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SEF Announces the 2015 Neil Rackham Research Grant Recipients

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Sales Education Foundation (SEF) supports university-level sales education programs by providing scholarships and research grants. One way that SEF supports quality sales-related research through grant funding and data provisions provided by the Neil Rackham Research Grant Award Program. 

The SEF/Neil Rackham Grant Program strongly encourages research with the potential for application by sales executives, sales managers, or the salesforce. In addition, more basic or exploratory work also is considered. No one approach or method is favored over another; proposed research may be conceptual or empirical and may involve field surveys, field or laboratory experiments, model building, or theory development. However, SEF strongly endorses using actual salespeople, sales managers and executives, and customers rather than students as participants in research projects. 


SEF grants are made to cover researchers’ out-of-pocket expenses for data collection, respondent fees, research assistants, and similar expenses. Generally, these grants are $5,000, though funding may be adjusted based on committee discretion. Note that SEF does not provide salary supplements for the principal researcher(s), funds for the purchase of equipment or software, university/organization overhead, tuition, or funds for travel to conferences.

The grant recipients are expected to provide the results of their research in the form of a report to the SEF, as well as a presentation at a conference of relevance to the SEF. Details on these points will be provided as needed. 

The proposals were evaluated on the bases of three criteria:

  1. Innovation – Is the research addressing an innovative solution to a business challenge? Does it offer new concepts or methods for studying and understanding problems facing salespeople and sales executives? Does it develop new approaches and /or methods for enhancing sales productivity?
  2. Practicality – What is the potential application and utility of the research? Will the results of the proposed research be of interest and useful to sales executives as well as researchers? Does the research provide solutions and insights into common challenges faced by industry?
  3. Dissemination – Will the results of the research likely be widely disseminated in a variety of outlets (articles in refereed journals, scholarly monographs, working papers posted on websites, practitioner publications, university sales centers, and conference presentations)? Will the research have the potential for viral messaging? 

The 2015 SEF/Neil Rackham Research Grant recipients include: 

  • Blake Runnalls
  • Dr. Doug Hughes
  • Dr. Roger Calantone and Dr. Clay Voorhees (Michigan State University)
  • Dr. V. Kumar (Georgia State University)
  • Chang Jiang (Huazhong University of Science and Technology, China). 
About the Author

Ryann K. Ellis is an editor for the Association of Talent Development (ATD). She has been covering workplace learning and performance for ATD (formerly the American Society for Training & Development) since 1995. She currently manages ATD's Community of Practice blogs, as well as ATD's government-focused magazine, The Public Manager. Contact her at rellis@td.org. 

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