RSF Launches New Pipeline Grants Competition with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

October 7, 2019

RSF has launched a new Pipeline Grants Competition for early- and mid-career researchers in collaboration with the Economic Mobility and Opportunity program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The program seeks to promote diversity in the social sciences defined broadly, including racial and ethnic diversity, gender diversity, disciplinary diversity, institutional diversity, and geographic diversity. Researchers who have not previously received a trustee or presidential research grant or fellowship from RSF will be eligible to apply.

RSF president Sheldon Danziger says, “The Russell Sage Foundation is very pleased to partner with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on this important new initiative. It will provide a much-needed new source of funding for early and mid-career researchers who are under-represented in the social sciences, and increase diversity among researchers studying a range of topics related to economic mobility and opportunity." 

The grants program will support innovative research on economic mobility and access to opportunity in the U.S., with an emphasis on diagnosing and addressing structural barriers to economic mobility. The competition welcomes applications that involve methodological variety and interdisciplinary collaboration. Examples of the kinds of research projects that are eligible for support include but are not limited to: income and wealth; neighborhood characteristics and place-based interventions; gentrification, segregation, and housing policy; education, social capital, youth and young adults of color; criminal justice and the legal system; accessing the safety net; and labor markets.

The program will not only diversify the pool of inequality researchers, but it will also provide mentorship and short- and long-term career development opportunities for grantees. The program includes pre-application trainings, mentorship for funded early career researchers, an upcoming competition for proposal development summer institutes in 2020 and 2021, and conferences at which grantees present and receive feedback on their research findings.

The selection process for the Pipeline Grants Competition will be overseen by an interdisciplinary advisory committee. Its members include two RSF trustees Cathy J. Cohen (University of Chicago, political science) and Michael Jones-Correa (University of Pennsylvania, political science), as well as Mesmin Destin (Northwestern University, psychology), Rucker Johnson (University of California, Berkeley, economics), and Jennifer Lee (Columbia University, sociology). 

Full eligibility and program guidelines are available here. The proposal deadline is December 3, 2019, for funding starting in Summer 2020. Questions and requests for more information can be addressed to Stephen Glauser at




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