IRiSS Seed Grants

The IRiSS seed grant program supports proposal development, pilot research, and other activities that advance faculty research projects to the point where they can attract external funding. The program rewards high-risk, high-return research proposals, including work that develops new methods, applies theories or methods to new substantive areas, or translates among previously unrelated theoretical perspectives. Preference is given to proposals from assistant and associate professors with appointments in one of the six social science departments in the school of Humanities and Sciences. Award amounts are capped at $10,000. Since the program's inception, nearly all of the projects have led to subsequent funding proposals, many of which have been awarded external support from agencies such as the NSF, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

An annual call for proposals for this program is announced in January.  For program details and information on how to apply, visit our Request for Proposals guidelines (PDF, 84KB) or contact Gari Gene via email


2013-2014 Seed Grant Awards

Rebecca Bird (Anthropology)“An indigenous food web for the Western Desert of Australia: integrating social and ecological sciences for biodiversity conservation”

  • Anticipated extramural funding sources: Woods Institute Environment Venture Project, INSPIRE program at the NSF

Arun Gautham Chandrasekhar (Economics)“Making the Dynamics of Social Learning Visible”

  • Anticipated extramural funding sources: Air-Force Office of Scientific Research, NSF (AFSOR)

Aliya Saperstein (Sociology)“Surveying the Surveyors: Trends in measurement and knowledge production in U.S. social surveys”

  • Anticipated extramural funding sources: American Sociological Association's Fund for the Advancement of the Discipline (FAD), NSF

Krish Seetah (Anthropology)“Religion and Social Life in Mauritius: the Long Duree Perspective”

  • Anticipated extramural funding sources: The Templeton Foundation

Kabir Tambar (Anthropology)“The Polemics of Humanity: Civil Disobedience and Political Disidentification in Turkey”

  • Anticipated extramural funding sources: National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), Wenner Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research


2012-2013 Seed Grant Awards

Nicholas Bloom (Economics and Senior Fellow at SIEPR)“Does Working from Home Work? Evidence from a Corporate Experiment”

Angela Garcia (Anthropology)“Gifts of the Spirit, Technologies of the State: Addiction, Regulation and Care among Pentecostal-charismatics in Mexico City, Mexico”

Matthew Harding (Economics)“Food Purchases, Nutrition and Obesity: A Nationally Representative Study”

Sean Reardon (School of Education, and, by courtesy, of Sociology) and Jonathan Rodden (Political Science)“Income Segregation and Political Polarization”

Barbara Voss (Anthropology)“Market Street Chinatown Archaeology Project: Social Identity and Consumer Practices in 19th Century Santa Clara County”

Jonathan Wand (Political Science)“Unifying the Study of Legislative Actions and Federal Spending”

2011-2012 Seed Grant Awards

Lisa Blaydes (Political Science)"Repression, Resistance and Regime Durability in Authoritarian Iraq"

Woody Powell (Education and Sociology and Communication)“Rewarding Performance That Is Hard to Measure: The Diffusion and Impact of Metrics and Evaluation in the Nonprofit Sector”

Florian Scheuer (Economics)“Optimal Income Taxation in Economies with Rent Seeking”

Xueguang Zhou (Sociology)“Elite Mobility and the Intra-organizational Relationship in the Chinese Bureaucratic State”

2010-2011 Seed Grant Awards

Nick Bloom and Aprajit Mahajan (Economics)"Can Better Management Raise Growth and Reduce Pollution?"

Matthew Harding (Economics)"Inducing Household Action on Energy Conservation Behavior: The Role of Social Incentives in Low Income Neighborhoods"

Tanya Luhrmann (Anthropology)"Comparative Study of Hallucinatory Phenomena in Psychosis in the United States and India”

2009-2010 Seed Grant Awards

Giacomo De Giorgi and Luigi Pistaferri (Economics)"Climate Change: the Effects of Changes in Uncertainty on Consumption, Savings and Investment"

Paula England (Sociology)"Class Differences in Contraception and Unplanned Pregnancies"

Tomás Jiménez (Sociology)“Immigration, Assimilation and the U.S. Host Society"

2008-2009 Seed Grant Awards

Nick Bloom, Max Floetotto, Nir Jaimovich (Economics)"Really Uncertain Business Cycles"

Melissa Brown & Marcus Feldman (Anthropology)"Chinese Marriage Forms, Son Preferences, and Sex Ratios: Combining Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches to a Major Demographic and Cultural Problem"

Jennifer Eberhardt (Psychology)“The Continued Dehumanization of Blacks in the Modern Era”

Petra Moser (Economics)"Regulation in Financial Markets: Evidence from Specialists' Willingness to Pay for NYSE Seats - 1883 to 1978"

Susan Olzak (Sociology)"Globalization and the Environmental Justice Movement"

Michael Rosenfeld (Sociology)"A Longitudinal Study of Couple Formation and Dissolution"

Rob Reich (Political Science)"Support for the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society proposal to the Hewlett Foundation"

Jonathan Rodden, Karen Jusko, and Alberto Diaz-Cayeros (Political Science)"The Geographic Distribution of Income and Political Preferences"