State and Local Innovation Request for Proposals


The Request for Proposals provides a funding opportunity to J-PAL’s network of researchers for pilot studies and full randomized evaluations in partnership with state and local governments. We invite proposals that are designed to address pressing public policy challenges in North America and benefit communities experiencing poverty.

Application materials from the latest RFP round are available below for reference. Future funding rounds typically take place twice per year with deadlines in early spring and early fall. In rare instances, J-PAL North America will consider off-cycle proposals for projects, including pilots, facing time constraints due to factors outside of their control. We accept travel/proposal development grants at any time of the year.

Types of Proposals

Full Research Projects

Full research projects are typically awarded $150,000 to $250,000, with a maximum budget of $400,000The award period may be up to three years. A full project proposal is one where applicants: 

  • Can propose a clear and well-developed research question 
  • Can provide detailed randomization design and power calculations (see below)
  • Can indicate outcomes of interest
  • Can provide proof of commitment from partner organizations (in the form of letters of support)

Full project proposals may be submitted for an ongoing study that has already begun without J-PAL North America funding. 

Pilot Studies 

Pilot studies may be awarded a maximum of $50,000The award period may be up to three years.  A pilot proposal is one where applicants: 

  • Seek to answer a particular research question but the design and implementation require further testing and development before a full project launches
  • Can clearly explain how the pilot will lead to a randomized evaluation in the future, although random assignment does not necessarily need to occur during the pilot
  • Pilot funds may also be used for activities intended to facilitate access to administrative data for designing or conducting an RCT.

Research Management Support

Researchers are strongly encouraged to apply for Research Management Support (RMS) when submitting their proposals. This program provides strategic and customized Research Management Support (RMS) to researchers in the J-PAL network to navigate early-stage complexities in the design and implementation of randomized evaluations. Support may include activities such as project management, stakeholder management, technical support, and staff recruitment. More information can be found on the website, or by contacting [email protected].  

Travel/proposal development grants

Researchers may be awarded a maximum of $5,000 for one year. Grants are to be used for early-stage research activities which may include travel, exploring access to administrative data, or other costs incurred while conducting fieldwork. Travel/proposal development grants are paid by direct reimbursement to the PI and cannot cover any activity that requires review by an IRB.All J-PAL NA travel/development grants are reviewed and funded by the Social Policy Research Initiative (SPRI). Please review the instructions under "Application Documents" section, and submit materials to [email protected].

Add-on funding

Add-on-funding may be awarded to projects previously funded by any J-PAL North America initiative. Funding requests are capped at $400,000 less the amount of all funding previously awarded to the evaluation (this includes past pilot and full project awards). The award period may be up to three years. Add-on-funding proposals may seek to:

  • Add additional sites or treatment arms to an implemented evaluation
  • Support additional activities on ongoing or past RCTs, such as follow-ups to measure long term effects.
  • Extend the project timeline or cover additional costs due to implementation challenges

Eligibility Criteria 

J-PAL affiliates, J-PAL post-doctoral fellows, and researchers invited by J-PAL North America (invited researchers) to participate in the initiative are eligible to apply for funding of any type. Applicants may submit a maximum of three proposals per 12-month period to a single initiative. PI and co-PI status are counted towards this limit.

Graduate students may apply for all types of funding. To apply, graduate students must meet the following criteria: 

  • They have a J-PAL affiliate on their thesis committee. The affiliate does not need to be based at the same university as the student. Note: having an invited researcher on a student’s thesis committee does not satisfy this criterion.
  • Pre-thesis PhD students may apply if they anticipate an affiliate will be on their thesis committee and the affiliate will supervise the proposed project. 
  • To apply for full funding, graduate students must have previously received a grant from J-PAL for the same evaluation or have documented evidence of successful piloting activities. Note, for graduate students the total amount of funding they may receive across time is capped at $50,000 per initiative, regardless of the number of projects funded.

Covid Guidelines 

  1. Proposals should discuss any COVID-related risks to the ethics and feasibility of the project, and share how the team will mitigate these risks in the proposal narrative. If significant amounts of the proposal budget include in-person activities (such as travel), please include a discussion of potential changes to how and when funds will be spent if the proposed project is paused, modified, or dissolved because of Covid-19 related disruptions. 
  2. If funded, J-PAL expects PI to proactively consult and comply with all local, state, and federal guidelines to ensure the safety of study personnel and participants. 


September 21, 2022 – RFP is issued
January 11, 2023 – Proposal Submission Deadline
Week of March 13, 2023 – Awards Announced

Future rounds are expected to occur twice a year. In rare instances, J-PAL North America will consider off-cycle proposals for projects, including pilots, facing time constraints due to factors outside of their control. Decisions on these applications are typically made in about two weeks. We accept travel/proposal development grants at any time of the year.

Relevance to Public Policy and Issues of Poverty

  • Does the proposal make the case for how answering the proposed research question and/or evaluating the proposed intervention has the potential to generate benefits for the following populations? 
    • People who are low-income or living in poverty
    • People who have risk factors associated with falling into poverty
    • People who identify as members of racial/ethnic groups who are at greater risk of living in or falling into poverty due to economic marginalization produced through structural racism in North America, such as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)
  • Is the proposal addressing a pressing public policy issue in North America? How is this policy issue relevant to one or more of the populations described above?
    • Policy issue has a significant or disproportionate impact on low-income and/or economically marginalized populations
    • The intervention being studied is designed to improve or increase access to resources and choices for low-income and/or economically marginalized populations
  • Policy issue is one that, if unaddressed, could lead people to fall into poverty
  • Policy issue relates to issues of structural racism that economically marginalized specific racial/ethnic groups in the North America context. What information will the study provide to guide policymaking in this area?
  • Will lessons learned from this study have broader relevance or applications for policy or decision-making beyond this test case? 

You may find examples of evaluations previously funded by the State and Local Innovation Initiative here.


Who can I contact?

For questions about the NA SLII RFP, please email [email protected]

Who will review applications?

The Review Board is composed of J-PAL affiliates, Bruce Sacerdote and Dayanand Manoliand Arnold Ventures consultant, Howard Rolston. 

Application Documents

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