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 2018 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 eight years of application submission (i.e., January 1, 2009 through June 30, 2016). Ten years for physician applicants (i.e., January 1, 2006 though June 30, 2016).

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 2018 YSP Guidelines.

How to Apply

The first step is to create an account by logging into the on-line grants management system in order to submit the Letter of Intent (LOI). The code to access the 2018 YSP LOI is “2018YSP”.  The applicant or Principal Investigator (PI) should create the account so that s/he can fill out the information about his/her background and the proposed research project. The LOI is then completed and submitted online. Please note that the system can only accommodate one username and password per proposal.

Additional Resources to Assist in the Application Process:

  • Applicant Checklist: The Applicant Checklist was created as a guide to the Letter of Intent and Full Application requirements.
  • Mentor/Mentee Checklist: The Mentor/Mentee Application Checklist was created to help applicants and mentors develop clear expectations and parameters regarding roles and responsibilities during a mentor/mentee relationship.
  • Institutional Checklist: The Institutional Checklist was created as a resource tool for applicants to use in communicating the administrative application requirements with their institution or organization.


  • May 2, 2017, 1:00 PM EST: Online webinar to review the LOI process with a Q&A session. Click here to view a recording of the webinar.
  • June 5, 2017(Deadline): Online LOI will close at 3:00pm EST.
  • August 7, 2017: Latest notification date of LOI status and invitations for full application.
  • October 10, 2017 (Deadline): Online full application process will close at 3:00 PM EST for those with approved LOIs who have been invited to apply.
  • Early April, 2018: Latest notification date of full application status.

Two additional webinars are planned for those with approved LOIs who have been invited to apply through the full application process. Recordings of these webinars will be posted. Yet, in the interim please view the previous 2017 webinars below for reference: