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Decision Making and Human Behavior in Context (DM)

Grants to USA PhDs in All Social Sciences for Innovative Research
on the Processes, Causes, and Effects of Decision Making

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Russell Sage Foundation (RSF)

LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

03/12/20 2:00 PM Eastern Time/11:00 AM Pacific Time


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Grants to USA PhDs for original, wide-ranging research in all areas of social science that relate to decision making. Applicants must submit a Letter of Intent before applying. Funding is intended to support research into the processes, contexts, causes, and effects of decision making from an alternative or behavioral perspective.

The Russell Sage Foundation (RSF) is launching a new special initiative on Decision Making and Human Behavior in Context that will support innovative research on decision making. The Foundation seeks to support a wide range of research on decision-making in context by scholars in psychology, political science, sociology, and other social science fields who are pursuing questions consistent with the aims of the Foundation. 

This initiative will support research proposals from multiple methodological perspectives that will further understanding of decision making processes and human behavior in the contexts of work, race, ethnicity, immigration, and social inequality, broadly conceived, in the U.S. Priority will be given to research related to core programs and other special initiatives. Limited consideration will be given to projects that test well-established behavioral effects without examining the overarching context or the underlying mechanisms.

RSF has a particular interest in the following research areas:

  • Biases and Misperceptions
  • Motivations and Incentives
  • Habits and Behavior Change
  • Affect and Emotions
  • Networks and Contexts

For a more detailed description of each of the above research areas, see URL for Full Text below.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 184900

Estimated Size of Grant:

PIs may request up to $50,000 (no indirect costs) when the proposed research project has special needs for gathering data (e.g.: qualitative research) or gaining access to restricted-use data.

RSF allows up to a maximum of 15% overhead for indirect costs on Research Grants above $50,000.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

All applicants (both PIs and Co-PIs) must have a doctorate. In rare circumstances, RSF may consider applications from scholars who do not hold a doctorate but can demonstrate a strong career background that establishes their ability to conduct high-level, peer-reviewed scholarly research. Students may not be applicants.

All nationalities are eligible to apply and applicants do not have to reside in the U.S., but the focus of the proposed research project must be on the U.S. as per the Foundation's mission.

RSF rarely considers projects for which the investigators have not already fully-developed the research design, the sample framework, access to data, etc. Investigators are encouraged to submit an LOI after they have developed and pre-tested survey instruments, completed preliminary data analyses if the data are publically-available or conducted some preliminary interviews for qualitative studies.

Research grants do not provide funds for:

- Items or equipment such as computers or software; we will consider equipment requests on a case-by-case basis. In no case can more than $5,000 be spent on equipment.
- RSF does not cover rent for office space.
- Sabbaticals or fellowships at other institutions, even if the PI will be working on an RSF project.
- Release time (course buy-outs) from teaching during the academic year.
- Pre-doctoral or doctoral research (including dissertation research).
- Tuition remission for graduate or undergraduate students.
- Personnel or other costs related to communications or dissemination or publication, including journal publication fees.
- Travel for collaboration purposes or dissemination/presentation of findings (conference travel).
- The development of the data collection instrument and sample design as part of the proposed project.
- Generic costs, such as copying, printing, mailing, phone calls, information/computer services, etc., as these are typically considered to be a part of indirect costs.

Pre-Application Information:


- LOI Deadline: November 26, 2019
- Invited Proposal Deadline: March 12, 2020
- Funding Decision: June 2020

All applications (LOIs & Proposals) are due by 2pm ET/11am PT

All research grant applications must be preceded by a letter of inquiry (LOI). LOIs must be submitted through the online portal directly by an eligible principal investigator or co-principal investigator. An LOI should contain only one research project; you may submit additional LOIs with other (potentially related) projects. Due to the large amount of applications received, the RSF is unable to read or provide feedback on draft LOIs. They cannot guarantee a response to any questions submitted within 10 days of a deadline.

RSF aims to send out decisions no later than 1 month before the corresponding proposal deadline. Letters of inquiry received in between deadlines will only be processed as time permits; in general, LOIs will be kept on file until the next relevant deadline and only processed at that time.

RSF has 3 funding cycles per year and only considers proposals that are invited following review of an initial letter of inquiry.

Application Deadlines:

Eligibility & Policies:

Funding Priorities:

How to Apply for Research Grants

Budget Requirements:

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Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Online application portal:

Direct questions regarding the submission of letters of inquiry (LOI) or proposals to:

Russell Sage Foundation
112 E. 64th Street
New York, NY 10065
(212) 750-6000

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

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