Applications Invited for Conference Grant Program 2020

Applications Invited for Conference Grant Program 2020

Organization: Spencer Foundation

Apply By: 23 Oct 2020

Grant Amount: 50000 USD

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About the Organization:

The Spencer Foundation has been a leading funder of education research since 1971 and is the only national foundation focused exclusively on supporting education research.

Conference Grant Program

The Spencer Foundation has launched the Conference Grant Program to provide support to scholars to organize small research conferences, focused symposia, or other forms of convening are around important issues in education.

This program is intended to bring together researchers, practitioners, policymakers and other important collaborators whose expertise, substantive knowledge and practice, theoretical insight, or methodological expertise can be engaged in ways that help to build upon and advance education research. We encourage applicants to think expansively about how convenings can expand the substantive work and impact of educational research on advancing racial equity

Conference Structure

Successful proposals will bring together researchers to approach the proposed topic from multiple perspectives. They also encourage applicants proposing conferences to consider ways of bridging the substantive, theoretical, and methodological expertise of participants. While not a requirement, successful proposals in previous rounds have also included other attendees outside of the academy such as teachers, policymakers, families, artists, or journalists if the convening called for such expertise.

To this end, they recommend conference proposals are explicit in explaining the framework or structure of their proposed convening. Three distinct frameworks are described below. The proposed conference should address one approach or may include aspects from multiple structures, with the over-arching goal of influencing the public discourse, practice, or policy of education.

  • Engage in mutualistic and interdisciplinary knowledge development in order to push the boundaries of a given topic.
  • Synthesize existing knowledge within a topical area so as to collectively reflect on what the field already understands and about where it may go next.
  • Collaborate with non-researchers in a format that centers the engagement of practitioners, journalists, communities, and/or policymakers (among others) as a way to create avenues for communication and take up of education research.


  • Proposals to the Conference Grant program must be for small research conferences, focused symposia, or convenings that will explore critical issues in advancing racial equity in education research as specified in the Program Statement.
  • Principal Investigators (PIs) and Co-PIs applying for a Conference grant must have an earned doctorate in an academic discipline or professional field, or appropriate experience in an education research-related profession. While graduate students may be part of the proposal, they may not be named the PI or Co-PI.
  • The PI must be affiliated with a non-profit organization that is willing to serve as the administering organization if the grant is awarded. The Spencer Foundation does not award grants directly to individuals. Examples include non-profit colleges, universities, school districts, and research facilities, as well as other non-profit organizations with a 501(c)(3) determination from the IRS.
  • Proposals are accepted from the U.S. and internationally, however all proposals must be submitted in English and budgets must be proposed in U.S. Dollars.


  • Proposals to support annual ongoing conferences or meetings are not eligible for this program.  Relatedly, requests to fund travel to existing annual conferences or meetings are also not eligible.
  • Proposed budgets for this program are limited to $50,000 total and may not include indirect cost charges per Spencer’s policy.
  • PIs and Co-PIs may not submit more than one application for a given deadline in this program.

Grant: This grant program supports proposals with budgets of $50,000 or less.

Deadline: October 23, 2020 12 pm noon CT

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