Large Research Grants on Education Program

Large Research Grants on Education Program: Funding Opportunities for Education Research

The Large Research Grants on Education Program provides financial support for education research projects that contribute to the improvement of education. The program accepts applications twice a year and offers budgets ranging from $125,000 up to $500,000 for projects lasting from one to five years.

This program is unique in that it is “field-initiated,” meaning that proposal submissions are not in response to a specific request for a particular research topic, discipline, design, or method. The goal of this program is to support rigorous, intellectually ambitious, and technically sound research that addresses the most pressing questions and compelling opportunities in education.

The program values scholarship that develops new foundational knowledge, with the potential to have a lasting impact on educational discourse. It recognizes that learning occurs across various settings, from the classroom to the workplace, family and community contexts, and even on the playing field. The program encourages creative and open-minded scholarship that engages in deep inquiry and examines robust questions related to education.

Proposals from multiple disciplinary and methodological perspectives, both domestically and internationally, are welcome. Scholars at various stages in their careers are eligible to apply. The program anticipates proposals spanning a wide range of topics and disciplines, including education, anthropology, philosophy, psychology, sociology, law, economics, history, and neuroscience, among others.

Eligibility for the Research Grants on Education program requires that proposals be for academic research projects studying education. Proposals for activities other than research, such as program evaluations, professional development, curriculum development, scholarships, or capital projects, are not eligible. Principal Investigators (PIs) and Co-PIs must have an earned doctorate in an academic discipline or professional field related to education research.

While graduate students may be part of the research team, they cannot be named as the PI or Co-PI. The PI must be affiliated with a non-profit organization or public/governmental institution willing to serve as the administering organization if the grant is awarded. The Spencer Foundation does not award grants directly to individuals.

Proposals are accepted from the U.S. and internationally, but must be submitted in English and budgets must be proposed in U.S. Dollars. The grant budget should be between $125,000 and $500,000, including up to 15% indirect cost charges. The grant duration should not exceed five years.

Applicants are encouraged to consider the funding tiers ($125,000 to $250,000; $250,001 to $375,000; and $375,001 to $500,000) and construct their project budgets accordingly. PIs and Co-PIs may only hold one active research grant from the Spencer Foundation at a time, but organizations may submit multiple proposals for different projects with different research teams.

For more information and detailed application deadlines, please visit

If you have any questions, please contact Maricelle Garcia at

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