The APSA Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grants are available to all US-based graduate students who are at the point of initiating or are already conducting empirical dissertation research focused on advancing knowledge and understanding of citizenship, government, and politics.
APSA Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grants are intended to support basic, empirically-oriented, research. This grant cannot support applied research. Basic research is experimental or theoretical work undertaken primarily to acquire new knowledge of the underlying foundations of phenomena and observable facts, without any particular application or use in view. Although basic research could result in a solution to a practical problem, that is not its primary aim. Applied research is designed to answer specific questions aimed at solving practical problems. Applied research is likely to directly make improvements on existing products, technologies and processes.
Applicants must meet the following qualifications:
- Applicants must be enrolled at a doctoral degree granting university at the time of application.
- Applicants must be enrolled at a university accredited in and having a campus located in the United States.
- Applicants must have completed all preliminary degree requirements at the time of their application, including having successfully completed comprehensive exams and a dissertation prospectus defense.
- Applicants must be sponsored by their dissertation adviser.
- Applicants must be endorsed by their graduate institution. If the grant application is successful, grant funds will be distributed through the student’s host institution.
APSA recognizes that doctoral research addressing questions of citizenship, government, and politics may occur in graduate programs under a variety of names, including political science, government, and international relations. Therefore, determinations of eligibility will be based on the focus of the dissertation research itself and informed by the composition of the doctoral committee advising the applicant.
APSA is committed to supporting a broadly diverse group of scholars by ensuring that the applicants, grant panel, and grantees represent diverse demographic backgrounds, including individuals from underrepresented populations, research interests, and methodologies.
Successful proposals for APSA Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grants will:
- be theoretically derived and empirically oriented, with the potential to advance basic understanding and methods in political science and to advance the frontiers of knowledge
- focus on research costs not normally covered by the student’s university that will have a significant and identifiable effect on increasing the intellectual merit and broader impact of the overall dissertation research
- be based on already significant research that will be strengthened by the proposed dissertation improvement activities
Awardees will be recommended for funding by a panel of fourteen experts on the basis of the intellectual merit and broader impact of the proposed dissertation improvement activities. Intellectual merit will be evaluated based on the project’s potential to advance knowledge and understanding within political science or across fields (including the field of political science), while broader impact will be evaluated based on the project’s potential to benefit society more broadly. Both criteria will be considered in the context of their originality and potentially transformative qualities, the organization and pragmatism of the research plan, and value of substantive and methodological diversity in research.