New Research, Distinguished Fellowship, and Capacity-Building Grants Awarded

Seven researchers from a range of disciplines, including education, public policy, and human development, are the newest recipients of William T. Grant Foundation awards. All of the projects will contribute to an understanding of the programs, policies, and practices that can improve the lives of young people.

Two of the awards will strengthen an understanding of when and how research evidence is used in policy and practice. Three will study everyday social settings and their impact on youth development, a Foundation research focus from 2004 to 2014. In addition, one William T. Grant Distinguished Fellowship and one capacity-building and communications grant have been awarded.

The research projects funded this cycle address prominent policy issues, including the implementation of the Common Core State Standards in education, and the way that advocacy research funded by private foundations shapes our understanding of teacher quality. Other projects concern ways to improve mentoring programs for adolescents, the use of digital technologies to engage young people in learning, and the use of research evidence in clinical medical settings.

“These awards reflect important and enduring features of our grantmaking,” said Foundation President Adam Gamoran. “This includes a strong belief that research can address practical questions in a way that advances fundamental knowledge about children and youth.”

Applications for research grants are accepted three times per year.


Research Grants: Use of Research Evidence

Financing the Policy Discourse: How Advocacy Research Funded by Private Foundations Shapes the Debate on Teacher Quality

How does foundation-funded research influence policies about teacher quality?

Sarah Reckhow, Political Science, Michigan State University, and Megan Tompkins-Stange, Public Policy, University of Michigan

January 2015–December 2016, $277,895


Comparative Effectiveness of Narratives to Promote Provider Adoption of Evidence Related to Antipsychotics Use for High-Risk Youth

Will communicating research through narratives have a greater impact on clinicians’ prescribing behaviors than evidence-based guidelines?

David Rubin, General Pediatrics, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and Zachary Meisel, EG-Emergency Medicine, University of Pennsylvania

December 2014–November2017, $598,892


Research Grants: Social Settings

Mentor Families: A Setting-level Component to Improve Mentoring Outcomes for At-risk Youth

To what extent do Mentor Families result in positive youth outcomes for adolescents who are at risk of not realizing their full potential?

Shelley Haddock, Kimberly Henry, Rachel G. Lucas-Thompson, Lise Marie Youngblade, Departments of Human Development & Family Studies, and of Psychology & Public Health, Colorado State University; Lindsey Weiler, Department of Family Social Science, University of Minnesota

September 2015–August 2018, $599,784


Bright Stars: Technology-mediated Settings for Urban Youth as Pathways for Engaged Learning

How do urban schools, libraries, and community-based organizations use digital technologies to help young people become engaged learners?

Cynthia Lewis and Cassandra Scharber, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

January 2015–May 2017, $599,905


Complex Equations: Algebra Instruction in the Common Core Era

How do differences in the implementation of Common Core State Standards across school districts affect mathematics instruction and student achievement?

Morgan Polikoff, Education, University of Southern California, and Thurston Domina, Education, University of California, Irvine

November 2014–October 2017, $503,612


William T. Grant Distinguished Fellows

Restorative Justice and the Reclamation of Civic Education for Youth

Can implementation of restorative justice practices enhance literacy?

Maisha Winn, English Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison

March 2015–February 2016, $153,933


Capacity-building and Communications

Qualitative Consulting Service for Supporting Mixed-Methods Research

This award will support a consultation service and workshop to develop researchers’ capacity to conduct research that integrates qualitative and quantitative methods.

Eli Lieber, University of California, Los Angeles

January 2015–December 2016, $118,496

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