2021–2023 Emerging Poverty Scholars Fellowship Call for Applications: Deadline 8/15/2021 (11:59 PM CT)

Application Deadline: August 15, 2021 (11:59 p.m. 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 2021–2023 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 one-on-one mentoring from nationally renowned senior poverty scholars;
  • fostering interaction among a diverse set of scholars through quarterly meetings with the Emerging Scholars cohort and experts in the field; and
  • providing opportunities to highlight the research of the Emerging Scholars through IRP products and events in order to broaden the corps of U.S.-based poverty researchers.

In addition, IRP uses this program 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 United States 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 United States.



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;
  • funding research assistants;
  • securing release time from teaching; or
  • summer salary support.

IRP will separately provide travel funding for Fellows to attend three in-person meetings over the course of the fellowship as well as visit IRP, other institutions from the U.S. Collaborative of Poverty Centers (CPC), and/or their mentor’s home institution once per year during the two-year funding period.

Award Info

IRP anticipates providing five Fellows with $60,000 in flexible funding over a two-year award period beginning in early fall 2021. IRP will match each Fellow with a senior poverty scholar mentor for each year of their fellowship. Scholars will meet by phone or video for one-on-one meetings with their individual mentors once per month and with IRP twice a year. In addition, Emerging Scholars will participate in quarterly meetings with their cohort. In year 1, scholars will have two in-person meetings and two virtual meetings as a cohort. In year 2, scholars will have one in-person meeting and three virtual meetings as a cohort.


Fellows are expected to dedicate significant time to furthering their research with the flexible funding provided in this grant as well as actively participate in development opportunities such as meetings with mentors, IRP, and the broader cohort. Emerging scholars are also asked to find ways to support the work of other Fellows and use the training provided to mentor others. Fellows will be invited to attend and may be asked to present their research at a variety of IRP events and/or have their work highlighted in an IRP publication. Within 30 days of the end of the fellowship, Fellows must submit a three-page final report describing how the funding was spent, assessing professional accomplishments, discussing the quality and productivity of the mentoring relationship, and making recommendations for improving the initiative going forward. Scholars are 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, as well 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 plan to use your experience in the program to benefit others in the future;
    3. indicates which eligible racial or ethnic population you are a part of and whether you are of the first generation in your family to achieve a college degree; and
    4. identifies two to three potential mentors with whom you would like to be matched, explaining why they are a good fit for you, and indicating how open you are to other suggestions for mentors;
  2. Your curriculum vitae; and
  3. One example of your poverty-related written material.

References (Required)

Two letters of reference are required from senior scholars attesting to your potential to make an impact in poverty-policy research and how you would benefit from the Fellowship. 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 15, 2021.


Submit questions to irpapply@ssc.wisc.edu.


Proposal release June 14, 2021
Deadline for proposal and letters of recommendation receipt August 15, 2021 11:59 pm (Central Time)
Notification of award Early fall 2021
Contract Starts Early fall 2021
Brief Project Plan Within 7 days of accepting award
Individual welcome call with IRP (30 minutes) Within 21 days of accepting award
Fall in-person cohort training in Madison, WI (2-days) Late fall 2021
Monthly one-on-one meetings with mentor Monthly from late fall 2021 – August 2023
Cohort call (1 hour) Mid-February 2022
Spring in-person cohort training in DC (2-days) Late spring/early summer 2022
Individual check-in call with IRP (30 minutes) Mid-June 2022
Cohort call (1 hour) Mid-July 2022
Cohort call (1 hour) Mid-October 2022
Individual check in call with IRP (30 minutes) Mid-November 2022
Cohort call (1 hour) Mid-February 2023
Spring in-person cohort training in DC (2-days) Late spring/early summer 2023
Exit Interview Before August 31, 2023
Contract Ends August 31, 2023
Final report due September 30, 2023
[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.