Grants in Workforce Learning Innovation | MIT J-WEL

Grants in Workforce Learning Innovation


Call for Proposals

The Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab (J-WEL) invites MIT faculty to submit proposals for J-WEL Research Grants in Workforce Learning. These grants, ranging from $20K-$70K, aim to sponsor rigorous research that will help individuals and companies to make effective decisions regarding workforce learning.

View our list of past awardees.



The Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Laboratory (J-WEL) is a new initiative with a mission to spark a global renaissance in education for all learners. Leveraging MIT’s resources and faculty expertise, we are convening a global community of collaborators to transform education across the world in a self-sustaining way. J-WEL seeks to advance the state of knowledge on education in three different, yet related, areas: pK-12, Higher Education, and Workforce Learning. We welcome research not only for traditional companies in developed economies but also for under-served populations and non-traditional organizations.


Objectives for Innovation Grants in Workforce Learning

Projects should do one or more of the following:

  • Have an impact on decision-making about workforce learning.
  • Have a potential global impact. Global impact may refer to a particular geographical location or a specific population.
  • Use rigorous research methods to arrive at conclusions. We will occasionally sponsor projects for technical designs or specific content development, but please consult with our staff at jwel-workplace-learning-grants at before submitting proposals of this type.
  • Provide specific metrics for success and descriptions of how these will be measured. Where relevant, how would these metrics differ in any specific global settings projected?
  • Generate convincing answers for specific contexts rather than less-convincing answers for broader contexts.
  • Employ learning strategies that will be inclusive of people across socioeconomic class and possibly geographic location.
  • Mix multiple methods of engagement and assessment beyond the traditional classroom engagement.
  • Help individuals and decision-makers understand what steps to take and for whom, rather than just how to deliver content better.
  • Measure difficult-to-measure concepts such as social skills or concept mastery beyond STEM.
  • Build upon MIT inputs such as research-based learning and teaching practices or the “Institute-wide Task Force on the Future of MIT Education.”

Proposals for new courses or modules on MITx may be best directed to the next MITx Grant Program.



Some broad ideas follow, but we welcome your thoughts and ideas.

  • Research on trends in skill demand, or other inputs to inform understanding of current and future skill gaps.
  • Research-based inputs to recruiting, skill planning, and/or career development.
  • Innovative approaches to delivering skill training, especially for in-demand technical skills or difficult-to-codify social skills.
  • Research that assists companies or individuals to identify who is most likely to benefit from training in different topics.
  • Methods to quantify and/or certify non-traditional learning.
  • Measuring effectiveness of teaching methods for different types of learners or content.
  • Methods to enable inclusion of disabled individuals or individuals from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
  • Experiments to address skill gaps by overcoming geographic or other barriers.
  • Quantifying the value of college degrees or other types of certifications.
  • Experiments to help workers shift from unemployment or low-paid occupations into more rewarding ones.

This is not an exhaustive list. If you have other ideas that may fit the broad goal of advancing the science of workforce learning for companies and individuals, please contact us at jwel-workplace-learning-grants at



  • The proposal must be overseen and submitted by one or more MIT faculty members.
  • Projects must be documented as a narrative after the grant is awarded.
  • The lead faculty member(s) will participate in and present at J-WEL Weeks and/or other forums.
  • The lead faculty member(s) will submit a report that summarizes the projects’ findings and specific results within two months of the project’s end date.
  • The lead faculty member(s) should participate throughout the project, although the project may also include students, postdocs, and others.


Proposal Preparation and Submission

To prepare your proposal, please download and complete the following documents prior to submitting online via the “Apply Now” button.


Meetings are available with J-WEL staff to help you prepare your proposal. Proposals are reviewed quartlerly but accepted on a rolling basis. Please contact jwel-workplace-learning-grants at to request a meeting. Appointments are available on a first come, first served basis—we anticipate being fully booked as the submission deadline approaches.


Award Information

Funding is provided to support researchers, research assistant support and, under certain circumstances, travel or tool development. Funding levels are typically $20,000 – $70,000.


Faculty Evaluation Committee

We have assembled a diverse and multidisciplinary advisory board to help us determine which proposals fit best with our program’s goals.

Meet our faculty advisors:

Lotte Bailyn

William “Bill” Bonvillian

Eugene Fitzgerald

Martha Gray

Thomas Kochan

George Westerman (Chair and Faculty Director)


Additional resources

  • Key practices
    Key research-based practices for teaching and learning are summarized in this document; for advice on how to incorporate them into your proposed module(s), contact: Use this same email address if you would like to develop a residential-only module (which lies outside the scope of this call).

  • What is a module?
    A module is a learning unit or segment that can be studied on its own or in sequence with other modules. We use the definition offered in the Institute-Wide Task Force on the Future of MIT Education: a self-contained unit comprising a set of outcomes, where an outcome is what the student will know or be able to do as a result of a learning experience and is a driver of the instruction and assessment for the module.

For additional questions or clarification, please contact jwel-workplace-learning-grants at


Key Dates

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis throughout the year and are reviewed quarterly.



Read our FAQs or contact us at:

jwel-workplace-learning-grants at mit dot edu