Skip to Main Content
Office of Research and Doctoral Services
 | Office of Research and Doctoral Services

Participate in a Research Study

Print Page Report a broken link

Student Research Support:
SDOH in DE: Students

Social Determinants of Health in Distance Education Research Grant

Walden University recognizes that education contributes to healthy individuals, communities, and society, and, as a leader in the field of distance education aims to produce scholar practitioners who further contribute to healthy individuals, communities, and society through positive social change. The Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) model, premised upon the idea that socially imposed forces are causative factors that influence life and learning (Sanderson et al., 2021), is a central tenet that informs Walden’s mission of education for good. As such, the university values research that investigates issues of educational justice and equity across the educational life span (Beyond the Social Determinants of Learning, 2021) that add to, or even challenge, the current understanding and practice of the SDOH in the context of distance education. 

Program Goals

The Social Determinants of Health in Distance Education Research Grant program invites research proposals that address a topic relevant to the intersection of the SDOH, educational justice and equity, and distance education. Proposals for research conducted by investigators in all academic fields are encouraged to apply.

The purpose of this grant opportunity, funded by the Walden Presidential Research Grant program, is to encourage research in the name of the university that contributes scholarship on distance education and its relationships to, and impacts on, educational justice and equity, and the Social Determinants of Health more broadly. Grant funds are to be used to support the direct cost of conducting research.


Lindell, A., Morgan, A., Sugarman, B., Tervala, D., Westermann, J., et al. (2021). Beyond the Social Determinants of Learning: A Walden University Position Paper. 

Sanderson, C. D., Hollinger-Smith, L. M., & Cox, K. (2021). Developing a Social Determinants of Learning™ Framework: A case study. Nursing Education Perspectives (Wolters Kluwer Health), 42(4), 205–211. 


Past recipients of Research in Distance Education (prior to 2020 this funding opportunity was considered a fellowship, not a research grant)

Program Timeline

Final date for first-time requests for feedback on research proposals: June 20, 2022

Application Deadline: July 1, 2022

Grant Recipients Announced: August 22, 2022

Research must be completed: December 31, 2023


The Social Determinants of Health in Distance Education Research Grant (SDOH in DE Research Grant) is open to Walden University doctoral students in all academic fields of study. Grant funds cannot be used for tuition at Walden, or another institution, and can only be used to support those activities included in the research proposal. Additionally, applicants must: 

  • Activities proposed in this grant application must be based upon doctoral student capstone research (a dissertation or doctoral study) that has been approved by the student’s committee.
  • Must be a student currently enrolled in a Walden Ph.D. or professional doctorate program.
  • Be a Walden student in good academic standing.
  • Must have obtained research ethics (IRB) approval for the proposed research.
  • Cannot have previously been a recipient of this grant program or the Research Grant in Distance Education or the Don E. Ackerman Research Grant in Educational Leadership (sponsored by Walden University).

Grant Amount and Duration

For any research funds to be disbursed to the recipient, proof of compliance with Walden University regulations regarding the protection of human subjects in research and Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval is required.

Although a funding ceiling is provided below, researchers are encouraged to request only the amount of funds needed to conduct their proposed research activities, rather than the maximum amount available. 

$1,000 funding ceiling for research conducted by a single student.

The grant will cover: 

  • Doctoral Capstone research on distance education and its relationships to, and impacts on, educational justice and equity, and the Social Determinants of Health more broadly.
  • Costs associated with primary data collection (qualitative or quantitative). 

The grant will not cover:

  • The research grant funds cannot be used for tuition at Walden, or another institution.

This request for proposals (RFP) is for one-time, short-term research studies.  If awarded, research must be completed within the grant period of performance, which ends December 31, 2023.

While only research proposals that are determined to be of exceptional scholarly merit will be funded, in an effort to recognize newly emerging scholars, proposals submitted by students will be considered for funding from a pool separate from faculty and staff applicants.  

The number of grants awarded in each program cycle will be determined by the quality and size of the applicant pool as well as the availability of program funds. Grant funds are to be used to support the direct cost of research.


Criteria for Selection

The overall merit of the proposed research will be considered and evaluated by Dean of Research, working with a review committee chaired by the Director of Research & Sponsored Programs. 

The final selection will be made based upon the following general criteria: 

  • Reflects theoretically sound and evidence-based research.
  • Indicates that the research will contribute to distance education pedagogy.
  • Feasibility that the proposed work would be completed during the award period.  

Feedback on Research Proposals

Applicants are welcome to submit a draft of their entire research proposal, or sections of the proposal, to the RSP for review and feedback. While staff in the RSP may not be content experts in your field, we can offer feedback about the design, methodology, budget, budget justification, timeline, and dissemination plan for your proposed research grant. Our office is available to meet with researchers via Teams and provide written comments on proposal drafts.

Contact to set up a meeting and/or submit a draft of your proposal for review. We are happy to provide review and feedback more than once; however, first time requests must be made by June 20, 2022.

Grant Application Process

This funding opportunity uses an online grant application which allows you to select relevant fields from drop-down menus, enter individualized text responses, and upload supporting documentation.


Apply for the Social Determinants of Health in Distance Education Research Grant


Since this grant opportunity is intended to support capstone research, students must have a dissertation or doctoral study proposal that has been approved by their committee and have approval from Walden's IRB. In light of this, the content of the grant application draws heavily from the approved proposal rather than requiring the applicant to write a new grant proposal. 

Instructions about how to complete the online grant application are provided in the form itself. To make the process smoother, following are materials/information you might want to have ready to complete the online application: 

  • Student ID#

  • Copy of your approved dissertation/doctoral study from which you will be able to cut and paste relevant information (such as the abstract, problem statement, research question, etc.). 

  • Anticipated date of graduation.

  • Dollar amount you plan to request (maximum is $1,000 but you are not required to request the full amount). 

  • A copy of the Walden IRB approval letter for your dissertation/doctoral study (to be uploaded as an attachment to the online application form). 

  • A copy of your resume or curriculum vitae (to be uploaded as an attachment to the online application form). 

Once the online form has been submitted you will receive an automatic reply confirming receipt of your grant application, which will include the tracking number for your application (SDOHDE-2022-S-XX). 


More Information

Although applications for the SDOH in DE Research Grant are NOT accepted by email you are welcome to contact with questions about your grant application, and the SDOH in DE Research Grant program in general. If inquiring about a specific grant application that has already been submitted online, please reference your grant application tracking number in your email.  

Social Media

Connect with the Office of Research and Doctoral Services Twitter YouTube