Doctoral Research

The Center for Social Impact provides doctoral research grants to support qualifying doctoral research project expenses, such as acquisition of datasets, interview transcription, and other research-related costs. The funds cannot be used to pay a research stipend, however limited funding is available to attend conferences or to aid in the scholar’s development of the research.

This is a competitive process and only a limited number of grants can be funded each year. The maximum award amount is $4,000. Please note that the program is on hold beginning in Spring of 2015.

Grant Requirements

Research Project Topic

The doctoral student’s project must be a topic related to social impact or the nonprofit sector, which is defined broadly to include any of following (this is not an exhaustive list):

  • Nonprofit governance and leadership
  • Social innovation across sectors
  • Social entrepreneurship and/or social enterprises
  • Measuring social impact across industries
  • Public policy issues
  • Philanthropy, fundraising, and development
  • History and theories of the nonprofit sector, voluntary action, and philanthropy
  • Impact investing and/or social funding
  • Hybrid organizations (B Corp, L3C, etc)
  • Corporate community involvement (with partner nonprofit organizations)
  • International comparative perspectives on above


Currently enrolled PhD student in good standing at the University of Michigan.

Selection Criteria

The Center will only support academic projects, which includes either the student’s dissertation or a project with a high likelihood of resulting in a publication in a relevant academic journal. Preference will be given to students who have achieved candidacy and are seeking support for dissertation research, but all should apply.

Supplemental Materials

Please ensure that you thoroughly review the required supplemental information listed on the application and provide supporting documents as appropriate.

How to Apply

Applications are due each Spring for the following academic year. Please note that the program is on hold beginning in Spring of 2015. All research grants awarded in 2014-1015 will be honored.

The application package generally includes:

  • Application form (doc)
  • A grant proposal not to exceed three pages plus references
  • Current curriculum vitae
  • Current unofficial transcript
  • A one-page budget with justification for all significant expenses and projected timeline for completion of project and degree
  • A statement of other funding sources available for this project, both funding already received and funding requests that are pending
  • A letter of support for your research project from a faculty member advising on your project
  • Statement of whether Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval is required