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Grants to USA, Canada, and International Investigators for Collaborative Research Projects on Education

Research-Practice Partnerships (RPP): Collaborative Research for Educational Change


GrantWatch ID#

Funding Source
The Spencer Foundation
Array ( [0] => American Samoa (USA); [1] => Guam (USA); [2] => Puerto Rico (USA); [3] => Virgin Islands (USA); [4] => Northern Mariana Islands (USA); )

Geographic Focus
USA Territories: American Samoa (USA);   Guam (USA);   Puerto Rico (USA);   Virgin Islands (USA);   Northern Mariana Islands (USA);
USA Compact Free Associations:The Federated States of Micronesia (USA)   Marshall Islands (USA)   Republic of Palau (USA)
International, Israel and Canada.

Important Dates
LOI Date: 10/17/23
Deadline: 11/15/23 12:00 PM Noon CT Save

Grant Description
Grants to USA, Canada, and International investigators at nonprofit institutions and organizations for collaborative research projects on education. Applicants must submit an LOI prior to submitting a full application. Principal investigators will partner with educational institutions to provide insight into the processes, practices, and policies that improve education for learners, educators, families, communities, and institutions where learning and teaching happen (e.g., schools, universities, community centers, parks, museums, and other workplaces).

Proposals to the Research-Practice Partnership program must be for research and other activities aimed to support collaborative partnerships between academic researcher(s) and a broad array of practitioner(s) of education.

Research is fundamental to every research-practice partnership, and the Foundation expects research activities to be the central element of every proposal. In addition to detailing a plan for research, successful applicants may also prioritize plans for communicating and disseminating key findings that have the potential to foster positive educational changes. 

Activities eligible for funding include, but are not limited to:

  • Research activities
  • Research infrastructure
  • Outreach, communications, and relationship building
  • Capacity development

Further details about these activities can be found at

The Foundation also sees the importance of developing the next generation of scholars and practitioners who are prepared to collaborate in partnerships to improve both practice and research. The Foundation encourages proposals that include funds dedicated to the development of skills and expertise in conducting research in partnership for graduate students and early-career professionals and researchers. While it is expected that most proposals will include funds to support graduate students as part of the partnership, proposals could include plans for training and education beyond that.


Additional Eligibility Criteria
This grant program is open to partnerships between researchers and a broad array of practitioners. The Foundation defines practitioners as school districts, county offices of education, state educational organizations, universities, community-based organizations, out-of-school-time providers, informal educators, and other social sectors that significantly impact students’ lives. As such, the Foundation is open to applications from design-based research teams, networked improvement communities, placed-based research alliances, and other partnership arrangements.

While this grant program is open to all partnership configurations across a range of learning contexts, in addition to pre k-12 school systems, the Foundation especially encourages applications from partnerships that include scholars and institutions of higher education, rural geographic locations, and partnerships that deeply engage community-based organizations and families.

Principal Investigators (PIs) and Co-PIs applying for a Research-Practice Partnership Grant are expected to have an earned doctorate in an academic discipline or professional field, or demonstrated professional experience appropriate for this program. Note: If the PI or Co-PI from the practice side of the partnership does not have an earned doctorate, they are expected to have appropriate professional experience to serve in this role in the partnership. While graduate students may be part of the team, they may not be named the PI or Co-PI on the proposal.

The PI must be affiliated with a non-profit organization or public/governmental institution that is willing to serve as the administering organization if the grant is awarded. The Spencer Foundation does not award grants directly to individuals. Examples include non-profit or public colleges, universities, school districts, and research facilities, as well as other non-profit organizations with a 501(c)(3) determination from the IRS (or equivalent non-profit status if the organization is outside of the United States).

Proposals are accepted from the U.S. and internationally, however all proposals must be submitted in English and budgets must be proposed in U.S. Dollars.

PIs and Co-PIs may only hold one active research grant from the Spencer Foundation at a time. (This restriction does not apply to the administering organization; organizations may submit as many proposals as they like as long as they are for different projects and have different research teams.)

Pre-Application Information
- Application Open: September 8, 2023
- Intent to Apply due: October 17, 2023, 12:00 pm noon Central time
- Full Proposal Deadline: November 15, 2023, 12:00 pm noon Central time

The application process begins with an Intent to Apply form. Once submitted, you will have access to the Full Proposal application in the online portal. Intent to Apply forms are due by 12:00 pm Noon central time on the deadline date.

All full proposal submissions that adhere to the guidelines are reviewed by external panel reviewers and internal staff. Those chosen as semi-finalists will be considered in the final decision meeting along with the other semi-finalist proposals. The review process for this program takes approximately 8 months from the Intent to Apply deadline date.

The application is configured for the Principal Investigator on the project to register and submit the form.

PIs and Co-PIs may not submit more than one research proposal to the Spencer Foundation at a time.

RPP Writing Guide:

A Guide to Writing Proposals That Engage Research With Youth, Families, and Community-Based Organizations:

Estimated Size of Grant
Research-Practice Partnership budget totals are limited to $400,000 including up to 15% indirect cost charges.

Term of Contract
The proposed duration may not be longer than 3 years. The foundation recommends proposing a start date that is at least 9 months after the deadline for the Intent to Apply form.

Contact Information
Applicants must register in order to submit an LOI and application. To register, click here:

Direct questions to:

The Spencer Foundation
625 N Michigan Ave, Suite 1600
Chicago, IL 60611

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