The William T. Grant Foundation and the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) have launched a collaborative partnership, “Increasing the Use, Usefulness and Impact of Research about Youth.” This collaboration aims to advance theory and build empirical knowledge on ways to improve the use of research evidence by policymakers, agency leaders, organizational managers, intermediaries, and other decision-makers that shape youth-serving systems in the United States.
NSF is an independent federal agency supporting fundamental science and engineering research. NSF’s mission is to promote the progress of science, advance our nation’s health, prosperity and welfare, and secure our national defense. Founded in 1936, the William T. Grant Foundation is an independent philanthropy that supports research to improve the lives of young people ages 5-25 in the United States. The dual focus areas of the William T. Grant Foundation’s grantmaking are reducing inequality in youth outcomes and improving the use of research evidence. This partnership is part of the latter focus.
The William T. Grant Foundation has supported research on the use of research evidence since 2009. Seeking to uncover the conditions under which research was acquired and used in policy and practice, the original call for proposals yielded dozens of studies and grew a body of knowledge that continues to illuminate the role of research in decision-making and the conditions that enable or inhibit research use. Today, scholars from a range of fields and disciplines examine ways to improve research use, constituting a rich and diverse field of inquiry. The new collaboration with NSF will greatly expand the areas of inquiry and will increase the accumulation of knowledge on the science of using science.
We need to understand how researchers can produce more useful work, how policymakers and practitioners can use research more routinely in their decision-making, and how we can partner more effectively to achieve greater impact for young people.
“Improving the use of research evidence is one of the greatest intellectual challenges of our time,” said the William T. Grant Foundation’s Senior Vice President, Program, Vivian Tseng. “It is not enough for researchers to develop strong research and simply expect that others will use it. We need to understand how researchers can produce more useful work, how policymakers and practitioners can use research more routinely in their decision-making, and how we can partner more effectively to achieve greater impact for young people. Both organizations are committed to addressing these knowledge gaps by building a robust field of research on research use—one based on rigorous theory and empirical analysis. Our partnership with NSF serves as a clarion call for all who seek to create and utilize scientific research to empower effective policy, practice, and decision-making.”
Drawing on their complementary strengths, the William T. Grant Foundation and NSF are encouraging submission of proposals to their respective programs: the Science of Science: Discovery, Communication, and Impact program in NSF’s Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences; and Research Grants on Improving the Use of Research Evidence at the William T. Grant Foundation. Applicants can select to submit their proposal to NSF or to William T. Grant. Proposers can submit to both organizations only if the proposed activities submitted to each organization are distinct, respectively, and are not redundant.
Proposals submitted to the William T. Grant Foundation should build, identify, or test strategies to:
- improve the use of research evidence,
- improve the usefulness of research evidence, or
- improve the impact of using research evidence on youth outcomes.
Furthermore, the William T. Grant Foundation invites studies from a range of disciplines, fields, and methods, and encourages investigations into various youth-serving systems. The Foundation’s next deadlines for letters of inquiry are May 4, 2022 and August 3, 2022.
To submit a proposal to NSF see “Dear Colleague Letter: NSF and William T. Grant Foundation Partnership” for detailed information including submission instructions and target dates.