On this page, there are details on submission deadlines, proposal guidelines, budget, and a link to SSA’s FY22 Focal Areas (pdf).

MRDRC Submission Deadlines

Proposal Guidelines

Proposals should be formatted using the Word template sent with MRDRC’s email announcement.

  • Use 12 point, Times New Roman;
  • Double spaced;
  • One-inch margins;
  • No more than five pages, not including references;
  • Figures/tables are included in the page count and will decrease the amount of room for text.

Proposals should be no longer than five pages and include:

  • title;
  • research team with affiliations;
  • 250 word policy abstract;
  • three key words;
  • simple statement on what data set will be used;
  • which SSA priority the proposal addresses or one sentence on its relevance to SSA;
  • detailed explanation of methodology;
  • quarterly timetable;
  • references (please keep to a minimum).

Abstracts for all funded projects will be publicly posted. They should be written for a nontechnical audience and should clearly identify the importance and implications of the research project for SSA.

Link to SSA’s FY22 Focal Area List (pdf).

All proposed research and activities must be relevant to at least one of SSA’s program areas or populations:  Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI). Disability Insurance (DI), or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).  Some research may speak directly to specific programs and the distributional, behavioral, or adequacy issues related to those programs.  Other research, including changes in mortality, fertility, immigration, health, and marital status, is foundational and may support policy evaluation for all three programs.  Proposed research activities may employ a variety of approaches to contribute to the evidence base for policy, including descriptive and causal studies, simulations, and international comparisons.

SSA has special interest in more narrowly defined topics for research (see pdf of SSA’s proposal call). SSA will also support foundational research more generally. However, foundational proposals should be careful to discuss their relevancy to SSA, and policy related, interests.


Phase I proposals need to include a total budget including any indirect costs. Detailed budgets will be required with Phase II submissions.

Research teams should consult with the staff member who will be preparing the budget for Phase II. Budgets should be based on actual costs to conduct the proposed project. MRDRC generally awards budgets in $25K increments with a maximum project budget of $125K.

SSA has a 5% cost share requirement. MRDRC will fund the cost share requirement for any project without a funding transfer so researchers based at institutions other than U-M should consider being directly compensated as U-M consultants. U-M’s current indirect cost rate is 56%. Please contact Cheri, cheribro@umich.edu, for more details.

For research projects with a funding transfer, such as a subcontract to another institution, the 5 percent cost share needs to be a budget line. For example, the funding for a project with a total budget of $50,000 would be $47,500 federal funds and $2,500 cost share contribution by the unit receiving the funds.