Use of Research Evidence in Policy & Practice

Posted by on January 20, 2009

Please see excerpt below from a new request for proposals (RFP) issued by the William T. Grant Foundation.  For more information, visit

The William T. Grant Foundation has a longstanding interest in supporting research that can inform policy and practice. Our particular focus is on policies and practices that affect youth ages 8 to 25 in the United States. In this area, there are significant gaps between research and policy, and between research and practice. Researchers express frustration that policymakers and practitioners do not use or misuse research findings. Policymakers and practitioners suggest that research is often not relevant to their work or is not easily accessible or understood. Many researchers, research funders, and intermediary organizations have sought to address these gaps by encouraging the production of more rigorous research evidence, better research syntheses, and improved approaches to disseminating research evidence. Policymakers have also tried to improve the connection between research and practice by mandating the use of research findings through law or regulation.

Relatively little research attention has been devoted to understanding the user side that is, studying what affects policymakers and practitioners acquisition, interpretation, and use of research evidence. At the Foundation, we believe studies of this topic will increase our understanding of how to improve the production and subsequent use of research for and in policy and practice.

For the next several years, we anticipate supporting a group of research projects, with award amounts ranging from $100,000 to $600,000, covering direct and indirect costs for two to three years of work. Our total estimated budget for these projects is $1.5 million per year.

The Foundation will consider applications for newly initiated studies and add-on studies to existing projects. Add-on studies must address research questions not covered by prior funding from us or other funders, but can cover secondary analyses of existing data or collection and analyses of new data. We encourage interdisciplinary projects, and welcome applications from researchers in various fields and disciplines such as anthropology, communication studies, economics, education, family studies, human development, organizational studies, political science, prevention research, psychology, public administration, public policy, public health, social work, and sociology.

Applicants should submit letters of inquiry by May 12, 2009. Selected applicants will be invited to submit full proposals, which will be due by October 6, 2009. Funding decisions will be made at the Board of Trustees meeting in June 2010, and awards will be made available shortly thereafter.

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