William T. Grant Foundation Announces Two New Grants to Better Relate Research to Action
This spring, the William T. Grant Foundation announced two new grant programs focused on getting social research out of the ivory tower and into actual policy and practice.
In 2016, Grant shifted its focus to grantees who were studying research itself: how to improve it, how it’s incentivized, and most importantly, how to “increase routine and beneficial uses of research in deliberations and decisions that affect young people.” In other words, getting social research out of the ivory tower and into actual policy and practice.
This spring, the Grant Foundation announced two new grant programs drawing on its conclusions from that “meta” dive. Both its Institutional Challenge Grant and its Rapid Response Research grants support efforts to better relate research to action on issues facing young people. The former focuses on a single institution’s relationship with a public agency or nonprofit, while the latter funds research responses to urgent needs. As Adam Gamoran told me recently, “Both [programs] have a bias toward action, toward improving society and improving conditions for young people.”
For a long time, Gamoran said, the rough consensus about why policymakers were essentially ignoring research evidence was that the quality of the research itself was poor. But as Grant and its partners looked into the problem, they found that the level of rigor in a piece of research didn’t really affect whether decision-makers would consult it. “We found many examples of good research being ignored, and bad research being used,” Gamoran said….