IRP Extramural Small Grants 2019–2020 Call for Applications (Due: 1/13/2019)

Application Deadline: January 13, 2019

View/download PDF version of the call

About Grant

The Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP) at the University of Wisconsin–Madison seeks to fund research on spatial/locational aspects of poverty, a key area of interest identified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE). Proposals are invited from Ph.D.-holding scholars at all career stages, from postdoctoral fellows to senior faculty, and from all disciplines.

IRP has established this small grants program to support timely secondary analyses of existing data to address emerging policy-relevant research questions and to provide seed funding for preliminary and pilot work that is likely to lead to high-impact research. The program is administered by IRP Associate Director for Programs and Management Hilary Shager.

About IRP

IRP is a center for interdisciplinary research into the causes and consequences of poverty and inequality 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 and their impacts on the well-being of the American people.

2019–2020 Focal Theme: Geography of Opportunity

To move all Americans toward greater opportunity and continue to strengthen our economy, we must better understand the extent to which opportunities, challenges, and labor market productivity differ by geography within the United States today. Researchers, policy makers, and practitioners are becoming more aware of these spatial and locational differences, and the potential impact they have on poverty and the economic well-being of families, communities, and our nation as a whole. IRP seeks to support research that will inform policy and programmatic efforts designed to address and alleviate the effects of differences by geography—regions, rural locations, urban areas, neighborhoods, communities, and places of isolation—so all individuals, families, and communities regardless of their spatial location may experience their greatest potential to achieve and maintain economic self-sufficiency and stability.

We particularly invite research proposals that consider:

  1. The importance of geography in poverty reduction, opportunity, and economic mobility strategies and understanding why some locations lead to better outcomes.
  2. Assess the extent of skills and spatial mismatch and identify implications for employers and job seekers and potential actionable solutions for poverty and policy.
  3. Promising approaches for addressing rural poverty and isolated communities.
  4. Implications of the intersection of poverty and geography for targeting and effective delivery of human and social services programs.



The Principal Investigator must hold a doctorate or the highest degree appropriate for their discipline. Individuals not associated with an institution (domestic or foreign) and foreign entities are ineligible for awards made under this announcement. University of Wisconsin–Madison faculty and postdoctoral fellows are ineligible for funding.

Contract Period

The grant contract period will be from April 1, 2019, to March 31, 2020.


Grants may not exceed $25,000. This amount includes indirect costs at the applicant’s institution, if required (see item 4 under Application Instructions below).


Receipt of a grant from IRP will require a commitment to:

  • Submit brief quarterly progress reports (< 150 words) of work accomplished during the preceding three months on July 1, 2019; October 1, 2019; January 7, 2020; and April 1, 2020.
  • Submit a draft paper for review and comments to Vee Yeo ( by October 15, 2019;
  • Submit a revised draft by March 2, 2020, and participate in a videoconferencing session at which grantees will receive feedback;
  • Present the paper at a seminar, workshop, or other mutually agreed upon public event sponsored by IRP;
  • Agree to have the work summarized in an IRP publication (Focus; Fast Focus), webinar, and/or podcast; and
  • Submit a final paper for academic publication no later than October 15, 2020.

All publications associated with the grant should acknowledge the support of IRP and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE).

Award Info

IRP anticipates funding four to eight projects, with total funding (including direct and indirect costs) ranging from $10,000 to $25,000 each. Support is subject to the availability of funds. Nothing in this description of applications should be construed as committing IRP to dividing available funds among all qualified applicants.

Application Instructions

Submit application via the online Application Form. Fax submissions will not be accepted. Proposal receipt will be acknowledged.

The application must contain as a single PDF file the following components in the order as listed:

  1. A cover sheet giving the title of the proposed research, applicant’s name, date of Ph.D., institutional affiliation with full address and telephone number, e-mail address, and home address.
  2. A one-page (double-spaced) abstract, describing research objectives, data, and methods.
  3. Description of the applicant’s proposed research, not to exceed eight double-spaced pages in 12-point type with one-inch margins all around, exclusive of references or appendixes. The proposal should carefully describe the issue(s) to be examined, hypotheses to be evaluated, methodology proposed, data sources to be used, and anticipated results of the research, including their potential implications for public policy.
  4. An itemized budget showing the researcher’s time, research assistant’s time, travel costs, computer services, supplies, and indirect costs if required. Note that the awards will be issued in two increments corresponding to the IRP parent award. As such, the itemized budget should be presented into two periods: from April 1, 2019, to September 29, 2019, and September 30, 2019, to March 31, 2020. (Note also that the University of Wisconsin–Madison is not collecting indirect costs on these sub-awards from the prime grant; applicants are encouraged to request that their home institution forego or charge minimal indirect costs.)
  5. Curriculum vitae for all investigators.
  6. A letter from the office of research and sponsored programs of the applicant’s institution confirming administrative approval of the proposal.
  7. A timely plan for obtaining Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval or exemption for human subjects research (typically, secondary data analysis is eligible for exemption approval; consult your institution’s IRB office). The University of Wisconsin will not execute subcontracts without documentation of IRB exemption or approval.

Selection Criteria

IRP will evaluate proposals in collaboration with affiliated scholars and ASPE staff. Award notifications will be made on March 1, 2019. Proposals will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  1. The relevance of the topic to IRP’s focal theme of spatial/locational aspects of poverty (as discussed above).
  2. The potential usefulness of the proposed research for the advancement of scientific knowledge and the development and implementation of public policy.
  3. Clarity of stated objectives, methods, and anticipated results.
  4. The appropriateness and soundness of the research design, including choice of data, methods of analysis, and other procedures. The reasonableness of estimated cost and time commitments in relation to anticipated results.
  5. The qualifications and experience of personnel, including demonstrated familiarity with the literature and data to be used.


Process-related questions should be directed to:
Vee Yeo |

Budget-related questions should be directed to:
Sylvia Kmiec |

Research-related questions should be directed to:
Hilary Shager |


Deadline for proposal receipt January 13, 2019
Notification of award March 1, 2019
Contract begins April 1, 2019
Quarterly progress reports due July 1, 2019; October 1, 2019; January 7, 2020; and April 1, 2020
Complete initial draft paper due October 15, 2019
Revised draft paper due March 2, 2020
Contract ends March 31, 2020