KU Racial Equity Research, Scholarship & Creative Activity Fund

Request for proposals

The KU Office of Research, in partnership with the Hall Center for the Humanities, invites proposals to the Racial Equity Research, Scholarship & Creative Activity Fund.

The 2021 submission deadline has passed for this opportunity.

This fund will support members of our research and creative community as they apply their expertise to profound and persistent challenges related to attaining the goal of racial equity. Racial equity is generally defined as a state where race no longer determines one’s ability to thrive because systemic barriers to quality housing, education, employment, health care, public safety and other needs have been removed. As one of America’s leading research universities committed to diversity, inclusion and racial equity, KU must advance these goals, in part, through its research mission. We believe in the power of research, scholarship and creative activity to bring about change. Our objective is to foster progress toward racial equity through a combination of research, dialogue and action.


Award criteria + eligibility

Research, scholarship and creative activity supported by the new fund must be innovative or reflect a new application of existing research and have the potential to make a significant contribution to understanding the genesis and impact of inequities based on race, exploring impediments and/or charting a course toward racial equity. Attentive to KU’s vital role as a place-based institution, funding decisions will include as priorities community-engaged projects that address a local problem identified in collaboration with one or more community partners — injecting research, scholarship and/or creative activity to achieve both immediate progress and long-term sustainability while advancing generalizable knowledge and understanding. To address racial equity issues as broadly as possible, funding will be available to all Lawrence and Edwards campus faculty and academic staff (whether or not tenure-track), without regard for field or discipline. Projects that involve students or partnerships with colleagues at other universities, industry or nonprofit organizations are encouraged.

The fund will support up to 10 awards of up to $20,000 each.

The Office of Research and the Hall Center’s Research & Grant Development Office will work with awardees to identify and secure external funding to continue or expand the scope of projects, but the potential to attract external funding is not a review criterion.

Workshop series

In conjunction with the creation of this fund, an ongoing Racial Equity Research, Scholarship & Creative Activity Workshop series will connect researchers working on racial equity issues and engage other members of the university community.

Eligibility, submission + review details

  • Lawrence and Edwards campus faculty and unclassified academic staff (whether or not tenure-track) may submit a proposal individually or as teams.
  • Proposed project duration must be 2 years or less.
  • Budget requests of up to $20,000 will be considered.
  • Incomplete or late applications may not receive full review and consideration.

Proposals must be submitted as a SINGLE PDF (including the budget template provided below) via email to ovcr@ku.edu by Oct. 1, 2021.

All proposals must be completed in 11- or 12-point font with single spacing and 1-inch margins on each page.

The proposal must include the following in one single PDF:

  1. Cover page (1 page)
    Include the following information:
    • Title of the proposal
    • Name and detailed contact information for the lead applicant (title, mailing address, email address, phone number)
    • Department/center that will administer the award
    • Funding amount requested
  2. Narrative (2-3 pages, including abstract)
    Present an abstract of not more than 250 words, followed by a detailed description of your proposal, including answers to these questions:
    • How does the proposed work foster progress toward racial equity?
    • If applicable, what local problem does the project address and how does the proposed work engage one or more community partners?
    • What is novel, innovative and/or inventive about the proposed project?
    • How does the proposed project build upon KU’s existing work and resources in this area rather than duplicate them?
    • What are the metrics and outcomes that will signal success of the project?
    • If applicable, how does the proposed project involve students and/or collaborations with colleagues at other universities, nonprofit organizations or industry partners?
  3. PI Biosketch (2 pages per PI; if co-PIs, submit for each)
    ​Similar to the ones for major federal funding agencies, the biosketch should demonstrate current research strength and capacity in the proposed area. It must include professional preparation; current and past positions/appointments; a list of up to 5 most recent publications and/or other outcomes (exhibitions, films, grant proposals for a nonprofit, etc.) closely related to the proposed area; if applicable, a list of applications to externally funded sponsored awards in the last 5 years, including those that are currently awarded or pending (with information about sponsor, duration, budget amount and role of individual); collaborative and/or community-engaged research activities, and other relevant research achievements.

    Examples of biosketches:
  4. Budget (on the provided template)
    Budgets may include funds to cover:
    • KU investigator(s) salaries and fringes (not to exceed 2 weeks of salary per investigator)
    • KU staff salary and fringe
    • Summer salary and fringe for KU students, plus minimal summer tuition costs
    • Hourly payments for KU students who do not incur tuition costs
    • Non-conference travel (conference travel is not allowed)
    • Materials and supplies
    • Small equipment (not to exceed a cost of $5,000)
    • Collaborative activity on the KU campus
    Budgets should not include:
    • Subrecipient agreements
    • Spring/fall tuition
    • Indirect costs
    • Cost share. Contributions from other units are, of course, welcome. Although not required, other contributions should be mentioned in the narrative.
    • Equipment over $5,000
  5. Budget Narrative
    Describe and justify overall budget plan, planned expenditures and timing of expenditures.

All proposals will be reviewed following the Oct. 1, 2021 deadline by the review committee. Funding recommendations will be provided to the Vice Chancellor for Research for review and final approval within 6 weeks of the application deadline.

Review criteria include:

  • Merit and degree of novelty/innovation of proposed work
  • Feasibility
  • Evidence of the PI(s)’ capacity to lead the proposed work

The review committee reserves the right to ask proposers to revise their proposals, and funding may be awarded for lesser amounts than requested.

Prepare + submit a proposal

Use the budget template below as you prepare your proposal, then submit your completed packet by Oct. 1, 2021.

Project reporting expectations for awardees

Awardees will communicate any project developments, challenges and/or achievements — such as evidence of positive changes for the community or in relevant public policy, publications, external grant applications, invention disclosures, patents or patent applications, conference presentations, creative work, press releases, licenses, etc. — to ovcr@ku.edu as soon as possible, and for up to three years beyond the initial funding period, so that they can be disseminated through KU Research and KU News. Any publications (or other “products”) arising from this request for proposals should acknowledge that it was "Made possible through support from the KU Racial Equity Research, Scholarship & Creative Activity Fund."

  • A final report will be submitted to ovcr@ku.edu within 60 days of the project end date. The report must:
    • Summarize the extent to which original proposal goals and objectives have been achieved, highlighting metrics for measuring project success as included in the proposal.
    • Highlight any other significant achievements and outcomes.
    • Address plans for future work.
  • Awardees must follow all KU Office of Research policies and procedures, including research compliances.
  • No extensions of project end dates will be approved, except where exceptional circumstances substantially impeded progress on the work proposed. Unused funds will be retained by the Office of Research to support future Racial Equity Fund competitions.
  • Rebudgets over 10% of total award amount must be approved by the Office of Research. Any rebudgeting must still adhere to the budget requirements above.