Spencer Foundation

Lyle Spencer Research Awards

12 octobre 2017

Ce prix soutient les projets d'étude à grande échelle dans le domaine de l'éducation. Budget: de 100 000$ à 1 000 000$

The Lyle Spencer Research Awards encourages proposals initiated by scholars across a variety of disciplines and fields in an effort to create much-needed space for creative and ambitious research projects that promise to advance our understanding of educational practice and its improvement.


With this program, we aim to reinforce our commitment to intellectually ambitious research, oriented ultimately to improving the practice of education, and independent of any particular reform agendas or methodological strictures. This is not at base a change of direction for a foundation that has always aimed to foster creative and open-minded scholarship; it is however an emphatic assertion of our determination to search for and support the most challenging, original, and constructive scholarship and research we can find. We intend through this endeavor to press our colleagues in the research community to raise their level of intellectual ambition, to encourage work that is more thoughtful, more critical of prevailing assumptions, more self-critical about their own work and its limitations, and more relevant to the aim of building knowledge for improved educational practice.

To clarify this point about connecting to practice – connecting the dots, as it were – we suggest that a significant share of the successful proposals we will fund under this initiative will fall into one of three broad categories.

  • Studies that focus more or less directly on teaching and learning processes themselves, at the classroom level (or in instructional settings outside classrooms).

  • Studies that pay attention to the larger policy and institutional environments within which educational transactions take place. Key to our interest here is attention to the conceptual and empirical links between elements of the infrastructure and the actual character of educational practice. Studies that aim at better understanding how different ways of defining, measuring, and rewarding teacher performance affect teachers’ professional goals, time use, and understanding of success would fall into this category.

  • Studies that help develop research tools that can support advancing the kinds of research we have identified here. The development of improved measurement tools, stronger theoretical frameworks and analytical methods, and the development of new databases and the archiving of data bases we have – none of these will make educational practice better today, but we regard advances on these fronts as essential to that lasting improvement in education that we seek.


The review process for the Lyle Spencer Research Awards begins with a Letter of Intent (LOI) application, which are accepted once a year. The next deadline for LOIs is at 4pm CDT, October 12, 2017. Applicants can expect a decision on their LOI by the end of December 2017.

Fleche vers un site exterieur (nouvelle fenêtre)If you (the PI) have never accessed the Spencer Foundation online system, you must register and create a profile