Dissertation Research Grant Program

The Strategy Research Foundation (SRF) of the Strategic Management Society (SMS) announces its 2020 Dissertation Research Grant Program and calls for grant proposals associated with doctoral students’ dissertations in strategic management. Proposals should describe original research in strategic management that is required for the award of a research doctoral degree (Ph.D. or equivalent).

The Dissertation Research Grant Program funds are intended to supplement other financial resources available to students and to support elements of their research that enhance the quality, expand the scope, augment the research design, or in some other way enrich their dissertation projects.

Important Dates for 2020 Call for Proposals

Submission System Opens
OCTOBER 1, 2020
Submission Deadline
Notification of Review Committee Decisions
JANUARY 1, 2021
Grant Period Begins
DECEMBER 31, 2022
Grant Period Ends

DRP Call for Proposals

2020 Call for Proposals

Target Applicant: A full-time student studying strategic management in a research doctoral program at an accredited institution. Ideal applicants are at the dissertation stage with 2-3 years remaining at the time of application.

Funding & Key Terms: Grants of up to US$10,000, to support dissertation research expenses such as data collection (no institutional overhead, no researcher stipends) that will be incurred during the grant period or until degree completion (whichever comes first) and are required for award of the doctoral degree (Ph.D. or equivalent). 

The SRF recognizes that dissertation program structures vary, but suggests that applicants will have completed at least half of their home institution’s program requirements, including preliminary or qualifying requirements (such as coursework, comprehensive examinations/research proposal defense) prior to submitting an application. Ideal applicants will be sufficiently advanced in their doctoral programs to have well-defined dissertation plans and early enough in the execution of their dissertation work to benefit from the support of dissertation expenses and the SRF Dissertation Scholars Workshop that will be held during the first year of the grant period. Previous recipients of the SRF Dissertation Research Grant Program funds are not eligible to apply for additional funds.


The SRF plans to name a cohort of SRF Dissertation Scholars and provide financial support up to US$10,000 per grant awarded.

Financial support will cover direct research and data collection expenses (e.g., purchase of data or subscriptions to databases, surveys, and respondent incentives, interviews of research subjects and related travel) and travel expenses for the 2021 and 2022 SMS Annual Conferences for participation in SRF Scholar activities (travel expenses are allowed in instances where degree completion occurs before the 2022 Conference). Ineligible expenses include but are not limited to: compensation for the Scholar’s time, purchases of software or equipment, copyediting and other expenses associated with the dissertation document, university overhead, tuition and other personal expenses, and expenses for conference travel other than to the 2021 and 2022 SMS Annual Conferences.

SRF grant funds are available only for expenses as approved at the time of the proposal’s funding. While the SRF recognizes that doctoral students and their dissertation advisors/committees may determine that it is appropriate to change the execution of research during a dissertation, reviewers’ recommendations and SRF decisions are based on research design elements stated in the proposals. Similarly, grant funds are available only for approved expenses that remain part of doctoral students’ dissertation work; SRF dissertation grant funds are not available for post-dissertation research agendas. Determination of eligible and ineligible expenses rests with the SRF.

To remain eligible for funding, the Scholar cannot be employed full-time and cannot have completed degree requirements. (Students whose program requires Ph.D. students to be full-time employees of the University should contact the SMS office using the email address listed at the end of the call.)

When a proposal is accepted for funding, the SRF will prepare a written agreement that details the responsibilities of both the Scholar and the SRF. For most expenses, funds are disbursed on a reimbursement basis. In some cases, an expense may be paid directly by the SMS Executive Office.


Dissertation Scholars are expected to provide the following deliverables: periodic update reports, an executive summary of the research findings, a copy of the dissertation, and documentation of the expenses incurred. All Scholars are expected to participate in the SRF Dissertation Scholars Workshop at the 2021 SMS Annual Conference and the SRF Scholars Session at the 2022 SMS Annual Conference. Scholars participating in these activities will receive Annual Conference registration fee waivers and may be reimbursed for up to $2,000 (total) for travel to the 2021 and 2022 SMS Annual Conferences if that travel is included in the grant proposal budget.  

Proposals are to be submitted through the online submission system at All proposal materials must be in English. A submission consists of the following with items a through d provided in a single PDF file:

a) Cover sheet with the following information:

  1. Dissertation title
  2. Applicant name
  3. Doctoral institution
  4. Dissertation advisor
  5. Name of outside committee members, if any (to avoid conflict in review process)
  6. Amount requested (in US Dollars)
  7. Anticipated doctoral program completion date
  8. Three keywords

b) Summary (500 words) of the proposed research project

c) Research proposal of up to ten (10) pages, single-spaced, with the following structure:

  1.  Specific research question(s) to be addressed, review of the relevant strategic management literature, and expected contributions to the field of strategic management
  2. Research design, including a description of proposed data and analysis techniques
  3. Cited references
  4. Timetable/Schedule
  5. Detailed budget in US Dollars, including specific items proposed for SRF funding and sources of support other than SRF
  6. Expected impact of SRF funding on the quality of the research

d) Applicant’s CV

e) A recommendation letter from the applicant’s dissertation advisor in support of the proposal. This letter should be emailed by the dissertation advisor to It should include a statement of the applicant’s stage of completion in the dissertation work and doctoral program, verification that the research components for which funding is sought have yet to be undertaken and are anticipated to be part of the applicant’s dissertation, and a description of the difference the award would make to the quality or nature of the dissertation.



Grant recipients will retain the copyrights to all materials prepared in connection with the funded project. However, it is expected that the SRF will be granted an irrevocable, royalty-free license in perpetuity to use such materials for non-commercial purposes furthering the mission of the SRF. The SRF requires that any publication of the resulting research in articles or other forms includes an acknowledgment that the research was funded in part by the SRF of the Strategic Management Society.

The SRF online submission system will open in August 2020. The submission deadline is October 1, 2020. Notification of SRF Dissertation Scholar Awards will be made by January 1, 2021. Submissions will be reviewed using the following criteria:

  • Contribution to strategic management theory: Are the frameworks employed, the data to be used, and/or the potential results to be obtained likely to make a new and substantial theoretical or empirical contribution to the academic field of strategic management?
  • Conceptual and empirical contributions: Does this dissertation study a new phenomenon? Even if the phenomenon is not new, is the dissertation’s empirical base novel?
  • Novelty of the research topic/question: Is this dissertation likely to start a new or redirect an existing line of inquiry in the field of strategic management?
  • Research design and methodological rigor: Are the data appropriate for the theory being built or tested? Are the procedures appropriate for the research questions? Is there adequate description of the methods used? Is validity properly justified?
  • Quality of writing: Is language used consistently? Are the arguments made clearly? Does the writing flow naturally?
  • Managerial implications: Is this dissertation likely to yield important advice for managers in private or public organizations?
  • Expected impact of the funding: Is SRF funding likely to make a significant difference to the quality, scope, or other characteristics of the dissertation that will enhance its conceptual and/or empirical contribution to theory and/or practice?

DRP Program Chair

picture of Tammy Madsen
Tammy Madsen a Professor of Strategy and Innovation and a former Associate Dean at the Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University. She serves on the Board of Governors - Academy of Management (AOM) and is the Director of the Strategy Research Foundation’s Dissertation Grant Program (SMS)...

DRP Associate Program Chair

picture of Giada Di Stefano
Giada Di Stefano
... is an Associate Professor of Strategy at Bocconi. Her general research interests are in the area of innovation, knowledge, and organizational learning. More specifically, she studies the creation and transfer of knowledge, with ...


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