Faculty Research Awards

IRLE supports rigorous interdisciplinary research projects on topics aligned with our mission: to understand the dynamics and policies affecting workers, working life, and employment.

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.

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.

Award amount: up to $20,000

Eligible expenditures:

  • Salary and fee remissions for GSRs. For reference: a Step III 50% GSR position with fees = $18,300 in 2018-19. GSR positions may be for Summer 2019, Fall 2019 or Spring 2020.
  • Reimbursement for purchasing of data, GSR travel to conduct research, or other expenses explained clearly in the application budget. We will not cover faculty travel or faculty salary.

Requirements and expectations:

  • Awardees must submit a one-page report on the research project’s status within two weeks after the grant period ends (i.e., by mid-July 2020).
  • Awards will generally lead to academic publications, though this sometimes does not occur for some time after the end of the award. Awardees are encouraged to publish early versions of the work in IRLE’s working paper series, and are expected to inform IRLE about the eventual publication outlet.
  • We 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 GSRs working on funded projects to submit to our working paper or policy brief series.


  • Applicants must be in residence at UC Berkeley and not on leave during the grant period.
  • Both ladder-rank and adjunct faculty are eligible.
  • Applications from junior faculty members, from those who have not received a recent IRLE award, and for projects undertaken in collaboration with IRLE’s research centers will receive special consideration.

To apply:

Visit https://goo.gl/forms/aLRtKM5jWlkvoWAx2 and 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


  • Applications for the 2019-2020 year were due on April 12. However, IRLE will consider proposals on a rolling basis pending fund availability.
  • Check back in the spring for 2020-2021 application deadlines.

Contact Christina McKay, IRLE Program Assistant, at christina.mckay@berkeley.edu with any questions.

Faculty Research Awardees »