The Dirksen Congressional Center
invites applications for Congressional Research Grants
NOTE: The next deadline
for applications is March 1 of the current year. Grants will be announced in April.
The Dirksen Congressional Center invites applications for grants to
fund research on congressional leadership and the U.S. Congress. The
Center, named for the late Senate Minority Leader Everett M. Dirksen,
is a private, nonpartisan, nonprofit research and educational
organization devoted to the study of Congress. Since 1978, the
Congressional Research Grants program has invested more than $915,136
to support over 425 projects. Applications are accepted at any time,
but the deadline is March 1 for the annual selections, which are
announced in April.
The amount of funding available varies from year to year. In 2013, for
example, The Center budgeted $35,000 for the grants with individual
awards capped at $3,500.
Who is qualified to apply?
The competition is open to individuals with a
serious interest in studying Congress. Political scientists,
historians, biographers, scholars of public administration or American
studies, and journalists are among those eligible. The Center
encourages graduate students who have successfully defended their
dissertation prospectus to apply and awards a significant portion of
the funds for dissertation research. Applicants must be U.S. citizens
who reside in the United States.
The grants program does not fund undergraduate or
pre-Ph.D. study. Organizations are not eligible. Research teams of
two or more individuals are eligible. No institutional overhead or
indirect costs may be claimed against a Congressional Research Grant.
What kind of research projects are eligible for consideration?
The Center’s first interest is to fund the study
of the leadership in the Congress, both House and Senate. Topics could
include external factors shaping the exercise of congressional
leadership, institutional conditions affecting it, resources and
techniques used by leaders, or the prospects for change or continuity
in the patterns of leadership. In addition, The Center invites
proposals about congressional procedures, such as committee operation or
mechanisms for institutional change, and Congress and the electoral
The Center also encourages proposals that link Congress
and congressional leadership with the creation, implementation, and
oversight of public policy. Proposals must demonstrate that Congress,
not the specific policy, is the central research interest.
The Center does NOT require grant recipients to use
historical materials in its collections. For persons interested in
such research, however, please visit http://www.dirksencenter.org/print_collections_overview.htm for information about our holdings.
The research for which assistance is sought must be
original, culminating in new findings or new interpretation, or both.
The grants program was developed to support work intended for
publication in some form or for application in a teaching or
policy-making setting. Research produced by previous grant recipients
has resulted in books, papers, articles, course lectures, videotapes,
and computer software.
What could a Congressional Research Grant pay for?
Generally speaking, a grant can cover almost any
aspect of a qualified research project, such as travel to conduct
research, duplication of research material, purchase of data sets, and
costs of clerical, secretarial, research, or transcription assistance.
This list is merely illustrative. Specifically excluded from
funding are the purchase of equipment, tuition support, salary support
for the principal investigator(s), indirect costs or institutional
overhead, travel to professional meetings, and publication subsidies.
Grants range from a few hundred dollars to $3,500.
Stipends will be awarded to individuals (not organizations) on a
competitive basis. Grants will normally extend for one year. In some
circumstances, the Center will make more than one grant to a single
individual in consecutive years, but not more than three grants to the
same person in a five-year period.
For more information about how to apply, follow the link