Funding Opportunities - How to Apply

Funding Guidelines for November 10, 2021 Deadline

RSF will accept letters of inquiry (LOIs) under these core programs and special initiatives: Social, Political, and Economic Inequality; Future of Work; and Behavioral Science and Decision Making in Context. In addition, RSF will also accept LOIs relevant to any of its core programs that address at least one of the following issues:

  1. Research on the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting recession in the U.S. Specifically, research that assesses the social, political, economic, and psychological causes and consequences of the pandemic, especially its effects on marginalized individuals and groups and on trust in government and other institutions. Our priorities do not include analyses of health outcomes or health behaviors. RSF seldom supports studies  focused on outcomes such as educational processes or curricular issues, but does prioritize analyses of inequities in educational attainment or student performance.
  2. Research focused on systemic racial inequality and/or the recent mass protests in the U.S. Specifically, research that investigates the prevalence of racial disparities in policing and criminal justice and their social, political, economic, and psychological causes and consequences; the effects of the current social protest movement and mass mobilization against systemic discrimination; the nature of public attitudes and public policies regarding policing, criminal justice, and social welfare; and the effects of those attitudes in the current political environment.. 

LOIs must include specific information about the proposed data and research design. If you are unsure about the foundation's expectations, we strongly recommend that you review the grant writing guidelines on our website and also view an instructional webinar. Successful proposals from this round can have a start date on or after December 1, 2021.


NEW: The Russell Sage Foundation uses the cloud-based grants management system, Fluxx. All applications and reports must be submitted through the portal: Please create new accounts at least one week before the deadline; registrations are only processed during RSF business hours (9am-5pm EST).

Upcoming Deadlines | Current Funding Priorities | RSF Application Portal

Jump to:
Research Grants | Fellowships | RSF Journal | Small Grants | Summer Institutes | Targeted Competitions | Working Groups | What We Do Not Fund

Research Grants

RSF makes external grants for social science research projects that address questions of interest under our programs and special initiatives. We provide support primarily for analyzing data and writing up results, and particularly welcome innovative projects that collect or analyze new data to illuminate issues that are highly relevant to the foundation's funding priorities. We also encourage projects that are interdisciplinary and combine both quantitative and qualitative research. RSF rarely considers projects for which the investigators have not already fully-developed the research design, the sample framework, access to data, etc.


RSF offers three types of fellowships: Visiting Scholars, Visiting Journalists, and Visiting Researchers. These fellowships provide a unique opportunity for select scholars and journalists in the social, economic and behavioral sciences to pursue their research and writing while in residence at the foundation in New York City. Research carried out by visiting fellows constitutes an important part of the foundation’s ongoing effort to analyze and understand the complex and shifting nature of social and economic life in the United States.

RSF Journal

RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal of original empirical research by both established and emerging scholars. It is designed to promote cross-disciplinary collaborations on timely topical issues of interest to academics, policymakers, and the public at large. Each issue is thematic in nature and focuses on a specific research question or area of interest. The introduction to each issue will begin with an accessible, broad and synthetic overview of the research question under consideration and the current thinking from various fields.

Small Grants

RSF offers small grants to doctoral students at the dissertation stage and recent Ph.D. recipients to support innovative, high-quality research and to encourage young investigators to enter developing interdisciplinary fields. Small grants are currently offered under the Foundation’s program in Behavioral Economics and its special initiative in Computational Social Science.

Summer Institutes

RSF offers intensive, one-to-two-week summer institutes on various topics for doctoral students and early-career scholars. Most participant costs during the institute, including housing and most meals, are covered, and travel expenses are reimbursed up to a set cap. The programs accept about thirty participants. 

Targeted Competitions

RSF occasionally holds targeted small grants competitions to analyze new datasets that investigators have made available to the wider research community. These targeted calls for proposals offer one-year small grants to doctoral students and early career researchers to analyze these new data. RSF hosts a conference a year after grants are made for grantees to present their results.

See previous targeted competitions:

Working Groups

RSF occasionally creates working groups to explore new areas of interest. Seed money is available to working group members for promising collaborative projects endorsed by the working group.

What We Do Not Fund

  • RSF funds only social science research that seeks to "improve social and living conditions in the US." As such, we do not fund research based in other countries. The foundation may occasionally consider cross-national research that has clear implications for the US. However, all nationalities are eligible to apply and applicants do not have to reside in the U.S.
  • As an operating foundation carrying out our own programs of social science research, we are in a position to publish only those books related to our core research programs.
  • Our guidelines restrict us from giving grants for pre-doctoral study or research, and we do not award scholarships or other types of grants for support of college funding.
  • One of the foundation’s most successful endeavors over time has been our Visiting Scholars Program—as a result, we do not fund residential fellowships elsewhere.
  • As a general rule, we do not provide support for the development or maintenance of websites.
  • We are enjoined by IRS code from making general support grants to other institutions. Only specific project grants that further our declared program goals are permitted.

The Russell Sage Foundation seeks to promote diversity through all of its program activity. 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.

Learn More aboutFunding Opportunities - How to Apply


RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal of original empirical research articles by both established and emerging scholars.


The Russell Sage Foundation offers grants and positions in our Visiting Scholars program for research.


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