NCFR Olson Grant: Bridging Research, Theory, and Practice

Made Possible by the Generosity of David H. Olson, Ph.D.

The 2024 grant submission system is now closed and will reopen in March 2025.

This opportunity is available to NCFR members only. You may be prompted to log in. Learn how to become a member.


The National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) and David H. Olson, Ph.D., are proud to sponsor the NCFR Olson Grant: Bridging Research, Theory, and Practice, awarded for the first time in 2020.

This $10,000 annual grant will be available to NCFR members working to creatively contribute to the discipline of Family Science by bridging research, theory, and practice in their work.

NCFR is honored to continue its commitment to promoting the integration of family research, theory, and practice, thanks to Dr. Olson’s generous contribution to the NCFR organization and his esteemed work in the Family Science discipline. The grant’s focus strongly embodies a key area of the work of NCFR and its members: to apply rigorous research and theory to real-world issues that affect real people.

David H. Olson, Ph.D., the namesake of the grant, is renowned for his many contributions to Family Science as a scholar, teacher, therapist, and professional. He is the creator of the Circumplex Model of Couples and Families, which enables researchers and practitioners to examine a couple's relationship through the couple’s flexibility, cohesion, and communication skills. Dr. Olson also established the PREPARE/ENRICH program, used around the world for premarital education and marriage counseling. More about Dr. Olson.



The purpose of the NCFR Olson Grant is to enable projects that bridge research, theory, and practice in Family Science — one of NCFR’s priorities as an organization.

The grant of $10,000 will be awarded annually to an NCFR member(s). The grant funds will be awarded upon Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval of the selected project. The results of the project will be presented as a special session at the NCFR Annual Conference the year following the awarding of the grant funds. (For example, a project awarded in 2023 is presented at the 2024 conference.) 

Priority will be given to projects that relate to the Circumplex Model and/or the PREPARE/ENRICH Program. More specifically, research projects would use the FACES IV assessment and/or the Clinical Rating Scale, or the PREPARE/ENRICH couple database. To learn more about PREPARE/ENRICH and studies done with this assessment, go to the website ( and click on About>Research.

To learn more about bridging research, theory, and practice, applicants are encouraged to review the NCFR webinar presented by Dr. Olson, “Circumplex Model and PREPARE/ENRICH: Bridging Research, Theory, and Practice.” The webinar is available free to NCFR members.



  1. The project must be one that bridges Family Science research, theory, and practice
  2. The Principal Investigator (PI) must work for a 501(c)(3) or a tax-exempt university.
  3. The Principal Investigator (PI) must be a current member of NCFR and must maintain membership throughout the duration of the grant (nonmembers may become a member to apply for the grant). 
  4. Faculty members and postdocs may apply as well as doctoral students who are near completion of their dissertation.
  5. Application for IRB approval must be submitted prior to submitting grant application and match project name.


How to Apply

Proposals will be submitted via online application form annually.

The deadline for 2025 applications is April 1, 2025, 11:59 p.m. CST.

You will be prompted to log in with your NCFR login information, or create an account with NCFR if you don't already have one, to access the application form.

Proposals should specifically discuss how the project bridges research, theory, and practice. It is required that you submit your application for IRB approval prior to applying for the NCFR Olson Grant; if selected as the grant recipient, you will receive the grant funds once your IRB application has been approved.

Proposals require the following information:

  1. Title of project, author, institutional affiliation, and contact information
  2. W-9 form from your organization
  3. Author bio – 250 words describing academic and career accomplishments
  4. Abstract – about 250 words
  5. Proof that you have received or are in process of receiving IRB approval
  6. Project proposal (this will be uploaded as a Word document to the online application form). Please limit your project proposal document to 30 pages, including tables, figures, and references. Do not write your name and other identifying information on the project proposal Word document.
    1. Statement of goal(s) of project—address bridging research, theory, and practice
    2. Theoretical framework, brief literature review, and hypotheses
    3. Research design
      1. Sample
      2. Methods
      3. Analysis
    4. Reference list
    5. Budget (see “Use of Funds” below)
    6. Timetable for project


The 2024 grant submission system is now closed and will reopen in March 2025.

Deadlines for Proposal and Fulfillment of the 2024 Grant

  1. Proposals are due by April 1, 2024, at 11:59 p.m. Central time 
  2. Proposals will be reviewed, and a decision made by August 1, 2024
  3. Research project should be completed by Nov. 1, 2025, for presentation at NCFR’s Annual Conference
  4. Write and submit a paper of your findings to the Journal of Marriage and Family or Family Relations: Interdisciplinary Journal of Applied Family Science by Dec. 31, 2025. If the article is not accepted by one of these publications, the author may publish it in another journal


Use of Funds

The grant funds may be used only for direct costs, not for indirect costs. No more than one-third of the funds may be used to support the PI; the remaining two-thirds may be used for a research assistant or other research costs.

The grant funds will be awarded once IRB approval has been received.


Proposal Review Criteria

  1. Clearly states how the project bridges research, theory, and practice
  2. Well written proposal with clearly described goals
  3. Manageable project within guidelines, timetable, and budget
  4. Creative contribution to Family Science
  5. Overall quality of the project


Apply for the NCFR Olson Grant

This opportunity is for NCFR members only. You may be prompted to log in. Learn how to become a member.



With questions about the NCFR Olson Grant, please email [email protected].