Early Care and Education Research Scholars: Head Start Dissertation Grants

January 28, 2021

Due Date: 02/23/22
Funder: Administration for Children and Families

About the Administration for Children and Families

The Administration for Children & Families (ACF) is a division of the Department of Health and Human Services. ACF promotes the economic and social well-being of families, children, individuals, and communities. Its mission is to foster health and well-being by providing federal leadership, partnership, and resources for the compassionate and effective delivery of human services.

Background of the Head Start Program

The federal Head Start program is administered by the Office of Head Start (OHS), ACF, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The program gives grants to local public and private agencies in the nonprofit and for-profit sectors to provide comprehensive child development services to low-income children and families. The program’s two components, Early Head Start (EHS) and Head Start (HS), collectively focus on children from birth to age 5. Early Head Start serves pregnant people and children up to age 3, and programs may enroll a child at any point in this age range. Head Start serves preschool-age children, who can enter the program at age 3 years until eligible for school. Eligibility is based on income, level of need, disability status, and other factors. OHS places special emphasis on helping children develop the skills they need to be successful in school. The program also seeks to engage parents in their children’s learning and to help them reach their own educational, literacy, and employment goals.

About the Opportunity 

The Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE) of ACF is soliciting applications for Early Care and Education Research Scholars: Head Start Dissertation Grants. Funds aim to support dissertation research by advanced graduate students who are working in partnership with Head Start programs and with faculty mentors. These grants focus on building capacity in the research field by addressing questions relevant to early childhood programs that serve low-income children and families, as well as on fostering mentoring relationships between faculty members and doctoral students. OPRE is looking for research that addresses questions that directly inform local, state, or federal policies and should be relevant to multiple early care and education settings. Applicants should consider pursuing data collection across contexts, including child care, pre-k, home-visiting programs, Head Start, Early Head Start, and/or others.


Eligible applicants are public, private, and state-controlled institutions of higher education; state, county, city or township, and special district governments; independent school districts; non-profit organizations; for-profit organizations; small businesses; Native American tribal governments and organizations; and public housing authorities/Indian housing authorities.

Letters of Intent are due by January 26, 2022. Applications are due February 23, 2022.