Research Grants
Research Grants
Call for Proposals





Call for Research Grant Proposals
AERA Grants Program Seeks Proposals for Research Grants

The deadline has passed.

With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Grants Program seeks proposals for Research Grants. The AERA Grants Program provides Research Grants to faculty at institutions of higher education, postdoctoral researchers, and other doctoral­level scholars. The aim of the program is to advance fundamental knowledge of relevance to STEM education policy, foster significant science using education data, promote equity in STEM, and build research capacity in education and learning. The program supports highly competitive studies using rigorous quantitative methods to examine large-scale, education-related data. Since 1991, this AERA Program has been vital to both research and training at early career stages.   

The Grants Program encourages the use of major data sets from multiple and diverse sources. It emphasizes the advanced statistical analysis of data sets from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and other federal agencies. The program also supports studies using large-scale international data systems (e.g., PISA, PIRLS, or TIMMS) that benefit from U.S. federal government support. In addition, statewide longitudinal administrative data systems (SLDS) enhanced through federal grants are also eligible for consideration. The inclusion of federal or state administrative information that further expands the analytic capacity of the research is permissible. The thrust of the analysis needs to be generalizable to a national, state, or population or a subgroup within the sample that the dataset represents.

The Grants Program is open to field-initiated research and welcomes proposals that:

  1. develop or benefit from advanced statistical or innovative quantitative methods or measures;
  2. analyze more than one large-scale national or international federally funded data set, or more than one statewide longitudinal data system (SLDS) or incorporate other data enhancements;
  3. integrate, link, or blend multiple large-scale data sources; or
  4. undertake replication research of major findings or major studies using large-scale, federally supported or enhanced data.

The Grants Program encourages proposals across the life span and contexts of education and learning of relevance to STEM policy and practice. The research may focus on a wide range of topics, including but not limited to such issues as student achievement in STEM, analysis of STEM education policies, contextual factors in education, educational participation and persistence (pre-kindergarten through graduate school), early childhood education and development, postsecondary education, and the STEM workforce and transitions. Studies that examine issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion across STEM topics and/or for specific racial and ethnic groups, social classes, genders, or persons with disabilities are encouraged.

Applicant Eligibility
Research Grants are available for faculty at institutions of higher education, postdoctoral researchers, and other doctoral­level scholars. Proposals are encouraged from the full range of education research fields and other fields and disciplines engaged in education-related research, including economics, political science, psychology, sociology, demography, statistics, public policy, and psychometrics. Applicants for this one-year or two-year, non-renewable award must have received their doctoral degree at the start of the award. Applicants may be U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents. Non­U.S. citizens affiliated with a U.S. university or institution are also eligible to apply. Underrepresented racial and ethnic minority researchers as well as women, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are strongly encouraged to apply.

Researchers who have previously received Research Grants through the AERA Grants Program (as a PI or Co­PI) may not apply for a Research Grant. However, applicants who have received an AERA Dissertation Grant are eligible to apply for a Research Grant. Dissertation Grant recipients must complete the Dissertation Grant before applying for a Research Grant.

Data Set Eligibility
The research project must include the analysis of large-scale data. The data set can originate from one or multiple sources, including (1) federal data bases, (2) federally supported national studies, (3) international data sets supported by federal funds, or (4) statewide longitudinal administrative data systems (SLDS) enhanced through federal grants. Although the emphasis is on large-scale education data sets and systems, other social science and health-related databases that can advance knowledge about education and learning are eligible for consideration.

Many national data resources, including important longitudinal data sets, have been developed or funded by NCES, NSF, the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Institutes of Health, or other federal agencies. International datasets such as PISA, PIAAC, TIMMS, and others are supported. If international data sets are used, the study must include U.S. education.

NCES has enhanced and improved SLDS through grants to nearly every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and America Samoa. This federal investment has produced state-level data from pre-K to grade 12, through higher education, and into the workforce. Many SLDS are available for analysis and can be used to address salient issues in education research or linked with other data sets.

Data Set Access
The data set(s) of interest must be available for analysis at the time of application. Use of public or restricted-data files is permissible. Prior to receiving funding, applicants must provide documentation that they have permission to use the data for the research project. 

Data Sharing
All data or data-related products produced under the AERA Grants Program must be shared and made available consonant with ethical standards for the conduct of research. Grantees are expected to place article-related data,[1] codebook or coding procedures, algorithms, code, and so forth in an accessible archive at the time of publication. Also, at a reasonable time after completion of the research project, all data or data-related products must be archived at the AERA-ICPSR Data Sharing Repository supported by NSF and located at the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) at the University of Michigan. AERA provides guidance to facilitate the data sharing and archiving process.

Research Grant Award
Awards for Research Grants are up to $25,000 for 1­year projects, or up to $35,000 for 2­year projects. In accordance with AERA's agreement with the funding agencies, institutions may not charge indirect costs or overhead on these awards.

The funds can be used for research-related expenses such as course buyout, summer salary, travel to secure data enclaves or scholarly conferences, books, computer equipment, and other expenses directly related to conducting this research. As part of the proposal, applicants provide a budget that outlines anticipated research-related expenses.

In addition to the funding, grantees will be paired with a Governing Board member who will monitor grantees’ progress and potentially advise on their research.

Informational Webinar
Applicants are encouraged to watch the informational webinar to learn more about the AERA Grants Program and discuss the application process.

Project Dates
AERA is flexible on research project start dates, depending on what is best for the applicant. The earliest date a grant may start is approximately three months following the application deadline. Alternatively, an award start date several months or more after that may be requested.

Funding Restrictions
Research Grantees may not accept concurrent grant or fellowship awards from another agency, foundation, institution or the like for the same project that is funded by the AERA Grants Program. If the awardee is offered more than one major grant or fellowship for the same project for the same time period, in order to accept the AERA Grants Program Research Grant, the other award(s) must be declined.

If the applicant is employed by a contractor of NCES, NSF, other federal agency, state agency, or other entity that provides the dataset proposed for the project, the research project must not be considered part of the applicant's work responsibilities. An additional letter from the applicant's employer is required as part of the application submission, stating that the research project is separate from the applicant's job duties. This letter must be sent electronically by the deadline to

Evaluation Criteria
Evaluation criteria include the significance of the research question, the conceptual clarity and potential contribution of the proposal, the relevance to an important STEM education policy issue, the strength of the methodological model and proposed statistical analysis, and the applicant’s relevant research and academic experience. Additionally, the review criteria include the following: What is already known on the issue? How might this project inform STEM education policy? ,How does the methodology relate specifically to the research question? Does the applicant know the data set? Does the analytic plan fit the question and the data? How does this project promote equity in STEM education and learning? Is the applicant qualified to carry out the proposed study? Reviewers will be members of the AERA Grants Program Governing Board. Due to the large volume of applications received, the AERA Grants Program is unable to provide individual feedback on unfunded proposals.

Reporting Requirements
Research Grantees will be required to submit a brief (3-6 pages) progress report midway through the grant period. A final report will be submitted at the end of the grant period. The final report consists of an extended project abstract (3-6 pages) and a statement of research dissemination and communication activities and plans (1-3 pages). Also, it is expected that a research manuscript in a journal-ready format will be submitted. Grantees may produce research reports, research policy briefs, and presentations at professional meetings related to this research. Materials should be submitted electronically to All reporting requirements and deadlines are outlined in the award letter.

Funding Disbursement
Funding will be linked to the approval of the progress report and final report. Grantees will receive one-half of the total award at the beginning of the grant period, one-quarter upon approval of the progress report, and one-quarter upon approval of the final report. Grants are awarded through the grantee’s institution. In accordance with AERA's agreement with NSF, institutions cannot charge overhead or indirect costs to administer the grant funds.

Considerations in the Development of the Proposal
Applicants are strongly encouraged to read Estimating Causal Effects: Using Experimental and Observational Designs, by Barbara Schneider, Martin Carnoy, Jeremy Kilpatrick, William H. Schmidt, and Richard J. Shavelson prior to submitting a grant proposal. Selection bias is a recurring issue during the review process and should be addressed in the proposal.

Applicants should choose research topics that can be supported by the samples and variables contained in the proposed data set(s). Applicants should also be familiar with the User Guides and/or Manuals (e.g., use of design weights and design effects) of the specific data sets. Applicants should be familiar with statistical methods and available computer programs that allow for sophisticated analyses of the selected data.

Applicants should explicitly address the curricular content when it applies. Applicants are encouraged to capitalize on the capacity of large-scale data sets to examine diverse populations, including racial, ethnic, social class, and gender groups. Studies are encouraged that promote or inform diversity, equity, and inclusion for underrepresented population as well as across STEM topics. The proposed topic must have education policy relevance, and the models to be tested must include predictor variables that are manipulable (e.g., course work in mathematics, instructional practices used by teachers, parental involvement). Studies focusing on STEM education policy are strongly encouraged. Studies that model achievement test data should clearly define the achievement construct and identify the kinds of items to be used to operationalize the topic of interest. Also, when planning to use existing sub-scales, the applicant should describe why these sub-scales are appropriate and how they will be applied. Existing sub-scales provided by NCES or other agencies may not be appropriate for the proposed construct.

Research Grant Application Guidelines
AERA Grants Program

Application Deadline
All applications for the AERA Grants Program must be completed using the AERA online application portal by 11:59pm Pacific time on May 30, 2024. An applicant may submit only one proposal to the AERA Grants Program for review at any one time. Due to the large volume of applications received, the AERA Program is unable to provide individual feedback on unfunded proposals.

Submission Information
Please enter the background information requested in the proposal submission portal. This includes the principal investigator’s contact and background demographic information. Also, enter the proposal title, amount of funding requested, and the start and end dates of the project.

Dataset(s) used: Name data set(s) used (e.g., ECLS­K, ELS:2002, IPEDS, CCD, AddHealth, SLDS-State, PISA, and so forth). Proposals must include the analysis of at least one large-scale federal, international, or state administrative data system.

Project abstract
Enter the abstract of your proposed research project (250 words maximum).

Contribution to the field
Briefly describe the potential contributions this research will make to the field of education (250 words maximum). You may cut and paste or type into the text box.

Previous work
Discuss how this project relates to your previous work, including your dissertation work. List any previous publications (200 word maximum).


  1. Narrative: Prepare a narrative (limited to 7 single-spaced pages) to include the following:
    • Statement of how this research advances the current state of knowledge in the field, substantively and/or methodologically
    • Theoretical or conceptual framework for the research
    • Brief review of relevant research/policy literature
    • Research questions, hypotheses to be tested
    • Description of methodology including the data set(s) and justification for selecting data file to address research question; any additional or supplemental data sample (e.g., groups used, exclusions to sample, and estimated sample sizes); rationale for variables used; and specification and clarification of variables and analytic techniques
    • Data analysis plan and/or statistical model or formulas, appropriately defined
    • Brief dissemination plan for this research including proposed conferences to present the findings and potential scholarly journals to publish the research
  2. Variables list: Provide a categorized list of the variables from the NCES, NSF, or other data set(s) that will be used in this research project. (2 single-spaced pages maximum)
  3. References cited (not part of page limit)
  4. Budget. Awards for Research Grants are up to $25,000 for 1­year projects, or up to $35,000 for 2­year projects. There is no specific template for the budget. It may be a simple 2­column format or a more complex spreadsheet. Note that institutions may not charge overhead on AERA Research Grants. (no page limit)
  5. Current other support. If you currently have support from other sources (foundations, government agencies, institutions, etc.), include a list of any grants or fellowships that the PI and Co­PI(s) have been awarded. Include the name of the funding organization, title of project, dates of project, and amount awarded; otherwise enter NONE. (no page limit)
  6. Principal and Co-Principal Investigator curriculum vitae (limited to 2 pages each) that includes:
    • Research and academic employment history
    • Relevant graduate courses in statistics and methodology
    • Relevant publications and presentations
    • Relevant professional affiliations and/or memberships

Please combine items 1-6 as one PDF document and upload on online application.

Further Questions
Contact George L. Wimberly, Co-Principal Investigator, AERA Grants Program ( or 202-238-3200 if you have questions regarding the application or submission process. NOTE: All awards are contingent upon AERA's receiving continued federal funding.

Visit the AERA Grants Program Website  at

[1] Awardees with access to data under restricted access provisions are expected to archive a detailed specification of the data set so that others can request the same data under the same or similar restricted conditions.