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Announcement – Negotiating Agreement in Congress Research Grants

Political Theology Today encourages its readers to apply for grants from the Social Sciences Research Council (SSRC) in Washington, DC.  PTT considers the field of “political theology” to serve as a bridge between the social sciences in the humanities.

The following is a call from the SSRC for Negotiating Agreement in Congress Research Grants.  The full SSRC call can be found here:


Processes of negotiating agreement in Congress are under great stress, yet we know very little about the mechanics, challenges, and remedies for this problem. Building on the Anxieties of Democracy program’s current work and the Social Science Research Council’s reputation as a leader in research granting competitions of the highest caliber, our goal is to induce scholars with diverse sets of expertise to probe this vital issue. Specifically, we seek to affect the character and emphases of research and writing about Congress within the academy, while developing understanding and approaches with the potential to influence legislative behavior.

The Negotiating Agreement in Congress Research Grants are generously funded by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

The application deadline for the 2016 competition is September 12, 2016. Apply online here. A second competition for these grants will be announced early Spring 2017.

For news and announcements about this project and other Anxieties of Democracy program activities, please click here: @SSRCdemocracy.

Call for Proposals

Processes of negotiating agreement in the U.S. Congress have been under great stress, yet we know very little about the mechanics, challenges, and remedies for this problem. Building on the recommendations of the American Political Science Association’s 2013 Task Force on Negotiating Agreement in Politics, these grants are designed to open a robust research field that explores various dimensions of political negotiation in Congress by charting new methodological directions and avenues of understanding. The Negotiating Agreement in Congress Research Grants seek to inspire a diverse cohort of researchers to address this problem through interdisciplinary scholarship.

Successful applicants will submit innovative proposals within fields that include, but are not limited to: political science, political theory, political economy, law, history, behavioral economics, economics, social psychology, cognitive psychology, emotion and political judgment, anthropology, and sociology. Potential research examples may include:

  • Institutional and electoral forces contributing to, and/or presently shaping, the breakdown of political negotiation.
  • Interviews with legislators investigating the challenges, opportunities, and lessons learned from their experiences negotiating in Congress. (For example, interviews with legislators who are members of historically underrepresented groups, caucuses, or specific legislative subcommittees would be appropriate.)
  • Archival investigations of previous congressional eras that provide comparative historical analysis, or uncover long-term dynamics to present relations.
  • Cognitive studies analyzing conditions and biases that prevent multiple parties from perceiving the possibility of agreement.
  • Work that draws on lessons offered by instances of successful and unsuccessful negotiation processes in the international context.


All applicants are required to meet the following criteria:

  • Award of PhD.
  • Current affiliation with an institution based in the United States.
  • Availability in October 2017 to participate in a workshop at Council headquarters in Brooklyn, NY.

Grant Terms

The Negotiating Agreement in Congress Research Grants provide up to $10,000 of funding for up to one year of research and writing.

  • Grants are intended to support individual research.
  • Grantees will be notified of their awards in November 2016. Grant terms begin in December 2016 and conclude in December 2017.
  • Grantees are expected to present their works-in-progress at a Council-sponsored workshop.
  • Grantees are expected to devote their awards solely to the research and writing described in the proposal.

Application Materials

All application materials must be submitted via the SSRC’s Online Application Portal, including:

  • Abstract (not to exceed 100 words).
  • Project proposal (not to exceed 2,000 words).
  • Budget proposal (not to exceed one page).
  • Bibliography (not to exceed one page, single-spaced).
  • Curriculum vitae (not to exceed three pages).
  • Two Letters of Reference.

Application Deadline

Completed applications must be submitted through the SSRC’s Online Application Portal before 11:59pm (EDT) on September 12, 2016. The application and detailed instructions are available here.

Further Information

SSRC staff are available to assist with the application process. Please direct any inquiries to the SSRC’s Anxieties of Democracy program email account, democracy@ssrc.org. Please specify “NAC Research Grants” in the message subject line.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is my proposal required to demonstrate interdisciplinary research?
No. We are interested in interdisciplinary scholarship but will not exclude other projects.

2. If I submit my application before the deadline, can I change it?
No. No alterations will be accepted after the application has been submitted.

3. Do I have to pay to attend the Negotiating Agreement in Congress Research Grants workshop?
No. The Anxieties of Democracy program will happily sponsor your attendance.

4. Do I need to be affiliated with a university in order to apply?

5. Questions about eligibility?
Please refer to the “Eligibility” section of this webpage for details.

6. What is meant by “award of PhD”?
Only candidates whose PhDs have been officially awarded by their university by September 12, 2016, are eligible.

7. Is there a citizenship requirement?
No. These grants are available to any persons affiliated with a U.S. institution. Noncitizens must be able to accept funds according to the terms of their visa.

8. How many months of support will the fellowship provide?
These grants are designed to support research for up to one year.

9. What is the dollar amount of the award?
We are awarding up to $10,000 per award at the discretion of the Selection Committee and Anxieties of Democracy program staff.

10. What are the start and end dates of the grant?
Awards will be distributed in December 2016. Final reports are due December 2017.

11. What are the selection procedures?
The Negotiation Agreement in Congress Research Grants Selection Committee includes distinguished faculty from a range of social science disciplines.

12. How many awards are offered in a given year?
Up to eight grants will be awarded per year.

13. May grantees hold other fellowships and/or awards simultaneously?
Decisions about awards will be by made by the Selection Committee on a case-by-case basis.

14. What should the Letters of Reference address?
The SSRC Online Application Portal provides the following guidelines for referees:

  • How long, how well, and in what capacities have you known the applicant?
  • How would you describe the applicant’s past achievements and promise as a researcher?
  • What do you regard as the applicant’s most significant research achievement?
  • What are the applicant’s qualifications for carrying out the proposed research project successfully and in a timely manner? (Does the applicant have the academic or professional preparation, including methodological training, adequate for undertaking this project?)
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the proposed project?
  • How well, in your view, does the proposal meet the Negotiating Agreement in Congress Research Grant aims?
  • What other information about the applicant, or the proposal, is significant?

15. When will applicants be notified of an award decision?
Awards will be announced in November 2016.

16. May I submit my application by fax or email?
No. Applications sent by fax or email will not be accepted. Applicants must use the SSRC’s Online Application Portal to supply the necessary information.

17. How can I find out whether the program has received my application?
An acknowledgement of receipt will be sent automatically via email upon successful submission of the application. If you do not receive an automatic email confirmation within 24 hours of submitting your application, please contact democracy@ssrc.org. Please specify “NAC Research Grants” in the message subject line.


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