Research Grants

The Deshna Foundation funds studies that support our Current Research Interest.

How to Apply

All applications must be submitted via email to research (at)

Before You Start

Letters of Inquiry

  1. All research grants begin with a letter of inquiry.
  2. A letter of inquiry functions as a mini-proposal. It should include sufficient detail about the project’s theoretical background, research questions, design, methods, and analyses, so that reviewers can make an initial evaluation.
  3. Letters of inquiry are reviewed by internal reviewers with  expertise, but their expertise may not be in an applicant’s specific area of work. Write your letter with this audience in mind.
  4. Due dates are usually in early April, and October.
The Foundation will invite a full proposal if we determine that a letter of inquiry:
  • Fits the Foundation’s Current Research Interests;
  • Potentially meets the Foundation’s General Criteria for Funding; and
  • Demonstrates that the proposed project is beyond the planning phase of literature review and pilot work.

Full Proposals

Full proposals are reviewed using a rigorous, scientific, peer review process involving two or more external reviewers. The Foundation chooses reviewers who collectively have content, methodological, and disciplinary expertise in the proposed work.

Applicants who receive generally positive reviews are given an opportunity to provide written responses to external reviewers’ critiques. The Foundation does not necessarily look for applicants to agree with reviewers’ concerns. Instead, applicants should show serious consideration of reviewers’ critiques and offer a frank and thorough response. If warranted, applicants can propose to alter their proposed studies to address reviewers’ concerns.

Full proposals, external reviews, and applicants’ responses to the reviews then receive further appraisal from the Foundation’s Senior Program Team. The Team makes funding recommendations to the Board of Trustees during triannual Board meetings. Funding is allocated shortly after these meetings

Criteria for Funding

Reviewers will look for applications that meet the following criteria:
  • Research questions and/or hypotheses fit with the Foundation’s current research interest
  • Project potentially meets the Foundation’s General Criteria for Funding

Tips for Preparing Your Application

  • Focus on tackling a few important research questions or hypotheses well.
  • Reviewers often read applications that try to tackle too many questions in one study, or questions that do not fit together cohesively.
  • We believe it is more valuable for a study to address a few research questions well than to address many research questions and/or hypotheses with less rigor.
  • All studies have their strengths and weaknesses. A strong application includes convincing arguments about its strengths,
  • but it also demonstrates an understanding of the study’s limits.
  • In a letter of inquiry, provide enough information for reviewers to gauge the fit of your methods and analyses with the research questions and the likely rigor of the proposed work. Convince them that the project is ready to move to the full proposal stage.
  • In a full proposal, you will have more space to describe your project. Include sufficient details about your design, methods, and analysis plan for reviewers to evaluate their rigor and appropriateness for addressing each of the research questions and/or hypotheses
  • If you are proposing to use an existing dataset, provide assurances about the quality of the data for addressing the research questions.
  • Consider using headings and sub-headings to help reviewers find sections and topics.
  • Consider whether the application is understandable to reviewers who do not have expertise in all areas of the proposed work. Avoid unnecessary jargon.
  • Leave enough time to have trusted colleagues review and provide feedback on your application, multiple times if necessary.

If you do not receive funding . .

You may apply again with a new letter of inquiry, but in it you will need to convincingly address prior concerns expressed by reviewers and the Foundation.