On this page, there are details on submission deadlines, proposal guidelines, budget, and a link to SSA’s FY23 Focal Areas (pdf).

MRDRC Submission Deadlines

  • Tuesday, March 22, 8 p.m. (EDT): Phase I proposals are due. Submit proposals at: bit.ly/MRDRCProposalSubmissionForm. There is not a separate cover sheet form this year.
  • Monday, April 25, 8 p.m. (EDT): Phase II proposals (by invitation only) are due.
  • Wednesday, May 4, 8 p.m. (EDT): Phase II detailed budgets with justifications and  institutional letters of commitment are due.

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 (excluding references) 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 (not included in the page count, but please try to 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 FY23 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.


The Phase I submission form includes a field to indicate the initial total budget request amount. This amount should include indirect costs. Detailed budgets will not be required until Phase II.

Research teams should consult with the staff member who will be preparing the detailed budget for Phase II proposals prior to submitting their Phase I proposal. 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. MRDRC will be unable to increase the Phase I initial total budget request amount at the Phase II stage and may need to request a budget reduction.

SSA has a 5% cost share requirement. MRDRC will fund the cost share requirement for any project based at U-M.

For research projects with a funding transfer, such as a subcontract to another institution, the 5% 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 institution receiving the funds.

Cheri Brooks, cheribro@umich.edu, can address budget questions.