Innovation Fund

Research grants for students and faculty



The Griffin Applied Economics Incubator serves as a platform to develop innovative approaches, advance and disseminate new research, and accelerate talent in a specified field each academic year. Towards that end, the Incubator is pleased to announce the availability of research grants through its Innovation Fund.

Despite a wealth of literature that demonstrates the value of early childhood interventions, the promise of such evidence-based programs has yet to generate significant population-level change for children and caregivers living in poverty. For this reason, the Incubator is dedicated to generating new evidence and greater understanding of the science of scaling through the lens of early childhood.

One of the ways that the Incubator will stimulate innovative thinking in this area is by financially supporting promising research through its Innovation Fund. See below for information regarding faculty and student grants.


The call for faculty proposals is now closed.

The Incubator Executive Committee is proud to announce the recipients of this year’s faculty Innovation Fund grants: Professor James J. Heckman’s “Investigating the Midlife Impacts of the Abecedarian Project: Exploring Potential Policy Adaptations to Target Disadvantaged Populations”; Professors Ariel Kalil and Susan E. Mayer’s “Understanding Differences in Parents’ Investment in Their Children’s School Readiness”; Professors Susan C. Levine and Stephen W. Raudenbush’s “Getting on Track Early for School Success: Scaling Up an Assessment-Instruction System for Preschool Math”; and Professor Susan Goldin-Meadow’s “Improving Children’s Learning from Math Games in India.”


Award notifications coming soon! Application process now closed.

The Incubator will award up to 10 grants (individual grants not to exceed $5,000) to support UChicago students who are undertaking promising research focused on early childhood and issues around scaling. Selected students will be provided with incubator funds to expand or enhance an existing research project or support a new undertaking.

Process for application and review

Eligible applicants must submit a proposal to the Incubator Committee for review by October 31, 2019. Proposals must include:

  • Description of the research project and questions
  • Requested funding level and justification (budget)
  • Project schedule
  • Scientific significance of the proposal
  • Bio or CV of the applicant

The Incubator Committee is comprised of distinguished scholars who will review the proposals. Up to 10 recipients will be chosen and notified by November 27, 2019.

Recipient requirements

A few selected recipients will be expected to present their project and findings at a department seminar in the Spring quarter.

All recipients must commit to attend and present a research poster at the Griffin Applied Economics Incubator Conference on June 18-19, 2020 at the University of Chicago.

A final grant report will be due to the Incubator Committee by July 1, 2020. 

Deadlines & notifications

  • Submit proposal here by October 31, 2019
  • Recipients notified by November 27, 2019
  • Contracts finalized and funds dispersed by December 6, 2019
  • Poster Session June 18-19, 2020 (UChicago campus)
  • Final reports are due July 1, 2020

Questions about the Kenneth C. Griffin Applied Incubator Innovation Fund Grants can be sent to Diana Smith at or 773-702-8176.