About the Grant

Expanding the Frontiers of Relationship Science
Sponsored by the UCLA Marriage and Close Relationships Lab

The UCLA Marriage and Close Relationships Lab is seeking small grant applications from pre-tenure researchers focused on expanding the scope and relevance of relationship science.

Due Dates

Initial Proposal Deadline: December 1, 2020

Final Proposal Deadline (by Invitation): March 1, 2021

Earliest Start Date: July 1, 2021

Mechanism of Support

Support will be provided in the form of a grant from the UCLA Marriage and Close Relationships Lab. Proposals may budget for up to $75,000 per year for up to two years.

Investigators selected for funding will be invited to UCLA to workshop their ideas and connect with other grant recipients. [If the global pandemic prevents an in-person meeting, the workshop will be held virtually].


    1. Researchers in psychology, sociology, communications, public health, or related fields are encouraged to apply.
    2. The PI must have a PhD and not tenured. Other investigators on the project may be more senior.

Application Process

Programs will be selected in a two-stage process. The initial application consists of a three-page, single-spaced research proposal, plus a personnel list (including proposers’ CVs and websites), and a brief draft budget. The Review Committee will select a small number of initial proposals for further consideration. Only those applicants whose initial proposals are selected by the committee will be eligible to submit full proposals.

Expenses that are eligible for funding include: participant compensation, equipment and materials, salary for investigators and consultants. All funds will directly support the research itself; this grant opportunity does not support indirect costs. Proposers are encouraged to develop budgets that combine this support with other sources when available.

The UCLA Relationship Institute is committed to scientific merit, which entails the inclusion of scientists of all genders, races, sexual orientations, disability statuses, countries of origin, geographical locations, and disciplinary expertise.

The Committee will prioritize research that is innovative, theoretically ambitious, and potentially broad in impact. Purposive sampling is expected; proposals for research on convenience samples are less likely to be successful. Potential proposers are encouraged to contact members of Committee during the initial proposal preparation process.

Areas of Interest

The UCLA Relationship Institute seeks to encourage and support novel and ambitious research on interpersonal relationships. Specific areas of Interest include, but are not limited to, the following:

Relationship transitions. Relationships evolve continuously over time, but sometimes they also change categorically: friends become lovers, lovers become spouses, spouses become ex-spouses. Relationship science has documented when these transitions occur, but we still know very little about how they occur. How do partners make the decision to change the definition of their relationship? What is the time course of these transitions?

Diversity in relationships across cultures, SES, sexual orientations. Relationships are a human universal, and some values and processes can be observed in most relationships around the globe. At the same time, relationships also vary greatly across cultures and contexts. How do expectations, values, processes, behaviors, and outcomes vary across different dimensions of diversity?

How people evaluate their relationships. Relationship satisfaction is one of the most frequently studied variables in relationship science. How do global evaluations of a relationship get made? Is relationship satisfaction a chronically accessible construct, or does it become relevant only at certain times (like when researchers are asking about it)? What information do partners use to evaluate their relationships, and what information gets left out?

Relationships in the context of other relationships. There is no such thing as just two people. The relationship between any two partners always involves many more people, including friends, family members, former partners, potential alternative partners, coworkers, and acquaintances. How is the connection between any two people shaped by all of the other ongoing relationships surrounding each partner?

Relationships and social structures. Relationships, as they say, can be hard work. Lots of relationship science has focused on the nature of that work (e.g., compromise, perspective-taking, empathy), identifying how members of a dyad can do it better. Yet the ability to maintain a relationship can also be facilitated or constrained by forces external to the dyad, such as financial strain, time constraints, cultural barriers, etc. How do these often invisible social structures change the way interpersonal relationships form, develop, and end?


To submit a preliminary application, please continue to the following link:

https://marriage.psych.ucla.edu/ page_id=690&preview=true


Committee Information

Benjamin Karney, PhD.

Thomas Bradbury, PhD.

Contact Email