Q1. How do I set up an account to submit a Letter of Intent (LOI)?  
The first step is to create an account by logging in to the online grants management system. The code to access the 2020 YSP LOI form is “2020YSP”.

Q2. Who should set up the account to submit an LOI?
The applicant (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.

Q3. How do I know that my affiliated organization/institution meets the eligibility requirements for YSP?
You must enter the 501(c)(3) entity information when you create an account. Please enter your organization/institution’s Tax I.D. number. The Foundation will use the Tax I.D. number to verify IRS status. The format is “12-1234567.” Government agencies and departments, including public universities, must apply through a non-profit partner that will receive, process, and support the funded research project if awarded, (e.g., ABC University Foundation). If you are unsure of your Tax I.D. number, for those in a university setting, please check with your Office of Sponsored Projects, for others check with your Development Office.

If the organization/institution’s name is different then the name of 501(c)(3) entity, please provide the name of the organization that you are employed by that is served by the 501(c)(3) entity.

Q4. Do I have to be nominated to apply for YSP?
YSP is an open competition; applicants need not be nominated to apply.

Q5. How long is the LOI?
Once the account is created, the PI will then be asked to answer questions about the nature of the proposed research. Based on the character limits for the responses for the five questions/sections below, the actual length of the LOI narrative is up to 10-12 pages.

  • What are the implications for public policy of the proposed study? (3,200 character max)
  • What are the research questions? (9,600 character max)
  • Describe the sample population(s) in the proposed research. (6,400 character max)
  • What are the proposed data sources, methodologies, and measures? (9,600 character max)
  • What are the proposed data analysis approaches? (9,600 character max)

Q6. What is helpful for submitting a strong LOI?
In general, we strongly encourage applicants to work with mentors and/or senior scholars to develop a strong LOI. In the event that your LOI is approved and you are invited to submit a Full Application, two letters of support will be required. Please see the mentor/mentee checklist for additional information on the mentor/mentee relationship.

Q7. What is the process to submit a Full Application?
If the Foundation approves your LOI, you will be invited to submit a Full Application and will be given access to the online application form.

Q8. How long is the Full Application?
Based on the character limits for the responses for sections below (not including the budget, required/optional attachments, etc.), the maximum length of the application narrative is approximately 21 pages. Please note, some responses from your approved LOI will be preloaded into the online full application and you will be able to expand and revise your responses.

  • Executive Summary (3,200 character max)
  • Research Project Basis and Questions (9,600 character max)
  • Current State of Knowledge and the Significance of the Present Study (9,600 character max)
  • Policy- and/or Practice Relevance (6,400 character max)
  • Research Type and Sample (6,400 character max)
  • Data Sources (3,200 character max)
  • Methodologies and Measures (9,600 character max)
  • Data Analysis Approach (9,600 character max)
  • Applicant’s Response to Advisory Committee Comments (6,400 character max)
  • Description of Relevant Experience to Undertake the Proposed Research (3,200 character max)

Q9. Will my application still be considered if my Letters of Recommendation are submitted after the submission deadline?
No, all application requirements, including recommendation letters, must be submitted on time in order to be considered.

Q10. What are the review criteria for the LOI and Full Application?
Please see Section VI. Criteria for Selection in the 2020 YSP Guidelines.

Q11. Will written evaluator reviews of the LOI and Full Application be shared with applicants (both those who were successful and unsuccessful) once the Young Scholars have been selected?
Feedback will be shared with applicants who are invited to submit a Full Application to further enhance the proposal.

Q12. Is Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval required before LOI or Full Application?
It is not expected that your IRB application should be completed and approved before you submit your YSP proposal at the LOI or Full Application stage. However, it is required that you begin the process before you submit your Full Application. It is required that you upload a confirmation email or document from your IRB committee stating that they have received your application for IRB review.

Q13. Are there particular national datasets that the Foundation requires for secondary data-analysis proposals?
No, the Foundation does not require the use of particular national data sets. Secondary data from previous or extant research projects or state databases are also allowed. The Foundation does caution PIs to think of the relevance and timing of information available in datasets when proposing research questions and projects.

Q14. Are sole Principal Investigators allowed to propose a collaboration with another investigator?
As the sole Principal Investigator, you must have complete control/decision-making authority over every aspect of your project. If you are unable to complete your project independently of another investigator then you will not be considered as a sole PI and will not be eligible for YSP.

Q15. Are professionals in early elementary education included in YSP’s definition of the ECE Workforce?
Yes, YSP considers professionals within the birth through third grade continuum, serving children from ages zero to age eight, as part of the ECE workforce.

Q16. What does the Foundation mean by implementation research?
Implementation research provides the opportunity to engage in meaningful exploration of what works (or not), for whom, and under what conditions using a variety of methodological approaches and research designs. Examples of lines of inquiry within implementation research include:

  • Assessing the fidelity and quality of the implementation of a program, policy or practice;
  • Identifying the effectiveness of the specific program, policy or practice components, and their impact on a range of outcomes for children and specific subgroups of children;
  • Understanding the conditions, mechanisms, processes and supports necessary to maintain and promote the sustainability of a program, policy or practice;
  • Determining how programs, policy, and practice can be effectively brought to scale and maintained at scale; and,
  • Informing continuous program, policy, or practice improvement.

For more information, please see Section III. Research Focus, B. Supporting Implementation Research on the ECE Workforce in the 2020 YSP Guidelines.


Q1. What are the earliest and latest possible dates to have received a doctoral degree and still be eligible? 
A minimum of one year must have elapsed since receiving your doctoral degree before you may apply to the program. The earliest and latest possible dates to have received your degree are January 1, 2010 through June 30, 2018. For those with medical degrees (M.D.s), the earliest and latest possible dates are January 1, 2008 through June 30, 2018. For additional information, please see Section IV. Eligibility in the 2020 YSP Guidelines.

Q2. What are the eligibility requirements of my host institution?
The affiliated 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). For additional information, please see Section IV. Eligibility in the 2020 YSP Guidelines.

Q3. What are the requirements of my host institution that I should be aware of at the LOI stage?
If your LOI is approved and you are invited to submit a Full Application, your host institution will be required to submit a letter of support. For Research Universities or Other Higher Education Institutions, the letter is usually written from the Dean/Chair of the department where the PI holds their position.

For all organizations, the letter of support will:

  • Confirm the PI is a full-time employee of the host organization that can receive and administer the funds. Please note that if funded, the host organization will be asked to confirm the PI’s full-time status for the duration of the two- or three-year grant period.
  • Confirm the organization’s commitment to the PI’s proposed percentage of paid time as stated in the Full Application.
  • Describe the capacity/plans of the host organization to support (e.g., expertise, material, in-kind, etc.) the applicant and project including its attendant public policy outreach. Letters that describe more than the basic supports provided to all employees will be favorably considered.

Q4. Is there an expectation that the awardees be relieved of teaching at any point during this award?
There is no expectation that the awardees be relieved of teaching, but if the LOI is approved, applicants will need to explain their time commitments (e.g., teaching, research, service to the field, etc.) for the duration of the grant period in the application. The Advisory Committee will evaluate whether the described amount of time dedicated to the project is appropriate and reasonable, especially in relation to other applicant responsibilities.


  • October 15, 2019 (Deadline): Online Full Application process for those with approved LOIs who have been invited to apply will close at 3:00 PM EST.
  • Early April 2020: Latest notification date of Full Application status.


Q1. What is the maximum grant award?
For proposed research projects involving either primary data collection or a combination of primary data collection and secondary data analysis, the maximum grant award, including indirect costs, is $225,000 to be used over a two- to three-year period. Grant funds are intended to support the Principal Investigator’s salary, research assistance, and direct research expenses.

For proposed research projects solely focused on secondary data analysis, the maximum grant award, including indirect costs, is $180,000 to be used over a two- to three-year period. Grant funds are intended to support the Principal Investigator’s salary and direct research expenses.

Q2. Is there a maximum overhead or indirect rate stipulation?
For all proposed research projects, the indirect and overhead costs are limited to 15% of the total personnel costs (salary and fringe).

Q3. What are other budget stipulations that I should be aware of?
The maximum grant award is to be used over a two- to three-year period. Grant funds are intended to support the PI’s salary and direct research expenses. In general, up to 10% of direct personnel costs may be used towards senior advisors and consultants.

Q4. How do I submit the Full Application budget?
The required budget template (in Excel) can be downloaded from the online Full Application form.  Please complete the template, including the narrative for each line-item, and then upload the budget as part of your Full Application.

Q5. Should I receive a grant award, will the funds be provided upfront or will they be reimbursed after expenses have occurred?
In the event that the PI is awarded a grant, the first payment is provided upfront based on the approved budget. Subsequent grant payments are also made up front after review and approval of interim narrative and financial reports and if at least 75% of the previous installments have been expended.


Q.1 How can I get additional information?
Please send all questions about the application including technical questions about the online system to ysp@​fcd-​us.​org.