ASPCA research grants develop cutting-edge knowledge in animal welfare. We fund high-quality research across a variety of disciplines and methods that has clear potential to benefit animals, either directly or through effecting systems-level change. Proposals to extend studies focused on other disciplines (e.g., public health, economics, crime data analysis) to include animal welfare in substantive ways will also be considered if they can clearly demonstrate potential benefits to animals.
This year we are soliciting proposals in the following four research areas:
Access to Veterinary Care (AVC) Research: proposals that address AVC from any angle (e.g., medical, legal, AVC impact, program delivery, community engagement, veterinary engagement). Ideally, the research will establish tools or guidelines that veterinary professionals and organizations can use to improve access to veterinary care.
Applied Behavior Research: proposals that inform the development or refinement of evidence-based shelter behavior protocols. Research that addresses common behavior concerns in shelter populations that lead to euthanasia is of particular interest.
Cruelty Research: proposals that address animal cruelty from any angle (e.g., public policy, law, criminal justice, criminology, veterinary forensics, community engagement, prevention/intervention, human behavior change). Of particular interest is research that analyzes the effectiveness of legislative and other policy measures designed to prevent and/or respond to cruelty. Also of interest is research that heightens awareness of animal cruelty and builds knowledge that informs and engages key community stakeholders and allied professionals in preventing and responding to this animal welfare issue.
Psychological Trauma Research: proposals related to developing novel approaches to the documentation of animal cruelty and neglect in the absence of physical trauma. Proposals are encouraged from any relevant discipline (e.g., physiology, psychology, ethology). Of particular interest is research that focuses on objective measures, including biomarkers and quantitative behavioral phenotyping.
Important note: If you wish to apply to more than one research area, please submit separate applications for each area.
Grant Fund Amounts
The total funding amount available for these opportunities is $390,000. The maximum individual grant amounts for each research area are $20,000 (Psychological Trauma Research), $40,000 (Applied Behavior Research), and $50,000 (Access to Veterinary Care Research and Cruelty Research).
Investigators and/or research teams affiliated with United States public or private entities such as universities, colleges, government agencies, veterinary hospitals and clinics, animal welfare organizations, and other organizations. This opportunity is also available to Canadian registered public universities and qualified municipalities/public bodies which can demonstrate the applicability of the research to improve the welfare of animals in the US.
Applications from individuals will not be accepted.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals ® (ASPCA®) was founded on the belief that animals are entitled to kind and respectful treatment by humans. Acting effectively on that belief requires a commitment to fostering a collaborative and compassionate culture and to principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We welcome all voices to participate in our advancement of these values in the interest of working together to improve the lives of animals in need.
Applicants must meet ASPCA Grantee Organizational Standards:
- If a past ASPCA grant recipient, must be current on all reporting requirements.
- If a nonprofit organization
- Must be an incorporated or organized legal entity in good standing with the Secretary of State in the state where the organization is incorporated or organized.
- Must have a board of at least 4 members with a majority of independent members with neither board chair nor treasurer receiving compensation from the organization.
- Charitable registration must be current/active in the state of the Grantee’s primary location (for grants >=$25,000).
Projects with the primary aim of providing services or building infrastructure will not be considered. Proposals focused on evaluating the effectiveness of a program or service must demonstrate methodological rigor and a clear plan to produce generalizable scientific knowledge.
Please see the companion document to view eligibility information specific to each research area.
If your organization is interested in research but does not currently have the capacity to conduct formal research on its own, we encourage you to email ASPCAresearch@aspca.org. We will gladly talk with you about ways to pursue your research ideas and may be able to offer networking and/or guidance.
Proposals will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
- Significance and relevance – the proposed research directly informs and advances the research area; research questions are clearly stated and justified.
- Approach – the study design is justified and appropriate to achieve the project goals (e.g., the study is adequately powered to answer the questions; the statistical analysis is appropriate; ethical issues are addressed; the project timeline is logical, feasible, and includes a plan to address any anticipated risks or obstacles).
- Potential impact – the research has clear potential to inform and advance animal welfare in the United States; the proposal includes a clear and appropriate plan for disseminating findings to relevant stakeholders/audiences.
- Generalizability – the results can be used by many stakeholders in different settings or with different resources.
- Credentials – the ability of the team to carry out the work.
- Budget – the budget is reasonable and appropriately justified.
The ASPCA encourages open-access publishing of manuscripts arising from funded research. Applicants may include article processing charges in their budget proposals as an allowable expense. Separately, the ASPCA also offers an Open-Access Publishing Fund (OAPF) for completed research for which publication costs are the only need.
ASPCA as a Resource
A member of the ASPCA's research staff and/or subject matter experts affiliated with the ASPCA may be available to lend expertise to study design considerations as requested by grant recipients. ASPCA personnel will not participate in data collection, analysis, or manuscript writing, and the proposed budget and application must provide for the personnel and expertise to accomplish these tasks.
- RFP will open on Monday, April 3, 2023, at 9 a.m. ET.
- RFP will close on Monday, July 31, 2023, at 5 p.m. ET.
Finalists will be notified via email on or around Monday, September 18, 2023, and invited to complete a formal application in our grant management system.
Funding decisions are expected before Thursday, October 9, 2023.
- For project-related inquiries about Applied Behavior or Psychological Trauma, please contact email@example.com
- For project-related inquiries about Access to Veterinary Care or Cruelty Research, please contact ASPCAresearch@aspca.org
- For application submission inquiries/technical difficulties, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Past Research Grantees
The following is a list of recent awards under our ASPCA Research Grant programs. It is not intended to be prescriptive; rather, it offers prospective applicants an idea of the types of research we have funded under this solicitation.
New York University, “A Preliminary Investigation of Animal Cruelty Reported During the Assessment of Family Maltreatment Incidents”
Thomas Jefferson University, “Professional Responses to Animal Abuse in Childhood: a Mixed-Methods Exploration”
University of Denver, “Encounters with Animal Maltreatment in Professional Settings: The Experiences of Human Services and Public Service Personnel”
Arizona State University, “Reducing Kennel Reactivity in Shelter Housed Dogs”
University of Nebraska, Omaha, “Salivary α-Amylase as a Biomarker of Stress and a Previous History of Trauma in Pet Dogs”
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, “The Importance of Choice of Food Enrichment on the Wellbeing of Shelter Cats”
Michigan State University, “Early Identification and Treatment of Shelter Dogs Exhibiting Maladaptive Coping”
University of Pennsylvania, “Establishing a Penn Vet Collaboration for Studies in Accessible High Quality Clinical Medicine with a Research Project Examining Metronidazole Treatment in Dogs with Diarrhea”, 2019
Iowa State University, “Evidence Based Incremental Care Approach to Managing Acute Canine Vomiting”, 2020
University of California, Davis, “Examining the Efficacy of Video Telemedicine for Providing Virtual Health and Behavior Care for Cats”, 2020
Tufts University, “Prevention of GDV by HQHV Veterinarians: A New Opportunity”, 2020
Western University of Health Sciences, “A Randomized Clinical Trial to Evaluate a Low-Cost Treatment for Cranial Cruciate Ligament Disease”, 2020
Emancipet, “Evidence-Based, Low-Cost Treatment for Common Canine Skin Conditions”, 2020
Cornell University, “A Randomized Controlled Trial of a Resource Efficient Intervention Protocol for Management of Traumatic Wounds in Dogs”, 2020
Oregon State University, “The Reality of Financial Constraints for Feline Male Lower Urinary Tract Obstructions: Do Complication Rates Outweigh a More Affordable, Outpatient treatment”, 2021
Purdue University, “Congestive Heart Failure in a Community Medicine Setting: Creation of a Predictive Index and the Use of Sustained Release Isosorbide in Dogs with Congestive Heart Failure Due to Mitral Valve Disease”, 2021
University of Wisconsin, “Fecal Microbial Transplant (FMT) for ParvOvirus in the OutPatient setting (FMT-POOP): A Randomized Controlled Trial to Evaluate a Practical and Low-Cost Intervention”, 2021
Ohio State University, “Evaluating Cost Effectiveness and Outcome of Low-Cost Patient Care and Patient Selection”, 2021
University of Tennessee, “Standardized Community Needs Assessments that Include Non-Human Family Members”, 2022
Ohio State University, “Decision Making in the Provision of Accessible Veterinary Care”, 2022
Rhode Island Veterinary Medical Association (RIVMA) Companion Animal Foundation, “Comparative Impact of Grants to Veterinarians and Clients on Access to Veterinary Care”, 2022
Mission Animal Hospital, “Spectrum of Care: Quantitative and Qualitative Impact Research”, 2022
Tufts University, “Perineal Urethrostomy as a First-Line Treatment Option in Cats Presenting to the Emergency Room for Urethral Obstruction”, 2022
University of California, Davis, “Incorporating Video Telemedicine for Improved At-Home Management of Chronic Health Conditions in Cats: A Focus on Degenerative Joint Disease”, 2022