Apply for Funding


The Charter School Research Collaborative issues competitive funding processes via requests for proposals (RFPs).


The Charter School Research Collaborative supports research projects that investigate pressing questions in the charter school space that inform policy and practice. Three types of proposals are accepted, and grants range from $10,000 to $500,000.

Research Focus

Research Agenda

What are the research priorities?

The full research agenda can be found here.

  1. What are the long-term effects of charter schools?
  2. What is the effect of charters on non-test score outcomes? How do these effects relate to test-score effects?
  3. Which charter school practices have the largest effect on performance?
  4. How does charter performance vary across different contexts?
  5. How do charter school effects vary with demographic characteristics, family background, and for students receiving language and special education services?
  6. How do charter schools impact non-student outcomes?
  7. How do system-level factors, such as authorizing practices, impact charter school performance?
How was the research agenda developed?

Conversations with more than 100 charter leaders, practitioners, policymakers, researchers, and funders led to the development of this agenda. As diverse stakeholders’ priorities continue to shift and the Collaborative progresses, the research agenda will continue to evolve.

Regions of Interest

Are there specific geographic areas of interest?

There are 16 priority regions of interest. Though these are priority regions, projects that align with the research agenda and fall outside these regions of interest will still be considered.

  1. Baton Rouge, LA
  2. Camden, NJ
  3. Colorado state
  4. Georgia state
  5. Indianapolis, IN
  6. Kansas City, MO
  7. New Orleans, LA
  8. New York City
  9. Newark, NJ
  10. Oakland, CA
  11. St. Louis, MO
  12. Stockton, CA
  13. Tennessee state
  14. Texas state
  15. Washington, DC
  16. Washington state

Current RFP Timeline

Step 1

Application opens


January 24, 2024

Step 2

Submit expression of interest (optional)


February 21, 2024

Step 3

Submit application


April 17, 2024

Step 4

Decisions made and issued

Grant Types

The Charter School Research Collaborative accepts proposals for three grant types: proposal development, pilot studies, and full research projects. Click each grant type below for additional details and example projects.

Application Resources

Proposal Dev. Application Guide


Proposal Dev. Evaluation Criteria


Pilot Study Application Guide


Pilot Study Evaluation Criteria


Full Research Project Application Guide


Full Research Project Evaluation Criteria



Emerging and established researchers from a range of disciplines are invited to apply. Researchers should have some demonstrated success in conducting quantitative research, as demonstrated by their educational training (e.g., in economics, public policy, political science, education policy) or publications. They should also have an interest in education policy, broadly conceived.

Graduate students in economics, public policy, and related fields are also encouraged to apply for funding and should include a letter of support from a faculty sponsor. To apply for funding for a full research project, graduate students should have strongly documented evidence of support from their faculty sponsor. The total amount of funding for graduate students is capped at $75,000.

We prioritize funding projects that address policy-relevant questions, propose a rigorous research design, and are conducted in partnership with practitioners or policymakers. Priority will be given to research projects that align with the Collaborative’s research agenda. Additional details on evaluation criteria can be found in Application Resources.

Funders may be part of a team applying for funding, but their engagement in the partnership must be to exclusively support the research. The project must be researcher-led, meaning that the researcher leads the development of the research questions and methodology. Funders are defined as any organization that provides direct or indirect financial support to charter schools, charter management organizations, and related work, including but not limited to: private foundations (e.g., independent, family, and operating), community foundations, and donor-advised funds (i.e., this includes both private foundations and grantmaking public charities).

Still have questions? Sign up for office hours here.


How are funding decisions made?

After each RFP period, a Blueprint-appointed review board evaluates proposals. The review board includes Josh Angrist, Carycruz Bueno, Sarah Cohodes, Drew Jacobs, Constance Jones, Jack Mountjoy, Parag Pathak, and Karega Rausch.

What is the average grant size?

Three types of proposals are accepted, each with funding ranges.

  • Proposal development (typical award size around $10,000);
  • Pilot studies (typical award size around $75,000); and
  • Full research project (awards range from $75,000 to $500,000).


What is the grant period duration?

Proposal development and pilot study grants are one-year grants. Full research projects are one- to three-year grants.

How do I use the application portal?

Login to the portal to create an account using the Primary Investigator’s (PI) email. The PI will be emailed a login code. Please enter the code in the portal. You will then be directed to fill out your application. Please complete all steps. The portal will save your progress when you click “Save and Next,” therefore you are able to return and complete the application at a later point. When you’re ready to submit, hit the “Submit” button. You will receive an email confirmation with a copy of your submission.

What indirect rate should I apply with?

Proposal development and full research projects may include indirect costs using a 15% rate. Pilot studies may include indirect costs using a 10% rate.

How many proposals can I submit?

There is no limit to the number of proposals an individual or organization can submit. If you would like to submit multiple applications, please submit each application with a different primary email address. The current application system links each proposal to the PI’s email—we’re already changing this for future application cycles!

What requirements will I be subject to, if I receive a grant?

Applicants who receive a grant will be subject to the following requirements: 

  1. Grantees will be required to obtain IRB approval or exemption before MIT can establish a subaward agreement to set up funding.
  2. MIT requires an official acceptance of the proposal and budget by your institution to set up the subaward. Applicants are encouraged to submit the proposal to their office of sponsored programs or contracts department prior to the award decision to avoid delays and ensure that your institute will accept your proposal and proposal budget.
  3. Once all materials have been received, it can take up to 60 days to establish the subaward. The award is paid on a cost-reimbursable basis, and spending can usually be backdated through the date of the Blueprint award letter or date of IRB approval (whichever comes later). Funds are to be used for the purposes described in the proposal narrative and proposal budget. Significant changes to the project scope, design, or budget must be pre-approved by Blueprint Labs.
  4. The terms of the award will be further specified in the award letter and in any subaward established with MIT. Acceptance of funding from Blueprint Labs signals your consent to these requirements. Non-compliance with these requirements could affect your eligibility for future funding from any Blueprint Labs Collaborative.
  5. Grantees will typically be required to submit several reports, including a brief annual progress report and a final report, both including financial data.
When is the next RFP cycle?

The next request for proposals (RFP) cycle will occur in Summer 2024.

Can I apply for an grant off-cycle?

There will generally be two requests for proposals (RFPs) per calendar year. Under exceptional circumstances, Blueprint will consider off-cycle proposals for all three types of proposals when researchers face time constraints due to factors outside of their control. Off-cycle proposals will face the same scrutiny as proposals submitted during the RFP round and must include a justification for off-cycle submission.


Applications are currently closed.

The following application cycle opens Summer 2024.


We welcome your application questions via email. Prefer to talk? Sign up for office hours here.

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