Small Grants

ISS’ Small Grants Program
Supporting Research and Conferences

Twice yearly, the ISS distributes small grants to tenure-line faculty in the social science. We provide up to $12,000 for social science research projects and $5,000 for conferences. The submission process for the Spring 2019 is now closed, however, applications for our Fall 2019 round will be due on Tuesday, September 10, 2019 and should be emailed to

All tenured and tenure-track Cornell faculty in the social sciences are eligible for an award. Funding priority is given to early-career social science faculty members (i.e. assistant professors), research projects by faculty teams spanning social science disciplines or administrative units, and multidisciplinary projects that could include the life sciences, but are led by social scientists. The goal is to fund research projects likely to result in external funding or leading to longer term research collaborations.

As the recent Social Science External Review Committee’s report acknowledged, Cornell has all the ingredients necessary for producing cutting edge, multidisplinary, problem-focused research. The small grant program can assist faculty and departments in fostering innovative research aimed at addressing the new challenges facing society. The recently released report from the Social Sciences Idea Panels Committee proposed that confronting inequality is an especially important cross-cutting theme for investment.

We also are interested in supporting research focusing on solving 21st-century problems, such as the behavior dimensions of climate change, health behaviors in diverse communities, rural economic development, and labor force and human resource development, among other topics. We emphasize cutting edge, basic, applied, and computational social science where small amounts of funding can make a significant difference in leveraging future funding.

The small grants program also funds on-campus interdisciplinary conferences that directly benefit Cornell students and faculty. Awards for conferences rarely exceed $5,000.

The review of applications involves asking two Cornell social science faculty members (not in the applicant’s department) to review each proposed research project and conference. Awardees are expected to review grant applications in subsequent rounds. Previous recipients of small grants from the ISS are required to wait two years before they are eligible for another ISS award.

Funding for the ISS small grant program comes from the ISS and the Office of the Vice Provost for Research at Cornell University. See below for additional details.

Application Deadlines
Awards Announced
Tuesday, February 5, 2019 Thursday, April 4, 2019
Tuesday, September 10, 2019 Thursday, November 7, 2019
Tuesday, February 4, 2020 Thursday, April 2, 2020
Tuesday, September 8, 2020 Thursday, November 5, 2020