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RSF Bulletin

New Funding Guidelines for May 21 Deadline for Letters of Inquiry

Because of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on all facets of American life, the Russell Sage Foundation is changing its immediate priorities for letters of inquiry for the May 21, 2020, deadline. For this deadline, RSF will consider only LOIs that satisfy at least one of the following criteria:

(a) The research is so timely and time-sensitive that the project must start before April 1, 2021; or

(b) the research analyzes social, political, economic, or psychological disruptions resulting from the coronavirus crisis that affect social and living conditions in the United States.

All LOIs must focus on issues related to the foundation’s core program areas and special initiatives: Behavioral Economics; Decision-Making and Human Behavior in Context; Future of Work; Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration; Social, Political, and Economic Inequality.

Any LOIs submitted for the May 21 deadline must include an appendix of one or two pages that explains why the proposed research meets either or both criteria. This appendix does not count against the usual page limits for LOIs.

RSF will accept LOIs in all programs and special initiatives for the August 5, 2020 deadline, with funding decisions made at the March 2021 board of trustees meeting, according to its usual guidelines.

Please click here for more information on the revised funding guidelines.

RSF Responds to COVID-19

In addition to changing its immediate funding priorities as outlined above, the foundation will continue its longstanding support of social science research during this national emergency. To safeguard the health of our staff, visiting scholars, visiting journalists, and visiting researchers, we have cancelled all events and in-person meetings for the foreseeable future. We have cancelled or rescheduled the Summer Institutes on Behavioral Economics, Proposal Development and Migration Research Methods.

Read a special message from RSF president Sheldon Danziger to the RSF community here.

Grantees should be reassured that we understand that some projects cannot proceed as planned under current conditions. If you anticipate major disruptions or delays to your RSF-funded project or report submissions, please contact your program officer or the grants management team ( Our grants portal is functioning normally.

RSF is committed to making our high-quality social science research widely available as part of our response to the pandemic. It has made all of its books available open access (OA) through JSTOR and UPCC/Project Muse through June 30, 2020.

Targeted Grants Competition: Improving Education and Reducing Inequality in the United States

RSF and the William T. Grant Foundation are pleased to announce the winners of the third round of their targeted small grants competition for early career scholars. These grants fund research projects on Improving Education and Reducing Inequality that deepen our understanding of educational opportunity and success by analyzing data on academic achievement from the Stanford Education Data Archive (developed by Sean Reardon and colleagues).

The grant recipients include Paul Thompson (Oregon State University), Yifeng Luo and Ying Xu (Columbia University), Tiffany Brannon (University of California, Los Angeles), Jessica Boyle (Stanford University), Sarah Fuller (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill), and Agustina Laurito (University of Illinois, Chicago) and Sarah Cordes (Temple University).

Read more about the selected research projects here.

Trustee Grants Approved at March Board Meeting

At the foundation’s March 2020 meeting of the board of trustees, three new research projects were approved in its program on Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration and its special initiatives on Decision Making and Human Behavior in Context and Computational Social Science.

Read more about new trustee grants here.

Announcing Mentors for the Pipeline Grants Competition

The Russell Sage Foundation is pleased to announce the selection of 14 mentors who will advise the early career scholars whose projects were selected as part of the inaugural Pipeline Grants Competition, funded in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The mentors’ faculty profiles are available here.

Rucker Johnson (economics), University of California, Berkeley
Emilio Parrado (sociology), University of Pennsylvania
Fabian Pfeffer (sociology), University of Michigan
Margaret Beal Spencer (psychology), University of Chicago
Trevon Logan (economics), Ohio State University
Michal Kurlaender (education), University of California, Davis
Aliya Saperstein (sociology), Stanford University
Matthew Notowidigdo (economics), Northwestern University
Marisa Abrajano (political science), University of California, San Diego
Ingrid Gould Ellen (public policy), New York University
Timothy Smeeding (economics), University of Wisconsin, Madison
Deborah Schildkraut (political science), Tufts University
Marie Gottschalk (political science), University of Pennsylvania
Jordan Matsudaira (economics), Columbia University

Visiting Scholar, Journalist and Researcher Application Deadlines

RSF’s Visiting Scholar Program, established over thirty years ago, is a unique opportunity for social scientists to pursue research projects that investigate essential questions on social, economic, and political life in the U.S. while in residence in New York City. The program fosters the exchange of ideas in a vibrant interdisciplinary environment and promotes collaborations between researchers. Applications are reviewed by outside experts; final selections are made by RSF trustees. Applications for the 2021-2022 academic year will be accepted until June 25, 2020.

View further information about the program, including eligibility requirements and application guidelines.

RSF is also accepting applications for visiting journalists and visiting researchers in residence at the foundation during the 2020-2021 academic year until May 1, 2020.

Please view further information about these programs here.

How to Apply for Funding at RSF: Grant Writing Webinar

RSF program staff will host a webinar on Tuesday, April 21, 2020, at 2:00 p.m. ET, focused on how to write and submit a proposal for our programs. We encourage all new and previous applicants to participate. The session will cover information on new restrictions for the May 21, 2020, letter of inquiry deadline for coronavirus-related and other time-sensitive research. Click here to register for the Grant Writing Webinar on April 21.

For more information on RSF’s grant making process, please visit our website to review our grant writing guidelines and view a 5-minute video on how to use our new grants management system.

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