REALM FAQs

For any questions not answered below, please contact the REALM team at realm-project@columbia.edu.

Can one Principal Investigator submit more than one project proposal in a single round of REALM funding?

There is no policy against it, but REALM is extremely unlikely to fund both proposals.

 

Does REALM support a co-PI structure?

REALM indeed welcomes the co-PI structure, and we do not need both PIs to be involved to the same extent. These roles should, however, be clearly defined in the project proposal.

 

I am an independent researcher. Am I eligible to act as a PI on a REALM project?

As long as you are eligible to be a Principal Investigator on a grant submitted through your organization, you may submit a project proposal to REALM. REALM must be able to contract with an organization, not an individual.

 

Will REALM contract directly with the local partner institution?

No. REALM will contract with the institution through which the project proposal is submitted, and that institution will contract with its local partner.

 

Can multiple project proposals contract work to the same local partner institution?

There is no policy that would prevent us from funding multiple proposals supported by the same local partner institution; so, a scenario in which both projects are funded is possible.

We should note that as we are interested in capturing a breadth of studies and sending countries, it is unlikely that we would fund two projects based in the same country, relying on the same partner. Thus, where several research proposals are focused on one area, we would expect the application process to be more competitive. However, we would still encourage both proposals to be submitted.

 

What does “the potential to contribute to a menu of REALM projects” refer to?

This is intended to refer to the fact that REALM is a collaborative project, and other REALM PIs will have the opportunity to use your data (or possibly even your research instruments) to complement their own projects. So if, for example, a researcher plans to conduct a survey on the effects of migration on health, perhaps another REALM PI conducting ethnographic work on migration and gender could add a question to this survey specifically targeting women's health outcomes. Or, the same ethnographer could simply use the survey data after the fact to understand where their findings about women's health fit in a broader picture of health. Of course, applicants do not know which projects will be funded (and neither does REALM), but we would like to see a brief speculation on the proposed project's potential usefulness to other researchers.

 

Is Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval necessary before submitting a project proposal?

IRB approval is not required for proposal submission.

IRB approval is necessary before engaging with any human subjects. For some grantees, this may be at the beginning of the grant cycle (ie. September 1 or shortly thereafter); for others, it may be a year down the line. So, though IRB approval is not required for proposal submission, applicants are advised to begin applying to the IRB as soon as possible, if the proposal anticipates that fieldwork will begin shortly after the grant is awarded.

 

My institution does not have an Institutional Review Board (IRB) mechanism. Can I submit an application?

Applications will be considered from institutions without an internal Institutional Review Board. However, applications from organizations without an internal IRB mechanism must detail their plans for procuring independent IRB approval.

In no more than a paragraph, the application should outline the following: (1) the estimated cost of such review (note up to $2,500 of independent IRB costs can be included within the budget) and (2) identify which independent IRB organization you will use and any other details provided to you by the IRB organization about process, timeline, or other relevant details. 

Because of the complexity of international research, we strongly recommend you communicate directly with organizations to verify your proposed research and institution are eligible before submitting the application. Though we do not endorse any of the following, here are examples of accredited, independent IRBs that might be able to provide approval for your proposal:

 

Who is responsible for budgeting an audit, REALM or the institution undertaking the research project?

REALM anticipates and has budgeted for annual audits, so the audit requirement should not be cost-prohibitive for institutions submitting a project proposal.

 

What should the data management plan consist in?

REALM wishes to see two components addressed in the data management plan: (1) How the data files will be protected and (2) how the data will be anonymized to prevent harm to human subjects. We would like to know where and how the data will be stored, how that storage is securitized such that states cannot access it, and any other methods of protection (eg. the secure server is under video surveillance). Please list all personnel who will have access to the data, and for what purpose. Finally, we would like to know how link files will be created and how data will be de-identified.

 

My project may be best conducted after this year. Will there be another REALM funding call?

 Yes. In order to hear from REALM about this, please request to join our listserv by emailing realm-project@columbia.edu.

 

Should my project proposal be single- or double-spaced? May I use additional sub-headings? Do the reference section, cover page, biographical sketches or budget count towards the page limit?

The page limits noted on the RFA refer to single-spaced pages.

Applicants may use additional sub-headings as long as the headings set forth in the RFA constitute the main structure of the proposal.

Those elements do not count towards the page limit.

 

What is the significance of the cover page?

Applications without a cover page will not be accepted. The cover page signifies that your proposal has been approved by a grant-managing institution that is aware of REALM's policy on indirect costs.

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