About the Young Scholars Program

The Young Scholars Program (YSP) supports scholarship for early-career researchers. The program funds implementation research that is policy- and practice-relevant and that examines the preparation, competency, compensation, well-being, and ongoing professional learning of the early care and education (ECE) workforce.

Diversity is an asset for building a strong and productive society. The Foundation is committed to diversity and equity in our work and through our grantees. To increase the diversity of research perspectives, the Foundation encourages applications from:

  • Scholars who are from underrepresented groups that have historically experienced poverty, racism, xenophobia, prejudice, and discrimination. Such groups include, but are not limited to, researchers of color, first-generation college graduates, and researchers from low-income communities and/or immigrant families
  • Scholars who represent a variety of disciplines and methodological approaches

For more information, please download the complete 2024 YSP Guidelines and review the YSP FAQs and view prior YSP webinars.

Research Focus 

The Foundation believes that a deeper understanding of the role of ECE professionals in enhancing young children’s early learning experiences can ultimately improve the chances for all children to reach their full potential.

All proposed research must have primary questions that are relevant to the ECE workforce. All supported research questions must support scientific inquiry into the implementation of specific ECE programs, policies, or practices. While substantial research has focused on examining what constitutes high-quality early learning experiences and the impact of policies and programs to identify “what works,” implementation research is needed to better understand how to bring about high-quality experiences for different groups of children, across different settings and contexts. Finally, all supported research must have a clear connection to programs, policies, and practices that have the potential to result in a positive impact on the ECE workforce and on the young children in the YSP priority populations.

Scholars will become part of a growing network of the next generation of researchers whose work has the potential to strengthen the ECE workforce and improve the quality of services provided to young children and their families.

For more information on YSP’s research focus, please reference Section III. Research Focus in the 2024 YSP Guidelines.


Eligible researchers must have received their doctoral degrees (e.g., Ph.D., Ed.D., Psy.D., J.D., etc.) between January 1, 2014 and June 30, 2022. Physician applicants must have received their M.D. degrees between January 1, 2011 and June 30, 2022.

The affiliated nonprofit institution/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 review Section IV. Eligibility of the 2024 YSP Guidelines for additional eligibility criteria and more information about applying to YSP.

How to Apply

The first step in submitting the Letter of Intent (LOI) is to create an account through the grants management system. Once logged into the system, the Principal Investigator (PI), as the applicant, should use their name and email address to set up an account. Use the access code “2024YSP” to complete and submit the 2024 YSP LOI form. YSP is an open competition; applicants need not be nominated to apply.

Additional resources to assist with the application process include:


April 18, 2023
Call for Proposals for 2024 YSP opens

May 22, 2023
2024 Young Scholars Program LOI Webinar

June 13, 2023
LOI Deadline: Online LOI closes at 8 PM EDT | 7 PM CDT | 6 PM MDT | 5 PM PDT

August 2023
Latest notification of LOI status and invitations to submit a Full Application

October 20, 2023
Full Application Deadline: Online Full Application closes at 8 PM EDT | 7 PM CDT | 6 PM MDT | 5 PM PDT

Early April 2024
Latest notification of Full Application status

Contact us via email at ysp@​fcd-​us.​org.