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Funding Opportunity: NSF Publishes Dear Colleague Letter on the Social and Behavioral Science of Bias, Prejudice, and Discrimination

  • 1.  Funding Opportunity: NSF Publishes Dear Colleague Letter on the Social and Behavioral Science of Bias, Prejudice, and Discrimination

    Posted Jan 30, 2024 11:23

    The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently published a Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) inviting research proposals to existing funding programs within the Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE) focused on advancing the evidence-base within the science of discrimination, prejudice, and bias.  NSF is particularly interested in research that is carried out in conjunction with communities directly impacted by the bias or discrimination being studied and highly encourages submission of research proposals that "contribute to the scientific understanding of the genesis, proliferation, management, mitigation, and societal responses to hate-based violence." 

    Respondents to the DCL should apply to existing SBE programs in conjunction with each program's guidelines, deadlines, and requirements.  Participating SBE programs include Science of Science; Social Psychology; Build and Broaden; Accountable Institutions and Behavior; Cognitive Neuroscience; Linguistics; Sociology; Security and Preparedness; Cultural Anthropology; Developmental Sciences; and Law and Science.  Potential Principal Investigators (PIs) should consider the following focus areas when responding to the DCL:

    1. "Bias, prejudice, and discrimination in under-studied contexts and communities;
    2. Situating bias, prejudice, and discrimination in context; and
    3. Development of bias, prejudice, and discrimination."

    NSF recommends potential PIs reach out to the Program Director of the relevant SBE funding program to discuss this DCL before submission of a grant application and requires that proposals responding to the DCL to be submitted with "BPD" at the start of the proposal title.  Questions specific to the DCL can be directed to  Additional details related to the strategic directions highlighted above can be found in the DCL.

    While the DCL is aligned with Biden Administration priorities focused on the promotion of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), faculty should note recent legislation in several states prohibiting or severely limiting DEI activities at universities in those states.  This tension between federal promotion of DEI and anti-DEI efforts in state legislatures will continue to be a hot topic in Congress during this presidential election year.  NSF leadership has indicated that they intend to continue to support the broadening of participation in science and engineering despite the proliferation of anti-DEI laws at the state level.


    Madison Lambert
    Legislative Research Assistant
    Lewis-Burke Associates LLC
    Washington D.C.