Faculty Research Awards

The Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE) at the University of California, Berkeley supports rigorous interdisciplinary research projects on topics aligned with our mission: to understand the dynamics and policies affecting workers, working life, and employment. To advance scholarship in these topics, we invite requests for funding applications from UC Berkeley faculty. The application period for 2021-2022 funding has ended.

IRLE seeks to fund a broad and interdisciplinary range of research areas that intersect with our mission. In recent years, we have funded projects focused on education, public employment, criminal justice, labor markets, racial equity, gender discrimination, and immigration.

Faculty research awards provide flexible funds designed to support and advance faculty research projects. Awards requested can be up to $20,000.

In addition to funding, IRLE will provide grantees with collaborative meeting space, opportunities for publication and promotion of work products, and other research support appropriate to the project.

Eligible expenditures:

  • Salary and/or fee remissions for Graduate student researcher(s) (GSR).
  • Hourly wages for undergraduate project student assistant(s)
  • Reimbursement for purchasing of data, GSR travel to conduct research, or other research expenses explained clearly in the application. 
  • Light refreshments for meetings, speaker honoraria etc. for working groups or research convenings. 
  • GSR travel (We are not able to cover faculty travel or faculty salary).
  • Funds must be spent by May 30th, 2022.

Requirements and expectations:

  • Awardees must submit a one-page report on the research project’s status within two weeks after the grant period ends.
  • Awards will generally lead to academic publications, though this sometimes does not occur for some time after the end of the award. Awardees are expected to inform IRLE about the eventual publication date and outlet.
  • Awardees are strongly encouraged to publish early versions of the work in IRLE’s working paper series. We also strongly encourage awardees to produce public-facing products such as issue briefs, op-eds, white papers, or legislative testimony related to the project. IRLE offers resources that can be helpful in producing these.
  • We also encourage Faculty Research Awardees working on funded projects to submit their own relevant work to our working paper or policy brief series.

Applicant eligibility:

  • Applicants must be in residence at UC Berkeley and not on leave during the grant period.
  • Both ladder-rank and adjunct faculty are eligible.
  • Preferences will be given to junior faculty members, to applicants who have not received IRLE awards recently, and to applicants who have fully complied with all IRLE reporting requirements for past awards.
  • Applications from non-senate faculty members will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Application instructions:

To apply, complete this form to submit the following: 

  1. Cover letter that includes:
    • your interest and experience related to IRLE’s mission, 
    • a short description (500 words) of the research project, and 
    • if you have received funding from IRLE in the past 3 years, the status of the research that resulted from those awards, including citation information for any publications.
  2. Short budget that specifies how the funds will be spent.


  • Proposals must be submitted by Monday, May 3, 2021.
  • After the deadline, IRLE will consider proposals on a rolling basis pending fund availability.

For questions regarding the faculty awards program, please send an email to IRLE@berkeley.edu.

2021-2022 Faculty Research Awardees »