Call for Letters of Inquiry: Social Science Research Projects on Energy Insecurity, Distributional Equity, and Just Transitions in the United States

Funding Agency:
Sloan Foundation, Alfred P.

The Energy and Environment program at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation supports research, training, networking, and dissemination efforts to inform the societal transition toward low-carbon energy systems in the United States by investigating economic, environmental, technological, and distributional issues. As one of its newly defined topic areas of interest, the Sloan Foundation’s Energy and Environment program looks to advance timely, catalytic, rigorous, interdisciplinary social science research projects that examine questions related to energy insecurity, distributional equity, and just transitions in the United States, particularly those that introduce new scholars from various disciplines to these lines of inquiry. Therefore, the Sloan Foundation is currently soliciting Letters of Inquiry for collaborative social science research projects led by early- and mid-career scholars examining critical and under-explored questions related to issues of energy insecurity, distributional equity, and just energy system transitions in the United States.

A small number of full proposals will be invited from submissions responding to this Call. Grant amounts are expected to be up to $500,000 over a 2-3 year period.

Proposed research projects are expected to demonstrate many of the following characteristics:

  • Collaboration among scholars deploying a range of research methodologies and drawn from multiple social science disciplines, either within or across universities. Relevant disciplines and fields could include but are not limited to: political science, public policy, economics, anthropology, sociology, geography, and energy systems analysis, among others.
  • Submissions from diverse teams led by Black, Latino/a, and Indigenous researchers and/or women are strongly encouraged. In particular, submissions from researchers based at Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), are strongly encouraged, either as lead primary investigators or in team member roles.
  • Project leadership by early- and mid-career faculty at the Assistant or Associate Professor (or equivalent) levels.
  • Undertaking original empirical data collection and analysis, or combining existing datasets in novel, innovative ways.
  • Training of students (graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, or undergraduates) to enhance their attention to questions of energy, distributional equity, and just transitions. Racial and ethnic diversity in trainees is of special interest.
  • Linking research to practice by engaging a wide range of stakeholders in helping to shape the scope and conduct of research and dissemination efforts used to inform decision-making. This includes collaboration with government, industry, community-level non-governmental organizations, professional societies, and other stakeholder groups with experience working on energy insecurity, distributional equity, or just transition issues.
  • Potential ability to secure additional financial support, or in-kind contributions, from other funding sources, including foundations, universities, private sector, or government funders.

Submission Deadline: Feb. 1, 2021

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

Lead investigators must be Assistant or Associate Professors, or in equivalent positions, based at United States universities or colleges. Researchers may participate in a maximum of two proposed projects. Senior researchers and non-U.S.-based researchers may participate in proposed projects and can receive funding as research team members, advisors, or collaborators.

As noted above, submissions from diverse teams led by women and/or Black, Latino/a, and Indigenous researchers are strongly encouraged, as are submissions from researchers based at Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), who are strongly encouraged to serve as lead primary investigators or in team member roles.

Amount

$500,000

Funding Type

Grant

Eligibility

Faculty
Junior Faculty

Category

Environmental & Life Sciences
Interdisciplinary
Social Sciences

External Deadline

February 1, 2021