Research in Strategic Management Program

The Strategy Research Foundation (SRF) of the Strategic Management Society (SMS) announces its 2021 Research in Strategic Management (RSM) Program. The RSM grant program aims to support research on a rotating set of themes central to the field of strategic management. 

The theme for the 2021 and 2022 program cycles is “Competitive Advantage in the 21st Century.” This theme addresses a classic question in the field of strategic management regarding how firms and managers affect performance outcomes among close competitors. In light of recent theoretical advances and changes in the business environment, this Call seeks proposals that revisit foundational research questions concerning competitive advantage (that have been examined using traditional conceptions and measures of performance such as competitive advantage, value creation, and factor productivity) and assess these questions with fresh perspectives. For example, with the blurring of industry boundaries and the emergence of new “ecosystems,” strategic management scholars might question whether an industry-based definition of competitive advantage is still useful.  We might also ask whether competitive advantage is still a relevant concept for firms in the 21st century and whether social advantage or other stakeholder-oriented views of business outcomes are more important.   

We encourage scholars to be creative in their submissions, and we invite theoretical and empirical proposals. Relevant topics and questions could include (but are not limited to):

  • What does competitive advantage mean and how can it be measured?
  • Whether and how do the resource allocation and organizational policies used to create and sustain competitive advantage differ across important business contexts? 
  • Is the concept of competitive advantage still relevant and useful today? Or should we seek to develop alternative ways of evaluating differences in outcomes between firms, for example by revisiting the separation between competitive and corporate strategy or by incorporating social and/or sustainability factors into our concepts and measures?

All applications should articulate how the proposed research contributes to answering this thematic question. Submissions drawing on a variety of theoretical perspectives to address specific research questions are welcome, providing the contribution to strategic management theory and practice is evident.


Important Dates for 2021 Call for Proposals

Submission System Opens
OCTOBER 1, 2021
Submission Deadline
Notification of Review Committee Decisions
JANUARY 1, 2022
Grant Period Begins
DECEMBER 31, 2023
Grant Period Ends

RSM Call for Proposals

2021 Call for Proposals

Target Applicant: A full-time faculty member or post-doctoral researcher affiliated with a university, who is a current member of the Strategic Management Society.

Funding & Key Terms: Grants of up to US$25,000, to support direct research expenses such as data collection and research assistance. No institutional overhead will be paid.


All proposals are required to identify a Principal Investigator (PI). The PI, who leads the research effort and to whom the grant is awarded, must be a full-time faculty member or post-doctoral researcher affiliated with a university and a member of the Strategic Management Society at the time of submission and throughout the grant period. A proposal may include Co-Investigators (CIs). 

At any time, a single individual is permitted to serve as a PI or CI on only one proposal across all SRF programs (DRG, RiO, or RSM). Further, individuals named in a previously funded SRF proposal may not participate in a new proposal until expiration of the prior award. Individuals named on a proposal must disclose any prior SRF awards and demonstrate that the project in the current proposal is distinct from their previously funded research. 

All SRF grants aim to support research that has not been undertaken. Thus, completed work is not eligible for funding. 

The SRF plans to award multiple RSM grants of up to $25,000 each during the 2021 funding cycle. Recipients will be named SRF Scholars. 

The SRF program provides financial support to cover direct research expenses for data collection, student research assistance, and other activities that enable the conduct of the research project. Examples of ineligible expenses include conference travel and registration fees, compensation for PI or CI time, teaching buyouts, purchases of software or equipment, and university overhead. Determination of eligible and ineligible expenses rests with the SRF. 

For proposals accepted for funding, the SRF will prepare an agreement to be executed by the PI detailing the responsibilities of both the PI and the SRF. Monies awarded will be available for a two-year period beginning January 1, 2022. Funds will be disbursed as expenses are incurred. Reimbursement for expenses incurred prior to the grant period is not permitted.

The SRF requires regular progress reports as well as a final report on the project. The PI will submit a progress report every six months of the grant and a final report within three months of the end of the grant. The final report will include an executive summary of the research findings and documentation of expenses incurred.

Proposals (in English) are to be submitted by the PI through the online submission system at Submissions should contain the following in a single PDF file:

a) Cover sheet with the following information: 

1. Submission title
2. Amount requested in US Dollars
3. Name and academic affiliation of PI
4. Names of any other CIs and their affiliations 
5. Summary (500 words) of the proposed research project

b)     Research Proposal of up to 10 pages, single spaced, with the following structure:

1. Specific research question(s) addressed in the proposal, including how the research addresses the 2021 RSM program theme, a review of the relevant literature from the field of strategic management, and expected contributions to both the theory and the practice of strategic management
2. Research design, including descriptions of data and analysis techniques
3. Cited references
4. Timetable/schedule (including a description of any work completed to date)
5. Detailed budget in US Dollars, including disclosure of other sources of funding
6. Expected impact of SRF funding on the quality of the research
7. Any other pertinent supplemental information 

c) CVs for the PI and any CI(s) 

d) Disclosure of any personal or business relationship between researchers and organizations providing data, field access, or other assistance that could potentially create a conflict of interest

e) A description of any non-disclosure agreements governing the research, including discussion of restrictions on publishing outcomes

f) A letter from the Dean’s Office of the PI’s primary academic institution confirming support for the funding application and acknowledging any institutional financial resources provided to the project

g) Disclosure of any relationship with SRF Co-Chairs or the RSM Program Director that may create the perception of a conflict of interest: potential conflicts of interest include, but are not limited to, advising, co-authoring, or consulting relationships

Grant recipients will retain copyright to all materials prepared in connection with the funded project. However, the SRF will retain an irrevocable, royalty-free license in perpetuity to use such materials for non-commercial purposes furthering the mission of the SRF. The SRF requires that any publication of the resulting research in articles or other forms includes an acknowledgement that the research was funded in part by the SRF of the Strategic Management Society.


The SRF website will open for submissions in August 2021, and the submission deadline is October 1, 2021. Notification of RSM grants awarded will be made by January 1, 2022. Submissions will be reviewed using the following criteria:

  • Contribution to strategic management theory: Are the frameworks employed, the data to be used, and/or the potential results to be obtained likely to make a new and substantial theoretical or empirical contribution to the academic field of strategic management? 
  • Contribution to strategic management practice: Is this research likely to yield important advice for managers in private or public organizations and make a significant contribution to the practice of strategic management?
  • Novelty of the research topic/question: Is this research likely to start or redirect a line of inquiry in the field of strategic management? 
  • Research design and methodological rigor: Are the data appropriate for the theory being developed or tested? Are the procedures appropriate for the research questions? Is the description of the methods to be used adequate? Is validity properly justified?
  • Likelihood of project success: Are the qualifications of the research team appropriate for the proposed research? Do the researchers have sufficient access to resources (financial and non-financial) to carry out the project?
  • Expected impact of the funding: Is SRF funding likely to make a significant difference to the quality, scope, or other characteristics of the project that will enhance its conceptual or empirical contributions to theory and practice? 


RSM Program Chair

picture of Kulwant Singh
Kulwant Singh Professor of Strategy & Policy at the National University of Singapore Business School. His main research interests relate to competition and cooperation in rapidly changing environments, and firm adaptation to...


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