Project Management Institute

Thesis Research Grant Guidelines

Due to the current worldwide pandemic, we are postponing the application process for the 2021 Sponsored Research & Thesis Grants.


Part-time and full-time doctoral or master’s students attending an accredited college/university are eligible for PMI Thesis Research Grant funding. Candidates must provide the name of the college/university’s accrediting body in their application.

  • Independent consultants or consulting firms and other for-profit enterprises are ineligible.
  • Advanced researchers may be eligible to apply for the PMI Sponsored Research Program Grant. See for more information.
  • Projects that have been awarded a PMI Sponsored Research Grant are ineligible to apply for a Thesis Research Grant, and vice versa.

Research must be completed within two years of receipt of the grant.

Proposed research must advance academic knowledge and have implications for practice.

Historical research and/or requests for retroactive funding will not be considered.

Projects that include a co-investigator are not eligible.

Funding Guidelines

The award is a fixed-price grant of up to US$25,000.

  • An initial payment of sixty percent (60%) of the total grant amount is distributed upon the execution of the research agreement and assignment of copyright.
  • A final payment of forty percent (40%) of the total grant amount is distributed upon delivery of the final report to PMI.

The Grant will be awarded to and administered by the college or university at which the student is enrolled. No grants are made directly to individuals.

The grants/contract administrator cannot be the research advisor.

Grants are to support doctoral and master’s thesis research, including direct costs clearly identifiable with the specific project.

Grant money may not be used for facilities and administrative costs.

Candidates must demonstrate that the PMI Thesis Research Grant is sufficient to complete the research, or that additional sources of funding exist to enable completion of the research.

Proposals are to be submitted by the master’s/doctoral student, and approved by the student’s thesis advisor/supervisor and the institution’s grant administrator or authorized official.

Proposal Content Guidelines

  1. Abstract: A 300-word abstract is required within the online submission form.
  2. Project Proposal (limit to 7 pages, uploaded as a document to the online submission system)
    - Research Question
    - Specific Aims of Research Project and Significance of Study: Please include a statement on how the funding will enhance the proposed research in ways that may not have been possible otherwise and how that enhancement will influence the field of project, program, and/or portfolio management. Explain the importance of the topic to academics, practitioners and the researchers themselves.
    - Literature Summary/Review
    - Research Design and Methodology
    - Analysis Plan/Evaluation
    - Schedule of Activities: Provide a timeframe and estimated completion date; timeframe should include preparation of final report.
  3. Budget: The online application form includes a budget template for applicants to complete. Please see Funding Guidelines, above, regarding costs that are eligible and ineligible to be funded by a PMI Thesis Research Grant.
  4. References
  5. Curriculum Vitae for the student investigator
  6. Curriculum Vitae (abbreviated) for the thesis supervisor/advisor
  7. Letter of Approval from the Thesis Advisor/Supervisor must be submitted on university letterhead. This letter should describe the thesis advisor’s/supervisor’s role in the thesis project and the advisor’s/supervisor’s review and approval of the proposed doctoral research project, and state whether it is a freestanding project or part of a larger proposed or ongoing research investigation.

Format Guidelines

PMI adheres to the system of grammar, usage, and documentation outlined in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA Sixth Edition). Please refer to this source for specific formatting and style information.

The document header should include the proposal title ONLY as this is a blind process. Please ensure there is no identifying information on the 7-page proposal.

Bold and underline all major sections of proposal (see Project Proposal, above).

Single-space, with one-inch margins on all sides of page.

Use Times New Roman 11-point font.

Proposals that do not conform to the formatting guidelines will not be reviewed.

Proposal Submission

Only electronic submissions will be accepted via

Proposals can be submitted from 1 April at 12:01 a.m. Eastern through 15 May at 11:59 p.m. Eastern.

Review Process

The PMI Thesis Research Grant Program uses a two-stage, blind review process.

The preliminary round is reviewed by a global committee of academics and practitioners. Proposals that advance to the second round are reviewed by the PMI Academic Insight Team.

Proposals are reviewed based on a set of criteria that include:

  • The research question(s) and its significance to the field of project, program, and/or portfolio management
  • The methodological approach and its relevance to the research question

Award Notification

First-round decisions will be announced to applicants by 22 July.

Final funding decisions will be announced to applicants by 1 September.

The award notification will include the research agreement, a progress report template, transfer of copyright, and other applicable documentation. The notification will be sent to the grant administrator/authorized official from the university/institution, with a copy to the student investigator.

Note that parties to the agreement are PMI and the university/institution. No grants are made directly to individuals.

A template of the research agreement is available to grant administrators upon request.

Project funding will be administered following execution of the research agreement and other applicable documentation.


  1. Final report suitable for publication as a white paper, formatted according to the PMI Thesis Research Manuscript Guidelines (provided at the time essential research is completed). Note that PMI reserves the right to not publish the white paper.
  2. Optional: 1-hour webinar, focused on the application of the research for a practitioner audience, delivered via