2020–2021 Emerging Poverty Scholars Fellowship Call for Applications: Deadline 8/9/2020, 11:59 PM (CT)

Application Deadline: August 9, 2020 11:59 pm (Central Time)
View/download PDF version of the call

About the Fellowship

The Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP) at the University of Wisconsin–Madison invites applications from junior scholars from underrepresented racial and ethnic populations for its 2020–2021 Emerging Poverty Scholars Fellowship program. The JPB Foundation has generously funded this initiative.

IRP’s Emerging Poverty Scholars Fellowship aims to support the career development and success of promising emerging poverty scholars from underrepresented racial and ethnic populations by:

  • enhancing the resources available to them,
  • providing high-quality mentoring from nationally renowned senior poverty scholars, and
  • fostering interaction among a diverse set of scholars in order to broaden the corps of U.S. poverty researchers.

Beyond providing Fellows with flexible funding and opportunities for expanding their networks and receiving feedback on their research and career trajectories, the program intends to establish long-term relationships between Fellows and other poverty scholars, which may lead to future collaborations.

About IRP

IRP is a center for interdisciplinary research into the causes and consequences of poverty and inequality in the U.S. and the impact of related policies and programs. As the National Poverty Research Center sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, IRP coordinates the U.S. Collaborative of Poverty Centers (CPC) in an integrated set of activities with the ultimate goal of improving the effectiveness of public policies to reduce poverty and inequality in the U.S.



Proposals are invited from Ph.D.-holding poverty scholars from racial and ethnic groups that are underrepresented in academia.[1] Applicants must currently hold a tenure-track university appointment in any discipline or field, but have not yet earned tenure. They must show evidence of research experience in areas relevant to poverty, low-income populations, or related social policy, as well as the potential to produce rigorous research to inform policies and programs to combat poverty and/or its effects.


Fellowships may be used for a wide range of professional development activities, including:

  • engaging in substantive and methodological training;
  • travel for data collection, collaboration, or research presentation;
  • securing release time from teaching; or
  • summer salary support.

IRP will separately provide travel funding for Fellows to visit IRP, other institutions from the U.S. Collaborative of Poverty Centers (CPC), and/or their mentor’s home institution twice during the one-year funding period.

Award Info

IRP anticipates providing two fellows with $20,000 in flexible funding over a one-year award period beginning September 16, 2020. IRP will also match each fellow with a senior poverty scholar mentor.


Fellows will be invited to attend and may be asked to present their research at a variety of IRP events. They are also expected to participate in follow-up activities such as program evaluation of this initiative and efforts to support future Fellows.

Application Instructions

Your application should include the following materials as a single PDF file sent through the online application form:

  1. A letter (no more than three single-spaced pages) that:
    1. describes your poverty research interests, aswell as your professional goals in this area, progress toward them, and accomplishments to date;
    2. specifies how your scholarly and career development will be aided by the award, including how you plan to use the funds and how you might use your experience in the program to benefit others in the future; and
    3. indicates which eligible racial or ethnic population you are a part of and whether you are of the first generation in their family to receive a college degree;
  2. Your curriculum vitae; and
  3. One example of your poverty-related written

You are also welcome, though not required, to suggest potential mentors.

References (Required)

Two letters of reference from senior scholars attesting to your potential to make an impact in poverty- policy research and how you would benefit from the Fellowship are also required. References should be submitted separately by the letter writers through the online reference letter form.

Letters of reference must be received by the application deadline, August 9, 2020.


Submit questions to irpapply@ssc.wisc.edu.


Proposal Release June 24, 2020
Deadline for Proposal Receipt August 9, 2020 11:59 pm (Central Time)
Notification of Award September 16, 2020
Contract Starts September 16, 2020
Brief Project Plan Within 7 days of accepting award
Exit Interview Week of September 13, 2021
Contract Ends September 15, 2021

[1]Includes the following racial/ethnic groups: (a) African American or Black; (b) American Indian or Alaskan Native; (c) Hispanic/Latino; (d) Cambodian, Vietnamese, Laotian, or Hmong; and (e) Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander. Preference will be given to those who are also of the first generation in their family to achieve a college degree.