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ISPS Grant Application

ISPS Field Experiments Initiative
Application for funding

IMPORTANT: The ISPS Field Experiments Initiative is currently suspended. Please check in for updates.


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 about the Field Experiments Initiative 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. Proposals may explore policy-relevant issues in any social science discipline. (Historically, most have focused on American politics and policy, but this is not a requirement.) 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.

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. Please inquire with Limor Peer (limor.peer(at)yale.edu) for additional information.

Eligibility and selection criteria:

Applicants must be full-time Yale faculty, Postdoctoral fellow, 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. The principal investigator(s) are generally expected to be full-time Yale faculty—with a preference for those in residence at ISPS—but grants are available for graduate students with faculty mentorship.

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.

Support is available based on merit and scope of proposal.

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 the Yale University Human Research Protection Program website. Please review all other relevant Yale policies, including the Research Data and Materials Policy.

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:

Upon receipt of ISPS research funding, ISPS requires the following:

  1.  Contact the ISPS Business Office to set up an account.
  2.  Consult the Business Office before entering into any contract or agreement with vendors or collaborators.
  3.  Adhere to the University’s standard purchasing methods and be in compliance with Federal and State Laws and obtain goods and services through proper University channels, usually through a purchase requisition process in SciQuest.
Please note:

Yale faculty and students may not personally sign a contract to be paid with University funds. Contracts for the purchase of goods or services from an outside vendor must be signed by an authorized Yale purchasing agent before the work begins. 

All other agreements with third parties involving research conducted at Yale (such as a Data Use Agreement, Statement of Work, or a Confidentiality Agreement; see information about contracts here and contract FAQs here) must be similarly reviewed and signed by the appropriate authorized Yale agent before the work begins to ensure it is in accordance with ISPS requirements, Yale policies, and federal, state, and local laws.

For all research, regardless of funding source, we recommend using the Office of General Counsel’s Signature Authority Tool to determine who has authority to review and sign an agreement.

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.

Upon completion of any project, ISPS requires the following:

  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)yale.edu)
  3. Complete budget (sent as an attachment to limor.peer(at)yale.edu)
  4. A copy of the approved request to the Human Subjects Committee, upon receipt (sent as an attachment to limor.peer(at)yale.edu)


IMPORTANT: The ISPS Field Experiments Initiative is suspended until the Fall of 2021.
New information will be available in the summer. Please check in for updates.

**Updated March, 2021**

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

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