Graduate Student 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. We are inviting applications from UC Berkeley graduate and doctoral students. The application period for 2022-2023 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.

Award types

IRLE offers two graduate awards that graduate students may apply for:

  1. Graduate Student research award: Flexible funds designed to advance student research projects in partnership with a faculty advisor or mentor. Details below.
  2. Dissertation fellowship: Fellows receive two semesters of resident tuition and fees plus a $15,000 stipend to support the completion of dissertations related to IRLE’s mission. Learn more about the dissertation fellowship program.

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.

Graduate student research award amount:

  • Up to $6,000

Eligible expenditures:

  • Allowable expenses include, but are not limited to, acquiring data, purchasing services (e.g., digitizing documents), or necessary travel.
  • Funds may not be used to pay a salary/stipend for the applicant, or to cover university fees. 
  • Funds must be spent by May 30th, 2023.

Reporting requirements and expectations:

  • 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.
  • When IRLE supported work results in academic publications, we ask awardees to inform IRLE of those publications.

Applicant eligibility:

  • Masters and doctoral students with a GPA above 3.0 and no incompletes.
  • Applicants must be in residence at UC Berkeley and not on leave during the grant period. (Working remotely is fine).

Application instructions:

To apply, complete this form to submit the following: 

  1. Short description (1000 words or less) of your research question, methodological approach, and how IRLE funding will be used to advance the project.
  2. Budget (An optional template is provided here.)
  3. Current official or unofficial transcript


  • The application period for 2022-2023 funding has ended. Check back in March 2023 for application details.

2021-2022 Student Research Awardees »