In his 2007 article on challenges in Social Work research and education, Shanti Khinduka, dean of the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis from 1974 to 2004, highlighted two age-old themes in social work research: rigor and relevance. The reference, well worth reading, is Khinduka, S.K. (2007). Toward rigor and relevance in US social work education. Australian Social Work, 60(1), 18-28. In this article, Dr. Khinduka said that applied social research should be both of high quality and integral to social work practice.

Shanti Khinduka built the modern George Warren Brown School of Social Work, taking it from a very good school to a top school in the United States and in the world. For more than four decades he has been a dedicated leader committed to strengthening social work scholarship and the social work profession. Honoring his legacy—as well as his leadership in CSD’s founding in 1994—the Center has established the Shanti Khinduka Social Work Research Fellowship for Social Innovation, accompanied by a $10,000 award. This annual Fellowship aims to support a faculty member associated with the Brown School in conducting applied research testing a policy or practice innovation.

The inaugural 2016 Fellowship was awarded to Associate Professor David Patterson for his experiment testing whether a brief video intervention increases student retention at Forest Park Community College. This experiment builds on his previous research showing increased retention and grade point averages. The project exemplifies both rigor and relevance.

To apply for the Kinduka Fellowship, please submit a proposal (3 to 10 pages in length) that includes: background, issue, theory, research question, method, implementation timeframe, plan for knowledge application to policy and practice, budget, budget explanation, and references. We encourage applicants to review the Grand Challenges for Social Work and specify relevance to their area of research to the Grand Challenges. We also encourage cross-disciplinary approaches where possible. Proposals are due November 30 of each year, with awards made by January 30 the following year. Please submit proposals to CSD Administrative Director Lissa Johnson at