Stanford Research Development Office

Sponsor Profiles

The following is a selection of common funders, with a focus on federal agencies. It is by no means an exhaustive list. Please check back frequently for more information on key sponsors across disciplines. (Most recent content update July 11, 2022)

Information and other tools to conduct more tailored searches can be found here

American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS)

ACLS supports the creation and circulation of knowledge that advances understanding of humanity and human endeavors in the past, present, and future, with a view toward improving human experience. A nonprofit federation of scholarly organizations, ACLS works in collaboration with member societies like the Modern Language Association (MLA) and the American Sociological Association (ASA), institutions of higher education, and affiliate members, as well as individual researchers. ACLS funds projects in the humanities and social sciences. 

Institute of Education Sciences (IES)

IES is the independent, non-partisan statistics, research, and evaluation arm of the U.S. Department of Education. IES funds research that contributes to improved education outcomes for all learners. In particular, IES emphasizes research that can impact those whose education prospects are hindered by inadequate services and conditions associated with poverty, race/ethnicity, limited English proficiency, disability, and family services.

RDO has prepared a tip sheet on pursuing IES funding, based on a program officer presentation and discussion with Stanford GSE faculty held on June 8, 2023.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

NASA's mission directives are to enable a safer, more secure, efficient, and environmentally-friendly air transportation system through aeronautics research; operate the International Space Station and prepare for human exploration beyond low Earth orbit; explore the Earth-Sun system, our own solar system, and the universe beyond; and develop the crosscutting, advanced and pioneering new technologies needed for current and future missions, benefiting the aerospace industry and other agencies, and addressing national needs. Supporting research in science and technology is an important part of NASA's overall mission. NASA solicits this research through the release of various research announcements in a wide range of science and technology disciplines.  

  • NASA's Senior Mission Directorate funds research and technology development primarily through the omnibus solicitation called Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Science (ROSES), which is made up of many different calls for proposals, each with its own topics and due date.
  • The NASA Proposer's Guidebook is a general source of proposal policies and guidance. When there are multiple policy documents relevant to a given opportunity, the guidance that is more specific to a program or funding opportunity takes precedence.
National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)

The NEA is the largest national funder of the arts and arts education. It is an independent federal agency that funds, promotes, and strengthens the creative capacity of U.S. communities. The agency’s programs encourage activities that rebuild the creative economy and educate the next generation; unite and heal the nation through the arts; and serve the nation’s arts field. In addition to funding research, the NEA awards grants to individual creative writers and translators. By advancing equitable opportunities for arts participation and practice, the NEA seeks to foster and sustain an environment in which the arts benefit everyone in the United States.

National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)

NEH supports research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities. The term 'humanities' includes, but is not limited to, the study and interpretation of the following: language, both modern and classical; linguistics; literature; history; jurisprudence; philosophy; archaeology; comparative religion; ethics; the history, criticism and theory of the arts; those aspects of the social sciences which have humanistic content and employ humanistic methods; and the study and application of the humanities to the human environment with particular attention to reflecting our diverse heritage, traditions, and history and to the relevance of the humanities to the current conditions of national life.

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

NIH is a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and is the largest public funder of biomedical research in the world. It is made up of 27 different Institutes and Centers, each with its own specific research agenda and often focusing on particular diseases or body systems. As a whole, NIH’s mission is to seek fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and the application of that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability. In addition to its primary focus on biomedical research, NIH funds projects related to its mission that are multidisciplinary in nature, including collaborations with other STEM fields, the social sciences, and the humanities. 

National Science Foundation (NSF)

NSF's mission is to advance the progress of science, which includes support for all fields of fundamental science and engineering, except for medical sciences. In addition to funding research in the traditional academic areas, NSF also supports high-risk, high-pay-off ideas and novel collaborations, major research equipment, and science and engineering education from pre-K through graduate school and beyond.

Social Science Research Council (SSRC)

The SSRC is a nonprofit organization whose founding mission is to generate new insight into pressing societal issues. The organization works with practitioners, policymakers, and academic researchers to build interdisciplinary and international networks that link research to practice and policy, strengthen individual and institutional capacities for learning, and enhance public access to information. The SSRC’s work is organized around a few key focus areas, which change periodically. The Council funds researchers in the social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities. 

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)

DOE's mission is to ensure America's security and prosperity by addressing its energy, environmental, and nuclear challenges through transformative science and technology solutions. The agency works to catalyze the timely, material, and efficient transformation of the nation's energy system and to maintain science and engineering as a cornerstone of economic prosperity with clear leadership in strategic areas via basic and applied research. The Department also supports the system of 17 national laboratories across the country.