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Now Accepting Applications Due Wednesday, July 28th, 2021

About the Research Seed Grant program

The Boston Area Research Initiative (BARI) provides research seed grant funding for graduate students conducting original data-oriented research on the Boston area, at the intersection of scholarship and policy. Applications can be submitted by students at any local university. Special consideration is given to projects that examine or address questions with regional significance to greater Boston, beyond any one municipal border, such as inequality and social mobility, though we accept applications on other themes as well.

Regardless of topical theme, the program supports two types of projects:

  • Pioneering work that translates a novel digital data set available from a public or private source into a research-ready form that can provide insights on human behavior and society.
  • Projects that seek to develop, implement, or evaluate new programs that incorporate research insights into policy or practice.

For all funded projects, new data sets and associated documentation will be published through BARI’s Boston Data Portal when the project is completed. Examples of past projects can be found here.

Applicants may request up to $5,000, which can be used for any project-related expenses, including materials, software, participant recruitment, or student stipend. Applicants will be required to demonstrate a commitment by their home institution to provide support for their project, in any appropriate form: faculty time, promotion, convening, matching funds, etc. Applicants will be required to submit a letter from a sponsor at their home institution detailing this support.

BARI has a strong commitment to diversity–we encourage applications from persons with a wide range of backgrounds and experiences.

Applying for the Research Seed Grants

Apply today for a 2021-2022 Research Seed Grant!

Deadline Extended: Wednesday, July 28th, 2021

Applications will be accepted at and should include:

  • Cover letter;
  • Summary of the proposed project, including its potential scholarly and practical impacts, and the data and/or partners it centers on;
  • Proposed budget;
  • Letter of support from home institution;
  • Curriculum vitae;
  • Contact information for faculty mentor who will oversee project;
  • If necessary, Letter of Commitment from partner providing data or collaborating on project.

The BARI Research Seed Grant program is made possible in part by support from Boston Indicators at The Boston Foundation, the Barr Foundation, and the Herman and Frieda L. Miller Foundation.

The following projects received funding from BARI’s Research Seed Grant program for the 2020-2021 Academic Year:

Fall 2020

Tracing the Roots of Modern-Day House Flipping back to 20th Century Redlining

Sebastian Sandoval, is an MIT Presidential Fellow pursuing a Ph.D. in Urban Economics, Policy, and Statistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He’s researching the roots and consequences of economic mobility and inequality using big data, administrative records, and spatial data. His applied and theoretical work maintains a focus on economic opportunity, social justice, and health disparities. Methodologically, he uses casual inference, Bayesian techniques, and machine learning to better understand how shocks and policies affect the economic opportunity of people, neighborhoods, and cities. He is excited to explore how structural racism, in the form of redlining, has a long-lasting impact on the modern-day house -flipping patterns and, ultimately, accelerating gentrification of vulnerable communities in Boston. 

Reimagining Public Safety: Community-Policing and Community Control in a Boston Public Housing Development

Jasmine Olivier is a Ph.D. candidate in Sociology at Harvard University. Her research focuses on race, crime, and policing, especially with the context of public housing. Jasmine’s current dissertation project examines how organizational and community actors work to address safety and quality of life concerns in Boston public housing developments and how these approaches have changed over time. Through this study, which draws on crime data, archival data, semi-structured interviews, and ethnography, Jasmine seeks to contribute to substantive policy changes in the realms of policing and public housing in the Greater Boston area. Jasmine is excited to work with BARI and to connect with other researchers committed to improving conditions for the most vulnerable.