Applications Invited for Vision Grants program

Organization: Spencer Foundation

Apply By: 14 Aug 2024

Grant Amount: 75000 USD

About the Organization

The Spencer Foundation invests in education research that cultivates learning and transforms lives.

The Spencer Foundation has been a leading funder of education research since 1971 and is the only national foundation focused exclusively on supporting education research.

About the Prize

The Spencer Foundation invests in research to improve education, broadly conceived. We have identified a critical need for innovative, methodologically and disciplinarily diverse, large-scale research projects to transform education systems for equity. Importantly, we believe that ambitious research must begin with the challenges, problems, and opportunities in education systems. To stimulate research that addresses this need, the Spencer Foundation seeks to provide scholars and collaborators with the time, space, resources, and support to plan a large-scale study or program of research: geared toward real-world impact on equity; drawing on research across disciplines and methods; reliant on meaningful and equitable collaboration with practitioners, policymakers, communities, and other partners; and focused on transforming educational systems. 

Toward this end, the Vision Grants program funds the collaborative planning of innovative, methodologically diverse, interdisciplinary research on education that contributes to transforming education systems for equity. Vision Grants are research planning grants to bring together a team, for 6 to 12 months, to collaboratively develop ambitious, large-scale research projects focused on transforming educational systems toward greater equity. This program takes as core that visionary, interdisciplinary, and collaborative research projects require time, space, and thoughtfulness to incubate and plan. Vision Grants are $75,000 total and two cycles of this grant program will be held annually. Different from many of Spencer’s other programs, the proposal does not yet need to be a fully fleshed out research plan. Instead, this is an invitation to think forward about what research we need to transform education systems toward equity and then to envision how that systems-change will happen, utilizing research evidence. Teams are encouraged to reflect on the people who need to be involved from the beginning of the research design process, and how evidence from the eventual research study/studies could be used to actually transform systems. Vision Grant proposals should identify the system(s) targeted for transformation and the levers the team thinks need to be engaged in order to work toward systems transformation. Proposals should also explicitly identify a research topic and initial thoughts about scope of the study plan for impact, collaborative process, and a team that will lead to a fully fleshed out research plan by the end of the grant period.

While the Vision Grant program stands on its own to spark research ideas and collaborations, being awarded a Vision Grant is also a prerequisite for applying to our Transformative Research Grant program (TRG, $3.5 million), which is designed for large-scale research projects that transform education systems for equity.


Proposals to the Vision Grant program must be for planning research projects that study education and/or learning, broadly conceived, though they will likely include scholars and partners in other sectors and fields. Principal Investigators (PIs) and Co-PIs applying for a Vision Grant must have appropriate experience or an earned doctorate in an academic discipline or terminal degree in a professional field. While graduate students may be part of the research 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 private 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).

PIs and Co-PIs may apply for a Vision Grant if they have another active research grant from the Spencer Foundation or if they have another Spencer grant proposal in review.

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

How to Apply

Intent to Apply Form Deadline: August 14, 2024, 12:00 PM Noon (Central/USA Time)

Apply now

For more information please check the Link

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