the relationship;
  • an explanation of the expertise the mentor will help the applicant acquire and the mentoring activities that will be undertaken. Provide a persuasive rationale that the types of activities and time commitments are appropriate for developing particular kinds of expertise. Activities generally include direct interactions with applicants, but can also include indirect support such as facilitating access to new professional networks, readings, or training opportunities. Describe how the mentor and applicant will interact (e.g., in-person, email, phone), the frequency of that interaction, and how potential barriers such as distance and busy schedules will be addressed; and
  • confirmation of his or her willingness to complete annual reports for the award (mentors receive an honorarium of $500 upon receipt of reports).


Three letters of recommendation should be submitted from colleagues, supervisors, or the department/division chairperson who nominates the applicant. Proposed mentors may not submit these.


Provide budget information for five years using the form included in the online application. The total budget can be up to $350,000. It can include an indirect cost allowance of up to 7.5 percent of total direct costs.

Requests to fund recipient’s salary must not exceed 50 percent of the total salary received from the sponsoring institution. The portion of the grant used for salary must be equivalent to the time made available for research by this award. The remainder of funds may be used to support research-related work. (The Foundation pays expenses related to the Scholars’ participation in Foundation-sponsored meetings.)

All uploaded documents should: use a font no smaller than 12 pt.; have margins of at least one inch on all sides; be single-spaced, with two lines between paragraphs; and be in .doc, .docx, .rtf, or .pdf format. Please adhere to the page limits specified below. Files can only be uploaded one at a time. They may be uploaded in any order; the final application PDF will sort the uploads as they are listed below.

Budget Justification

Complete and upload the Foundation’s budget justification form, which can be found within the Uploads tab of your online application.

Abridged Curriculum Vitae

Use the Foundation’s form on the website.

Full Curriculum Vitae

Abstract (6 pages maximum)

Use the Foundation’s form on the website. Do not edit the form or delete instructions from the form. Abstracts are a critical part of the application, and Foundation staff use them to screen applications. In addition, Selection Committee members will review the abstracts of all finalists, but will not read all the full applications. We advise applicants to include sufficient details about the research sample, methods, and designs for all reviewers to be assured of the quality of the proposed research.

Full Research and Mentoring Plan (40 pages maximum)

The five-year research plan (20 pages maxiumum) should include one or more research projects and provide convincing evidence that the projects meet the Selection Criteria. The project descriptions should include:

  • the unique contribution of the research,
  • its significance in terms of policy and/or practice,
  • a brief literature review,
  • research design and methodology,
  • data sources and collection procedures,
  • data analysis plans, and
  • plans for protection of human subjects.

The mentoring plan must demonstrate that it meets all the Selection Criteria and must be developed in conjunction with the proposed mentors. It should include detailed descriptions of the following:

  • applicant’s current areas of expertise and the new ones that will be added during the award;
  • the rationale for the proposed mentor(s);
  • the mentoring activities designed to develop the new expertise;
  • how the applicant and mentor will interact (e.g., in-person, email, phone), how often, around what substantive issues, and how barriers such as distance and busy schedules will be handled; and
  • how the award will add significant value to the proposed mentoring relationship.

Plans should also include:

  • Bibliography (10 pages maximum)
  • Appendices (10 pages maximum)

The Foundation is committed to helping Scholars navigate their way through successful mentoring relationships. The following resources are provided to aid applicants in creating strong mentoring plans: Maximizing Mentoring: A Guide for Building Strong Relationships and Pay it Forward: Guidance for Mentoring Junior Scholars. The latter was developed to help Scholars become stronger mentors, but it may also provide insights on being mentored.

Publication 1 (20 pages maximum)

This should be a journal article, chapter, or research report that exemplifies the applicant’s research. Ideally, the publication is relevant to the proposed research. We prefer publications that have already been published or are in press, though some applicants choose to submit work that is directly relevant to the proposed research, but is still under review.

Publication 2 (20 pages maximum)

Same requirements as Publication 1.

Nominating Statement

This statement from the chairperson of the nominating division should describe why the applicant was selected; an assessment of the applicant’s plan; the applicant’s current and expected future roles in the division; the supporting resources available; the applicant’s current source and amount of salary; and the appointment, promotion, and institutional support plans for the applicant, including a guarantee that 50 percent of the applicant’s paid time will be devoted to research. (Successful examples of the mentoring plan can be found on the Foundation’s website.)

Endorsement of Project

This document should come from the appropriate institutional office and personnel (e.g., Office of Sponsored Research, chief administrative officer), contain general information about the applicant, and confirm that the institution is aware the applicant is submitting the proposal.

Letter of Independence of Multiple Applicants (if applicable)

If an institution nominates more than one applicant, a central administrative officer must submit confirmation that the applicants represent distinct schools or major divisions (e.g., College of Arts and Sciences, Medical School, major division of a nonprofit) of the institution

Resubmission Statement (if applicable)

Applicants who have applied previously should describe their response to reviewer comments on the prior application and the major ways this application differs from the prior one.

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 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 William T. Grant Scholars 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 contact information.
  4. Select “Notify” in the mentors and references section of the online application.
    • This will send an automated email to your mentors and references, with instructions for completing their sections.
    • You will receive an email confirmation when your mentors and references have submitted their sections. We advise applicants to inform their mentors and references to be aware that these emails may get caught by spam filters.
  5. Enter and upload all required application information.
    • See the Scholars Program Application Materials section for more 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. An automatic confirmation email confirmation will be sent to you.

Selection Criteria

Selection is based on applicants’ potential to become influential researchers, as well as their plans to expand their expertise in new and significant ways. The application should make a cohesive argument for how the applicant will expand his or her expertise. The research plan should evolve in conjunction with the development of new expertise, and the mentoring plan should describe how the proposed mentors will support applicants in acquiring that expertise.

  1. Applicant
    • Applicant demonstrates potential to become an influential researcher. An ability to conduct and communicate creative, sophisticated research is proven through prior training and publications. Competitive applicants have a promising track record of first authored, high-quality empirical publications in peer-reviewed outlets. The quality of publications is more important than the quantity.
    • Applicant will significantly expand his or her expertise through this award. The applicant should identify area(s) in which the award will appreciably expand his or her expertise, and specific details should be provided in the research and mentoring plans. Expansion of expertise can involve a different discipline, method, and/or content area than the applicants’ prior research and training.
  2. Research Plan
    • Research area is consistent with Foundation’s current focus areas. We’ve compiled resources related to our focus areas—including blog posts, commissioned papers, and articles and presentations by staff and grantees—on our website.
    • Research questions have relevance for policies and/or practices affecting youth ages 5 to 25 in the United States. Some funded studies directly examine policies, programs, or services. Others inform efforts to improve them or their effects on youth. While we do not expect that any one study will create these changes, the research should contribute to a body of useful knowledge to improve the lives of young people.
    • Research plan informs theory and extends prior and concurrent work in the field. The application reflects a mastery of related theory and empirical findings and builds upon that prior work.
    • Research plan reflects high standards of evidence and rigorous methods, commensurate with the proposal’s goals. The latter years or projects of the research plan may, by necessity, be described in less detail than those of the first few, but successful applicants provide enough specificity for reviewers to be assured of the rigor and feasibility of the plan.
      • Research designs, methods, and analysis plans clearly fit the research questions under study.
      • Samples are appropriate in size and composition to address the research questions.
      • Assessments, observations, and/or measurements reflect methodological rigor.
      • Analysis plans for quantitative and/or qualitative data reflect sufficient sophistication for addressing the research questions.
      • Plan reflects a clear understanding of the strengths and limits of various research designs, methods, and analytic techniques.
      • Where relevant, there is attention to generalizability of findings and to statistical power to detect meaningful effects.
    • Research plan demonstrates adequate consideration of the gender, ethnic, and cultural appropriateness of concepts, methods, and measures.
    • Research plan is feasible. The work can be successfully completed given the resources and time frame. Some research plans require additional funding, and in those cases, applicants have viable plans for acquiring that support.
    • Research plan is cohesive and multiple studies (if proposed) are well-integrated.
    • Research plan will significantly extend the applicant’s expertise in new and significant ways. Applicant provides specific details about how the research activities will stretch his or her expertise.
  3. Mentoring Plan
    • Applicant proposes one to two mentors for the first two years of the award. Two is typical and recommended. (The mentoring plan for the latter years will be developed in consultation with Foundation staff after the second year of the program.)
    • The mentoring plan and mentor letters demonstrate that all parties have identified and agreed on specific goals that expand the applicant’s expertise in the ways outlined in the research plan.
    • Each mentor has appropriate credentials, expertise, and resources to aid the applicant’s acquisition of the new expertise; has a strong track record of mentorship; and demonstrates a commitment to mentoring the applicant.
    • The mentoring plan and mentor letters convincingly detail how the mentor will aid the applicant in acquiring the new expertise. A compelling rationale and specific details about the mentoring activities are provided. This includes information about how the mentor and applicant will interact, how frequently, and around what substantive issues. Reviewers must be persuaded that the mentoring activities are sufficiently robust to result in the new expertise that have been identified, and that the mentor is making a sufficient time commitment. Careful consideration should be devoted to the types of activities and time that is required to learn different types of skills (e.g., new methods versus disciplinary perspectives). Examples of activities include advising on new disciplinary norms, data collection plans, analytic techniques, and publication; providing feedback on manuscripts; arranging training opportunities; facilitating access to new professional networks; recommending readings; and more general career advising.
    • Award will add significant value to each mentoring relationship beyond what would normally occur. Applicants should propose relationships and activities that are unlikely to occur without the award. Deepening a relationship with a casual colleague, or developing a new relationship, adds greater value than proposing a former advisor.
  4. Institutional Support
    • The supporting institution nominates the applicant. Each year, only one applicant may be nominated from a major division (e.g., College of Arts and Sciences, Medical School) of an institution.
    • The institution is committed to providing the researcher with sufficient resources to carry out the five-year research plan. This includes computer equipment, colleagues, administrative staff, research facilities, and the balance of his or her salary, absent denial of tenure or dramatic reduction in institutional funding. At least half of the Scholar’s paid time must be spent conducting research.

Application Review Process

Review occurs in the following stages: Staff screen abstracts, brief CVs, and, if warranted, full applications to determine whether they fit our research focus areas and potentially meet other Selection Criteria. Next, the Scholars Selection Committee reviews the remaining applications. Each application receives detailed reviews by two Committee members. The Committee then chooses approximately 10 finalists, who will be invited to New York City for an interview in February 2018. Prior to the interview, finalists’ proposals are reviewed by two external reviewers.

During the interview, finalists have the opportunity to respond to Committee members’ and external experts’ reviews. Following the interviews, the Selection Committee chooses four to six William T. Grant Scholars. Applicants will be notified of the Committee’s decision by the end of March 2018.

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