** New Extended Deadline: March 15, 2020 **

Since 1997, ISP has been assisting social work faculty and students in learning about the formation, implementation, and evaluation of policy. As part of this effort, ISP recognizes the work of one social work Ph.D. student each year whose dissertation focuses on social policy research.

Who is eligible? Any student currently enrolled in a social work Ph.D. program in the United States. All doctoral coursework and all comprehensive/oral /qualifying exams must be successfully passed by the application deadline. The dissertation must be in progress and not yet completed at the time of application.

What should be the focus of the dissertation? The dissertation must be a research study that addresses some aspect(s) of a local, federal, or state-level policy and its impact or implications for social work practice or clientele. Any arena of practice is eligible, e.g., aging, mental health, disabilities, substance abuse, advocacy, health, etc. Examples include: (1) how a federal policy may affect state policies or programs; (2) how a state uses TANF dollars and resulting impacts, or (3) the impact of local policy making it illegal to jail people for debts accrued from fines.

What must be submitted?

♦ A separate single cover sheet with the applicant’s name, address, phone, email, and title of the dissertation.

♦ Executive summary (2 pages maximum) of an approved dissertation prospectus. (Do not include your name on these pages). Prospectus is defined as a detailed, well-developed statement of proposed research, usually 30-60 pages in length, not a brief preliminary overview of a study.

♦ Personal statement (2 pages maximum) by the applicant indicating how s/he expects the research to influence state level policy(s) and social work practice and an estimate of the potential number of persons who are affected by this policy(s). (Do not include your name on these pages).

♦ A letter from the Ph.D. student’s dissertation chairperson attesting to the student’s enrollment status, successful completion of coursework and exam(s), certifying that the prospectus is approved and the expected date for completion of the dissertation.

♦ One copy of the dissertation to ISP upon its completion.

Applications should be submitted electronically through the dissertation proposal qualtrics link. You can also check out past contest winners.

What else do I need to know? The application materials will be scored based on relevance to social work practice; use of an appropriate methodology; clarity and organization; and potential to influence local, state, or federal policy. All applicants will be notified by the end of March of the final decision; the cash award will be forwarded soon after. The winner will also be honored at MACRO Conference 2020 in St. Louis, May 28-30, 2020.

Free registration for the Policy Conference will be provided as well as a complimentary one-year membership in ISP.