CPI 2014-15 New Scholars Grant Competition
Request for Proposals

Download this RFP as a PDF


The Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality (CPI), a National Poverty Research Center funded by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, seeks to support research that will expand our knowledge of key trends in poverty and inequality. The CPI anticipates funding up to 5 proposals with a maximum award of $20,000 each. The awards will be made to "New Scholars" (i.e., scholars who have received their Ph.D. no earlier than 2007) who will then work collaboratively with one of the CPI’s Research Groups to carry out the research. We are soliciting research proposals that fall within one of the 6 following research areas:

Frequent Poverty Measurement

Because the U.S. releases its key measurements of poverty only annually, it is difficult to tailor our macroeconomic policy in ways that respond to trends in poverty. The CPI is developing a series of poverty measurements that will be released quarterly and thereby allow the U.S. to better monitor poverty and to better develop policy in response to trends in poverty. This research group is testing its current stable of measures, developing new measures, and preparing for a rollout of core measures in 2015.

The California Poverty Measure

In collaboration with the Public Policy Institute of California, the CPI has developed the California Poverty Measure, which is a "supplemental-style" poverty measure that provides a more authentic representation of California’s poverty population. The CPI is looking for postdocs who will work with the CPI to improve the CPM, to apply a similar methodology to measure poverty in other states, and to use SPM-style measures to better understand the effects of past, present, and future policy on poverty

The National Poverty Study

The U.S. regularly reports on how many people are in poverty, but it has no infrastructure for monitoring the quality of life among the poor. The CPI is developing a standardized protocol to measure the qualitative experience of poverty among randomly drawn samples of those in deep poverty, poverty, and near poverty at 15 sites carefully selected to represent the variety of poverty forms in the country.


Despite the crucial role of spatial segregation, the country’s infrastructure for monitoring residential, school, and work segregation is quite antiquated, relying as it does on Census and survey data that are infrequently ascertained and that treat respondents as if they are statically planted in space. By exploiting GPS measurements, it becomes possible to track poor, middle-class, and rich people as they move through their day and attend school, go to work, carry out their shopping, and visit friends and family. We are currently developing a trial of this full-network approach on a key test site.

Social Mobility

The CPI has an active research agenda on social mobility that exploits administrative and survey data for the purpose of better understanding how much mobility there is and what’s driving possible recent changes in mobility. We are currently working to better exploit existing survey data as well as creatively apply administrative data to monitor trends in social mobility.

Labor Market Discrimination

The U.S. does not systematically track trends in labor market discrimination by race, gender, citizenship status, incarceration status, poverty status, unemployment, homelessness, or socioeconomic background. The CPI is building a standardized protocol for monitoring trends in discrimination that allows us to “slot in” the status of interest and thereby allow for comparisons over time and across types of discrimination.


  1. Applicants will join one of the above research groups and work collectively with research group members to develop measures and protocols, draft reports and write research papers that advance the research agenda.
  2. Grants should begin on or before December 1, 2014, and end no later than September 29, 2015. A final report will be due to the CPI no later than September 29, 2015. No-cost extensions are typically not allowed.
  3. Applicants must hold a Ph.D. or its equivalent by December 31, 2014 and must have received their Ph.D. or its equivalent no earlier than January 1, 2007. Stanford University faculty and postdoctoral fellows are ineligible for funding.
  4. The grant will be awarded either as a personal services contract to one researcher or through the applicant’s home institution. Due to the limited funds available, indirect costs will be limited to no more than 10 percent of the grant amount (if made through the applicant’s home institution).
  5. Funds may only cover salary (e.g., summer salary, course buyout) and research related travel up to $20,000. Applicants should include expenses in their budget to cover two trips to Stanford University: the first visit is to meet with the research team and discuss the goals and progress on the project, and the second visit is for a mini-conference in September, 2015 to present the completed research.
  6. Recipients must submit two short progress reports to the CPI, one by March 15, 2015, and the second by July 15, 2015.

Selection Criteria

The CPI will evaluate applications in collaboration with affiliated scholars and staff from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Proposals will be evaluated according to:

  • The quality and appropriateness of the researcher’s skills and background ("fit" with the current ongoing research)
  • The researcher’s ability to make a substantive contribution to ongoing CPI research
  • How the study contributes to the principal investigator’s career development

The CPI will not fund a researcher who has also been funded in the current year by a similar grant from the UC-Davis or the University of Wisconsin-Madison poverty centers. We expect researchers to notify us if, while their proposal is under review, their project receives additional funding from any source.

Application Instructions

Applicants should submit their proposal electronically to inequality@stanford.edu. Proposals must be received by 5pm Pacific Time on October 24, 2014. The proposal should be submitted as a single file and contain the following components in the order listed below:

  1. A cover sheet including the title of the research group the applicant(s) proposes to join and the researcher’s affiliation and contact information.
  2. A one-page narrative delineating: (a) which project or projects you are interested in joining, (b) relevant background for contributing to the ongoing project, (c) innovations the researcher might bring to the existing project.
  3. An itemized budget detailing anticipated salary (including course buyout or summer salary), travel expenses, and indirect costs, where applicable.
  4. An overview of the researcher's availability throughout the year for contributing to the project.
  5. A current CV and a recent relevant research publication.


The Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality (CPI) is focused on monitoring trends in poverty and inequality, explaining what’s driving those trends, and developing science-based policies on poverty and inequality. The Director of the Center is David B. Grusky of Stanford University.

The CPI is organized around ten research groups (RGs) examining (a) poverty, (b) income inequality, (c) social mobility, (d) educational access and achievement, (e) the safety net, (f) the effects of the economic downturn and possible recovery, (g) residential segregation, (h) racial and ethnic inequality, (i) discrimination in the labor market, and (j) poverty, inequality and mobility among Hispanics. These research groups are each led by distinguished scholars of poverty and inequality (Michael Hout, Gary Solon, David Betson, Kathy Edin, Henry Brady, Bruce Owen, Sean Reardon, David Grusky, Kim Weeden, Robert Mare, Matthew Snipp, Dan Lichter, Shelley Correll, Cecilia Ridgeway, Doug Massey). The RG leaders will be joined by postdoctoral fellows appointed by the Center, scholars who are winners of the Center’s grant competitions, and Stanford University graduate and undergraduate research fellows.

Contact Information

Alice Chou, Administrative Associate
Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality
aychou@stanford.edu, (650) 724-6912