USC | Gould School of Law

Apply for a Grant

The Southern California Innovation Project is currently inviting proposals for grants up to $20,000 for research in law and innovation related topics. Please submit your grant proposal to:

Grant Proposal Overview

The Southern California Innovation Project (SCIP) is seeking to fund original research that improves our understanding of how the legal environment, understood broadly to include areas of law beyond intellectual property protection, promotes or hinders innovative activity. Research projects may include fundamental analysis of decision making and behavior in innovative settings (such as how individuals and entities respond to complexity or ambiguity) as well as more applied analysis of specific areas of law (including, for example, tax law, securities regulation, antitrust law, employment law, bankruptcy law, contract law, civil procedure, etc.) and how they support or inhibit innovative activity. Proposals may involve any topic examining the impact of law on innovation, but we are especially interested in receiving proposals that address issue relevant to evaluating the design of legal rules, processes and institutions to support:

  1. Collaboration, both within organizations and across organizations including web-enabled communities (such as open-source production of goods and services)
  2. Optimal adaptation of regulation in highly dynamic settings (such as nano-technology and bioengineering)
  3. Globally-distributed innovation (settings in which employee or innovator teams are located in different countries/jurisdictions)
  4. Global supply chain structures
  5. Finance for innovative enterprises
  6. Innovation in legal markets

Research may involve any social science methodology and involve experimental, empirical, or theoretical analysis. Proposals focused on the fundamentals of decision making and behavior in innovative settings should reflect a relatively sophisticated understanding of how legal institutions and rules work in practice, rather than an abstract design of optimal rules. Researchers who are not well-versed in legal issues are invited to submit proposals seeking input on how they might be framed to inform more subtle legal questions or for help in identifying potential co-authors with legal institutional or legal theoretical expertise.

Click here for examples of currently funded research.


Proposals should indicate the requested level of funding, up to $20,000, and indicate how funds will be allocated between research expenditures and compensation for the researcher(s). The full allocation of funds for research expenditures and one-half of the amount for compensation will be made available at the time of the award. The remainder of the compensation amount will be made available at the time a working paper is submitted.


Successful applicants will be expected to produce a publishable paper within one year of acceptance of the award. This paper will be made available to SCIP for distribution as a working paper prior to publication.


If you are currently investigating topics within this realm, please submit a short proposal describing your research question, how it relates to law and innovation, and your proposed methodology (3 pages or less) to Decisions will be made on a rolling basis as applications are received. Full distribution of available grant funds is anticipated to be completed no later than January 31, 2009.