Request for Proposals, INCITE Research Grants for Columbia’s Global Centers

Submission Deadline March 15, 2013

Seed Grant Program Objectives

INCITE, in conjunction with the Office of the Global Centers, is pleased to issue its second request for seed grant proposals to Columbia Faculty working with Columbia’s new network of Global Centers and the local and regional partners of those Centers.  Through this request for proposals, INCITE seeks to leverage Columbia’s diverse intellectual capacities and resources to build a vibrant and sustainable global research program, and facilitate the emergence of Columbia as a global university.  The INCITE Global Centers Research Grant program has four closely-related goals:

  • To support substantive, innovative, interdisciplinary social science research at the Centers;

  • To strengthen the research infrastructure of the Global Centers;

  • To improve our collective understanding of critical issues that unite the diverse Global Centers; and

  • To enable faculty to produce compelling, well-crafted proposals for external funding.

INCITE grants are intended to provide Global Center and Columbia-based investigators with funding to develop innovative and ambitious research proposals that by virtue of our seed support are well positioned to apply for and receive external funding from local and regional sources. INCITE seed grants funds are designed to strengthen the research infrastructure at the Global Centers, ensure the sustainability of an active program of research, and foster deeper connections with Columbia-based researchers and research institutions.

Projects may be regionally focused, international, or comparative. We strongly encourage interdisciplinary research proposals, partnerships with Columbia-based social science researchers, and collaborations among the Global Centers. We strongly encourage applications that focus on problems of deep social significance. Examples of these seam issues include—but are certainly not limited to—democratization, freedom of information, or inequality. New projects could also build upon the themes of last year’s awards- education policy and school choice in South America, refugee issues in Jordan and the Middle East, and historical dialogue and accountability in Turkey and the Middle East- by exploring these issues in new regions and in collaboration with different Global Centers.

Successful proposals will clearly describe the research problem, its significance in the local or regional environment, and its implications for the global research community. Successful proposals will clearly describe the project’s methodology, explaining how the project will answer the research question. Proposals should differentiate clearly between the seed grant project and the larger research program. Investigators should lay out how this research project will engage investigators in the regions supported by Global Centers with their Columbia-based counterparts, and how these relationships will contribute to the Global Center’s research capacities and infrastructure.

PLEASE NOTE: The INCITE Global Centers Research Grant program is not a small grant program. Grants do not fund stand-alone projects, ongoing research, curriculum development, documentary films, conferences or conference travel, or workshops.  INCITE will only review proposals with concrete plans for obtaining external funding and detailed budgets and budget justifications.

Eligibility and Review Process

Columbia University faculty and international research partners working on projects that can be facilitated by the Global Centers are eligible to apply for INCITE seed grants. At least one applicant per investigative team must be a full-time faculty member, research scholar, or research scientist at Columbia. Each proposal ought to identify both a Columbia PI and a PI from the Global Center(s).

Because it can take some time for projects to develop from conception to externally-funded fruition, INCITE Global Centers Research Grants are a long-term investment in Columbia’s Global Centers. For this reason, we will not fund postdoctoral fellows, temporary faculty, graduate student projects, or undergraduates under this mechanism.

All applications must be received in full by 5:00 pm EST on March 15, 2013. A committee of INCITE-affiliated faculty and members of the Columbia administration will assess the merits of proposals. Proposals are evaluated on the relevance of the seam area, on the intellectual merit and innovation of the proposed project, on the seed grant’s relationship to the larger project for which the investigator will seek external funding, on the project’s organization and judicious use of funds, on the project’s contribution to the Global Center’s research capacity, and on the plausibility of the investigators’ plan for seeking outside funding. We also consider the extent to which the proposed research is interdisciplinary and collaborative.

Over the next year, INCITE anticipates awarding 3-5 grants of roughly $30,000 each. Grants may be for up to $50,000 and may be budgeted for one or two years.  Applicants submitting proposals for INCITE Global Centers Research Grants can expect to hear back from the review committee within eight weeks of the proposal deadline.

Conditions of Receipt

Grant recipients must to provide annual reports on project activities, including updates on external funding proposals. Investigators who receive American-sourced external grants based on work resulting from an INCITE Global Centers Research Grant must administer those grants through INCITE if requested to do so. Investigators receiving non-US based external grants based on work resulting from an INCITE seed grant must administer those grants through their local Global Center, with Indirect Cost sharing determined on a case-by-case basis. Investigators should also acknowledge INCITE’s support in any papers, publications, or reports resulting from seed grant activities.

Where appropriate, research projects involving human subjects must obtain (and keep up to date) Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval.

Submitting Proposals

Please submit proposals electronically to Caitlin Deighan, at, by 5:00 pm EST on March 15, 2013. To apply, please submit the following as pdf documents:

  • Proposal narrative (no more than 5 pages, single-spaced)

  • Budget

  • Budget narrative

  • CVs for each investigator

  • Figures or tables

  • Plan for securing external funding