SHRM Foundation Research Grants
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SHRM Foundation Research Grants


Required Proposal Format

The length of the proposal should not exceed 15 double-spaced pages in total  (1” margins, 12 pt Times New Roman font or equivalent), excluding the cover page, references, appendices and the grant submission checklist. Proposals, checklist and all appendices should be submitted as a single Word file. If necessary, letters of support or other appendices may be submitted separately in pdf format.

A second "Blind Review" version of the proposal must also be submitted. Therefore, two copies of the proposal must be submitted. The first version must adhere to all the requirements noted below. The second 'Blind version' of the proposal will not include budget or author information. The initial round of reviews will be 'blind' meaning the reviewers will not know who the researchers are or how much funding is being requested. This will allow them to judge the project solely on the merits of the proposed research study. This version will follow the same proposal format, however the names of the reseachers, their vitas and any other identifying information must be removed. In addition, this version should not contain a project budget and should not list the amount of total funding requested. Below, we outline the required elements of proposals and we note which requirements will change for the 'Blind version' of the proposal.

Proposals not meeting these guidelines will be returned for revision prior to review by the Foundation.

All proposals must include the following sections. Suggested page counts for each section are provided as general guidelines only. These are not required lengths. The page count for each section may vary depending on the type of project being proposed.  Please see Section Detail below for more information on each:

  • Cover Page See changes below for Blind Review version.
  • Grant Submission Checklist
  • Contributions to the HR Academic Literature (generally 5-8 pages)
  • Implications for HR Practice (generally 1-3 pages)
  • Statement of Methodology (generally 3-5 pages)
  • Project Schedule (1 page)
  • Budget and Budget Justification (1-2 pages) Do not include in Blind Review version.
  • Appendices: References, Human Subjects Approval, Research materials, Researcher's vita or resume  Do not include vita/resume in Blind Review version.

Section Detail 

1. Cover Page

  • Project title, date, and total dollar amount of funding requested. Do not include requested funding on Blind Review version.
  • Up to 3 keywords indicating the general human resource management topic area(s) to be covered. Keywords may be as broad or specific as needed to best capture the focus of the research (e.g., HR metrics, talent management, HR outsourcing, e-learning, integrity testing, wellness programs, repatriation, etc.).
  • Names, institutional/employer affiliations, mailing addresses, e-mail addresses, and telephone numbers of principal investigators. Do not include in Blind Review version.
  • Abstract of the proposed research (maximum of 100 words), including statements of (a) what the proposed research will uniquely add to the literature, (b) the value of the research to HR practitioners, (c) type of research design, and (d) analytical method(s) to be used.

2. Grant Submission Checklist

  • The completed grant submission checklist must be included as page 2 of the proposal to verify that all of these proposal format guidelines have been followed.

3. Contributions to the HR Academic Literature  (view examples)

  • Discuss the purpose and need for the proposed research. How will it add value? What are the expected outcomes? This discussion should include a review of the relevant literature, the theoretical basis or conceptual framework underlying the research, and the research questions or specific hypotheses to be examined.
  • Clearly indicate in this section what is new and unique about the proposed research and how the expected findings will advance the academic literature on this topic. It may be helpful to indicate the expected dissemination of the research results (e.g., anticipated manuscripts and the target journals for each).

4. Implications for HR Practice (view examples)

  • Discuss the practical implications of the proposed research. Explain how your findings will change or affect prevailing HR practice. Implications should be direct and actionable. Provide evidence that the topic is a significant issue and explain how your results would make a difference. Articulate the specific way(s) HR practitioners might apply the results of this research to enhance (a) their effectiveness, (b) the effectiveness of specific HR practices, functions, or systems, and/or (c) the effectiveness of organizations through HR.
  • Ideally, the research should be able to reasonably generalize across people and settings.  Investigators should include a statement in the proposal regarding the individuals, groups, industry sectors or countries for which their findings are expected to generalize, as well as any limitations to generalizability, given the sample and study design.

5. Statement of Methodology

  • It is crucial that there is continuity between the research questions proposed and the methods used. The study methodology should be described in sufficient detail for the review committee to assess the viability and rigor of the proposed study. Provide a description of and rationale for the (a) target population-plus sample, anticipated sample size and sampling procedures if any- to be studied; (b) data collection method(s)- include copies of any instruments to be used (as an appendix) or describe the procedures that will be used to develop the measures; and (c) analytical techniques to be used.
  • Researchers are responsible for lining up their own sample. That sample should be appropriate to the research questions and secured prior to submitting a grant proposal. In rare cases, SHRM has provided access to a sample for funded research. This however, is the exception, not the norm and such requests are reviewed by SHRM, not the Foundation, on a case by case basis. More details.

6. Project Schedule (view examples)

  • Estimated time of completion for total project, up to a maximum of two years, plus target dates for completion of project segments (e.g., piloting, each phase of data collection, analyses, etc.).

7. Budget and Budget Justification (view examples)
Remove from Blind version.

  • The maximum overall budget amount is limited to $200,000 per grant and it is expected that the requested budget correspond with the overall scope and potential impact of the research. The average grant award over the past few years has been $63,000.
  • The budget should include an itemized list of expenses and an explanation/justification for the requested funds. Categories should include:
    • Personnel. Funds (including benefits and stipends) may be requested for researcher salary support (e.g., summer support, course reductions), research assistants, clerical assistants, etc. Personnel costs should be specified by units of time and rates of pay per unit. 
    • Direct expenses (e.g. printing, postage, telephone, computer time) for any charges actually billed to researchers. 
    • Travel itemized for each trip and individuals involved. Travel must be directly related to the project. 
    • Overhead up to 15% of direct costs when required by the PI's institution. Exceptions to this amount may be considered on a case by case basis.
  • If a project is funded, the amount funded is at the discretion of the Foundation Board in an amount commensurate with the scope and nature of the project. In some cases, the Board may approve funding at a lower level than requested.
  • The budget should not be just a wish list of items that would be nice for the researcher to receive. The budget should reflect the expenses needed to conduct the research. The budget justification should explain why each included expense is needed.
  • Expenses are funded only when funding is not otherwise available. For example, if your university would typically pay for conference attendance, travel funds to present the research should not be requested. Capital expenses such as equipment purchases are also generally not funded unless a compelling case is made for why that equipment (a) is necessary for the research, (b) is not otherwise available, and (c) is something the SHRM Foundation should cover.  
  • Also include a statement indicating whether other funding has been received, is being sought, or will be sought. (If "yes," give a detailed explanation of the nature, amount, and planned usage of that funding.) In addition, if the nature of a project provides direct benefits to a participating organization, that organization would be expected to share some of the project costs.

 8. Appendices

  • References
  • Human Subjects Approval-Remove from Blind version 
    All projects involving human subjects must have either (1) approval from an institutional review board (IRB) or (2) an exemption from IRB review declared by an IRB (not by the principal investigator). Include either (a) a copy of a letter from an IRB indicating approval or exemption as an appendix or (b) plans to submit the proposal to an IRB as part of the project schedule. If IRB approval is not included, then acceptance and activation of the proposal will be conditional upon subsequent IRB approval. Funds will not be released for projects until this requirement is met.
  • Research Materials
    Include copies of any data collection instruments to be used (e.g., survey items, interview questions) if relevant.
  • Researcher Qualifications- Remove from Blind version 
    Include Vita or Resumes for all principals



 View sample proposal sections

How to submit your proposal.