Innovation Resource Center for Human Resources (IRC4HR®) offers grants for research projects that produce practical and actionable insights to help organizations, leaders, and workers succeed together through the profound business and social challenges of the 21st-century workplace.

We seek to fund research projects that we refer to as ‘pracademic’ research – studies that bring the rigor of academic research and generate practical results – and that can be applied across multiple industries and organizations. The methods employed to conduct the research must be appropriately designed to address the proposed research questions and should produce usable outputs such as white papers, learning materials, assessment tools, organization design models, leadership capabilities, practice recommendations, and other deliverables for use by IRC4HR’s stakeholders. Our key stakeholders include business leaders, HR professionals, managers, and public policymakers who seek to enhance – and remove barriers to – inclusion, productivity, engagement, and performance in the workplace.

Research projects are more likely to receive funding if potential grantees also consider how their research contributes to “the knowledge and practice of human relations” within and across organizations in business, non-profit, and government sectors, as defined by our mission. For examples of recent studies that received IRC4HR grant funds, please visit the Projects section on our website. Please note that, as a 501(c)(3) private foundation, the deliverables that IRC4HR funds must be made available to the public at no cost.


Innovation Resource Center for Human Resources has a modest amount of grant opportunities to award in each annual funding cycle, so the funding process is competitive.

The annual amount of funding varies from year to year and could be allocated to a single project or to multiple projects, depending on the number and quality of proposals received. There is no typical funding amount but, for estimating purposes, grants can be as small as $5,000 USD and as much as $150,000 USD, although they are typically between $15,000 and $40,000. Larger grants for research projects tend to be awarded and disbursed over multiple fiscal years. Once the available funds for a funding cycle are allocated, IRC4HR will continue to consider proposals, but they will be evaluated for the next funding cycle (our fiscal year funding cycle begins May 1st and concludes April 30th).

Each proposal for research grant funding is reviewed by the IRC4HR board of trustees, which includes business and non-profit executives from a broad range of functional and academic backgrounds.

After proposals are reviewed, the board meets face-to-face or via conference call to raise questions, discuss recommendations, and agree on final funding decisions. Occasionally, potential grantees will be invited to discuss their proposal and respond to questions to help the board reach a decision.

Please review the information on this site to determine whether your project may be a good fit with IRC4HR’s funding priorities. There is no need to speak with IRC4HR staff prior to submitting a proposal, but if you would like to explore or discuss your idea prior to developing your proposal, please send an email to info@irc4hr.org requesting a conversation.


Here you’ll find suggested format and related questions (not all will be relevant to every proposal)

Grant request proposals should be submitted via email to info@irc4hr.org, in a Microsoft Word (or comparable alternative) or PDF format and generally include the following sections and information:

  • Name(s), title(s), organization affiliation(s), and contact information for primary researcher(s); title of project; and contracting organization (recipient of funds); please indicate who to contact for follow-up questions regarding the proposal
  • Purpose and brief abstract
    • What is the purpose of your proposed study and how would it contribute to IRC’s mission and area of interest?
    • What is the “story” you want to tell with your research and/or the “case” you want to make?
  • Project background and overview
    • Why is this research important?
    • What literature or existing area of practice does it extend (or create or disrupt)?
    • What is the practical value of your proposed research? How will it impact/influence/inform practice, policy, organization effectiveness, human performance and wellbeing, leadership, etc.?
    • What is the current landscape for this area of research? What is new and unique about your proposed research and how will it be differentiated from already existing or current work in this area
  • Methodology, scope, and deliverables
    • What are the sources of the data?
    • If appropriate, has your sample been secured/approved for this project (yes, no)?
    • Describe the number and types of study source(s) of data, such as employee self-report, team leaders, managers, executives, etc.
    • Why are you using this particular methodology?
    • How is this methodology useful for answering the research questions/testing hypotheses?
    • What are the outputs/deliverables you expect to generate (e.g., white papers, journal articles, participant reports, assessment instruments, tools, learning materials, etc.)?
    • How/where do you plan to disseminate the outputs/deliverables from your work?
    • How do you propose to measure the impact of your work?
  • Tasks, timeline, resources, and budget
    • What are the key tasks involved in conducting this work?
    • What is the estimated timeline for accomplishing the work (generally, project duration should not exceed two years from start to finish)?
    • What resources are required?
    • What is the proposed budget and how is it allocated across tasks and resources?
    • Has any other funding been sought or received for this project? If so, please provide the source(s) and amount(s).

As described above, IRC4HR seeks is funding projects that produce ‘pracademic’ research, which means that every research proposal should be (1) grounded in the literature of the field; built on a solid, theoretical basis; and based on sound methodology; and (2) have a focus on delivering data-driven, practical insights and outcomes that can be applied by some or all of IRC4HR’s key stakeholders (business leaders, HR executives, managers, workers, and policy makers).

To further assist in evaluating grant requests, the following criteria are applied:

  • Aligned – how well does the research align with IRC4HR’s mission and area of interest?
  • Network Multiplier – what kind of network does the potential grantee bring that can provide access to sources of data and/or facilitate distribution of outputs/research deliverables?
  • Distribution Options – can outputs be delivered via multiple channels (e.g., papers, webinars, case studies, tools, etc.)? What are they?
  • Additive – how, if at all, will the research build on/augment previous studies, practice, etc.?
  • Unique Opportunity – what, if any, opportunity exists for (1) a major breakthrough in an area of interest or (2) a high-visibility/high impact set of findings or (3) a significant output from a small grant?

We look forward to receiving your proposal and grant request, and to the opportunity to support your work. If you have any questions, please send them to info@irc4hr.org.