Institution for Social and Policy Studies

Advancing Research • Shaping Policy • Developing Leaders

ISPS Grant Application

ISPS Field Experiments Initiative
Application for funding


To support efforts of faculty and graduate students conducting field experiments in the social sciences, and for related policy issues. By field experiments we mean fully-randomized research designs in which observations found in a naturalistic setting – voters, patients, welfare recipients, community organizations, government entities, and the like – are assigned to treatment and control conditions (see more here).

ISPS invites proposals for important and well-crafted experiments of this sort. Proposals should be well-designed, innovative, and contribute to theory and/or methods. Projects should have both policy and scholarly relevance.

Proposals may explore policy-relevant issues in any social science discipline. Researchers are strongly encouraged to study phenomena outside the university setting (i.e., the behavior of people other than college undergraduates). Note that medical and biological experiments, such as pharmacological trials, do not meet these criteria. A committee will evaluate each application based on the soundness of the research design and the theoretical significance of the study.

Eligibility and selection criteria:

Applicants must be full-time Yale faculty or doctoral students enrolled in a graduate degree program in the Yale Graduate School or a Yale professional school student. An applicant must be principal investigator or co-principal investigator. Support is available based on merit and scope of proposal.

Projects are limited to studies that allocate subjects randomly to treatment and control groups, and that include collection of original data in the field or exploitation of the field context.

The fund supports projects that, in general, involve measuring the causal effect of naturalistic treatments administered in natural settings to the subjects for whom the causal effect has real-world relevance. These projects are often time sensitive because they are designed to coincide with naturally-occurring events. For example,

Lab or survey experiments do not generally meet these standards (although surveys can be one way of collecting original data in the field). Surveys may be a measurement tool, but they are not generally a means for administering an intervention or treatment.

Award Amount:

The maximum award is $75,000. Most funded proposals range between $1,500 and $10,000. The award covers research materials, staff costs, and equipment (direct cost only). ISPS will not cover costs associated with faculty salary or institutional overhead. Smaller pilot projects are welcome.

We understand that the timing considerations of some field experiments may not coincide with regular funding cycles, and are therefore accepting applications on a rolling basis. However, for projects that qualify for funding from other Yale institutions, applicants must show evidence of an attempt to share the expense with these other sources. Applicants from the professional schools should show that they have applied and failed to receive support for their project from these sources before they apply to the field experiment fund.

Yale graduate students: Please consult this list of selected sources of research funding at Yale:

US Citizenship:

Not required


ISPS research funds cannot be used for summer salary or other compensation.

Yale University policy requires that certain types of research projects involving human subjects be reviewed by an Institutional Review Board prior to the start of the study to ensure that the project meets University Policy and any other applicable regulations. To see if your project needs to be reviewed, for advice on working with human subjects, and for more information about the IRB process and requirements, go to Yale University Human Subjects Committee.

If your project has funding from other sources, please register with Yale’s Grants & Contracts Administration. For other information, see Student Grants & Fellowships.

ISPS Requirements:

The grant is designed to cover a 2-year project, with an expectation that at least one publication-quality research report emerge within 3 years.

ISPS requires the following upon completion of any project:

  1. A complete final data set (will be kept in a secure, proprietary data archive)
  2. A completed meta data file (will be kept in a secure, proprietary data archive)
  3. Supplementary materials (such as codebook, printed treatment materials, etc.)
  4. A research report

Specifications and guidelines will be provided upon award regarding these requirements.

Application procedure:

Complete applications must include:

  1. A completed ISPS Request for Research Funding Form (see below)
  2. Curriculum vita (send as attachment to limor.peer(at)
  3. Complete budget (sent as an attachment to limor.peer(at)
  4. A copy of the approved request to the Human Subjects Committee, upon receipt (sent as an attachment to limor.peer(at)



Please fill out the form below to begin the application process:

* Indicates required fields.

(School or Department)
(For students only: Dissertation or research advisor)
(Please describe theoretical motivation, specific hypotheses, sampling and randomization procedures, treatment, location, and contribution to the field; 500 words max.)
(Please describe the analytical methods you plan to use to analyze the data (e.g., difference-of-means tests, regression analysis, sub-group analysis); include the variables of interest, the specific statistics, and a justification of your sample size/power analysis; 500 words max.)
(Data Collection Start and End dates; Please also provide an estimated timetable for the project as a whole)
(Amount in US Dollars)
(Please provide a budget justification statement -- general explanation of how funds will be used, as well as a detailed budget. You may either include a URL to the budget here, or send it as an attachment to jacob.hacker (at)
(Please include the following if applicable: Human Subjects Committee approval status; other sources and amount of funding for this project; larger project description)

Field Experiments Initiative