Social Science Research Grant Program (SSRGP)

SSRGP 2020 Call for Proposals

  • Call for proposals is now closed

The UCSB Institute for Social, Behavioral, & Economic Research, in conjunction with the Office of Research, Dean of Social Sciences, and the Executive Vice Chancellor announces the 2020 Call for Proposals for the Social Science Research Grants Program (SSRGP). The purpose of this program is to foster and enrich innovative research in the social sciences at UCSB by means of a competitive program of awards to faculty. Research using any of the methodological or theoretical paradigms within the social and humanistic social sciences is welcome. All eligible faculty members are encouraged to apply. Applicants should ask for a letter of endorsement from an ISBER or Social Science Center director (e.g., the Blum Center for the Study of Poverty, Inequality and Democracy; Broom Center for Demography; Center for Information Technology and Society; Center for Middle East Studies; Center for New Racial Studies; Center for Publicly Engaged Scholarship; East Asia Center, Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies, and the MesoAmerican Research Center). If your topic does not fit well within a particular Center, then you may ask the ISBER Director for an endorsement. Themes of particular interest include inequalities, globalization, migration and borders, technology and society, and community engagement. This call is also open to projects related to RAPID COVID-19 related research with expedited approval and funding, see below for specific instructions for the submission and review process, which does not require endorsement from a Center Director.


Ladder faculty members of all ranks are eligible to submit proposals provided the research focuses on a social science topic. Previous recipients of awards from the ISBER Grants Programs are allowed to apply, provided they have expended all funds and submitted an annual report for prior project(s), the requested funding is for a new project, and if funded in the 2019 round they have submitted a proposal for extramural support and/or a manuscript for publication. Graduate students are not eligible to apply.


The program will fund research projects at all stages of development, as long as there will be an identifiable outcome or product from the funded activity. We particularly encourage the submission of proposals for projects likely to lead to extramural funding and therefore, in the early stages of development. Faculty who have never received funding under the SSRGP and pre-tenure faculty are especially encouraged to apply. However, all proposals for social science research projects will be considered, so long as the PI has an endorsement from a Center Director or the Director of ISBER. A list of all previously funded projects is available on the ISBER website.

Center Director Endorsements

Letters of endorsement should include concise statements of the project’s overall significance to the field and relevance to the Center’s mission, not to exceed one page.  Letters of endorsement are NOT required for RAPID COVID-19 proposals.

Budgets and allowable expenses

The maximum allowable request under this program is $8,000. The program will permit the following types of funding when adequately justified:

    Travel: for the purpose of research, collaboration, or meeting with program directors at potential funding agencies

    Student research assistance: UCSB graduate or undergraduate students only; no GSHIP and fees; no postdocs

    Research expenses, supplies, & services

    Publication costs (e.g., purchase of maps, prints, etc.)

Items that will not be funded:

    Faculty salaries

    Equipment costing more than $500

    Conference travel

    Replacement funding to permit release from teaching.

Timeline for proposed work and award administration

All regular projects funded in this cycle will have a start date of July 1, 2020 and an end date of June 30, 2022—up to a two year time frame in order to allow for a likely late start and disruptions in research schedules arising from restrictions connected with the ongoing Coronavirus response. RAPID COVID-19 projects may have earlier start dates. Upon written request and adequate justification, an additional 12 month extension may be granted. Extensions beyond 12 months are unlikely, given the seed funding nature of the grants. All project funds will be directly administered by ISBER.

Evaluation and review

The competitive review of eligible proposals will be undertaken by an interdisciplinary committee of social science faculty. Proposals will be reviewed for their quality, significance, clarity, feasibility, and promise for future extramural funding. Special consideration will be given to Center endorsements and the project’s relevance to the research themes listed above. A summary of the panel discussion, including suggestions for improvement, will be provided whether or not the project is funded. Additionally, funding may be made contingent on a revision of the proposal or additional information requested by the review panel. Funding decisions for regular proposals will be provided by the end of June, 2020. 

Completed regular proposals should include the following (see guidelines below for RAPID COVID-19 proposals):

    Project abstract (250 words)

    A list of other funding received for the proposed project

    A list of any previous ISBER award(s) and the academic outcomes or products resulting from the awards

    Proposal narrative, including: research question(s), theoretical framework and significance, research methods, and plan (4 pp. single spaced maximum, 11 pt. type)

    A statement about how your proposed plan of work and methods will account for possible research and travel restrictions due to Coronavirus in the summer and fall

    References cited (no page limit)

    Budget & Budget Justification (contact ISBER’s SSRGP proposal coordinator Shawn Barcelona, for assistance)

    C.V. (abbreviated 2-page maximum)

    Letter of endorsement from a Center Director or the Director of ISBER

Submission of Regular Proposals

Regular proposals for the SSRGP must be submitted electronically by 5 p.m. on Friday, May 8, 2020 at: SSRGP Online Submission  

RAPID COVID-19 Proposal Instructions

Any eligible investigator may submit a RAPID COVID-19 proposal at any time. A RAPID COVID-19 proposal should involve research that has severe urgency with regard to availability of, or access to, data, facilities or specialized equipment, related to the current international COVID-19 pandemic. 

ISBER will initiate a 1-week ad hoc peer review and disbursement of funds for successful proposals. RAPID COVID-19 grants are subject to the budget and allowable expenses guidelines above, except no travel is allowable. The proposed research must be conducted remotely, and cannot require faculty or students to travel, work from the UCSB campus, or meet in person with collaborators or human subjects. PIs must have IRB human subjects approval before the research begins, and ISBER and the Research Development office will help facilitate timely IRB review.

For the RAPID COVID-19 mechanism, PIs should submit a project description that includes:

    Proposal narrative, including: research question(s), theoretical framework and significance, research methods, plan or work, and statement as to why the proposed research is of an urgent nature (3 pp. single spaced maximum, 11 pt. type)

    References cited (no page limit)

    Budget Outline & Budget Justification (if awarded ISBER staff will work with investigators to finalize an allowable budget)

    C.V. for each investigator (abbreviated 2-page maximum)

PIs should submit their RAPID-COVID-19 proposal directly by e-mail to Stuart Smith ( and Barbara Walker (

For more information, please contact: Shawn Barcelona, x5697,

For assistance with proposal development, please contact: Barbara Walker, x3576,