The application period for this round of funding has closed.

Before you Apply:


  1. Read the RFA for details regarding the expectations, requirements, and deadlines of this program.
  2. Visit our Resources page to familiarize yourself with the disability determination process and view the Suggested Research Topics to ensure that your proposal meets the goals of this program.
  3. As a further resource, review SSA’s publicly available data and read some of this program’s research projects.

Submit Application Materials

Complete the online application (link below) and attach the following materials:

  1. An abstract and five (5) page research proposal written in APA style, excluding references, tables, and figures (12 pt. Times New Roman font, 1-inch margins, single-spaced). Please see Evaluation Criteria below for further guidance.
  2. Proof of Access to Data. If secondary data is being used (data not collected by the applicant), a letter from the agency or organization clearly approving access to and use of data is required. Access approval is not needed for public use datasets, but please provide link to where dataset is published instead.
  3. IRB Approval Plan and Timeframe. Projects must be reviewed by your academic institution’s IRB. Please address how this will be accomplished.
  4. A resume or curriculum vitae. (12 pt. Times New Roman font, 1-inch margins, single-spaced)

Two (2) Letters of Recommendation (e-mailed directly by the referrers to


  1.  One (1) from the Faculty Mentor for this project clearly stating support of your proposed research as feasible and potentially impactful to the field, as well as a willingness to provide consistent guidance throughout the program year. This includes participation in quarterly calls and the review of all deliverables prior to submission.
  2. One (1) from an academic or professional contact who can comment on the qualities that make you an effective researcher and your potential for success with independent research.

Evaluation Criteria

Applications will be screened for completeness and relevance to the goals of this grant program. If judged relevant, the application will be evaluated by a panel of scholars and PRI staff. Your application will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  1. 30% – The appropriateness and soundness of methodology, including research design, choice of data, methods of analysis, and other procedures.
  2. 25% – Anticipated outcomes, policy or programmatic implications, and potential usefulness of the proposed research for SSA’s disability determination process.
  3. 20% – Clarity of the statement of problem, specificity and relevance of research questions, and literature review. Your review should identify strengths and weaknesses of existing research and state how your proposed research will fill in gaps or increase existing knowledge.
  4. 20% – Feasibility of completing project within a 1-year timeframe (reasonableness of time commitment related to data collection, analysis, and other procedures), including a statement of how this fits into your academic career (ex: part of dissertation).
  5. 5% – Letters of Recommendation

Are you ready to submit your application materials?
Click Here to Apply Online!

The application period for this round of funding has closed.