The mentoring grants program is designed to support Black or African American, Indigenous, Latinx, and/or Asian or Pacific Islander American junior researchers, both doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows, in their career trajectories and to help faculty strengthen their mentoring support. The program provides grant support, advice, consultation, and a community focused on mentoring and career development.
The program was started in 2005 when the Foundation initiated a pilot project to support William T. Grant Scholars’ mentoring relationships with junior researchers of color. The grants were made an ongoing part of the Scholars Program in 2007, reflecting the Foundation’s commitment to increasing the number of people of color in research careers while also fostering the Scholars’ professional development as mentors. Building on this effort, in 2018 we expanded eligibility for mentoring grants to include principal investigators of major research grants.
The Foundation’s goals for the program are two-fold. First, we seek to strengthen the mentoring received by junior researchers of color and to position them for professional success. Second, we want to support our grantees in developing a stronger understanding of the career development issues facing their junior colleagues of color and to strengthen their mentoring relationships with them. In the longer term, we hope to increase the number of strong, well-networked researchers of color doing research on the Foundation’s interests and to foster more diverse, equitable, and inclusive academic environments.
Awards cover up to $60,000 for mentoring doctoral students and $110,000 for mentoring postdoctoral fellows (inclusive of a maximum of 7.5 percent in indirect costs).
- Grants will begin on July 1 of the award year and end June 30 two years later.
- All mentors and mentees convene during annual meetings designed to support the mentoring relationships, mentors’ learning, and junior researchers’ development as researchers. Do not budget for travel to these meetings in the application; the Foundation will cover associated expenses.
- Mentors and junior researchers will each submit separate, confidential interim program reports six and twelve months after the initiation of the grant, and final reports at the end of the award period.
- All current William T. Grant Scholars and major research grantees with an active grant at time of application who are up to date on their annual reporting are eligible to apply.
- Junior researchers of color may be Asian or Pacific Islander American, Black or African American, Indigenous, and/or Latinx. Junior researchers may be full-time doctoral students or postdoctoral fellows. At minimum, students must be in their second year of doctoral studies at the onset of the award.
- The Scholar/principal investigator and junior researcher must be housed in the same institution. Exceptions will be considered on a case-by case basis, for example for mentor-mentee pairs with an existing relationship history that will facilitate the grant’s success.
- Eligible Scholars/principal investigators may receive the award only once during a grant.
- Mentors will submit a financial report at the end of the award period.
The mentoring grant is a developmental grant. By the end of the award, we expect mentees to make progress toward their career development goals, mentors to build their capacity to mentor across difference, and for mentors and mentees together to develop a strong relationship. In evaluating applications, we look for evidence of authenticity, openness, and a desire to learn. We also apply the following criteria to each component of the application:
- Mentor demonstrates strong commitment to mentoring junior colleagues of color.
- Mentor demonstrates a record of mentoring junior colleagues, commensurate with their career stage and prior opportunities.
- Mentor has identified compelling goals for improving their mentoring for junior researchers of color. The goals stem from a strong, candid assessment of their current strengths and limitations as a mentor and fit their career stage and prior experience.
- Junior researcher demonstrates potential for a successful career in research, with promising research skills and achievements given prior training, career stage, and opportunities.
- Junior researcher’s interests are consistent with the Foundation’s focus on reducing inequality or improving the use of research evidence.
- Junior researcher and mentor have identified compelling goals for the mentee’s development to become a successful researcher. The goals stem from a strong, candid assessment of the mentees’ current strengths and limitations, and fit their career stage and prior experience.
Mentoring and Research Plan
- The plan includes detailed activities and a workplan that will enable the mentee and mentor to achieve their goals.
- The plan demonstrates a strong understanding of the challenges faced by junior researchers of color and includes strategies for addressing them.
- The activities are appropriate for the junior researcher’s stage of development and would significantly enhance their potential for a successful research career. They will expand the mentee’s research skills, assets, and CV in convincing ways.
- The plan is feasible.
- The plan supports activities that would not occur without the award.
- The research area is consistent with the Foundation’s focus on reducing inequality or improving the use of research evidence.
- The plan demonstrates that the mentee will be an integral part of a research project.
- The research would lead to high-quality products (e.g., publications, dissertation, etc.) that address important research questions or hypotheses, reflect methodological and analytical rigor, and would contribute to the literature in significant ways.
- The budget is consistent with the intent of these awards, which is to support the mentee and the mentoring relationship.
- The budget allocation provides the mentee with adequate protected time for research and to fulfill the other developmental goals of the grant.
Application Review Process
Applications are reviewed internally by senior staff. Some applicants may be invited to strengthen sections of the application. The Foundation estimates making 4-6 mentoring grant awards per year.