Young Scholar Awards

for Outstanding Research on American Muslims

Female college student wearing glasses and a hijab works on a desktop computer in a lab surrounded by other students and teachers.

The Young Scholar Awards for Outstanding Research on American Muslims, awarded by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, recognizes emerging leaders whose research focuses on American Muslims. 

At ISPU, we believe research that enables American Muslims to develop their communities and research that ensures a pluralistic and equitable America are essential. Fortunately, there are young scholars currently pursuing groundbreaking work in these fields. Not only are these scholars vital to America’s future, but they also deserve to be recognized for their contributions.

Applicant Criteria

Applicants must meet the following criteria:

    • Have conducted research on American Muslims in one of four main focus areas: family and wellness, community capacity building, American Muslim contributions, or American pluralism.
    • Are currently pursuing a master’s or doctoral degree, or has graduated with a master’s or doctoral degree in May 2021 or after. Consideration will be given to exceptional upper-level undergraduate students.
    • Must be the lead researcher on the submitted work.
    • Work submitted demonstrates (1) rigorous methodology and sound analysis, (2) relevance to current challenges, (3) that it is filling a gap or meeting a need, and (4) that it is making measurable impact.
    • Applicants may only submit one application. If you have applied for previous Young Scholar Awards cycles, you may use the same research project materials in the 2023 application, but please submit an updated resume/CV.


    • The first-place winner will receive a $1,500 prize and opportunity to present their research to ISPU’s supporters and partners. The second- and third-place winners will receive $1,000 and $500 prizes, respectively.

Selection Process

    • The top candidates will be announced to the public. A committee will make the final decision on the top 3 winners.
    • A social media vote will be promoted to the public who can vote for the candidate of their choice. This public vote is used for raising awareness about the research and the researcher and will not be counted as part of the final vote.
    • Candidates cannot buy votes (or encourage others to buy votes on their behalf) or they will be disqualified.


Applications for the 2023 Young Scholar Awards are now open. Explore the 2017, 2019, and 2021 award winners here, and stay tuned for announcements about our 2023 winners! For more information about the Young Scholar Awards, contact us at youngscholaraward@ispu.org. Applications are due Sunday, April 30, 2023.

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