Leadership Research Grant

Faculty member presenting research to audience.

The Fisher Leadership Initiative Research Grant and Academic Conference is an opportunity for faculty, staff, and students at The Ohio State University to generate new knowledge within the study of leadership and share practical, evidence-based solutions to leadership problems. The program provides ground for cross-disciplinary collaborations and discussions around leadership – aiming to uncover leadership challenges and test practical solutions that benefit leaders and managers across all industries.

Since its inception in 2018, the Research Grant program has awarded over $150,000 in funding to collaborative and cross-disciplinary leadership research projects at The Ohio State University. 

This program is open to proposals from units and colleges throughout Ohio State and across all disciplines. All Ohio State University faculty, staff, graduate students and undergraduate students encouraged to apply. Projects receiving funding have represented 11 different colleges or units across Ohio State, including: College of Education and Human Ecology, College of Engineering, Fisher College of Business - Department of Accounting & Management Information Systems, Fisher College of Business - Department of Finance, Fisher College of Business - Department of Management Sciences, College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, John Glenn College of Public Affairs, College of Medicine, College of Music Education, College of Pharmacy and College of Social Work.

Research proposals are evaluated on the basis of their fit with our mission statement. We are particularly interested in leadership research on addressing unique leadership challenges, problems and solutions in different areas.

The 2019-2020 Leadership Research Grant program has awarded a total of $47,019 in funding to 12 recipients across The Ohio State University. 

  • About

    The Fisher Leadership Initiative at the Max M. Fisher College of Business has announced a university-wide research grant program for the study of leadership. The initiative intends to award up to $50,000 in grants for research that will be completed by the end of the 2019-2020 academic year. The program is open to proposals from units and colleges throughout Ohio State and across all disciplines.

    Grants are competitive, with the amount of each grant based on the objectives and criteria set out below. While there is no limit to the amount of support an applicant can request, higher standards will be used to evaluate larger requests. Partial grants will also be awarded. Our goal is to sponsor as many applicants as possible while still awarding meaningful grants. Over the past two years, the typical amount granted for a project has ranged between $300 and $6,800.

    Grant applicants are encouraged to contact Dr. Meng Li (Li.8959@osu.edu), research scientist for the Fisher Leadership Initiative, for advice to make their application as strong as possible.

  • Grant

    Grant subjects

    The primary focus of all submissions should be the study leadership. At the same time, we do not expect (or even wish) that the context in which leadership is studied is removed. We understand, for example, that the leadership behaviors of a manager, a clinical social worker and a nurse practitioner can be the same, and in some ways can be different. We also emphasize that we define leaders and leadership broadly. As long as the study is positioned and developed as a study of leaders, we want the applicant to study the individuals she or he wants to study. Most jobs require a degree of leadership, as individuals supervise others, operate as part of a team, exercise management skill, etc..

    Given these considerations:

    • the research may be qualitative or quantitative
    • the study may target organizational or social scientific leadership literature, or the specific discipline of the scholar (the target need not be a journal with leadership in the title).
    • leaders or leadership should be the focus of the study, but the types of leaders or the aspect of leadership studied can vary based on the applicant’s scholarly focus and academic discipline.

    Grant Expenses and Deliverables

    Any and all expenses that may be incurred in completing your grant project are to be paid from the grant award up to the full amount of the award. No further funds will be available to cover additional expenses. All funds remaining after payment of expenses belong to the grant recipient. Grant expenses must follow the policies and procedures laid out by the Office of Research Compliance at The Ohio State University. The full amount of the grant will be paid before the fall 2019 semester.

    Deliverables to be submitted at the conclusion of the grant project:

    • A 1/2 page abstract for an article or a presentation to be published/presented at the Fisher Leadership Initiative Academic Conference. This abstract can be merged with the project summary described in the following bullet points.
    • A summary of your study including: names and affiliations of all investigators, introduction and literature review, explanation of hypotheses and/or conceptual model, the methods used to evaluate hypotheses and/or model, analyses and results, discussion of findings and contribution to literature, proposed practical implications and/or importance of work
    • Reference list of all citations
  • Presentations

    Each grant recipient will be invited to participate in the Leadership Research Forum on September 3, 2020 at The Ohio State University – sponsored by the Fisher Leadership Initiative. Each grant recipient will be required to prepare a two-page abstract and a presentation based on their project. The completed abstract and presentation will be published by the Fisher Leadership Initiative and made available at the Leadership Research Forum (consult your college/unit policies to determine how this publication will be characterized for promotion and tenure purposes).

    The most important goal of the program is to encourage and support leadership research across various academic domains. We hope awardees will submit their work to conferences in their own disciplines and publish articles based on the work in their best academic journals.

    Learn more about the Leadership Research Forum


Examples of projects from the 2018-2019 program include:

  • Who can apply?

    Each applicant must be a full-time Ohio State faculty member in residency (i.e., not employed by, or on leave at another university) during the 2019-2020 academic year.

    Ohio State staff, undergraduate and graduate students may apply, provided that a faculty member is a part of the research team listed on the grant application.

  • Selection criteria

    All submissions need to be in compliance with the application guideline. Each applicant must be a full-time Ohio State faculty member in residency (i.e., not employed by, or on leave at another university) during the 2019–2020 academic year.

    Ohio State staff, undergraduate and graduate students may apply, provided that a faculty member is a part of the research team listed on the grant application.

    Additional criteria includes:

    • degree to which the study pertains to leadership (how leaders behave, what makes them effective, how leadership can be improved, what factors influence leadership effectiveness, what predicts leadership emergence or effectiveness, how/when leaders fail, etc.)
    • degree to which the study pertains to a problem that is interesting and important (important to public policy, organizational strategy, organizational effectiveness, client/customer/patient/employee well-being, etc.)
    • rigor of the methodology (generalizability, degree to which alternative explanations are ruled out, quality of measures/manipulations, etc.).
    • degree to which the study has the potential to contribute to the target literature (i.e., based on the scholar’s intended target for the research).
    • a brief letter from your department chair and your dean supporting your application
    • a completed grant application submitted no later than Friday, October 18th, 2019

    Application guideline

    Example application

  • Timeline
    Application Due October 25th, 2019
    Grant Awards Announced November 15th, 2019
    Submission of Deliverables Due March 15th, 2020
    Research Grant Conference September 3rd, 2020
  • Leadership Research Grant Resource Center