Vision Grants

The Vision Grants program funds the collaborative planning of innovative, methodologically diverse, interdisciplinary research on education that contributes to transforming education systems for equity. This program takes as core that visionary, interdisciplinary, and collaborative research projects require time, space, and thoughtfulness to incubate and plan.

Vision Grants will provide planning funds for teams to develop proposals for research projects that: 

  • Are focused on key challenges and opportunities that have the potential for increasing equity in education
  • Engage across disciplines and/or research methods
  • Collaborate with practitioners, policymakers, and communities (and other stakeholders)
  • Have clear sightlines to transformational change through research at a systemic level

While the Vision Grant program stands on its own to spark research ideas and collaborations, being awarded a Vision Grant is also a prerequisite for applying to Spencer Foundation's Transformative Research Grant program (TRG, $3.5 million), which are designed for large-scale research projects that transform education systems for equity.


  • Proposals to the Vision Grant program must be for developing research projects that study education and/or learning, broadly conceived, though they can include other sectors in addition to education. 
  • Principal Investigators (PIs) and Co-PIs applying for a Vision Grant must have appropriate experience or an earned doctorate in an academic discipline or terminal degree in a professional field. While graduate students may be part of the research team, they may not be named the PI or Co-PI on the proposal.
  • The PI must be affiliated with a non-profit organization or public/governmental institution that is willing to serve as the administering organization if the grant is awarded. 
  • PIs and Co-PIs may apply for a Vision Grant if they have another active research grant from the Spencer Foundation or if they have another Spencer grant proposal in review.

  • Proposals are accepted from the U.S. and internationally.

  • All proposals must be submitted in English and budgets must be proposed in U.S. Dollars.

    Note: All awarded Vision Grantees will have the option to apply for a Transformative Research Grant, with awards to carry out the planned research project (budgets up to $3.5M). 


Proposed budgets for this program are limited to US$75,000 total and may not include indirect cost charges per Spencer’s policy.

The Vision Grant may not be longer than 12 months in duration.


For more information, please visit the website



Sign up for the Spencer Foundation's Informational Webinar on May 19, 2023 at 11am PST to learn more. 



Aug 15, 2023 (12 noon CDT). Intent to Apply Deadline. The PI (not ORS) submits the LOI to the Agency. Note: Any Co-PIs must also register and complete their profile information if they wish to be included on the application.

Sep 14, 2023 (12 noon CDT). Full Proposal Deadline. SFU Signature Sheet and full proposal due to at least 3 business days prior to the deadline. Note: ORS sign off is required, and the signature process must be completed by noon on the deadline date. Therefore, ORS recommends completing the online application at least a week ahead of the deadline date.The Spencer Foundation will not accept late submissions. 




Upcoming Deadlines