About the Young Scholars Program

The Young Scholars Program (YSP) supports scholarship for early-career researchers. The program funds implementation research that is policy- and practice-relevant and that examines the preparation, competency, compensation, well-being, and ongoing professional learning of the early care and education (ECE) workforce.

The Foundation regards diversity as an asset for building a strong and productive society and is committed to diversity and equity in scholarship and through our grantees. To increase the diversity of research perspectives, the Foundation encourages applications from:

  • Scholars who are from underrepresented groups that have historically experienced poverty, racism, prejudice, and discrimination. Such groups include, but are not limited to, researchers of color, first-generation college graduates, culturally and linguistically diverse scholars, and researchers from low-income communities
  • Scholars who represent a variety of disciplines and methodological approaches

For more information, please download the complete 2022 YSP Guidelines and view the YSP FAQs.

Watch the LOI Webinar: A Review of the Process

Research Focus 

The Foundation believes that a deeper understanding of the role of ECE professionals in enhancing young children’s early learning experiences can ultimately improve the chances for all children to reach their full potential. Scholars will become part of a growing network of the next generation of researchers whose work has the potential to strengthen the ECE workforce and improve the quality of services provided to young children and their families.

All proposed research must have primary questions that are relevant to the ECE workforce. With a particular focus on the ECE workforce, all supported research questions must support scientific inquiry into the implementation of specific ECE programs, policies, or practices. Implementation research provides the opportunity to engage in meaningful exploration of what works (or not), for whom, and under what conditions. Finally, all supported research must have a clear connection to policies and practices that have the potential to result in a positive impact on the ECE workforce and on the young children in YSP’s priority populations.

For more information on YSP’s research focus, please reference Section III. Research Focus in the 2022 YSP Guidelines.


Eligible researchers must have received their doctoral degrees (e.g., Ph.D., Ed.D., Psy.D., J.D., etc.) between January 1, 2012 and June 30, 2020. Physician applicants must have received their M.D. degrees between January 1, 2009 and June 30, 2020.

The affiliated nonprofit institution/organization must have a minimum operating budget of $2.5 million and a minimum three-year track record in conducting multi-year research projects (at least three over the last three years).

Please review Section IV. Eligibility of the 2022 YSP Guidelines for additional eligibility criteria and more information about applying to YSP.

How to Apply

The first step is to create an account by logging into the grants management system to submit the Letter of Intent (LOI). Use code “2022YSP” to access the 2022 YSP LOI form. The applicant or Principal Investigator (PI) should create the account to answer questions about their background and the proposed research project. The LOI is then completed and submitted online. Please note that the system can only accommodate one username and password per proposal. YSP is an open competition; applicants need not be nominated to apply.

Additional resources to assist with the application process include:

  • Mentor/Mentee Checklist
    A resource to help applicants and mentors develop clear parameters regarding the roles and responsibilities of the mentor/mentee during the application process
  • Institutional Checklist
    A resource tool for applicants to use in communicating the administrative application requirements with their institution or organization
  • Proposal Responses Examples Packet
    A compilation of exemplary responses to select sections of the Full Application

Watch Advancing Equity: Conducting Strengths-Based Research in Early Care & Education


April 13, 2021
Call for Proposals for 2022 YSP opens

May 4, 2021
LOI Review Process webinar
Click here to watch on demand.

May 11, 2021
Advancing Equity: Conducting Strengths-Based Research in Early Care & Education webinar presented by the Researchers Investigating Sociocultural Equity and Race (RISER) Network 
Click here to watch on demand

June 8, 2021
LOI Deadline: Online LOI closes at 8 PM EDT | 7 PM CDT | 6 PM MDT | 5 PM PDT

August 2021
Latest notification of LOI status and invitations to submit a Full Application

October 12, 2021
Full Application Deadline: Online Full Application process will close at 8 PM EDT | 7 PM CDT | 6 PM MDT | 5 PM PDT for applicants with an approved LOI who have been invited to apply

Early April 2022
Latest notification of Full Application status

Please note: An additional webinar is planned for applicants with approved LOIs who have been invited to submit a Full Application.

Contact us via email at ysp@​fcd-​us.​org.