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Law and Science Dissertation Grant

About the Grant Program 

Is this grant program part of NSF? 

This grant program is technically not part of NSF. NSF made an award to ASU, to administer a Law and Science Dissertation Grant (LSDG) program; ASU, in turn, is making awards to doctoral students. 

Will I be able to list NSF as the grant funder on my CV? 

Yes, recipients can list that the award money was ultimately provided by NSF (and include the NSF grant award number) on their CVs. 

Whom should I list as the PI for this grant?  

The doctoral student should be listed as the PI for this grant, and supervising faculty should be listed as co-PI(s). A faculty member must be listed as co-PI; this person will normally be the chair of the student’s dissertation committee.

Why did NSF stop running its own dissertation grant program?

We cannot answer that one. You’ll have to take it up with them.


Who is eligible to apply? 

Applicants must be enrolled as full-time students in a doctoral program at an accredited U.S. institution, and must have achieved doctoral candidacy prior to their award’s start date; that is, you must have passed your doctoral comps/qualifying exam. You do not have to be an American citizen to apply. However, if you are not a U.S. citizen, resident alien, or permanent resident, there might be tax implications. See ‘Eligibility’ tab for more information.

Do I have to belong to one of the “law-and” professional organizations?

No, but they all offer a wealth of resources for students, and usually reduced membership fees as well; so we encourage you to check out the one(s) most closely aligned with your research interests.

Can I apply if I am in a JD/PhD program or already have a JD?

Yes. Some applicants will be in dual-degree programs; others will not. It has no bearing on evaluation of your proposal. Funds are to support research leading to the PhD (or equivalent), and not for work leading to the JD (e.g., law school tuition). 

Application Process 

How many application cycles will there be per year? 

There are two application cycles per year, one in late spring/early summer, and one in late fall/early winter. Unless otherwise stated on the LSDG homepage, deadlines will be on May 15 and November 15 (or the first business day thereafter). 

Is it advantageous to apply for one cycle versus the other? 

No, we anticipate roughly the same number of proposals and awards in both review cycles.  

Can I apply for this award if I have already received, or am applying for, other grant money for my dissertation research?

Consistent with current NSF policy, applicants are allowed to submit to the LSDG and other funding sources concurrently or sequentially, but they are not permitted to receive dual funding for the same work. Different entities may, however, support different components of the same project (e.g., one funder provides funds to compensate research participants, and another funder provides funds for travel).

Will LSDG give me feedback on a draft of my proposal?

Sadly, no. However, we are happy to provide feedback on a short description of your proposal, not to exceed one page. This is especially useful if you are unsure whether your project is appropriate for the LSDG program. Before sending a one-page description, please check with us using the ‘Contact Us’ link on the website.

Will you accept late applications?

Generally speaking, no. However, we will consider brief deadline extensions on a case-by-case basis. If extenuating circumstances prevent you from submitting an application on time, you may request an extension using the ‘Contact Us’ tab. Late applications without prior approval will not be accepted.

Can I check on my application status after submitting?

No. Once you submit, we will confirm that we received your application. After that point, unless we need clarification on some issue with your application, you will normally not hear from us until we have made our decisions. 

Review and Selection Process 

How are grant recipients chosen? 

The LSDG review process is consistent with NSF’s merit review criteria. External reviewers and an advisory panel, who are content area experts, will evaluate each proposal in terms of the Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts of the study. See ‘Merit Review Process’ tab for more information. 

How many grant recipients are chosen per year? 

There will be about 12-15 grant recipients chosen per year, roughly evenly split across the 2 review cycles.

How long will the review process take?

You can expect a decision approximately 4-5 months after the submission deadline. You should keep this timeframe in mind when requesting your project’s start date.

Can I suggest reviewers?

Yes, there will be a place for that in the application materials, and we encourage you to do so.     

Can declined proposals be revised and resubmitted?

Yes. All nonfunded proposals are eligible for resubmission. With rare exceptions,  resubmissions should adhere to the standard deadlines. Declined proposals that are resubmitted will be treated as new proposals. Resubmissions that have not been modified in light of prior feedback will be returned without review. On occasion, proposals may be revised and resubmitted “off cycle” (i.e., unconstrained by regular deadlines). This option is available only by invitation from LSDG.

Award Recipients 

How much will each recipient be awarded? 

Amounts will vary depending on the project. There is a $20,000 cap for this award. Each proposal must include an itemized budget and budget justification. The justification describes the anticipated amount of funds needed to complete the dissertation project and provides detail on how the funds will be used. Applicants should avoid “padding” their budget, as well as cutting it to unrealistic levels—request what you genuinely need to perform the project: no more, no less. Remember, available funds are finite: the less each award costs, the more awards we can make. 

What is the duration of the award? 

Award duration is one year, but recipients may request a no-cost extension, if necessary. If approved, this kind of extension provides additional time to complete the project, but no additional money. 

Is the grant awarded directly to the recipient or to the recipient’s institution? 

If you receive an award, LSDG will award the funds directly to you; unfortunately we are not set up to transfer funds directly to an account at another institution. Many, though not all, institutions allow researchers to deposit such grant funds into a dedicated institutional account. It is incumbent on recipients to work with their faculty advisor and institution to figure out the best way to proceed. 

Is the award taxable? 

We are not in a position to provide tax advice. If you are concerned about the tax implications of an award, you should consult a qualified tax professional. 

Are there post-award obligations? 

Yes. Recipients are required to submit progress reports at regular (6-month) intervals. As part of our agreement with NSF, we will also survey recipients periodically to collect confidential data on their graduate school progress and early career trajectories. 

Proper Use of Funds 

How can I use the award? 

This award is intended solely to contribute to law-and-science graduate students’ doctoral dissertation research. It is not to be used for the grant recipient’s living expenses, except for project-related travel, or any costs beyond those directly related to dissertation research. A good way to think about it is that the award covers costs of the research, not the researcher. It is also not intended for masters projects or other non-dissertation research in which students might engage.

Should my budget include indirect costs?

No. Indirect costs are part of NSF’s award to ASU. They are not part of ASU’s award to you, should your proposal be selected for an award. For additional guidance on preparing a budget, see the ‘Apply’ tab.

Can I request travel funds?

Yes. Typical travel funds would be for the PI to travel to/from a research site(s), or to present research findings at a professional conference.

Can I request funds to cover expenses that I have already incurred?

No. The proposal should be for research that you have not yet conducted, and for expenses not yet encumbered.

My graduate program requires students to pay tuition. Can I include that in my budget?

No. Funds may be used for research expenses only.