UW RDRC and IRP Extramural Mentored Fellowships on Poverty, Retirement, and Disability Research 2024–2025 – Call for Applications – Due 5/15/2024, 11:59 PM CST

Revised April 10, 2024

Application Deadline: May 15, 2024, 11:59 p.m. CST

View/download PDF version of the Call

About the Fellowships

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Retirement and Disability Research Center (UW RDRC) and Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP) have funding to support the study of economically vulnerable populations related to poverty, retirement, and disability policy. Funded by a cooperative agreement between the UW RDRC and the Social Security Administration, this fellowship program is designed to expand the reach of poverty research into issues related to retirement and disability policies and programs. Applicants can propose research projects that address any area of relevance to retirement and disability research. Issues and studies of special interest include:

  • Interactions between public assistance and social insurance over the life course;
  • The role of health, health insurance, and financial decisions in household financial security;
  • How economically vulnerable households combine work, pensions, and social insurance over the life course; and
  • Low-net-wealth households and retirement well-being, including the role of housing wealth, saving, and debt.

Studies may be quantitative or qualitative in nature and may employ a mix of research designs and analytic methods.


The UW RDRC is a multidisciplinary research program that conducts applied research in household finance, consumer behavior and financial security over the life course with an emphasis on informing policy and practice with evidence-based strategies. As a designated center within the Social Security Administration Retirement and Disability Research Consortium (SSA RDRC), the UW RDRC oversees research, dissemination, and training programs, which develop evidence that assist policymakers, the public, and the media in understanding issues in Social Security, retirement, and disability policy, especially related to economically vulnerable populations.

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 Research Center on Poverty and Economic Mobility 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 goal of improving the effectiveness of public policies to reduce poverty and inequality and their impacts on the well-being of the American people.



Proposals are invited from U.S.-based non-tenured junior faculty, postdoctoral researchers, or those in dissertator status. Junior faculty are particularly encouraged to apply. All proposals that address Social Security, retirement, and disability topics, especially related to economically vulnerable populations, are eligible for funding.

Contract Period

Research support is available for up to 12 months from the award date beginning as early as Summer 2024.


The fellowship awards will provide funding of $45,000. This funding is intended as seed money for a larger project related to Social Security and disability research. Project investigators can use these smaller projects to develop ideas that are then submitted to future UW RDRC funding cycles for research projects. This is a 12-month fellowship. The stipend for this fellowship will be $45,000 and will be paid quarterly in equal payments following delivery of quarterly progress reports.


Receipt of a grant will require a commitment to:

  • Submit brief quarterly progress reports of work accomplished during the preceding three months on October 15, 2024; January 15, 2025; April 15, 2025 and July 15, 2025 to lienhardt@wisc.edu. (template will be provided)
  • Monthly mentor and peer discussion Zoom calls.
  • A completed research report, research brief, and policy abstract (style guide and templates will be provided).

Your project will be shared with the SSA and all publications and products associated with the grant will be required to acknowledge this funding.

Application Instructions

Proposals should be submitted electronically to the application form by May 15, 2024.

Applicants should provide the following materials as one PDF file:

  1. Cover page listing:
    1. Researcher(s) name
    2. Project title
    3. Plain language abstract (200 words or less)
    4. Results of previous IRP or RDRC funding (if applicable)
  2. Description of proposed work or ongoing project (3 pages maximum, double-spaced, not including endnotes)
    1. Research questions and significance
    2. Methodology and approach to be used
    3. Data sources
    4. Project timeline
  3. Plan for future work (1 page maximum, double-spaced)
    1. How this project will support the investigator to expand into retirement and disability research
    2. Plans for future funding
  4. Current curriculum vitae

Selection Criteria

Proposals will be evaluated by a subcommittee appointed by IRP and the UW RDRC. Funding decisions will be based first, and most importantly, on the scientific merit or potential of the proposed research. Second, we will seek to support proposals that engage poverty researchers to expand their research into retirement and disability programs and policies. Third, priority will be given to junior faculty whose proposals meet the first two criteria. The SSA will provide final approval of any project before an award can be made.


Questions should be directed to:
Hallie Lienhardt | hallie.lienhardt@wisc.edu

Process-related questions can be directed to:
IRP Apply | irpapply@ssc.wisc.edu


Deadline for proposal receipt May 15, 2024
Notification of award Early July 2024
Contract begins August 2024
Quarterly progress reports due October 15, 2024; January 15, 2025; April 15, 2025; July 15, 2025
Draft paper due July 15, 2025
Final paper, research brief, and policy abstract due August 31, 2025
*Note: Contract dates and reporting requirement deadlines will be specified in the award letter and are subject to adjustment based on start date.