Start-up Center

The Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy seeks proposals for “Start-Up Centers” for the 2024–2025 academic year, from July 1, 2024 to June 30, 2025. The goal is to bring together one or more teams to work together for one or more months in a common space toward a common goal. The funding is intended to support a project that cannot be accomplished in a conference and that could lead to a larger, longer-term initiative, such as a new center, a research program or laboratory, or a degree-granting program. The Start-Up Center is intended to demonstrate both need and feasibility, whether through submitted research papers, applications for large-scale external funding, a model curriculum and syllabi, or the creation of shared resources (such as datasets, software, or a public-facing website). In keeping with ISERP’s mandate, applications should show both intellectual merit and policy relevance.

ISERP will fund one or two start up centers, with a budget limit of $50K.  However, we will consider funding proposals of up to $100K if the proposal is of very high quality and if the proposal provides a convincing rationale that the activities would be sustained over a longer period of time.  We are especially interested in funding activities that could lead to sustained support from external sources.

Please contact ISERP with any questions on this process. 


Faculty, research scholars, and research scientists appointed in one of the six social science departments in the Faculty of Arts and Sciencesor SIPA are eligible to apply for ISERP funding for Start-Up Centers.  At least one applicant per Start-Up Center team must be a full-time faculty member.

Application Guidance

  • Teams should include multiple faculty members, with at least some of them, including the PI, based in a social science department in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences or SIPA. Multidisciplinary teams are encouraged, but not required.  While interdisciplinary collaborations are encouraged, successful proposals will demonstrate clear intellectual leadership of A&S faculty. Applicants are invited (though not required) to include participants from outside Columbia, but anyone who receives funding should spend at least part of the period on campus.
  • The Start-Up Center should take place over the next academic year. Depending on the project, the funding could support two phases (such as a shorter workshop either at the beginning or the end.) 
  • Since funding is limited, successful applications will demonstrate the greatest “bang for the buck” in direct program costs and creating incentives for work that would not happen otherwise. ISERP support can be combined with other funding.

Applicants should submit:

  • A summary of up to 300 words
  • A 5-page proposal that details the specific aims, background to the project, its innovation/significance, work plan, and specific deliverables
  • Line-item budget, utilizing the budget sheet attached to this call (download a copy, prepare, and submit with application).
  • Budget justification
  • A one-page analysis of the potential for long-term viability (whether through external funding or income-generation)
  • Short CV or NSF-style Biosketch for each investigator
  • Proposals should be submitted by 15 April, electronically via ISERP’s website here.


One (1) Year

Award Amount

Up to $50k. 

Application Deadline

April 15, 2024

Award Period

July 1, 2024–June 30, 2025