General Information

Are letters of inquiry required?

No. Letters of inquiry are not required. Full proposals are due on September 12 at 3 pm EST.

Can a research institution submit more than one application?

Yes. There is no limit to the number of applications that may come from a single institution. Please note, however, that there will be only one award per cycle, so an institution that submits two applications is in effect competing against itself. But the decision to submit is up to the applicants.

Can a public agency or nonprofit organization serve as the lead applicant?

No. The research institution in the partnership should submit the application. One goal of the Institutional Challenge Grant is to encourage research institutions to shift their policies and practices to better value research-practice partnerships. The research institution must also provide support for one fellow.

The Research-Practice Partnership

Is a pre-existing relationship between the research center and its public partner(s) required to be competitive?

The competition is open to partnerships at different stages of maturity. Applicants will need to convince reviewers that the proposed activities add significant value to what already exists. They will also need to provide initial evidence that the partners have successfully worked together in the past and have the potential to sustain a long-term collaboration.

Can a research institution partner with multiple public agencies or nonprofits?

Yes. The Institutional Challenge Grant is designed to support research institutions’ efforts to build sustained partnerships with institutions from the practice and policy communities. Ultimately we hope this joint work will reduce inequalities in youth outcomes.

Are there resources available through the Foundation to connect to literature on research-practice partnerships?

Yes. Please visit the home page of the Institutional Challenge Grant and the Foundation’s microsite on research-practice partnerships, which features resources, work samples, and guiding tips for partnerships, gathered from members of our learning community of partnerships in education .

Staffing and the Fellows

Can there be more than one PI at the institution?

No. There needs to be a single PI with overall responsibility for the grant. However, applicants may identify co-PIs to share the work of the PI, such as a Dean with influence at the institution and a faculty member with more content expertise.

Can the PI also be a Fellow?

Yes, the PI may be a Fellow. This decision should be well-justified and should consider whether the PI/Fellow: 1) has the influence and access to resources required to affect institutional change, and 2) can successfully meet the demands of both the PI and Fellow roles.

In addition to support for the Fellows, can funding from the Institutional Challenge Grant cover additional university faculty time, such as the time contributed by the PI or a junior faculty member who assists with the research?

Yes. It is appropriate to apply the funds not used to support the planning period and Fellows toward research activities, investigators’ time, and investments in the public agency or nonprofit organization. The proposed budget should be well-justified and sufficient to carry out the proposed work.

Institutional Shifts

At what level do you expect changes in institutional policy and practice to occur?

One goal of the award is to encourage institutions to value the work of research-practice partnerships in order to attract experienced researchers to participate in partnerships, to produce and use research in ways that benefit youth, and to build sustained institutional ties. Shifts may include changes in institution wide-policies to incentivize research-practice partnerships. Alternatively, centers, institutes, or departments may create infrastructure that is capable of training and supporting researchers to engage in partnerships. Applicants will need to balance ambition toward broad institutional change with an acknowledgement of what is feasible. We welcome your innovations.

Research Agenda on Reducing Inequality

The application guide suggests specifying the dimension of inequality to be studied. What does this mean?

It means specifying the basis of the inequality—the lines along which outcomes are currently unequal. We are interested in inequality on the basis of race, ethnicity, economic standing, and/or immigrant origin status.

Are there youth outcomes in which you are particularly interested?

Yes. We are particularly interested in academic, behavioral, social, and economic youth outcomes. However, we will consider research on other outcomes.