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Urban@UW

Request for Applications

The Research to Action Collaboratory serves as a catalyst for research teams, building their transformational collaborative capacity to address today’s most pressing urban challenges.

The Request for Applictations (RFA) seeks teams of community members, researchers, and students across the University of Washington to co-produce actionable, community-centered research and knowledge for persistent urban-focused problems. Learn more about the inaugural awardees

The application period is closed for 2024. Check back soon to learn about the selected teams!

Overview

The Research to Action Collaboratory catalyzes collaborative research teams, building their transformational capacity to address sustainability and resilience across urban areas and the Pacific Northwest. As an accelerator, the RAC encourages cohort and team development, collaborative skill-building and sharing, networking, and building a community of practice around cross-disciplinary, applied, and community-led research.

There is $150,000 available for the current funding cycle. The maximum budget request per project is $50,000.

Focus on Regional Ecosystem Health

In 2024, team projects will co-produce new knowledge addressing vital questions and concerns about regional ecosystem health, defined here as residing at the interface of the built environment and the natural world, including the links between healthy ecosystems, open space, working lands, and vibrant human communities, and geographically centered within the region stretching from Portland, Oregon to Vancouver, British Columbia (bordered by the Cascades on the east). While projects should be local and/or regional in scale, they would ideally produce findings or results that could apply to other scales and contexts. Examples of potential research areas include, but are not limited to, collaborative and community-engaged approaches to

  • collaborate with local governments to support the development of low-carbon climate resilience strategies.
  • preserve farmland and enhance conservation value, local economies, and food systems in the region.
  • work with regional tribes to develop integrated planning and governance strategies under the Growth Management Act.
  • work with low-income and environmental justice communities to monitor water quality and develop better clean water policies.

Eligibility and Criteria

Applicant and Activity Eligibility

Project teams must include:

  1. Community or Non-Academic Lead(s)
    At least one community or non-academic lead is required. The community or non-academic lead(s) may include, for example, key stakeholders associated with/from a tribe with tribal council and/or leadership support, a community-led organization, a non-governmental organization, a city, state, or federal agency, or a business.
  2. University of Washington Lead(s)
    At least two UW faculty, postdoc, or staff researchers from different disciplines is required. At least one UW faculty, postdoc or staff researcher must have Principal Investigator (PI) status with the UW and will serve as the UW lead. If the project team is awarded a grant, this person will ensure compliance with all applicable federal, state, and institutional requirements. Note, the RAC seeks in particular to prioritize financial support for junior faculty and/or research staff, over senior faculty.
  3. UW undergraduate student(s) and/or graduate student(s)
    At least one undergraduate or graduate student is required. The student(s) would be meaningfully engaged in at least one project activity (e.g., opportunities for both leadership and professional development, and to receive mentorship).

Additionally,

  • Individuals and organizations may not serve as a principal investigator, or community/non-academic lead, on more than one project team within a single application cycle.
  • Applicants seeking funding to continue an existing project are discouraged from applying.
  • Members of the RAC Selection Committee for the current cohort are not eligible for funding in that cohort cycle.

The Research to Action Collaboratory does not fund the following:

  • Academic course development
  • Program evaluation
  • Technology commercialization

Please see Awardee Expectations for further details.

Selection Criteria

The following criteria will be used to evaluate each proposal:

  • To what extent does the proposal reflect the Urban@UW mission and vision?
  • To what extent does the proposal address equity, inclusion, and justice issues in the topic, process, and/or representation across the project team?
  • To what extent is the team and project demonstrably aware of, well situated for, and enthusiastic about participating in the accelerator structure, including dedicated convenings, skill-building and peer learning?
  • To what extent does the proposal reflect issues of regional ecosystem health, as defined above?
  • Are the research aims realistic, given the resources, team capacity, budget allocations, and timeline?
  • Is there co-leadership from community or non-academic partners and researchers?
  • Does the team have previous experience working together, or does it provide strong evidence of the likelihood of successful collaboration?
  • Are the project and team transdisciplinary in nature: does it represent an integration of knowledge across academic disciplines and with non-academic stakeholders to address relevant societal challenges?
  • Does the project budget allow for the meaningful involvement of community partners, students, and faculty/research staff?
  • Does the project budget prioritize support for junior faculty and/or research staff, over senior faculty?
  • If the project will make use of matching funds, is there documentation of support, and an explanation of how the project would proceed with and without the match?
  • Is there one or more clearly defined deliverable(s)? (see “Project Deliverables” on page 5 of this document for examples)
  • Are there clearly stated goals for the sustainability or growth of the partnership or project beyond the initial award period?
  • Cohort diversity with respect to
    • Discipline
    • Demographics and lived experiences
    • Other identity(ies) not covered above
    • Topical or geographic focus of the project

Timeline

  • December 7, 2023: RFA announcement
  • December 13, 2023, 11 AM – 12 PM: Information session
  • January 3, 2024, 11 AM – 12 PM: Information session
  • January 18, 2024, 1 – 2 PM: Information session
  • February 20, 2024, by 5:00 pm PST: Proposals due
  • Week of April 1, 2024: Award announcement
  • May 1, 2024 – September 30, 2025: Award period
  • May 7-9, 2024: RAC cohort retreat
  • October 15, 2025, by 5:00 pm PST: Final report due

Application Format

Teams should submit their proposal via this Google Form. Proposals are due February 20, 2024, by 5:00 pm PST.

A review by the Office of Sponsored Programs is not required for this application as these are internal UW funds from Urban@UW. Submissions that do not follow the application instructions will be disqualified.

Elements of the Application

In the Google Form, the team will be asked to submit the following for each team member:

  • Name
  • Contact Information (email address, phone number)
  • Organization, if applicable
  • Academic department, if applicable
  • Role in the project: community or non-academic lead; UW Principal Investigator (PI); UW student, post-doc, staff, or faculty collaborator

In addition, the team will be asked to provide the following:

  • Two primary contacts: one community or non-academic lead and the UW researcher with PI status.
  • Name of the project
  • How much funding they are applying for as part of the RAC, up to $50,000.
  • Project Abstract: A concise summary of your project, which should be accessible to general audiences and will be made publicly available if your project team is funded. (350 words)

The substantive elements of the proposal are uploaded as attachments to the Google Form:

  • Project Narrative (2,000 words) that includes:
    • Project Plan: An expanded description of the significance, goals, objectives, research design and methods, and project activities.
    • Team Partnership Description: Describe the respective roles of the team members, how they meet the applicant eligibility (e.g., their role and/or discipline), and the synergy brought about by the partnership.
    • Deliverable(s): Describe your team’s deliverable(s) and how you intend to disseminate your research results.
    • How the team’s capacities and goals align with the RAC, i.e., why the team and project are well situated for this accelerator program structure, versus a more traditional funding source.
    • Do not use footnotes. Figures and references are included in the word limit.
  • Timeline: A timeline that describes relevant project activities for the duration of the award period. This may be graphic or narrative. Please incorporate RAC convenings.
  • Budget and Budget Narrative: An itemized budget with justification for each anticipated expense. A budget template can be downloaded here. Applicants who have matching funds will need to provide documentation of support, and to explain how the project would proceed with and without the match.
  • Letters of Support (LOS) from community or non-academic collaborators should be no longer than one page. Note that anyone working with a tribe needs a tribal resolution and/or a tribal letter of support from the chief or chairman and the key stakeholder with whom they will work.

The abstract, timeline, budget, budget narrative, and LOS are not part of the 2,000-word limit.

Review and Award Process

Review and Award Process

The selection committee will score the applications based on the selection criteria and will provide those scores and written feedback to the RAC Co-Directors for final approval.

Upon approval, Urban@UW will email an award letter from the email address urbanuw@uw.edu to the selected project teams no later than the week of April 1, 2024. Urban@UW will provide the selection committee’s feedback to all applicants. Urban@UW will publicly announce the awardees and utilize project abstracts in this announcement.

Upon notice of the award, Urban@UW will work with the new RAC cohort to identify priorities for the RAC retreat on May 7-9, 2024 (see Awardee Expectations below for details).

Awardee Expectations

Project Deliverables

Each RAC team should identify one or more primary deliverables/outputs to be completed within the award period. Urban@UW encourages each team to identify a deliverable that will be most useful to the community or non-academic partners and/or that has the potential to make an immediate impact. Project findings and associated deliverables should be actively disseminated to the audiences and stakeholders for which they matter most. In addition, the project’s outcomes should have the potential for broader societal impact, now or in the future.

Examples of deliverables may include (but are not limited to): a report or podcast to share your research findings; a multimedia exhibit; an interactive website where community members and researchers can engage with the data generated by the project; or participatory workshops or community forums that involve community members in the research project. Teams are also encouraged to publish in the peer-reviewed literature or develop other academic materials as appropriate.

Urban@UW will provide, as part of the RAC infrastructure, an online platform for team deliverables and related materials. Please see Reporting Requirements below for more details.

RAC Cohort Convenings

Four meetings are associated with each RAC cohort: a 3-day retreat in the spring quarter of the beginning of the award, two ½-day workshops during the following academic year, and a 2-day symposium during the spring quarter of 2025. Convenings will be in-person when possible; otherwise, the meetings will be held via Zoom. Translation services will be available upon request.

RAC project teams must participate in the RAC retreat and two workshops during the award period. The RAC retreat will be held May 7-9, 2024, in Seattle, and the workshops will be in the fall 2024 and winter 2025 quarters of the UW 2024-5 academic year. These convenings are an opportunity to build your teams, and to connect with and learn from other RAC cohort members while building community-engaged and collaborative research skills–key objectives of the Research to Action Collaboratory. Urban@UW RAC staff will solicit requests from each team regarding desired skill-building to incorporate into the cohort meeting agendas; additionally, they will lead each meeting and be available for consultation on your project to support the cohort as the teams evolve.

The first symposium will be held in the spring of 2025, following the completion of the RAC projects. The UW Principal Investigator and the Community or Non-Academic Lead of each team must present their work at the symposium. All project team members are highly encouraged to participate.

Teams will be asked to complete a short evaluation after each cohort meeting, which will be used to make future cohort meetings more effective and to improve the RAC accelerator program more broadly.

Allowable Expenses

Proposed expenses must be tied directly to the implementation of the team’s team-building or project activities and may include personnel, travel, services, or supplies where appropriate. The University of Washington Principal Investigator will receive the funds as a budget transfer, and no indirect costs will apply, but fringe benefits on all FTE will need to be covered. Community or non-academic partners can receive reimbursement for approved costs and must follow UW policies. Reimbursements can be processed through the Principal Investigator’s department; however, Urban@UW staff can provide guidance.

Examples of allowable expenses include

  • Salary and benefits for award-related effort
  • Compensation for non-academic team members’ time or expenses
  • UW student tuition: no more than ⅓ of the total budget
  • Travel support for project teams and participants, per UW travel guidelines
  • Seminar/conference registration
  • Accessing technical capacity (e.g., data analysis, meeting facilitation)
  • Convening support (e.g., facility, rental, food) – in accordance with UW and WA state policy – for workgroups or hosting community listening sessions or gatherings
  • Printing

Examples of unallowable expenses include:

  • Alcohol
  • Goods and services for personal use
  • Publication costs
  • Patent costs

Any funds unspent at the end of the award period must be returned to Urban@UW for future award cycles.

Reporting Requirements

In addition to the convenings, RAC teams will be required to report on their progress. Additionally, in funding innovative projects across new partnerships, we anticipate that there will be challenges. Teams should feel free to email urbanuw@uw.edu anytime with questions or concerns.

Teams must provide a 1-paragraph written project update in advance of each RAC cohort meeting, and/or provide a short verbal update at each cohort meeting.

Project teams will also be required to submit a final report to Urban@UW. This is separate from the project deliverable. The final report should be no longer than two pages. The final progress report will be due on October 15, 2025, at 5:00 pm PST and should include the following:

  • Description of
    • Major activities;
    • Significant achievements and successes;
    • Notable challenges.
  • Description of deliverable(s) and potential future outcomes and impacts.
  • Response to the following questions:
    • What did the Research to Action Collaboratory allow you to accomplish that would have otherwise not been possible? What, if any, gap did this accelerator program fill?
    • How did the program structure, such as the retreat, workshops, and other support, affect the people, partnerships, or project?
    • What aspects of the grant program should we focus on to improve the RAC for future cohorts?

Public Dissemination of RAC News and Activities

Urban@UW will share news about successful RAC applicants, including the project abstract, team member names and affiliations, final deliverable(s) and related materials, and any photos you choose to share. Urban@UW also wants to help your team share your story. We are available to provide consultation on your deliverable, social media, advertising relevant lectures, talks, or webinars, responding to media requests, and more. Your team may be invited to participate in Urban@UW showcases or to present to other stakeholders.

Terms and Conditions

  1. The UW PI must ensure compliance with all applicable federal, state, and institutional requirements. This includes, but is not limited to, policies for Human Subjects, Animal Welfare, Export Controls, Environmental Health and Safety, Lobbying, FERPA, and any other UW requirements. The UW PI is responsible for notifying or seeking approval from the appropriate compliance offices on the UW campus before initiating any work and following all relevant protocols. Urban@UW expects the team not to begin work on the project until all appropriate compliance procedures are completed.
  2. Intellectual property will follow University of Washington policy.
  3. If the project team is partnering with a Tribe, that team will be expected to determine and follow the appropriate Tribal IRB protocols.
  4. If there is a proposed change or absence (60 days or greater) in PI, awardees will immediately provide justification to urbanuw@uw.edu.
  5. Awardees must follow University of Washington procurement practices.
  6. Budget needs can change with unexpected research results. If the post-award budget revisions are greater than 20% between categories, it will require review and written approval by Urban@UW.
  7. All expenses incurred and paid for within the project must be submitted on or before September 30, 2025. Any unspent funds must be returned to Urban@UW for future RAC award cycles.
  8. Awardees must attend and participate in the RAC retreat, the two workshops, and the symposium, per the details above.
  9. Awardees must participate in a pre-and-post-program evaluation survey and may be asked to complete a short survey after each RAC meeting.
  10. Project teams will be eligible to apply for a single, 3-month project extension only if extenuating circumstances impact their ability to complete the project within the original award date.
  11. Publications, presentations, and other deliverables or communications referencing the project funded by the Research to Action Collaboratory should include a statement that acknowledges Urban@UW.
    1. For Primary Support (greater than 50% support from Urban@UW), please state that “Funding for this project was provided by the Urban@UW Research to Action Collaboratory at the University of Washington.”
    2. For Partial Support (less than 50% support from Urban@UW), please state, “This project was supported in part by the Urban@UW Research to Action Collaboratory at the University of Washington.”
  12. One person from each funded team may be asked to serve as a peer reviewer on the review committee for the year following their project’s completion.