FAQs- SHRM Foundation Research
Not a Member?  Become One Today!

FAQs- SHRM Foundation Research


What kind of research does the Foundation fund?
The SHRM Foundation funds high impact HR research, aimed at an academic audience while also having direct actionable implications for HR practice, whether the focus is on addressing current challenges or understanding emerging trends. Any topic will be considered, however the grant must be for original rigorous empirical academic research that advances the HR profession. While aimed at an academic audience, funded research should also have clear applicability for HR practice and help contribute to evidence-based HR. As such, projects submitted for funding should have a high likelihood of both adding value to the HR academic literature (i.e., be suitable for leading academic journals) and yielding practical implications for HR managers (i.e., applied outlets should be interested in the research results). It is crucial that there is continuity between the research questions proposed and the methods used.  The research should also 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, given the sample and study design.The SHRM Foundation is open to funding research using any type of research methodology as long as the proposed methodology is sound and appropriate for the proposed research question(s). Those research questions typically (but not solely) take the form of theoretically derived hypotheses.

What is the difference between research funded by the SHRM Foundation and research produced by the SHRM Research Department?
Both groups create and disseminate cutting edge HR research but there are differences in the target audience, time frame, and the nature of the research. The Research Department's work is primarily practitioner focused while the Foundation funds research aimed primarily at an academic audience (with applicability for HR practice). The Research Department's research is dynamic, responsive to current issues and produced within a short time period. The Foundation funds research as a long term investment, on topic areas that will have a lasting impact in on the field. The Foundation's research typically (but not solely) tests theoretically derived hypotheses whereas the Research Department it is less likely to engage in hypothesis testing or controlled experiments in which one or more variable is manipulated.

How many grants does the Foundation fund annually?
This varies depending on the number of qualified proposals the Foundation receives and the funds available. During the past two years, the Foundation has funded 4-8 proposals per year at an average of $67,100 per project. You may review a list of currently funded projects online.

What percentage of research proposals are approved for funding?
During the past two years, the Foundation has funded on average 12% of the research proposals it has received. However there is no set target for the number or percentage of proposals funded. This percentage fluctuates each year depending on the availability of funds, and the number and quality of the proposals received.

How are projects selected for funding?
The SHRM Foundation Board approves an overall grant funding budget each year. The Foundation Research Committee, a subset of the Foundation's Board members, leads the proposal review process and determines which individual projects receive funding. The Research Committee and Board are comprised of a mix of HR academics and HR practitioners. Proposals are selected based on their likely impact on both HR practice and the HR academic literature. View the Rating Sheet.

What are the main reasons grant proposals do not receive funding?
Projects are generally not funded for one or more of the following reasons: 1) The potential impact of the project is viewed as not sufficient. Proposals need to convince the research committee that the study will both contribute significantly to academic literatures and be of direct value to practitioners. Projects that are largely exploratory or provide only a minor extension of an established finding are, for example, less likely to be funded. 2) The proposed methodology is viewed as inadequate to ensure meaningful results. 3) The proposed study lacks adequate conceptual grounding or the conceptual basis for the study is viewed as problematic. 4) The sample is viewed as inadequate for addressing the research question or difficulties are anticipated in accessing the desired sample. 5) There are other concerns about whether the study can be conducted as described within the allowable time frame.

Occasionally, when the research committee likes a proposal but has specific concerns that are viewed as potentially correctable, the Foundation may encourage revisions to a proposal and provide specific feedback regarding desired changes. Revised proposals need to be re-submitted during a subsequent grant review cycle. They will then be evaluated relative to the other submissions received in that cycle with no guarantee of subsequent funding.

What is the average research grant award?
The average research grant award over the past two years has been $67,100, and the Foundation has funded grants up to $110,500. The maximum budget request, including overhead, is $200,000.

How do I apply for research funding?
Research grant applications are accepted and reviewed twice annually via an online application system. Proposals must include a description of the problem being addressed, its expected academic impact (including a literature review), the implications for HR practice, the project's methodology, a budget and justification, and project timeline. View the submission checklist. After submitting your proposal, you will receive an e-mail acknowledgment to confirm receipt by the SHRM Foundation. Application deadlines and detailed information on the proposal format are available here.

What is a 'Blind Version' of my proposal and why do I have to submit one?
For each grant round, the Foundation conducts an initial 'blind review' of the proposals to minimize any unintentional reviewer bias. This means the proposal does not identify who the researchers are, or how much funding they are seeking, which allows the reviewers to focus solely on the research design, methodolgy and potential impact of the study. In order to do this, the Foundation requires each grant submission to include TWO copies of the proposal- one complete version and one 'Blind' version. The requirements for both the complete proposal and blind version are detailed here: Required Proposal Format.    

When will I be notified if my project was approved?
Researchers are notified of the board's funding decision via e-mail approximately 2.5-3 months after the submission deadlines. Applicants who do not receive funding will receive a high-level paragraph summarizing the reviewers' main concerns with their proposal. Detailed feedback and specific comments from individual reviewers are not provided.

If my project is not funded, am I eligible to re-submit my proposal?
Yes. However consider the feedback you receive and your ability to address the reviewers' concerns. In general, a resubmitted proposal should include substantial changes. When resubmitting, please include a cover letter noting specifically how you addressed each of the committee's original concerns. If your project is close to being funded, the Foundation will explicitly invite you to address the noted concerns and re-apply. If you have not been encouraged to resubmit, we recommend that you submit the same proposal no more than two times.  There is no 'appeal' process for grant funding decisions.

How long do I have to complete my project?
If approved for funding, projects must be completed within two years from the date of project approval. Researchers who encounter unforeseen obstacles may apply (near their project deadline) for a one-time extension of up to one year on their project, however approval is not guaranteed, but may be granted on a case-by-case basis. 

If the SHRM Foundation funds my project, will I have access to the SHRM membership database to draw my sample?
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 in the past provided access to a sample for funded research. This however, is the exception, not the norm and such requests are reviewed on a case by case basis by SHRM, not the Foundation. Since SHRM also conducts its own research with its members, it closely controls access to ensure that the same population is not over-surveyed. Researchers requesting a sample from the SHRM database should state this clearly in their original grant proposal so the request can be considered at the time of funding. Such proposals, if approved for funding, would be approved conditionally as the SHRM Foundation does not have the authority to provide access to SHRM members. The SHRM Research Department would subsequently review the study materials and make the determination regarding access. Even in cases where access is provided, under no circumstances would the SHRM Research Department provide researchers with sample participants’ emails, phone numbers, or fax numbers.

Do I need Human Subjects Approval prior to applying for research funding?
All projects involving human subjects must either (1) have approval from an institutional review board (IRB) or (2) have been declared exempt from IRB review by an IRB (not by the principal investigator). A research proposal may be submitted to the SHRM Foundation without IRB approval, but acceptance and activation of that proposal will be conditional upon subsequent IRB approval. Funds will not be released for projects until this requirement is met. If this requirement has been met prior to proposal submission, the researcher should include a letter from their IRB indicating approval or exemption. If this requirement has not been met at the time of submission, the researcher must include with the proposal the plan to submit the proposal to the IRB as part of the project schedule. Private IRB's may be used if there is no institutional IRB.

Are researchers outside the U.S. eligible to apply for Foundation funding?
Yes, the Foundation welcomes proposals from any country. Submissions must be written in English and applications will be read by reviewers whose first language is English. Projects are eligible for funding as long as they meet the funding criteria specified on the SHRM Foundation website. There is no requirement that researchers be based in the United States. In recent years, the funding rate has been similar for researchers both inside and outside the U.S.

Is there a limit on the amount of overhead or indirect costs I can include in the grant budget?
Yes. Overhead up to 15% of direct costs may be requested when required by the PI's institution. Exceptions to this amount may be considered on a case by case basis, but are rare. The maximum overall grant budget, including any overhead, must not exceed $200,000 USD.