The Program for the Advancement of the Discipline, better known as the Fund for the Advancement of the Discipline (FAD) is a jointly-funded program by the National Science Foundation and the American Sociological Association (ASA). The peer-reviewed awards, selected by the FAD Principal Investigator and a seven-member Advisory Panel composed of eminent senior members of the discipline, provide seed money for substantive and methodological breakthroughs that challenge the discipline and stimulate new lines of scientific inquiry. The ASA provides for the costs of administering the program including reaching out to the target population, selecting the awardees, monitoring awards, and evaluating the program?s outcomes.
The FAD program has been in existence for almost one-quarter of a century. Since its inception, more than 1,100 PhD-level scholars have applied to the program and more than 300 have received funding. The program has four purposes: to advance the development of scientific knowledge in sociology by supporting small, groundbreaking research initiatives; to hold conferences and other activities that develop new research agendas and networks; to develop the discipline?s infrastructure including usable datasets, archive materials, and computer software; and to encourage the development of fundable proposals. The measurable scholarly impact of FAD-funded proposals include scholarly presentations, peer-reviewed publications, data sets available for public use, media mentions, policy suggestions, and acquisition of additional research funds. Over time, the project has been highly successful in advancing these outcomes. Modest investments in research projects result in high payoffs including scientific and educational contributions (with an average of four types of contributions per project). Small amounts of funding provided at early stages of the research process result in added funding for those that submit proposals to other funding sources at the rate almost $12 for every $1 provided by FAD during the last three-year project cycle. Overall, the rate of additional funding was $4.75 for every $1.00 invested.
Broader Impacts Broader impacts include training undergraduate and graduate students, developing new courses and curricula, and making findings available to a broader public through press releases. Although open to all scholars with PhDs, the program provides a process that encourages scholars in the early career stage, who do not yet have a long track record of receiving awards. Thus, broader impacts of this project include the guiding and mentoring of early-career faculty members, as well as faculty outside of research-intensive institutions such as master?s comprehensive and baccalaureate-only institutions. This guidance also improves the respective researchers? ability to develop subsequent successful proposals.