The aim of the IBM Center for The Business of Government is to tap into the best minds in academe and the nonprofit sector who can use rigorous public management research and analytic techniques to help public sector executives and managers improve the effectiveness of government.  We are looking for very practical findings and actionable recommendations - not just theory or concepts - in order to assist executives and managers to more effectively respond to mission and management challenges.

The Center is pleased to solicit proposals that result in reports for government leaders and public managers in the following eight research areas:

Read our research announcement, which includes an overview of the eight research areas, and apply online!

Description of Stipends
Individuals receiving a stipend should produce a 10,000- to 12,000-word report. The manuscript should be submitted no later than six months after the start of the project. Recipients will select the start and end dates. The report should be written for government leaders and public managers, providing very practical knowledge and insight.

Individuals working in universities, nonprofit organizations, or journalism.

Size of Stipends
$20,000 for each report


  • October 1, 2024
  • March 3, 2025

Applicants will be informed of a decision ten weeks after the deadlines. Applications must be received online (by midnight EST) or postmarked by the above dates.

Submitting Applications
Interested individuals can read our research announcement, and apply online

Applicants will complete a series of fields that include the proposal title, proposal summary (100 word limit), the research report proposal (1,500 word limit) to include the (i) purpose, ii) methodology, and (iii) results of the proposed report, a category for the proposal, and a resume for each author.

Though it is not a requirement, we encourage all applicants to submit applications and supporting documents online. Attachments are permitted, but should adhere to the constraints outlined in the guidelines.

    Evaluation Criteria

    Government leaders and public managers want answers to the “So what?” question. They want to know “Why should I care?” and “What do I do next?” Consequently, proposals are reviewed in terms of the following criteria:

    • Will the proposed report be of high value and timely to government leaders and public managers?
    • Will the report provide practical insight and understanding of the topic?
    • Does the applicant demonstrate the potential to produce a final report that will be clear, understandable and highly communicable to government leaders and public managers?
    • Does the applicant demonstrate outstanding command and knowledge of the topic?





    Can I apply online?
    Yes, online applications are preferred.

    Does the Center only fund reports that are addressed to federal executives and managers?
    No. While a majority of the Center’s reports are targeted to executives and managers in the U.S. federal government, we are also interested in reports that discuss new approaches to improving the effectiveness of government at state, local, and international levels. The most competitive proposals tend to be those that have a very strong “story” or are clearly generalizable to a very broad audience.

    Do you need to itemize a budget in the proposal or describe how the $20,000 stipend will be used?
    No. The researcher can use the stipend however he/she deems appropriate.

    Can I submit more than one proposal at a time?
    No. Researchers are asked to submit only one proposal per review cycle. Multiple proposal submissions may lead to disqualification.

    Does the Center accept proposals for topics outside the scope of this announcement?
    Yes, however, most projects that receive stipends will be closely related to the seven themes outlined in this announcement. While we will consider proposals touching on other government management challenges, these are the areas of most interest to us.

    Can independent researchers or consultants apply?
    Independent researchers or consultants must have an affiliation with a nonprofit organization, an academic institution, or journalistic institution. A letter from one of those organizations describing the affiliation must be included in the proposal.

    Can graduate students apply?
    If the proposed report is part of a graduate student's doctoral dissertation, he or she may apply. However, the proposal should include a letter of endorsement from the individual's dissertation advisor.

    Can international students or consultants apply?
    Yes, as long there is an affiliation with a nonprofit organization, an academic institution, or journalistic institution.



    How long is the report?
    Reports should be 30- to 40-pages in length.

    Does the Center provide stipends larger than $20,000?

    Does the Center pay for overhead expenses?
    No. We do not pay overhead, indirect, or operating costs.

    Can the recipient's institution receive the stipend?
    Yes. Individuals receiving a stipend have the option of requesting that the stipend be paid directly to their institution. As noted above, however, no overhead costs will be included in the stipend.



    Who is the audience for completed reports?
    Reports should be written for government leaders and public managers, with a goal of providing them practical insights, and where appropriate, actionable recommendations to help them improve the operation and management of government.

    How quickly must the report be completed?
    Recipients will be asked to select the start and end dates of the project. Recipients are asked to submit a completed manuscript no later than six months after the selected start date. The project should be started no later than three months after the stipend is awarded.

    How will the report be reviewed?
    Upon receipt of the manuscript, the IBM Center reviews the draft for consistency with the recipient’s original proposal. The IBM Center may offer editorial suggestions to better address how government leaders and public managers will read and act upon the report’s contents.

    How will the report be published?
    The IBM Center will publish the report and distribute it to government executives and managers.

    Can recipients publish the report in other publications?
    Recipients retain all rights to the research and can publish findings anywhere they wish. The IBM Center must be cited, however, for providing support for the project.