Early Care and Education Research Scholars: Head Start Graduate Student Research Grants

Funding Agency:
Administration for Children and Families

The Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE) of the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) is soliciting applications for the Head Start Graduate Student Research Grants to support dissertation research by advanced graduate students who are working in partnership with Head Start programs and with faculty mentors. Competitive applicants will 1) demonstrate a collaborative partnership with their program partners, and 2) pursue research questions that directly inform local, state, or federal policy relevant to multiple early care and education practices. Applicants should consider pursuing data collection across contexts, including child care, pre-k, home-visiting programs, Head Start, Early Head Start, and/or others.  Applicants are expected to demonstrate an established partnership with their early care and education program partners that should be apparent throughout the research plan, from development and refinement of the research questions through the proposed data collection, interpretation, and dissemination. 


  • Letter of Intent: May 15, 2017; March 1, 2018; March 1, 2019
  • Application: June 12, 2017; April 2, 2018; April 1, 2019

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

Eligible applicants are public, private and state controlled institutions of higher education; state, county, city or township, and special district governments; independent school districts; non-profit organizations; for-profit organizations; small businesses; Native American tribal governments and organizations; public housing authorities/Indian housing authorities. 

Applications from individuals (including sole proprietorships) and foreign entities are not eligible and will be disqualified from competitive review and from funding under this announcement. 

1. The student and faculty mentor must:

(a) Possess the expertise, including relevant background, experience, and training on related research or similar projects, necessary to conduct the research as demonstrated in the application and information contained in their biographical sketches and/or curricula vitae.

(b) Demonstrate an understanding of and sensitivity to the issues of working in a community setting; working in partnership with Head Start and/or Early Head Start program staff and/or families; and, if applicable, working with a culturally, linguistically, and/or ethnically diverse population. This should be demonstrated in both the application and through letters of support, as appropriate, from the partnering Head Start or Early Head Start program(s) and Policy Council(s).

2. The faculty mentor (Principal Investigator) must have earned a doctorate or equivalent in a relevant field and have first and/or second author publications in major peer-reviewed research journals, as indicated in his/her biographical sketch and/or curriculum vitae.

3. The applicant organization must have a history of research and budget oversight and have appropriate resources to support the student. Applicants are required to submit written evidence that research is a primary organizational activity as part of the application submission.



Amount Description

Award Ceiling: $25,000 Per Budget Period
Award Floor: $20,000 Per Budget Period
Average Projected Award Amount: $25,000 Per Budget Period

Length of Project Periods:
12-month project and budget period
24-month project with two 12-month budget periods

Funding Type



Grad/Prof Students


Social Sciences

External Deadline

April 1, 2019