Young Scholar Awards

for Outstanding Research on American Muslims

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.

Voting Process

Applications and voting for the 2021 Young Scholar Awards is now closed. Explore the 2017 and 2019 award winners, and stay tuned for announcements about our 2021 winners! For more information about the Young Scholar Awards, contact us at youngscholaraward@ispu.org.

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 2019 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 2021 application, but please submit an updated resume/CV.


The first-place winner will receive a $1,500 prize and an opportunity to share their research with attendees of our 2021 Annual Banquet. The second- and third-place winners will receive $1,000 and $500 prizes, respectively.

Selection Process

The Young Scholar Awards committee, comprised of ISPU Scholars and staff members, will select top candidates from the pool of applicants. The top candidates will be announced to the public, who can vote for the candidate of their choice. The committee will make the final decision on the top three winners, taking into account public votes. (Candidates cannot buy votes or have anyone else buy votes on their behalf or they will be disqualified.)

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