Small Grants Eligibility and Guidelines

Applications are no longer being accepted for this program

Applicants must be advanced doctoral students, post-doctoral fellows, or non-tenured junior faculty members who are no more than two years beyond the receipt of their Ph.D. (or equivalent graduate degree). There are no limitations on the disciplinary background of the researcher. The Foundation encourages applications from scholars who are traditionally underrepresented in the scientific disciplines and RSF’s application pool.

We do not require or accept letters of inquiry for the small grants program. Proposals should be submitted through RSF’s online application portal. The maximum length of a proposal is four single-spaced pages, excluding budget and bibliography (with standard 11 or 12-point font, and 1-inch margins). Proposals should outline the rationale of the research, clearly state the question(s) under study and the methods and analytic approach to be employed. The proposal should briefly discuss the project’s relevance to the foundation’s programs and how it would contribute to RSF's mission to improve social and living conditions in the U.S.

Representative categories of expenditure that should be described in the budget narrative include:

  • Data acquisition, such as data access fees or the purchase of data sets;
  • Laboratory costs;
  • Research assistance;
  • Subject payments;
  • Travel (for data collection or access only)
  • Other research expenses will be considered on a case by case basis.

No funds may be used to support (1) salary or conference travel for the investigator or co-authors, or (2) the purchase of computer hardware or software. RSF does not allow indirect costs on small grants and restricts the project period to one year. A budget that appears to be excessive will be grounds for rejecting a proposal. For detailed information about what can and cannot be included in the budgets, as well as the budget template, see the RSF Budget Guidelines at:

How to Apply
Applications must be submitted via the RSF online application portal, Fluxx.

  1. Create an account or log in to your existing account. **Allow up to 48 hours for a new account to be approved**
  2. Start a new “Small Grants” application and select the appropriate program (BE or CSS) option.
  3. Submit the following documents:
    • A concise single-spaced proposal (4 pages maximum) describing the proposed work;
    • A detailed Excel budget using the Foundation’s budget template;
    • A budget narrative;
    • An up-to-date abbreviated CV (maximum of 5 pages per CV);
    • An organization confirmation letter – a letter from your home institution stating that it will manage the funds for the project should a grant be made;
  4. Doctoral students must also submit:
    • One letter of recommendation from the student’s faculty advisor;
    • Official transcripts.

Review Process
Applications are generally reviewed within 8-10 weeks. Grants will be approved or rejected with no possibility of subsequent negotiation.

Administrative Procedures
The grant must be administered by the grantee’s university. RSF will pay the entire grant amount upon submission of all completed grant documents. At the end of the grant period, the investigator(s) must submit a final substantive report to RSF along with an official financial report from the university and copies of all research papers supported by the grant.


Upcoming deadlines

Submit a small grant proposal

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about applying for a small grant


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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