Q1. How do I create an account to submit a LOI? 
The first step is to create an account by logging into the grants management system. Use code “2024YSP” to access the 2024 YSP LOI form.

Q2. Who should set up the account to submit a LOI?
The Principal Investigator (PI), as the applicant, should use their name and email address to set up an account. Once the account is created and the LOI has been started, the Collaborate feature will allow multiple users to edit a single LOI/application. For example, to enable the Office of Sponsored Research representatives, or a similar office, to access the LOI/application to download the Foundation’s budget template, click the blue Collaborate feature (at the top right of each request). The PI can enter the appropriate email addresses to invite representatives to view, edit, or submit the application. Click here for specific instructions on how to use the Collaborate feature.

Q3. How do I know that my affiliated organization/institution meets the eligibility requirements for YSP?
The Foundation will use your organization’s/institution’s Tax ID Number to verify IRS status (format is “xx-xxxxxxx.”) When you create an account, after entering your contact information, you should enter information related to your affiliated 501(c)(3) entity..” Government agencies and departments, including public universities, often apply through a nonprofit partner that will receive, process, and support the funded research project if awarded (e.g., if you are employed by ABC University, there is often an ABC University Foundation that can serve as the partner). If you are unsure of the IRS status of your institution or the Tax ID Number, those in a university setting should check with the Office of Sponsored Projects, while others should check with the Development Office.

If the organization’s/institution’s name is different from the name of the 501(c)(3) entity, please provide the name of the 501(c)(3) entity that appears in GuideStar and on tax paperwork.

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 be asked to answer questions about the nature of the proposed research. Based on the character limits for the responses to the five questions/sections below, the actual length of the LOI narrative is up to 10 – 12 pages.

  • Brief project description (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, the Foundation strongly encourages applicants to work with mentors and/or senior scholars to develop a strong LOI. Please see the mentor/mentee checklist for additional information.

We strongly recommend that applicants view our Advancing Equity: Conducting Strengths-Based Research in Early Care & Education webinar. This webinar focuses on utilizing a strengths-based research approach to promote equity within the early care and education field. Presenters from the Researchers Investigating Sociocultural Equity and Race (RISER) Network share ways to incorporate a strengths-based approach in research design, from developing research questions, identifying methods and measures, through data analysis and interpretation. We also recommend that applicants view the Roundtable Discussion: Preparing Future Early Care and Education Implementation Researchers.

Q7. There are two letters of recommendation, does this mean you need to have two mentors?
Letters of recommendation are only required at the Full Application stage. There is no requirement that a mentor must also write a letter of recommendation. One of the letters of recommendation may be written by your mentor if you so choose. The Foundation expects that applicants are working with a mentor while developing their YSP proposals. Applicants may choose to engage more than one mentor, as they feel appropriate.

Q8. 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. You will be required to upload a confirmation email or document from your IRB committee stating that they have received your application for IRB review.

Q9. 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.

Q10. How long is the Full Application?
Based on the character limits for responses to the sections below (not including the budget or other required/optional attachments), the maximum length of the application narrative is approximately 21 pages. Please note that some responses from your approved LOI will be preloaded into the Full Application online. You will be able to expand and revise your responses.

  • Executive Summary [this section has been removed]
  • 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)
  • Methodology and Measurement Procedures (9,600 character max)
  • Data Analysis Approach (9,600 character max)
  • Applicant’s Response to Advisory Committee Comments (6,400 character max)
  • Time Commitment and Effort (1,600 character max)
  • Budget Template
  • Relevant Experience (3,200 character max)

Q11. Will my application still be considered if my letters of recommendation are submitted after the submission deadline?
No. All Full Application requirements, including recommendation letters, must be submitted on time to be considered.

Q12. What are the review criteria for the LOI and Full Application?
Please see Section VII. Criteria for Selection in the 2023 YSP Guidelines. You may view the LOI Webinar: A Review of the Process for examples of questions that the Advisory Committee will use to evaluate LOIs and Full Applications. You may also view the Developing Strong Full Applications webinar for further insight into the Advisory Committee evaluation process.

Q13. 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 their proposals.

Q14. 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 datasets. Secondary data from previous or extant research projects or state or local 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.

Q15. Are sole Principal Investigators allowed to propose a collaboration with another investigator? 
As the sole PI, you must have complete control and 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 a sole PI and will not be eligible for YSP.

Q16. Are professionals in early elementary education included in YSP’s definition of the early care and education (ECE) workforce?
Yes. We define the ECE workforce as the professionals who educate and care for young children and families across a variety of settings (e.g., school-, center-, and home-based settings) and systems (e.g., regulated and informal systems), as well as the people who provide ECE professionals with leadership, support, and professional development. This includes professionals working with children on the birth through third grade (age 8) continuum.

Q17. What does the Foundation mean by implementation research?
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. For more resources on how the Foundation thinks about implementation research, its approaches and methods, and recommendations for future research, we highly recommend that applicants review Getting it Right: Using Implementation Research to Improve Outcomes in Early Care and Education and its companion piece, Getting it Right: The Conversation Guide for Preparing the Next Generation of Implementation Researchers.

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, policies, and practices can be effectively brought to scale and maintained at scale.
  • informing continuous program, policy, or practice improvement.

Q18: Are letters of collaboration allowed? For example, if a state agency is supporting your work, should you include a letter detailing this?
Letters of support from partners are required at the Full Application stage, if applicable. Letters of support from partners must confirm their cooperation and support of the proposed research project, including access to individuals to participate in the study.

Q19. If I applied in the past, may I resubmit a revised LOI?
Yes, previously proposed studies may be submitted. YSP encourages applicants to reapply if they were not previously awarded and if they continue to meet the eligibility requirements, including institutional eligibility.

For more information, please see Section III. Research Focus, B. Supporting Implementation Research on the ECE Workforce in the 2023 YSP Guidelines.


Q1. What are the earliest and latest possible dates to have received a doctoral degree and still be eligible? 
Eligible researchers must have received their doctoral degrees (e.g., Ph.D., Ed.D., Psy.D., J.D.) 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. A minimum of one year must have elapsed since receiving their degrees before Principal Investigators may apply to the program.

For additional information, please see Section IV. Eligibility in the 2024 YSP Guidelines.

Q2. What are the eligibility requirements of my host institution?
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). These terms may be met by an individual department within the host institution/organization or as the host institution/organization as a whole.

For additional information, please see Section IV. Eligibility in the 2024 YSP Guidelines.

Q3. What are the responsibilities of my host institution that I should be aware of at the LOI stage?
At the LOI stage, your host institution will be required to provide you with specific information, such as the institution’s Tax ID [to confirm 501(c)(3) status], and the organization’s annual operating budget. Please see the Institutional Checklist for additional requirements.

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, paid 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.

For “Research Universities” or “Other Higher Education Institutions,” the office handling projects and payments will also be asked to submit a separate letter of support. This additional letter should detail the exact name and address of the host institution as it appears in GuideStar, in order to determine to whom the payment should be addressed and where the funds should be sent.

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. 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 Full 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.

Q5. Are individuals from private universities eligible to apply?
If the host institution is a nonprofit, private university with 501(c)(3) status, and the institution meets the other requirements as identified in the 2024 YSP Guidelines, applicants are eligible to apply.

Q6. Can faculty at community colleges apply to YSP?
As long as an institution meets the Foundation’s requirements, including our budgetary and research requirements, faculty members of community colleges are encouraged to apply to YSP. Institution requirements apply to the institution as a whole, not to a particular department or division within an institution. Please refer to the 2024 YSP Guidelines for details on host institution budgetary, research, and other requirements.


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 PI’s salary 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. Can you apply for a smaller grant (less than the full $225,000) if you anticipate a smaller budget being appropriate for your research?
Yes. The proposed budget may be less than $225,000 for primary data collection and less than $180,000 for secondary data analysis, if appropriate.

Q3. 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).

Q4. Should I be aware of other budget stipulations?
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.

Q5. How do I submit the Full Application budget?
The required Excel budget template can be downloaded from the Full Application form online. Please complete the template, including the narrative for each line item, and upload the budget as part of your Full Application. A Full Application will only be considered complete and move forward in the review process if the Foundation’s budget template is submitted.

Q6. 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.


Q1. What are some of the additional supports that Young Scholars receive after being awarded?
Young Scholars will have the opportunity to join a growing network of early-career researchers. One of the ways that the Foundation supports this network is by sponsoring an annual Professional Learning Convening. This event is dedicated to furthering the scholarship of our awardees by providing them with presentations and professional networking opportunities to learn more about translating research into policy and practice. The convening is planned in collaboration with the Urban Institute and Child Trends.

Q2. Can you recommend any resources related to power analysis?

Cohen, J. (1992). A Power Primer. Quantitative Methods in Psychology. Psychological Bulletin, 112 (1). 155-159. 10.1037//0033-2909.112.1.155

SREE’s PowerUp! software

Q3. Can you recommend any additional resources related to research design?

 Baker, S. E. & Edwards, R. (2012). How many qualitative interviews is enough? Expert voices and early career reflections on sampling and cases in qualitative research. National Centre for Research Methods, Southampton.

Creswell, J., Klassen, A. C., Plano Clark, V. L., & Smith, K. C. for the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research, NIH. (2011). Best Practices for Mixed Methods Research in the Health Sciences.

Edin, K. (2003). Client-Based Ethnographic Research As a Tool for Implementation Analysis. In M. C. Lennon & T. Corbett (Eds). Policy into Action (pp. 165-192). The Urban Institute.

Small, M. L. (2011). How to Conduct a Mixed Methods Study: Recent Trends in a Rapidly Growing Literature. Annual Review of Sociology, 37, 57 – 86. https://​doi​.org/​1​0​.​1​1​4​6​/​a​n​n​u​r​e​v​.​s​o​c​.​0​1​2​8​0​9​.​1​0​2​657

Small, M. L. How many cases do I need? On science and the logic of case selection in field-based research. Ethnography, 10(1), 5 – 38. https://​doi​.org/​1​0​.​1​1​7​7​/​1​4​6​6​1​3​8​1​0​8​0​9​9​586

Weisner, T. & Fiese, B. H. (2011). Introduction to Special Section of the Journal of Family Psychology, Advances in Mixed Methods in Family Psychology: Integrative and Applied Solutions for Family Science. Journal of Family Psychology, 25 (6). 795-798. 10.1037/a0026203.

Yoshikawa, H., Weisner, T., Kalil, A., Way, N. (2008). Mixing Qualitative and Quantitative Research in Developmental Science: Uses and Methodological Choices. Developmental Psychology, 44 (2). 344-354. 10.1037/0012-1649.44.2.344

Q4. How can I get additional information?
Please email all inquiries about the application, including technical questions about the online system, to ysp@​fcd-​us.​org.