Doctoral Research

In prior years, the Center for Social Impact provided doctoral research grants to support qualifying doctoral research project expenses, such as acquisition of datasets, interview transcription, and other research-related costs. The funds were made available to attend conferences or to aid in the scholar’s development of related research.

Through a competitive process, only a limited number of grants were funded each year. The maximum award amount was $4,000. Please note that the program was put on hold in 2015.

Grant Requirements

Research Project Topics

  • 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


PhD students in good standing at the University of Michigan.

Selection Criteria

The criteria supported academic projects–either the student’s dissertation or a project with a high likelihood of resulting in a publication in a relevant academic journal. Preference was given to students who achieved candidacy and sought support for dissertation research.

Supplemental Materials

Supporting information and document requests listed on the application.

The application package made up of:

  • 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