2008–2009 University of Michigan Poverty Research Grants Program

National Poverty Center
Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan

Request for Applications PDF Document


  • October 31, 2008 for funding starting January 1, 2009
  • March 13, 2009 for opportunities starting May 1, 2009


The National Poverty Center (NPC) at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy seeks proposals from University of Michigan faculty, post-doctoral fellows, and advanced graduate students that will broaden our understanding of the causes and consequences of poverty. The NPC anticipates funding up to five proposals over the two competitions during the academic year, ranging from $500 to $10,000 per award.

The National Poverty Center is especially interested in funding:

  • Novel uses of existing datasets or analyses of novel data sources
  • Collaborative projects involving graduate students and faculty
  • Projects likely to result in future successful grant applications

The NPC is interested in all proposals focusing on the causes and consequences of poverty in the United States. Of special interest are proposals directed to these areas of research:

  • Economic Self-sufficiency and the Well-being of Vulnerable Families and Children
  • The Effects of Economic Conditions and Public Policies on Poverty and Family Well-Being
  • Longitudinal Analyses of Youth Development
  • Family Formation and Healthy Marriages Among Low-Income Populations
  • Safety, Stability and Healthy Development of Children
  • Investing in Low-Income Families: The Accumulation of Financial Assets and Human Capital
  • Qualitative Research on Barriers to Self-Sufficiency

Terms of Funding

The NPC will fund reasonable research expenses, including graduate student employment, data purchase, and supplies, to a maximum of $10,000. Grants will be made for the period January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2009 for proposals submitted by October 31, 2008 and for the period May 1, 2009 to April 30, 2010 for those submitted by March 13, 2009.

Selection Criteria

Applications will be evaluated by senior scholars affiliated with the National Poverty Center. Proposals will be evaluated based upon several factors, including:

  • The policy significance of the proposed project
  • The quality of the study design, including the choice of appropriate research methods and data
  • The feasibility of the proposed study to be completed within one year
  • The use of new data sources or innovative use of existing data
  • The value of small-grant funding to future grant submissions
  • The degree of support and training of graduate students


The National Poverty Center (NPC) at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy seeks proposals from University of Michigan faculty, post-doctoral fellows, and advanced graduate students. Recipients of previous awards are not eligible.

Application Instructions

Applicants should submit three printed copies of the following:

1. A cover sheet with:
  • The title of the proposed research
  • The investigator’s name and institutional affiliation with mailing address, email address, phone and fax numbers
  • If the proposed research involves more than one investigator, a principal investigator (PI) must be identified. All correspondence will be with the PI.
2. Description of the proposed project in 5–8 double-spaced pages (excluding figures, tables & references). Particular emphasis should be given to presenting hypotheses, describing the research design, proposed research methodology and data sources, and indicating how the proposed analyses will address the research and policy questions. Literature reviews should be kept to a minimum.
3. A budget and budget narrative that describes in detail the funding requested from the NPC. Projects with other sources of funding must document why NPC funds are needed to supplement the current funds. NPC funds may not be used for faculty salaries or student tuition, but they can be used for graduate student stipends.
4. A project timeline listing specific milestones for study completion.
5. Curriculum vitae for all investigators.
6. Human subjects review approval (often a waiver in the case of secondary data analysis) is required for all projects before funding can be dispersed.
7. Graduate students who are requesting funding for their own dissertation research must also include a letter from their dissertation committee's chair. The letter should document that the dissertation proposal has been accepted by the full committee and provide the chair’s view on when the dissertation will be completed.

Applicants selected in the first competition will be notified by December 12, 2008; for the second competition, notifications will be made by April 17, 2009.

Applications should be sent to:

National Poverty Center
Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy
Weill Hall, Suite 5100
735 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-3091
ATTN: 2008–09 U-M Grants Program

Direct questions to:

Shawn Marie Pelak
Program Manager
National Poverty Center
Phone: 734-615-3890
Email: spelak@umich.edu

Funds for this competition are provided by the Rackham Graduate School and the Office of the Vice President for Research.