New NCFR Olson Grant Invests in the Future of Family Science

Now Accepting Applications
David Olson
David H. Olson, Ph.D.

SAINT PAUL — The National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) and David H. Olson, Ph.D., are proud to announce the creation of the NCFR Olson Grant: Bridging Research, Theory, and Practice. This new $10,000 annual grant will be available to current NCFR members working to creatively contribute to the discipline of Family Science by effectively uniting research, theory, and practice in their work.

“Projects that integrate and bridge research, theory, and practice are often more challenging but offer the most potential for exciting discoveries,” said Dr. Olson, an NCFR Fellow, professor emeritus at the University of Minnesota, and creator of the highly respected Circumplex Model of Couples and Families.

“Integrative projects also increase the validity of the findings and expand the relevance of the project,” Dr. Olson said. “This ‘triple threat’ approach is also a ‘triple treat’ for the investigator.”

NCFR is accepting the first round of Olson Grant proposals beginning March 2, with an application deadline of April 20, 2020 (extended from the original deadline of March 31). Proposals will be reviewed, and a decision made by July 1, 2020. The recipient will present the research at the 2021 NCFR Annual Conference in Baltimore.

The call for projects that bridge Family Science research, theory, and practice is intentionally broad to encourage a variety of innovative proposals. Priority will be given to proposals that relate to the Circumplex Model and/or Dr. Olson’s PREPARE/ENRICH program.

The principal investigator (PI) applying for the grant must work for a 501(c)(3) or tax-exempt university, be a current NCFR member, and must maintain membership throughout the duration of the grant (nonmembers may become a member to apply for the grant). Faculty members and postdocs may apply as well as doctoral students completing dissertations. An application for Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval must be submitted prior to submitting a grant application.

Find complete details about the grant, eligibility criteria, and application process and requirements.


A Storied Career in Family Science

Dr. Olson is renowned for his many contributions to the Family Science discipline as a scholar, teacher, therapist, and professional. Over the past 30 years, his Circumplex Model has enabled researchers and practitioners alike in examining a couple’s relationship through their flexibility, cohesion, and communication skills. Dr. Olson also established the PREPARE/ENRICH program, used around the world for premarital education and marriage counseling.  

Dr. Olson has spent his career developing theories and methods that help couples and families improve the quality of their lives together. The Circumplex Model and its accompanying instruments (FACES, Clinical Rating Scale) have been used to guide therapists in assessing couples and families and setting out treatment plans. Dr. Olson has written over 100 articles and 20 books on marriage and family, and has appeared numerous times on national television including the NBC Today Show, CBS Morning Show, ABC Good Morning America, and the Oprah Show. He has received numerous honors and awards recognizing his career from over 10 national associations. At NCFR, Dr. Olson has been instrumental, serving as president, annual conference program chair and serving three terms on the Board of Directors.

 “NCFR is thrilled to continue its commitment to promoting the integration of family research, theory, and practice,” said NCFR Executive Director Diane Cushman. The grant’s focus strongly embodies a key area of the work of NCFR and its members — to apply rigorous research and theory to issues in the real world that affect real people.

“That’s what stands out about NCFR,” she said.

NCFR is delighted to help Dr. Olson give back to the discipline of Family Science by supporting a new generation of Family Scientists in fostering innovations that push the discipline into the future.

Find complete details about the grant, eligibility criteria, and application process and requirements.


The National Council on Family Relations is the premier professional association for the multidisciplinary understanding of families. NCFR has a membership of nearly 3,000 family researchers, practitioners and educators. For more information on the National Council on Family Relations or its scholarly publications, contact NCFR at 1-888-781-9331 or visit its website at