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Global Development Research Funding

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The King Center invites proposals from Stanford faculty and postdoctoral scholars for small projects or for seed funding of projects that have the potential to help the investigators to write competitive research proposals for other funding sources based on the initial results.

This request for proposals is open to Stanford faculty and postdoctoral scholars performing new research on topics relevant to global development and poverty. Proposals will be accepted and considered twice yearly, in November and March.

Expected funding for each project is up to $80,000 per project for faculty and $30,000 for postdoctoral scholars. Modest proposals are welcome and appreciated.

Additional funding for research on issues important to Brazil is available through a partnership with the Lemann Center.

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Scope of proposal and scale

The proposed work may involve the broad range of disciplines involved in global development, including but not limited to earth sciences, economics, engineering, medicine, political science, and policy. 

Proposals for which this funding would be incremental to funding already available, or for which the research is already sufficiently advanced to be a good candidate for other funding, are less likely to be selected.

Salary support for principal investigators is not allowed. Proposals with substantial requests for funding for existing staff or postdoctoral salaries will not be prioritized for support through this mechanism.

Proposals for projects that involve in-country research experience for PhD and masters students are encouraged. Projects will be funded for up to two years. One no-cost extension for the duration of up to one year past the original end date of the award may be requested. Follow-up funding in subsequent years is not anticipated.

For postdoctoral scholars, it is expected that the proposed project will be completed during the postdoctoral appointment; funding cannot be transferred to other institutions or continue after a Stanford appointment ends.

Proposal submission and budget guidelines

Proposals should be submitted via the Stanford Seed Funding website. Proposals must be self-contained with no links to additional information.

The proposal is subject to a five-page limit, including the text, figures, tables, and references. The budget and budget justification are limited to two additional pages. Use one-inch margins and an 11-point or larger font. 

In the proposal, please answer the following questions:

  • What is the global development issue you are hoping to address?
  • What is the study context?
  • How will you organize the research effort so as to answer your question with a high level of confidence? Research design elements to consider include (but may not be limited to) sampling strategy, kinds of comparisons you plan to make, data sources and methods, timing of data collection, and how you propose to deal with potential threats to sound inference (e.g., confounding and bias).
  • How will the project contribute to the academic literature? What is the potential for policy impact?
  • What is the anticipated timeline (provide both the optimistic and pessimistic scenario)? 

Each postdoctoral fellow and/or Principal Investigator (PI) who will be associated with the proposed work should submit a CV. If multiple PIs are involved in the project, the most senior person should submit the application. 

Postdoctoral scholars applying for funding should also submit a note from their faculty mentor indicating a willingness to serve as the official PI.

The source of funding is gift funds; therefore, no proposal may include indirect costs, even if non-Stanford investigators would complete some part of the project. Projects will be funded through a newly created gift project task award (PTA); the eight percent (8%) university infrastructure charge for the award will be paid directly by the King Center.

Proposed budgets need not be routed through the Office of Sponsored Research (OSR) for this internally funded research initiative. 

The following expense categories WILL be considered appropriate for these funds:

  • Travel costs (either domestic or international) associated with the proposed research;
  • Other special project costs such as purchase of datasets, production of questionnaires and surveys, or human subject costs;
  • Data entry or transcription costs;
  • Hiring of locally-based research assistants;
  • Other activities directly related to the research (please give details).

The following expense categories will NOT be considered appropriate for these funds:

  • Salary costs for the principal investigators;
  • Travel costs to attend or present at professional conferences;
  • Travel costs for dependents and/or spouses;
  • Childcare costs;
  • Language training.

Proposal review and selection criteria 

The objective of the review process is to identify high-quality projects that are consistent with the goals of this solicitation. Proposals will be reviewed by a committee that will apply a general filter for alignment with the themes of global poverty and development, and then use the following criteria to evaluate the proposals: 

  1. Innovation
  2. Academic rigor
  3. Budget is commensurate with the value of the proposed research. Budgets will be scrutinized for value for money.

Priority will be given to junior faculty over senior faculty. 

Committee members who are involved in a proposed project will recuse themselves from discussions of the relevant proposals. The committee may be supplemented by other faculty and experts at Stanford and outside with knowledge related to the areas of research but who are not involved in the proposed effort, with the requirement that each reviewer maintain the confidentiality of the proposed work.

Eligibility for funding

The primary Principal Investigators (PIs) must be Stanford faculty members and members of the academic council.

Clinician Educators, Clinical Professors, and Instructors are not eligible to receive Global Development Research Funding from the King Center. If you have one of these appointments, but will be transitioning into an eligible faculty appointment, please indicate this and include your appointment letter showing that you will become an eligible faculty member during the initial year of project funding when you submit your application.

Stanford postdoctoral scholars are also eligible. Postdoctoral scholars applying for funding should also submit a note from their faculty mentor indicating a willingness to serve as the official PI.

Please note that consulting faculty and academic staff are not eligible to apply.

Awards timelines

It is anticipated that funding decisions will be announced approximately two months after proposal submission.


Please contact the King Center at with any questions. 

In the spring quarter 2022, Global Development Research Funding replaced the Junior Faculty Research Funding.