Eligibility and Guidelines
All scholar applicants should have a Ph.D. or comparable terminal degree, or a career background that establishes their ability to conduct high-level, peer-reviewed scholarly research. Most selected applicants are typically several years beyond the Ph.D. The Foundation does not accept applications to the Visiting Scholar program from doctoral or other graduate students. Individuals who were Visiting Scholars (or fellows) in prior years may not return to the Foundation for another year unless they apply as part of a working group. Foundation rules allow for the selection of only one Working Group each year containing a prior Visiting Scholar. Individuals who initially came to the Foundation as part of a working group may reapply for a second visit as part of a second working group, but may not submit an individual application. Scholars are limited to a maximum of 2 visits to the Foundation.
All Visiting Scholar applications are externally reviewed by experts selected by the Foundation and final decisions are made by a sub-committee of the Russell Sage Board of Trustees.
The selection of Visiting Scholars is based on both an individual’s demonstrated record of research accomplishment and the merit of the applicant’s proposed project. Several criteria are given special consideration in the selection process. The project’s relevance to the Foundation’s declared mission to contribute to “the improvement of social and living conditions in the United States” is given substantial weight – this ordinarily rules out studies of other countries unless they are part of an explicitly comparative project aimed at elucidating conditions in the U.S. Preference is generally given to proposals connected to RSF’s current programs and initiatives, although a few scholars are invited each year whose projects are less immediately relevant to the Foundation’s current activities, particularly if these projects are especially innovative and could potentially lead the Foundation to consider new and promising directions in the future. We also make a special effort to include talented younger scholars and to mix together representatives from a variety of social science disciplines in each year’s cohort. The fellowship year is designed to give scholars time to analyze data and write about the results of their research; it is not intended as an opportunity to collect new data.
Working Group Applications
The Foundation welcomes groups of two or more scholars who wish to collaborate on or pursue parallel research projects within an area of common interest. Every member of a working group must submit their own application. Working group applications should include a common statement of the joint project to be undertaken by the group. In the case where one or more group members may not be entirely occupied by the group project, additional detail should be included in the proposal about other individual work to be pursued while in residence. For working groups that are selected, the Foundation may be able to provide a small budget to support joint research, or other activities, such as seminars or small conferences that advance the group’s project. Working groups may include one former Visiting Scholar in the group. However, Foundation rules allow only one working group with a former scholar to be selected each year.
When individuals apply for a Visiting Scholar fellowship, the Foundation does not consider or prioritize the type of publications proposed (e.g., journal articles, book manuscript) as part of the evaluation or selection process. However, Russell Sage does have an active publishing program and if a book is proposed, the Foundation reserves the right of first refusal.
The Russell Sage Foundation seeks to promote diversity through all of its program activities. The Foundation does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender and/or gender identity, pregnancy or parental status, marital or domestic partner status, national origin, ancestry, age, sexual orientation, disability or medical condition, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.
If you have any questions about any aspect of the application process or the Visiting Scholar Program in general, please contact Senior Program Officer James Wilson (firstname.lastname@example.org) or email us at email@example.com.