The application period for this round of funding has closed.

Before you Apply

Review the following information:

  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. The proposal should be written in American Psychological Association (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. All applicants must submit a statement providing proof of access to data. Instructions for specific scenarios are provided below:
    • Secondary data (privately held): 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. If awarded, you will be required to sign a contract through which you agree to submit a copy of the data you are using in your research to the Federal Government upon request.
    • Secondary data (publicly available): If secondary data is publicly accessible, you must submit a short statement with a link to the data.
    • Primary data (to be collected): If primary data will be collected, applicants must submit a one-page statement with a detailed plan for recruitment and collection of this data.
  3. Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval Plan and Timeframe. Projects must be reviewed by your academic institution’s IRB. If you have IRB approval for your project, you must include proof of approval with your application.  It is not necessary to have IRB approval at the time of application, but you must submit a separate statement addressing how this approval will be accomplished, if you do not already have it.
  4. A resume or curriculum vitae.

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!