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Funding for COVID-19 & Social Justice Projects

Bureau of Educational Research

Last update: May 6, 2021

Upcoming Research Opportunities & Information, by Entity:

American Educational Research Association (AERA)

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Social Justice

  • October 8, 2020: The Foundation is seeking to disrupt the deeply imbalanced system against this generation – and previous generations – of Black, Latino, English Learners (ELs), and students experiencing poverty in the United States, who we will refer to as priority students, as it relates to their Algebra 1 experience in 7th, 8th, or 9th grade, in-class or online.
  • Applicants are encouraged to consider how their solution* could benefit from the expertise of two or more organizations in a partnership or combine with emerging or existing in-market solutions. Partnerships representing collaboration with a full-course Algebra 1 or relevant middle grades mathematics series provider are especially encouraged, as this would represent a clear go-to-market pathway.
    • Phase 1: Planning and Prototyping grant for US$100,000 to develop a pilot study plan alongside our external learning partner, American Institute for Research (AIR).
    • Upon completion of the first Phase, awardees can then apply for a Phase 2: Pilot Study grant for up to US$1 million.
    • Due: November 6, 2020

Illinois Extension

  • No current competitions

Institute of Education Sciences (IES)


  • March 31, 2020 IES Blog: IES in a Time of Pandemic summarizes work across IES, including the National Center for Educational Research, projects funded by SBIR, Regional Education Labs webinars, As well as the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) efforts announced March 26.
  • March 26, 2020 IES Blog: Seeking Your Help in Learning More About What Works in Distance Education: A Rapid Evidence Synthesis. This call is a first-ever What Works Clearinghouse cooperative rapid evidence synthesis to understand more about what works in distance education to improve student outcomes.
    • Until April 3: (1) Contributions by families and educators. (2) Nominations by other members of the public, including researchers and technologists, of  any rigorous research they are aware of or have conducted that evaluates the effectiveness of specific distance education practices or products on student outcomes.
    • After June 1: Individual meta-analysts, research teams, or others can download screened studies from the WWC and begin their meta-analytic work. As researchers complete their syntheses, they should submit them through the ERIC online submission system and alert IES.

    Joyce Foundation

    Social Justice

    • May 6, 2021 The Joyce Foundation has posted a new Funding Strategy statement covering multiple social justice-related areas, including Education and Economic Mobility. Read more on the Joyce website.


    • March 25, 2020 The Joyce Foundation has designated $2.5 million to address the COVID-19 crisis, to support rapid response initiatives in the city of Chicago and across the state as well as to provide additional financial support to existing grantees most vulnerable to the economic aftershocks of the crisis. "As this situation continues to evolve, we will explore other ways to contribute to finding solutions to the longer term challenges that will certainly arise from the COVID-19 outbreak."

    National Institutes of Health


    National Science Foundation


    • May 2021: Racial Equity in STEM Education (EHR Racial Equity): PD 21-191Y. Seeks to support bold, ground-breaking, and potentially transformative projects addressing systemic racism in STEMProposals should advance racial equity in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and workforce development through research (both fundamental and applied) and practice. Proposals to be led by, or developed and led in authentic partnership with, individuals and communities most impacted by the inequities caused by systemic racism. 2021 Deadlines: 7/13/21 and 10/12/21.


    Russell Sage Foundation


    • Research on the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting recession in the U.S. Specifically, research that assesses the social, political, economic, and psychological causes and consequences of the pandemic, especially its effects on marginalized individuals and groups and on trust in government and other institutions. Our priorities do not include analyses of health outcomes or health behavior.

    Social Justice and Anti-Racism:

    Spencer Foundation

    COVID-19; Social Justice and Anti-Racism:

    • March 24, 2020: Spencer Foundation, An Open Letter to Our Community| COVID-19: "More drastic change to education systems has occurred in the last week than it has in arguably the last 50 years. What possibilities does this open up for the future of learning, for the reorganization of our institutions, for the centrality of families and family life?"
    • Spencer Conference Grants:
      • Small research conferences that bring together researchers, practitioners, policymakers and other important collaborators for a small research conference or focused symposium.
      • Proposal must address one of three Spencer-designated areas. These could conceivably engage a COVID-19 theme. The three areas include
        • Developing High-Quality Educators and Leaders
        • Exploring Human Learning and Thriving
        • Innovative Research Methods
    • Spencer Small Research Grants (regular cycle)
      • The current application cycle opened August 3, 2020, due November 1, 2020.
      • COVID-19 related projects may be submitted as part of the regular Small Grant program cycle for projects of 1-3 years and for up to $50,000.

    WT Grant Foundation


    • April 21, 2020: WT Grant Foundation focus areas may lend themselves to COVID-related inquiry. Broadly the funder is interested in research with the potential to improve the lives of young people between the ages of 5 and 25 in: (1) Reducing Inequality; (2) improving the Use of Research Evidence and (3) Connecting Research, Policy, and Practice.

    Anti-Racism and Social Justice:

    • Institutional Challenge Grants for research institutions to build sustained research-practice partnerships with public agencies or nonprofit organizations in order to reduce inequality in youth outcomes are due September 10, 2020.