ECR Research Grant

Funding Guidelines


The SoLAR ECR Research Grant serves to support promising early career researchers who demonstrate the potential to advance research and practice in learning analytics and increase the educational and socio-economic impacts of learning analytics. Proposed projects should improve our understanding of learning analytics and learning in general, result in positive impacts on education, and align with the topics identified for the current round. It is expected that the ECR grant will help successful applicants develop their career by enabling an initiative that is scalable or has potential to attract further funding. 

Applicant eligibility

Applications from individuals based in academic or not-for-profit organizations are welcome, provided the individuals hold valid SoLAR membership when applying and for the term of the project. Applicants need to have been awarded with a PhD qualification no longer than 5 years prior to the application date. Each applicant may only submit one application, and each application can only have one named applicant. Past awardees or current SoLAR executive committee members are not eligible to apply.

2022 Themes - Supporting Inclusive Learning with Learning Analytics

We welcome proposals of research that seek to support learners across gender, ethnic, racial, socioeconomic, and cultural lines through the use of learning analytics. Example topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Identify potential differences and similarities in learning experiences, processes  (e.g., in socio-cultural, affective, and cognitive dimensions), and performance among learners with different characteristics, and ways to minimize gaps in these areas.
  • Understand the social, cultural, and political contexts surrounding deployment of learning analytics systems.
  • Understand impacts of learning analytics systems on minoritized groups.
  • Understand and alleviate under-representation of certain populations in mainstream cultures and ways of ‘thinking’ or ‘doing’, e.g., females  in  STEM and under-represented minorities.
  • Understand ways algorithmic fairness & biases in learning analytics may affect learners, e.g. racial discrimination in data, analytics and AI, recreation or exacerbation of discrimination/ prejudice as a result of analytics, etc.
  • Co-design learning analytics systems with a marginalized population.

Level of award 

A total of $10,000 CAD is available to fund one to two projects. Funds will be managed directly by SoLAR via approved expense invoices. 

Awardee(s) will also receive publicity via SoLAR’s channels to help them connect with the community, complimentary registration for a Learning Analytics Summer Institute (LASI) and the International Learning Analytics and Knowledge Conference (LAK). 

Eligible costs include:

  • Direct costs of research (e.g., consumables, specialist software, transcribing/ interpretation services, and compensation for research participants). Note that the following items are not eligible costs: institutional overheads, computer hardware, books and other permanent resources.
  • Research assistance - Funding can be used to pay for research assistants that are not named on the project based on SoLAR’s fixed hourly rate (i.e. $35CAD) under an agreed total flat amount. Awardees may utilise SoLAR’s communication channels for job advertisements.
  • No more than a third of the awarded amount of funding can be used for dissemination purposes including publications, conferences, and workshops. 
  • Visits by or to partners of the project to facilitate research activities or dissemination that meet a clearly specified research objective.

Note that successful applicants will be given a spotlight moment at LAK to describe their work, and will be given a poster slot to report results. Travel and accommodation costs to attend LAK and LASI to present their results can  be included in the budget if applicable.

Period of award

Grants are tenable for 12 months from the date of award. Unused funds will expire after this period and cannot be claimed. 

Selection process and criteria

Applications will be assessed by external reviewers based on the following criteria:  

  • Project quality and innovation
    • Key contributions to existing gaps in knowledge or problems
    • Novelty and originality of the project
    • Clarity, coherence, and rigour of the research design
  • Project feasibility
    • Project design and budget planning are reasonable for successful completion of the project and demonstrating value for money
    • The capability of applicants and availability of facilities needed to carry out the project
  • Project benefits and impacts
    • Contributions to the field
    • Social, cultural, and economic impacts on society
    • Scalability and sustainability of impacts
  • Project relevance to the topics prioritised in the call
  • Applicant profile
    • Relevant expertise and experience required to carry out the project
    • Academic achievements and output quality
    • Commitment and contributions to the learning analytics community

Expectations of awardees

Awardees are required to:

  • Submit an interim report on project progress no later than sixth months from the date the grant is awarded.
  • Submit a research report no later than three months from the completion  of the project detailing outcomes of the work undertaken and next steps.
  • Disseminate project outputs via one of SoLAR’s existing communication channels (e.g., Nexus blog, webinar, SoLAR Spotlight podcast, and Journal of Learning Analytics) as appropriate in support of SoLAR’s mission to promote learning analytics research and practice.

Application guidelines

Submission procedure

Please complete the online application form, which includes the following components:

  • Applicant information
  • Project title 
  • Project summary (1250 characters max)
  • Project fit for the themes of the year (1000 characters max)

In the application form, please upload one PDF file containing:

  • Max 4 pages: Project description (including title, summary, aims and objectives, research scheme, methods, timeline, budget (in CAD), ethical procedures, expected outcome and impact, and project fit for the themes of the year)
  • Max 2 pages: CV of the applicants including relevant publications

In addition, a recommendation letter (1 page max) needs to be e-mailed by the referee directly to before the application deadline.

Key dates

Application open: 25 March 2022 

Submission deadline: 2 May 2022 (5pm EDT)

Results announcement: 3 June 2022




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