Psychology Research Innovation Funds

Application and Proposal Instructions

Fall 2021


The Department of Psychology maintains several restricted funds created to support research in several specific topic areas. Members of the Department conducting scientific research may apply for such funds in the fall term of each year. The funds, and associated topic areas, are as follows.

Ditmars Fund
Barbard R. Ditmars made this bequest to the Department of Psychology in memory of Elmer L. Ditmars and Dora Davidson Ditmars “to foster a better understanding of the significance of interparental relationships and parent-child relationships with an emphasis on the early childhood years.”
Hodgson Fund
The Hodgson Fund was established with contributions in memory of Richard Hodgson, M.A., LL.D. (Melbourne), A.B., A.M. (Cambridge) to “encourage the investigation and study of mental or physical phenomena the origin or expression of which appears to be independent of the ordinary sensory channels.” Fund terms now allow for studies related to artificial intelligence.
Rand Fund
The bequest of Henry A. Rand was made to Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, for research by the Department of Psychology “to determine the validity of handwriting analysis as a psychodiagnostic method.” In keeping with donor terms in modern times, this may now include natural language processing (NLP) methods.
Smith Fund
The Smith Fund was established in 2019 by a generous gift from Noel Wilson Smith, Ph.D. to “activities related to interbehavioral psychology; an exploration of the functional relationship between behavior and environmental stimuli and the interrerlatedness of these variables, and other related fields.”
Talley Fund
The bequest of William A. Talley, Ed.M. 1956, was made to the Department of Psychology of the School of Arts and Sciences of Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, to be used “to further studies related to child abuse of pre-school age children.”
The Department invites proposals for the Fall 2021 Psychology Research Innovation Funds. Letters of Intent are requested by November 15, 2021. Complete applications are due by December 15, 2021.

Available Funding

Ladder and non-ladder faculty awards are capped at $40,000; graduate student and postdoc awards are capped at $10,000. Awards in excess of these amounts may be considered if proposals are deemed by the review committee to be exceptionally compelling. Awards are payable over one year and are non-renewable. The Department reserves the right to terminate any grant at any time for cause. Unused funds must be returned to the department.


Eligible award recipients have a current, formal affiliation with the Psychology Department as ladder faculty (Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Professor), non-ladder faculty (Preceptor, Lecturer, or College Fellow), Postdoctoral Fellow/Research Associate, or current PhD student. PhD student, Postdoc, and Research Associate awards must be accompanied by a letter of support from a current Departmental faculty person.

Submission Timeline

  1. Letters of intent are due by November 15, 2021.
  2. Proposals will be due by December 15, 2021.
  3. Decisions will be announced by January 15, 2022.
  4. Funds will be made available shortly thereafter. Fund disbursal will occur upon receipt of signed award terms and conditions, and provision of any other required documentation. Delayed receipt of documentation may delay the disbursal of funds.
  5. Research reports will be due from award recipients one year after initial receipt of funds. Reports may be no longer than two pages.

Letter of Intent

Letters of intent are strongly encouraged but not required. Please consider submitting a letter of intent to help facilitate an expedited review process. To indicate your interest in applying for an award, please submit the following information and documentation via this form by November 15, 2021.

  1. Name
  2. Email Address
  3. Phone Number
  4. Current Department Affiliation (PhD student, postdoc, etc.)
  5. PI / Advisor Name
  6. Fund to which you are applying (Ditmars, Hodgson, Rand, Smith, or Talley)
  7. Name of Project
  8. Total Amount of Funding Requested
  9. No more than 1-page description of project, including proposed budget

Application Requirements

To apply for funding, please submit the following information and documentation via this form by December 15, 2021.

  1. Name
  2. Email Address
  3. Phone Number
  4. Current Department Affiliation (PhD student, postdoc, etc.)
  5. PI / Advisor Name
  6. Fund to which you are applying (Ditmars, Hodgson, Rand, Smith, or Talley)
  7. Name of Project
  8. One-Sentence Description of Project
  9. Total Amount of Funding Requested
  10. Proposal (3-page limit). Narratives are limited to three pages (single-spaced) and should describe the Specific Aims, Significance and Innovation, and Research Strategy of the proposed project. References, a detailed budget, and NIH-style biosketch for each PI/Co-I must be included and do not count toward the 3-page limit.
  11. Letter of Support (required for Postdoc, Research Associate, and PhD applicants)
  12. Budget. A budget and budget justification are required. Budget categories may include:


Salary support may be requested for research assistants to the extent that they work on the specified project. Any benefits-eligible personnel expenses in the budget must include the appropriate fringe rates for the year. Applicants should consult with their portfolio manager for relevant fringe rates.

Please note: All personnel expenses are contingent upon local HR approval. Consult Krista Lester with questions.



Only expenditures for the purposes of the proposed project are allowable. Funds for large pieces of equipment planned to improve the general facilities of the laboratory will not be approved. Funds for maintenance or service contracts are not allowable. Equipment becomes the property of Harvard University upon the termination of the project.



Travel to collect specimens or obtain data necessary to conduct the proposed research is allowable and must be explained thoroughly in the budget justification. Other travel is not an allowable budget item unless it can be related directly to the enhancement and/or dissemination of the funded project.



All research-related supplies are allowed.



In accordance with donor terms and University policies regarding endowment funds, overhead will not be assessed.


Other Support

Include a detailed list of the PI’s active and pending support. Information provided should include name of sponsor, award period, award amount, and name of project. Other Support includes all financial resources, whether Federal, non-Federal, commercial or institutional, available in direct support of an individual’s research endeavors, including but not limited to research grants, cooperative agreements, contracts and/or institutional awards. Please include any Harvard internal grants or major, project-specific support. Please do not include any SEED or TAD funding. Also include a short narrative (no more than one paragraph) demonstrating the applicant’s need for funding.


Acknowledgment and Reporting Requirements

Research and publications based on funded proposals should acknowledge financial support from the specific fund that provided the funds. This information will be provided in the award letter.


As a condition of receiving an award, award recipients will provide a brief (<2 page) summary of their funded research and the results of that research, which may be made available to the donor who provided the funds.


Assurance of Compliance

Award recipients are expected to comply with all University, FAS, and Department of Psychology policies governing the conduct of research including, but not limited to the use of animals, human subjects, hazardous materials, and export controls. All applicants are subject to audit.