SfPI Off-Cycle Proposals

Close up of microscope
Photo: Konstantin Kolosov | Shutterstock


The Science for Progress Initiative (SfPI) welcomes off-cycle proposals, which will be reviewed on a rolling basis. See the below information on eligibility, proposal guidelines, and the application process. Applications can be submitted via our online portal, foundationConnect. Direct any questions to [email protected].

Research Funding Opportunities

Off-cycle competitive research funding is available for full RCT evaluation grants with a funding cap of $500,000, pilot study grants with a cap of $75,000, and travel/proposal development grants with a cap of $10,000. Pilot and travel/proposal development grants must plausibly contribute towards an eventual full randomized evaluation. We aim to support proposals that will advance the field of metascience by producing rigorous, quantitative evidence from randomized evaluations on the most effective approaches to funding and supporting scientific endeavors. Given that metascience is a nascent, burgeoning field, we welcome diverse ideas related to these topics.

Submission Instructions

Eligibility: First, please verify your eligibility by thoroughly reading SfPI’s RFP overview. Ineligible applicants will be notified during Expression of Interest (EOI) reviews and will not be invited to submit proposals. Only J-PAL invited researchers, J-PAL affiliates, PhD students advised by invited researchers or affiliates, J-PAL staff with PhDs, and J-PAL postdocs may apply. All proposals may include collaborators outside of the J-PAL network.

Applicants are limited to submitting three proposals, inclusive of all proposal types, per 12-month period per initiative (either as PI or co-PI).

foundationConnect Instructions: Once you have confirmed your eligibility, the next step in submitting a research proposal is to register via our online portal, foundationConnect. To request a new account for the J-PAL portal, please complete this form and specify that you want an applicant (“grantee”) account. Account creation normally takes no more than two business days; you will be asked to verify your email address and set a password. Please navigate to the portal and follow the instructions to complete your registration. If you already have an account but do not remember the password, please contact [email protected] for help retrieving or resetting your password.

Our portal works best in the latest version Google Chrome. For further information and troubleshooting, please get in touch with [email protected] with [email protected] copied. Your J-PAL portal account credentials will allow you to apply to or review for any J-PAL initiative.

Expression of Interest: Once you have created a foundationConnect account, you may proceed with submitting the Expression of Interest. While you are logged into your foundationConnect account, please click this link to begin your EOI. If a pop-up appears in reference to another application, click "Continue" to start a new application.

The required Expression of Interest (EOI) will be used to confirm that the applicant is eligible to apply and that the proposed topic is within scope for SfPI. SfPI staff will aim to review and respond to EOIs within two business days, and information from approved EOIs will automatically be transferred to a full application.

Submission of Full Proposal:

Once you have submitted your EOI and received confirmation to proceed, you may submit a full proposal. Please refer to the documents in the Supporting Materials section below to complete your proposal. Like the EOI, the full proposal should also be submitted in foundationConnect. Proposals will be considered in the order they are received, and we will aim to communicate decisions within 2 weeks of the date of receipt.

Supporting Materials

1. Expression of Interest (EOI), Request for Proposals (RFP), and Code of Conduct 

Expression of Interest (EOI)

SfPI Request for Proposal (RFP)

Code of Conduct for the J-PAL Community

2. Proposal Guidelines 

Proposal Guidelines: RCTs

Proposal Guidelines: Pilot Studies

Proposal Guidelines: Travel/Proposal Development Grant

RMS Questionnaire Form

3. Budget Templates

RCT Budget Template

Pilot Budget Template

Proposal Development/Travel Grant Budget Template

Basic Cost Collection Template 

4. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How will my proposal be scored?

Please see SfPI’s Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and Conflict of Interest Policy for details of our evaluation criteria.

When will I know whether my proposal was selected for funding?

We will aim to communicate decisions on off-cycle applications within 2 weeks of the date of proposal receipt.

What will be required of researchers (and the institution to receive the award) should we be selected for funding (in terms of reporting, deliverables, etc.)?

Please see the Award Requirements and Set Up Process document for detailed information about reporting and deliverables.

I’m a PhD student; can I apply?

PhD students with a J-PAL affiliate or invited researcher serving on their thesis committee are eligible to apply. The affiliate or invited researcher can be based at the same institution as the student, or at a different institution. Alternatively, PhD students may also be co-PIs on grant applications submitted by a J-PAL affiliate or invited researcher, in which case the expectation is for co-PIs to be full and equal collaborators. Please see the SOPs for more details. 

Does the Principal Investigator (PI) need to have an official affiliation with the organization receiving the subaward and funds

The PI of a subaward issued by MIT’s Research Services Administration must have an official affiliation with the organization receiving the subaward and funds. This individual is fully responsible for the implementation of the research project in accordance with the proposal and with appropriate research and data protection practices. IRB approval must be held by the institution that enters into the subaward agreement with MIT. If the institution does not have their own IRB, they must engage the services of a commercial IRB to review and provide oversight for their research activities. Please see the J-PAL Human Subjects Memo 2023 for full details. Email [email protected] and [email protected] if you have questions.

The online portal asks for partner information. Will J-PAL or SfPI contact partner organizations?

No, neither J-PAL nor SfPI will contact these partner organizations. 

Page Content