The SurveyCTO Data Collection
Research Grant

This grant is designed to help graduate students conduct primary data collection for their research. Each awardee will receive research funding, one year of access to the SurveyCTO platform, and expert support from the SurveyCTO team.

Data collection is challenging.
We want to help.

The team at Dobility (creators of SurveyCTO) was formed by field researchers and data practitioners who remember the struggle of piecing together funding as graduate students. We’d like to provide this grant to defray some of the costs associated with data collection fieldwork, and provide a free one-year subscription to SurveyCTO.

Applications for the 2021-2022 academic year are now closed. Please visit our blog to meet this year's recipients.

The grant award

1One year SurveyCTO subscription

The grant includes a free annual subscription to SurveyCTO (a $2,376 value). The subscription includes:

Unlimited storage: store images, videos, audio audits, and any other data you collect alongside form submissions

Unlimited forms: deploy survey forms, instruments, or questionnaires to collect data

Unlimited users and devices: bring on as many collaborators or field researchers as you like – and use as many mobile devices as you need

10,000 form submissions per month: use SurveyCTO to collect up to 10,000 data entries each month or up to 120,000 submissions throughout the year. The number of submissions can be adjusted according to the researcher's needs.


As one of the grant awardees, you’ll receive a one-time minimum $2,000 grant for research expenses related to your primary data collection during the 2021-2022 academic year.

3Access to our expert support team

As an awardee, you’ll receive full access to our customer support team and SurveyCTO experts for 24/7 assistance. You’ll get a kickoff call with the SurveyCTO team of data collection experts to help you set up SurveyCTO in the best way possible for your research project.

4Visibility for your research project

As an awardee, you’ll have the opportunity to promote your research in the form of a case study, article, or scholarly piece. We’ll share your work with our audience and the broader research community.


The SurveyCTO Data Collection Grant is available to all graduate candidates from research programs across the US and globally.

The review process

All applications will be blindly assessed by a committee within Dobility. Each application will be ranked based on several criteria, including:


Who will your research impact? Will your research have cultural, environmental, economic, social, or policy impact?

Your approach to innovation

How have you designed the study? How will you protect your research subjects and the data you collect?

Feasibility of the project

How likely is your project to reach its stated goal?

Use of grant funds

Grant awardees can use funds to directly support fieldwork and data collection. As a large part of the award includes a one-year subscription to the SurveyCTO platform, grant awardees may use the accompanying stipend to support fieldwork in conjunction with the platform. Awardees may not use funds for costs unrelated to data collection, like travel, or indirect costs.

What is SurveyCTO?

SurveyCTO is the most reliable, secure, and scalable mobile data collection platform for researchers and professionals working in offline settings.

This grant is especially applicable to graduate candidates who are undergoing (or about to undertake) a data collection-heavy project.

The platform was born out of founder Dr. Chris Robert’s experience as a researcher on Harvard-based development economics projects in Tamil Nadu, South India. Since then, we’ve used our experiences as researchers to embed best practices in research and data collection within the tool.

Leading universities and research institutions in over 165 countries use SurveyCTO. They include Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (JPAL), International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), World Bank Group, Stanford University, University of Michigan, Georgetown University, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and NORC at the University of Chicago.

To get an idea of how researchers use SurveyCTO, read these recent case studies:

Using respondent-driven sampling to reach hidden populations

NORC at the University of Chicago measures commercial sexual exploitation in Kenya with respondent-driven sampling.

Reducing data collection time and improving data validity

A World Bank-funded project saved more than 7 hours each day by digitizing their personnel verification process.

Safely collecting critical data during the COVID-19 pandemic

IPA uses phone surveys to continue collecting data for policy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Applications for the 2021-2022 academic year are now closed. Please visit our blog to meet this year's recipients.

Frequently Asked Questions

Applications close at 5 pm ET/9 pm UTC on September 30, 2021, and we will select the grant awardees soon after. The award must be used during the 2021-2022 academic year.

The grant awardees will write a case study, article, or scholarly piece to be published on the SurveyCTO blog on their research in Fall 2021. They’ll write a brief final report in Spring of 2022 and submit expenses.

You’ll get the most value out of the grant if your project requires high volumes of data collection. If you’re in doubt about the level of data collection involved in your project, please contact

Grant awardees may use the accompanying financial grant to help cover direct fieldwork expenses relating to primary data collection.

SurveyCTO’s clean, fast, user interface is easy for anyone to set up and use. The drag-and-drop form designer makes it easy for anyone to design a robust form. You can also upload forms directly from Excel or Google Sheets.

And as a major portion of the grant involves a free annual subscription to SurveyCTO, you’ll have access to 24/7 support for the platform.

However, if you have ideas for innovative survey practices, data collection improvements, or innovations you’d like help implementing, please mention that in the application. We’d love to help support you in marrying technical expertise with data collection methods.

This is the first time we’re offering this grant. However, this case study about Christian Meyer, doctoral student in economics, is an example of the type of innovation we support, and how he used SurveyCTO to save time and automate much of the process.

The best way to get in touch with us is by sending an email to Please include “SurveyCTO Data Collection Research Grant” in the email subject.