Trade Policy Research Grants

Trade Policy Research Grants

Global commerce promotes prosperity as buyers and sellers around the world benefit from greater opportunities to engage in voluntary exchange and reap the advantages of specialization.

Since the end of World War II, countries have dramatically liberalized international trade. Tariffs have been reduced or eliminated, while quotas and other non-tariff barriers have been lowered. These reforms have enabled an expansion in global trade and played an important role in reducing poverty in poor nations and boosting living standards in developed countries.

The Charles Koch Foundation supports scholars and institutions interested in research related to the benefits of global trade and the harm of various protectionist initiatives, in their various forms. We invite proposals for trade policy research projects from scholars in the disciplines of economics, political science, international relations, and history, as well as policy experts. However, proposals from all qualified individuals and fields will be considered on their merits.

Grant Description

The Foundation requests proposals on research that bridges the gap between theory and practice and contributes to contemporary trade debates. We are especially interested in non-technical studies that will be broadly accessible to non-specialists and in research that:

  • Explores topics and issues related to the economic, cultural, and social benefits of trade.
  • Analyzes the impact of trade on consumer welfare, including for different groups and segments of society.
  • Generates data on the employment impact of trade liberalization.
  • Explores the impact of the World Trade Organization and how it might be improved to deal with current challenges.
  • Examines the impact of bilateral and regional Free Trade Agreements.
  • Analyzes the economic implications of trade balances, currency exchange rates, and the impact of monetary policy on trade.
  • Explores issues related to free trade with China, as well as potential reforms.
  • Reviews trade rules with non-market nations.
  • Examines the cost and extent of subsidies that impact trade as well as non-tariff barriers.
  • Analyzes the political economy of trade wars.
  • Examines and analyzes the political economy of protectionism, including the special interests, major players, and key constituencies.
  • Explores the historical experience with unilateral liberalization, how it impacted individuals in those countries, and how similar initiatives might work today.
  • Generates data on the impact of protectionism.
  • Explores the role of mutual recognition for trade agreements.
  • Analyzes the interaction of trade balances and capital flows.
  • Examines the question of whether and how Congress can play a productive role in trade policy.

Grant Criteria

  • A one-to-two-page abstract of the project on behalf of your university or college. The abstract should provide sufficient detail for reviewers to assess the nature and feasibility of the idea.*
  • A CV or résumé.*
  • A brief, itemized budget.*
  • Final projects should be original and meet the highest standards of their field, and must not have been previously published.

*Items are required in application.


Funding levels are commensurate with the requirements of the research and the potential for the research to advance an understanding of critical issues. Accepted proposals may also receive support to disseminate the research findings.

Review & Notification Process

Proposals will be accepted and evaluated on a rolling basis.

Our Giving Standards and Principles

Our giving standards and principles guide our long-standing commitment to academic independence and openness.

Faculty call the shots.

Behind each of our grants is a scholar with a vision. Their freedom to drive their research wherever it may take them is essential to the discovery that we hope results from our support.

Schools provide the academic environment.

We’re excited to support hundreds of schools ranging from small liberal arts colleges to state research universities to Ivy League schools. Each grant we make follows the school’s standard procedures when it comes to hiring, curriculum, peer review, and other policies.

Openness brings opportunities.

To help make potential grantees aware of opportunities, we share news of all our major gifts. This knowledge sharing improves collaboration, offering others the possibility to build on the work of the scholars we support.

Society benefits.

The scholars we support are tackling some of the toughest challenges of our time and preparing students for success in a dynamic future. The goal of our philanthropy is to improve society. As scholars’ discoveries guide the path forward on criminal justice reform, free expression, foreign policy, technology and innovation, economic opportunity, and other pressing challenges, society progresses.

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