Creative Work and Social Impact Scholarship Funding Program (CWSIS)

Note: The CWSIS for the fall semester 2022 is to be viewed as a third pilot program that continues to provide the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development (OVPRED) a platform to test what works and what does not based on comments and revisions received from previous pilot programs.

The Creative Work and Social Impact Scholarship (CWSIS) funding program fosters innovation and discovery and builds faculty reputation and competitiveness. Examples of prestigious recognition for CWSIS include: the McArthur Genius Award, the Gates Foundation Award, appointment to the National Council on the Humanities or the National Council on the Arts, and an NSF Senior Advisor for Public Access. Disciplines associated with CWSIS (see lists below) include design and the arts, humanities, and applicable areas within business, education, social sciences, and health and well-being.

As a form of research, creative work (the products of design, the arts and affiliated disciplines) poses questions and searches for the answers through iterative processes that demand intellectual rigor and hard work. Related scholarship narrates, analyzes and evaluates the production and products of creative work, or proposes new and innovative approaches to that work, including interdisciplinary collaborations and explorations. The goals of creative work and scholarship are ultimately tied to making significant contributions to a meaningful and dignified quality of life.

Social impact scholarship involves research that is specifically aimed at societal challenges and values both theoretical and applied domains to produce core knowledge and address persistent and complex issues to create a better world and improve the lives of all individuals. Research in this domain often engages a diversity of stakeholders with the goal of bringing beneficial effects and valuable changes to the economy, society, education, public policy, health, and/or quality of life.

The CWSIS program is a strategically focused investment strategy that enhances faculty capacity and university prestige. This competitive program supports scholarship in areas of creative work and social impact that have strong potential to enhance program and university rankings and bring greater visibility and recognition of our faculty and institution. In addition to raising the visibility and influence of Auburn University, CWSIS projects may attract external funding in the form of grants, industry partnerships and contracts, private foundation funding, and donor support. Investing in CWSIS supports the university’s strategic plan by elevating scholarly impact, investing in outstanding people who advance the university’s mission, and providing an elevated Auburn experience for our students.

Activity Date
Letters of Intent Requirement Opens & RFP Window Opens 11-1-22
Mandatory, non-binding LOI Deadline 11-29-22
LOI review period ends 12-8-22
Internal Proposal Review Period 2-3 - 3-20-23
Selected Applicants Proposal Revision Period 3-21 - 3-28-23
External Review Period 3-29 - 4-20-23
Final Internal Review Period 4-21 - 5-1-23
Funding Decisions Awarded May 2023

Mandatory, non-binding Letters of Intent (LOI)

  • The PI should submit the LOI through the AU Competition Space (InfoReady system) no later than 4:45 pm on November 29, 2022
  • Scroll down and click on Pilot 3 2022-2023 CWSIS Letter of Intent
  • The LOI information requested is limited to two pages and includes the PIs department, a short description of the proposed project, personnel, and a budget if available

The program will provide opportunities for faculty to apply for funding in the following disciplines; however, collaborative roles with STEM disciplines are also strongly encouraged.

Design and the Arts: Architecture, landscape architecture, interior architecture, interior design, industrial design, environmental design, apparel design, consumer and design sciences, graphic arts, visual arts, studio arts, performing arts (music, dance, theater, etc.), creative writing, and other relevant fields.

Humanities: English, foreign languages, literature, linguistics, philosophy, history, history of art and architecture, archaeology, ethics, and other relevant fields.

Social Impact Scholarship:  Applicable scholarship within business, education, social sciences, 
health and well-being, and relevant activity in other fields such as quantitative and qualitative research, policy research, urban and community planning, design for health, best practices/evaluation research, outreach scholarship, and other social impact scholarship.

List is not exclusive nor exhaustive

CWSIS ROI includes enhancing the institutional brand, visibility and prestige, securing extramural funding, publications in prestigious journals and other works, citations/recognition of work, and/or capacity - building for further scholarly production. ROI also includes work that demonstrably enhances the quality of life. Proposed projects should have a strong potential for some of the following types of ROI (order is alphabetical):

  • Authorship of books, book chapters or articles related to the scholarship of the discipline
  • Awards and honors from professional societies and other recognized organizations
  • Citations/Recognition of work*
  • Creation of unique, widely shared datasets
  • Digital humanities scholarly activity
  • Donor support
  • Foundation grants, Industry/Research Center contracts
  • Industry sponsorship and/or partnerships
  • Innovative scholarship/research aimed at improving, broadening, and/or opening new horizons in the discipline
  • Inventions, patents, licenses
  • Invited distinguished lectures/invited national/international presentations
  • Literary work published
  • Media press release nationally or internationally
  • Partnerships with private, public, or nonprofit organizations
  • Performances in recognized/prestigious venues
  • Presentations of work in highly regarded professional/disciplinary symposia/conferences
  • Publication in elite scholarly journals
  • Published writings (poems, novels, short stories, etc.)
  • Recognition of substantial social, environmental, educational, or economic impact (quality of life)
  • Significant recognition for work submitted in professional competitions
  • Status in distinguished societies (fellowships, scholarships, residencies, etc.)
  • Testimony at the state, federal or international level
  • White papers
  • Work shown in juried/ curated exhibitions at accredited institutions
  • Work published in books or recognized professional journals (refers to citations*)

* Citations: Design professionals consider it a citation to have their work published in prestigious, edited professional journals or shown in curated exhibitions. In the apparel design field, citation data are not often available, thus the acceptance rate of creative work at a juried exhibit is used.

Funded proposals have a performance period of no more than two years. It is the responsibility of the principal investigator to provide an annual report (form based), and a final project report.

It is understood that evidence of an ROI is likely to occur within the latter stages of the performance period of the CWSIS project; however, an ROI seen in the early stages of the performance period is a positive indicator to include in all project reporting. Awardees will be asked to submit ROI information (i.e., list of publications and extramural grants related to the CWSIS project) for 2 years after the final report is submitted, and any future CWSIS proposal submitted by past awardees will require ROI documentation. This information will help measure ROI and substantiate continued program support.

Eligibility follows the University’s Statement of Principal Investigator Eligibility 

Each eligible Auburn University faculty member may serve as a PI on only one grant (CWSIS or RSP) per year but can serve as a co-I on an unlimited number of grants. The submission of additional proposals from a PI is not allowed while they lead an ongoing CWSIS or RSP project (e.g., if a PI is leading a two-year CWSIS grant, they cannot apply for another CWSIS or RSP grant in the second year of the existing grant, even if all other requirements are met).

PI is eligible to apply for a CWSIS Grant during the upcoming funding cycle if:

  • The PI has not received a CWSIS or RSP Grant within the last three years or
  • The PI has received a CWSIS or RSP grant within the last three years, but that project will be concluded by the start of the upcoming funding cycle, and they have submitted one or more grant proposals to an extramural source(s), developed valuable partnerships, and/or has clear evidence of other forms of ROI resulting from the most recent CWSIS or RSP funded project.

Exceptions or modifications to PI eligibility for a specific project will be determined by reviewing ADRs.

NOTE for the fall 2022 semester: The OVPRED will fund external reviews for up to five (5) proposals from each constituent college that participates in the intramural award programs (i.e., across CWSIS and RSP combined). In addition, the OVPRED will fund ten (10) proposals from both the CWSIS Program and the RSP Program in toto, not per program. This being a third pilot program, the five-proposal limit and the proposal funding cap will allow the OVPRED to evaluate the services availed during the proposal review process and focus resources for a larger program in the future.

 Projects exploring or advancing innovative areas of creative and social impact scholarship that have strong potential for ROI.

Ongoing projects that need additional support to result in targeted ROI (e.g., funds to support preparing work for a distinguished exhibition, publication, performance, etc.).

Interdisciplinary projects with strong potential for ROI that involve disciplines within CWSIS and across CWSIS and STEM.

Proposers may request between $2,000 and $20,000 from the OVPRED with a 1:1 anticipated matching contribution between the OVPRED and the College(s)/(Department(s). For example, if $20,000 is requested from the OVPRED, a $20,000 match is required for a proposed total project cost of $40,000.

The requested period-of-performance may be for up to two years. (Limited no-cost extensions are approved on a case-by-case basis.)

Proposal Preparation

AU Competition Space (InfoReady) Online Instructions
To apply, go to the Auburn University Competition Space (InfoReady), scroll down and click on the Pilot 3 - 2022-2023 CWSIS Award Program Application. In the top right column of the page click on “Apply”. 

Online Instructions
You will see that the following instructions are incorporated into the InfoReady System for each corresponding section. Applicants may complete their applications as time permits and save the information and data entered in draft form prior to completing their submission.

Format Requirements

  • All Margins – 1 inch
  • Font Size – 12 point, Times New Roman
  • Single-spaced, 8.5 x 11-inch pages
  • Pages must be numbered

Proposal Title
A descriptive project title, suitable for publication on our public web site

Applicant Details
Name, position, and department of all key personnel

Compliance
Does your proposal require Compliance Approvals? You will select none or all that apply. (All research must be conducted in compliance with Federal and University Regulations.) Compliance letters and protocols are not needed at the time of proposal submission. However, funds will not be released for awarded projects until a notice of compliance approval is received from the Office of Research Compliance.

Previous Funding
Have you previously submitted this proposal (or any portion of this proposal) for Intramural Funding? In the case of an affirmative response to this question, please provide the PI name, year submitted, year awarded (if applicable), and competition name.

Project Abstract
A 250-word maximum description of the project for a sophisticated lay audience, suitable for publication on our web site. The abstract should describe the project’s broad significance, the proposed activities and the project’s intended outcomes. If selected for phase two of the competition, the initial abstract will be provided to the external company to initiate their expert reviewer search. External companies will be told that the initial abstract may change during the revision period.

File Upload Requirements
The following must be uploaded to the online system as a single pdf document with clearly labeled sections. Note: The file must be a flattened pdf, not a pdf portfolio (multi-layered) document since InfoReady cannot read that format.

  • Proposal Narrative: (8 pages maximum) A descriptive narrative that enables cognizant reviewers to judge the merits of the project using the review criteria listed under the Review Criteria tab. The project narrative page limitation does not include biosketches, budget worksheet, budget justification, current and pending proposals, and references/citations. While these additional items are included in the single pdf along with the project narrative, they may not be used to expand the project narrative page limitations. Proposals should avoid using weblinks or any other external references that expand the project narrative page limits.
  • References/Citations: (no page limit) include any relevant citations to published work. It is especially helpful to reference published works of key personnel as related to the proposed project.
  • The Budget: (use form provided) The intent of the program is to be as least restrictive on the budget options as possible within regulatory requirements so that options open to applicants to accomplish their work are not limited. Applicants are free to request funding, within the overall budget limits of the proposed research project/program, to support, for example, salary, personnel, travel, supplies/activities, equipment, publications, and participant costs. Funds cannot be used to pay the salary of a collaborator at another institution unless it is as a consultant, and that should be thoroughly justified; sub awards are not allowable. Items normally covered under indirect costs will be viewed as allowable for funding.
    • Budget Justification: (two-page limit) The budget justification should address, as appropriate, elements such as personnel (inclusive of fringe costs), travel (clearly identifying domestic and/or international), supplies, equipment and/or other allowable costs. Proposals should clearly justify how requested funds will be used to best align the project for success and lead to identified ROIs.
    • Cost Share: Applicants who are advanced to the second phase of the competition (external review) will also need to complete the Cost Share FOP Table requiring ADR Signature(s) of each contributing unit. The form can be sent via email to collect the appropriate information and signatures.
  • Biosketches/CVs: (page limit – three pages per key personnel) Each key personnel member of a proposal should submit a three-page biosketch/CV. You may use the format prescribed by any federal agency or a listing, not to exceed three pages, of educational preparation, positions held, research activity and relevant publications, presentations, etc.
  • Current and Pending Grants/Contracts: (no page limit) List of all current and pending internal and external grants/contracts and other sources of major support of all key personnel involved in the project, including title, award amount, funding agency, period of performance, and effort allocation. Indicate any grants/contracts related to the proposed project and briefly describe the relationship.
  • Extramural Proposal Reviews: (as appropriate) (no page limit) Proposals requesting support of efforts to strengthen recently submitted, but unfunded, extramural proposals that have received high ranking should provide the official reviews and/or ranking from the extramural program to which it was submitted. The proposal narrative should clearly describe how the identified weaknesses of the unfunded extramural proposal will be addressed.
  • Conflict of Interest: (use form provided) Each PI (and Co-I) should provide a separate alphabetical list of Conflicts of Interest (internal and external).  This information is needed for proper review of your proposal. 

The intent of the program’s budget guidelines is to be as least restrictive on the budget options as possible within regulatory requirements so that options open to applicants to accomplish their work are not limited. Applicants are free to request funding, within the overall budget limits of the proposed research project/program, to support, for example, salary, personnel, travel, supplies/activities, equipment, publications, and participant costs. Proposals should clearly justify how requested funds will be used to best align the project for success and lead to identified ROIs.

Funds cannot be used to pay the salary of a collaborator at another institution unless it is as a consultant; sub awards are not allowable.  Items normally covered under indirect costs will be viewed as allowable for funding.

Proposers may request up to $20,000 from the OVPRED with a 1:1 anticipated matching contribution between the OVPRED and the College(s)/Department(s). For example, if $20,000 is requested from the OVPRED, a $20,000 match is required for a proposed total project cost of $40,000. 

A two-tiered review and selection mechanism will be used to advance proposals for competition in the CWSIS. It is envisioned that each college ADR will form a review and selection advisory group (recommended minimum of three members) that would only put forward those proposals that are most likely to be competitive and impactful. This would allow the ADRs to appropriately budget for matching contributions while also minimizing the reviewer burden at the upper (OVPRED) competition level.

A mix of internal and external cognizant reviewers will be utilized in the CWSIS proposal selection process. All reviews will be submitted via AU Competition Space (also known as InfoReady). External reviews will only be solicited for proposals down selected to advance to the upper competition level. Both internal and external reviewers will assess proposals using the Review Criteria (below).

If a collaborative/interdisciplinary proposal spans multiple colleges, the primary college will be determined by the identified corresponding principal investigator of the proposal. The primary ADR may choose to involve ADRs from each represented college of a collaborative/interdisciplinary proposal in the initial review, down selection process and budgeting of matching contributions. Please note: Proposal reviews will be made available to proposers to aid in enhancing the quality of proposals that will undergo a review(s) from an external reviewer(s), extramural proposal development or subsequent proposals to the CWSIS if not selected during a given program cycle.

Once a proposal is selected for funding, a single funding account will be established based on the project correspondent’s college. All matching funds and OVPRED funds will be loaded into this account for project activity. All compliance requirements must be met before any project activities may proceed.

Note for the fall semester 2022: The OVPRED will fund external reviews for up to five (5) proposals from each constituent college that participates in the intramural award programs (i.e., across CWSIS and RSP combined). In addition, the OVPRED will fund ten (10) proposals from both the CWSIS Program and the RSP Program in toto, not per program. This being a third pilot program, the five-proposal limit and the proposal funding cap will allow the OVPRED to evaluate the services availed during the proposal review process and focus resources for a larger program in the future.

The following review areas will be used by all review teams to evaluate proposals.

Reviewers are asked to keep the following program goals in mind when reviewing proposals for CWSIS:

  • The CWSIS funding program fosters innovation and discovery and builds faculty reputation and competitiveness.
  • Disciplines associated with CWSIS include, but are not limited to, design and the arts, humanities, and applicable areas within business, education, social sciences, and health and well-being.
  • Creative work poses questions and searches for the answers through iterative processes that demand intellectual rigor and hard work. Related scholarship narrates, analyzes, and evaluates the production and products of creative work, or proposes new and innovative approaches to that work.
  • The goals of creative work and scholarship are ultimately tied to making significant contributions to a meaningful and dignified quality of life.
  • Social impact scholarship involves research that is specifically aimed at societal challenges and values both theoretical and applied. Research in this domain often engages a diversity of stakeholders with the goal of bringing beneficial effects and valuable changes to the economy, society, education, public policy, health, and/or quality of life.
  • The CWSIS program is a strategically focused Auburn University investment strategy that enhances faculty capacity and University prestige.

 

Scoring system: A grading scale of 1-5 will be utilized where 1 is ‘poor’ or 'very weak' and 5 is ‘excellent’ or 'very strong'. In general, those with higher aggregate scores (based on the number of items rated) will make it farther in the process. Please reference the following table for additional guidance:

1 = poor
2 = fair
3 = good
4 = very good
5 = excellent

1. Scientific / Technical / Creative Merit and/or Social Impact Value of the Project

Are the project's goals, hypothesis(es), intellectual question(s) or problem the proposer is trying to solve clearly articulated? (i.e., does the proposal clearly describe what is intended by the PI, how the PI intends to reach objectives, and anticipated implications of the project's findings/contributions?) Does the proposed project logically lead to future expanded projects supported by external funding opportunities or valuable partnerships? Is it clear and specific who could benefit and what the impact will be if the project is successful? Is the audience for the proposal clearly identified? Does the audience include professional practitioners in relevant disciplines? Include specific comments on the strengths or weaknesses of the stated project goals.

2. Appropriateness of the Proposed Method or Approach

Does the project incorporate methods/an approach appropriate to the goals, objectives, or proposed contribution? Does the proposal suggest modified procedures in response to changing circumstances? Does the project effectively apply its stated methods/approach? Is the proposed analytic strategy appropriate for the aims of the project? Is the proposed solution relevant to/applicable in real-world situations? Will the project fill a potential need or function that is currently unfilled? Include any comments that could help the PI improve the proposal.

3. Competency of Applicant's Personnel and appropriateness of the budget

Is the budget realistic and commensurate with both the project needs and time frame? Are project team member(s) clearly identified, along with work experience, in the proposal? Does the project's team possess the skills uniquely qualifying them to complete the proposed scope of work?

4. Overall recommendation

Provide a brief summary of your overall impressions of this proposal. Please comment on the overall competitiveness/relevance of the work and how the work may contribute to the broader field of study. 

5. Should this project be advanced to the next level of review?  Yes / No

Interdisciplinary Research Proposals that connect the Creative Work/Social Impact disciplines with STEM disciplines may fit with either the CWSIS or RSP program areas. Teams developing these types of submissions should determine whether the ROI fits more with CWSIS or with the RSP and submit to the best fitting program area. Interdisciplinary research proposals submitted to the CWSIS may have funding/resource needs outside of typical CWSIS proposals. Collaborative teams should consult with the ADRs associated with their colleges for input and guidance.

To provide flexibility, all RSP or CWSIS grants for the approved dollar amount (including cost share) will be fully funded when the account is established and are two years in duration. The PI has the flexibility within the two years to spend the approved funding as appropriate. No cost extensions will only be allowed under extenuating circumstances. It is the responsibility of the principal investigator  to provide an annual report (form based), and a final project report.

It is understood that evidence of an ROI is likely to occur within the latter stages of the performance period of the CWSIS project; however, an ROI seen in the early stages of the performance period is a positive indicator to include in all project reporting. Awardees will be asked to submit ROI information (i.e., list of publications and extramural grants related to the CWSIS project) for 2 years after the final report is submitted, and any future CWSIS proposal submitted by past awardees will require ROI documentation. This information will help measure ROI and substantiate continued program support.

 

Robert Holm, Ph.D


Phone: (334) 844-5877


Email: rzh0021@auburn.edu


Mandatory, non-binding Letters of Intent Deadline: 11-29-22

 

CWSIS RFP Document


Proposal preparation and submission: 
AU Competition Space