Field Experiments Initiative

ISPS supports innovative social science research with a focus on the U.S. domestic context. The ISPS Field Experiments Research Fund, established in 2001, seeks proposals to support field experiments. Field experiments refers to fully randomized research designs in which the researcher assigns observations in a naturalistic setting to treatment and control conditions.

The fund supports projects that, in general, involve measuring the causal effect of naturalistic treatments administered to subjects–voters, patients, welfare recipients, community organizations, government entities, and the like–for whom the causal effect has real-world relevance. We will also consider studies that analyze randomization outside the researcher’s control, such as the results of a lottery or a government program with random enrollment.

Successful applications will meet the particular objectives of this RfP. Medical and biological experiments, such as pharmacological trials, do not meet the criteria for support. Lab (including so-called lab-in-the-field) or survey experiments generally do not meet these standards (although surveys can be one way of collecting original data in the field). Researchers are strongly encouraged to study phenomena outside the university setting (i.e., the behavior of people other than college undergraduates).

ISPS invites Yale graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and faculty to submit well-crafted proposals exploring important policy-relevant issues in any social science discipline. We especially encourage proposals from ISPS-affiliated faculty and researchers.

Application information 

ISPS encourages early career faculty and researchers to apply for this funding, although we will consider proposals from faculty and researchers at all career stages.

The grant is designed to cover a 1 or 2-year project, with an expectation that at least one publication-quality research report will emerge within 3 years.

The proposal includes a 3-page project description, a budget, and a budget justification. The typical award is between US$10,000-$15,000, and the maximum award is US$60,000.

Deadline: October 1, 2024.

ISPS will consider off-cycle proposals that have a severe urgency with regard to availability of, or access to data, facilities or specialized equipment, including quick-response research on natural or anthropogenic disasters and similar unanticipated events (similar to the criteria for NSF RAPID grants, see article).

Each proposal will be reviewed based on the soundness of the research design and the importance and innovativeness of the study given the size of the budget request. Pilot projects and projects with potential to evolve into larger collaborative studies are especially welcome. If an award is granted, some further steps, including a data archiving plan and IRB approval, must be completed before any funds are released. Further details on the project proposal and other requirements are provided on the ISPS website. For logistical questions about funding proposals please email ISPS Associate Director for Research & Strategic Initiatives, Limor Peer, limor.peer(at)yale.edu.

Before applying

Scholars interested in applying for an ISPS Field Experiment Grant should review ISPS guidelines,

To apply

Fill out the ISPS Grant Application Form.