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Fellowships to USA Doctoral Candidates for Research on Disability and Retirement

Dissertation Fellowship Program

GrantWatch ID# 193360
Agency: Foundation

Funding Source
Center for Retirement Research at Boston College

Geographic Focus
USA: AlabamaAlaskaArizonaArkansasCaliforniaColoradoConnecticutDelawareFloridaGeorgiaHawaiiIdahoIllinoisIndianaIowaKansasKentuckyLouisianaMaineMarylandMassachusettsMichiganMinnesotaMississippiMissouriMontanaNebraskaNevadaNew HampshireNew JerseyNew MexicoNew York CityNew YorkNorth CarolinaNorth DakotaOhioOklahomaOregonPennsylvaniaRhode IslandSouth CarolinaSouth DakotaTennesseeTexasUtahVermontVirginiaWashington, DCWashingtonWest VirginiaWisconsinWyoming

Important Dates
Deadline: 01/31/23 5:00 PM EST Receipt

Grant Description
Fellowships to USA doctoral candidates for research projects related to disability or retirement. Proposals are encouraged from applicants in all academic disciplines, especially those from underserved or underrepresented backgrounds. The purpose of the program is to improve the quality of scholarship in this field of studies and to promote the next generation in retirement or disability policy research.

The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College sponsors the annual Dissertation Fellowship Program in the field of retirement or disability research.  The program is funded by the U.S. Social Security Administration and provides funding opportunities for doctoral candidates to pursue cutting-edge research on retirement or disability issues.

Research focal areas include:

  • Disparities by Race and Ethnicity
  • Decline in SSDI and SSI Applications
  • Improving Communication and Outreach
  • Economic Security of SSA Beneficiaries
  • Improving Service Delivery
  • Return-to-Work
  • Informing Trust Fund Projections

For more information on focal areas, see

As with last year, two topics are relevant to all the focal areas and should be considered when developing all research proposals:

  1. Racial equity and support for underserved communities. SSA encourages all researchers to consider equity—including the structural barriers that may contribute to disparate outcomes among people who have been historically underserved, marginalized, or adversely affected by persistent poverty—as they develop their proposals.
  2. The COVID-19 pandemic and how it impacts our programs and the populations we serve. 

CRR strongly encourages research proposals that draw from a variety of academic disciplines (including, but not limited to, economics, sociology, demography, public health, public policy and administration, and psychology); utilize a variety of quantitative and/or qualitative approaches/methods, including community-engaged research; and draw from (or develop) new data sources.


  • Others (see text field entitled "Additional Eligibility Criteria" for clarification)

Additional Criteria for Eligibility
Minimum Requirements for Fellowship Applicants:
1. Applicant must be enrolled in a qualified doctoral program at a U.S. university.
2. Applicant must have completed all coursework and have completed the appropriate examinations or qualifications to be considered A.B.D.
3. Applicants must have a dissertation proposal focused on one of the Social Security Administration’s Research Focal Areas.
4. Applicants must have a dissertation advisor and committee.
5. Applicants must have the chair of the dissertation committee approve the research
methodology using the provided form.
6. Applicants cannot be receiving other federal funding concurrently with this fellowship. Please contact the CRR if you have a potential conflict.

Individuals from historically underserved or underrepresented communities are encouraged to apply.

Pre-Application Information
The deadline for submitting a proposal is Monday, January 31, 2023. Submissions must be received through the online system by 5:00pm (EST). Awards will be announced in April 2023.

The CRR offers the opportunity for potential applicants to ask questions about topics, datasets, and research design. Please contact CRR Senior Economist Gal Wettstein during the month of November to take advantage of this service.

Grant recipients may be required to present their work to the Social Security Administration in Washington, DC or Baltimore, MD.

Number of Grants
Up to three fellowships

Estimated Size of Grant
$28,000 fellowships

Contact Information
Apply Online:

Submit Letters of Recommendation:

Please contact Marina Tsiknis with any questions about the Dissertation Fellowship Program at 617-552-1092 or

Contact CRR Senior Economist Gal Wettstein:

Hovey House
258 Hammond Street
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
phone: (617) 552-1762
fax: (617) 552-0191

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