The Young Scholars Program (YSP) supports policy and practice-relevant research that is focused on the early learning and development needs of the nation’s children who are growing up under conditions of economic insecurity and social exclusion.

YSP encourages applications from scholars who are:

  • Themselves from historically disadvantaged or underrepresented groups, e.g., first-generation college graduates, and those from low-income communities.
  • Scholars who represent a variety of disciplines and methodological approaches.

Research Focus 

All proposed research should focus on the ways in which the knowledge, skills, and dispositions of the early care and education workforce can support young children’s growth and development across the birth through age eight continuum.

For more information please download the YSP Guidelines.


Eligible researchers must have received their doctoral degrees (e.g., Ph.D., Ed.D., Psy.D., M.D., J.D., etc) within one to seven years of application submission (i.e., January 1, 2008 through June 30, 2015). Ten years for physician applicants (i.e., January 1, 2005 though June 30, 2015).

The affiliated private non-profit organization must have a minimum operating budget of $2.5 million and a minimum three-year track record in conducting multi-year research projects (at least three over the last three years).

Please view additional eligibility criteria, research focus, and more information about applying to the YSP in the YSP Guidelines.


  • May 3, 2016, 3PM EDT: Online webinar to review the LOI process.  View a recording of the webinar here.
  • June 1, 2016: Online LOI will close at 3:00pm ET.
  • August 1, 2016: Latest notification date of LOI status.
  • Two additional webinars are planned for those with approved LOIs who have been invited to apply to the full application process. Recordings of these webinars will be posted.
  • October 19, 2016: Online full application process for those with approved LOIs who have been invited to apply will close at 3PM ET.
  • April 1, 2017: Latest notification date of full application status.