TIAA Institute Request for Research Proposals

Proposals due Friday, October 2, 2020, 5 p.m. ET

The TIAA Institute Grants Program is accepting research proposals focused on the following priority research themes: financial security, health care, and the education sector. It has strong interest in the following research topics but welcomes proposals relevant to any of these priority areas:

Financial Security:

  • Behavioral Dimensions of Retirement Plan Design
  • The Role of Lifetime Income Options in a Retirement Plan
  • The Impact of COVID-19 on Financial Wellness
  • The Impact of Long-Term Low Interest Rates on Retirement Security

Health Care:

  • The Impact of Retirement Health Expenditures on Household Financial Security
  • The Role of Health Savings Accounts Over a Household’s Lifecycle
  • The Impact of COVID-19 on the Healthcare Sector
  • Workforce Models in the Healthcare Sector

The Education Sector: 

  • The Impact of COVID-19 on the Higher Education Sector
  • The Effect of Technological Innovation on Educational Services
  • Partnership Models for Financing Educational Investment
  • Strategies for Improving Outcomes of Households with Educational Loan Debt
  • The Evolution of Higher Education Workforce Models


Any faculty member with an active appointment at a U.S. college or university is eligible to submit a proposal, as are researchers with appointments at public policy research organizations. Junior faculty members are encouraged to apply.

How to Apply:

Submit the following materials as a single file in an e-mail to Brent Davis at The submission deadline is October 2, 2020 5:00 p.m. ET.

  1. Cover page with proposal title, primary investigator names(s) and full contact information
  2. Abstract (150 words)
  3. Proposal narrative (3-5 pages)
  4. Project motivation, significance and goals
  5. Research question(s)
  6. Methodology (i.e., analytical framework, data sources, sensitivity analysis)
  7. Potential practical implications or conclusions
  8. Academic or practitioner publications where you might submit the research
  9. Academic or practitioner conferences where the research could be presented
  10. List of references cited in the narrative (not part of page count)
  11. Timeline for deliverables (see below)
  12. Complete resumes/CV’s of the primary investigator(s)
  13. Budget that itemizes costs for at least the following: Personnel, including salary and benefits for the principal investigator(s) and any other investigators or research assistants (each separately itemized); Travel for research-related purposes; Equipment, materials, and other expenses, including the itemized costs, if any, of data, postage, and/or printing.

Note: This grant program funds direct research costs only; overhead and indirect costs are not funded. A maximum of $70,000 will be allocated per selected proposal.


  1. Technical report, analogous to an academic working paper, that is suitable for publication as a TIAA Institute Research Dialogue on the Institute’s web site.
  2. Non-technical paper in the 2,000-3,000 word range that summarizes the motivation for the research, key findings, and implications of the findings.
  3. Executive summary (no longer than 300 words) outlining the key findings and implications of the research in plain English.
  4. Bulleted list of three to five key takeaways.
  5. Deliverables must be submitted in MS Word, with tables/charts in MS Excel.
  6. Up to two oral presentations of the research if requested by the TIAA Institute. Resulting travel-related expenses will be paid by the TIAA Institute.


Delivery of final reports is expected one year from start date of the grant.  Progress reports to be submitted four and eight months from date of grant.

Terms and Conditions for Grant Recipients:

  1. Acknowledge the TIAA Institute’s grant support on papers and presentations stemming from the funded research.  Please use the statement below: “The project described received funding from the TIAA Institute. The content is solely the responsibility of the author(s) and does not necessarily represent the views of TIAA or the TIAA Institute.”
  2. Comply with IRB and human subject requirements at the researcher’s home institution.
  3. Execute a grant agreement.