The Dirksen Congressional Center's Congressional Research Grants

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 R-IL), 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 $1,100,000 to support over 500 projects. 

Applications are accepted at any time, but awards are announced quarterly in January, April, July, and October. The corresponding application deadlines are December 15, March 15, June 15, and September 15. Proposals received after a deadline will be carried over to the next quarter automatically.

The Center has allocated up to $50,000 in 2020 for grants with individual awards capped at $3,500. Among the most recent recipients are

  • John Dearborn, Yale University, Strategic Preferences and American Political Development: Congress and the Origins of U.S. Federal Tax Policy, 1909-1916 
  • John A. Farrell, Independent Researcher, Senator Edward M. Kennedy
  • Samantha McDonald, University of California, Irvine, Digital Citizen Communication in the United States Congress 

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.

Please contact Frank Mackaman for the application at fmackaman@dirksencenter.org. The Congressional Research Grant Application contains the following elements: Applicant Information, Congressional Research Grant Project Description, Budget, Curriculum Vita, Reference Letter (reference letter not to exceed one page—additional pages will not be forwarded to the judges), and Overhead Waiver Letter.

The entire application when printed must NOT exceed ten pages. Applications may be single-spaced. Please use fonts no smaller than 10-point. This total does NOT include the reference letter (one additional page) or the Overhead Waiver Letter (one additional page). 

Complete information about what kinds of research projects are eligible for consideration, what could a Congressional Research Grant pay for, application procedures, and how recipients are selected may be found at The Center's Website, here>> 

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Posted: November 21, 2019
Tagged: Grants