Microgrants of up to $4,000 will be awarded to STEM graduate student and postdoc-led groups to design and execute projects that create dialogue with public officials, local community leaders, and the public around issues of common concern. These funds provide opportunities for grantees to develop skills in areas such as communication and program planning, along with an understanding of public policy and government to have an impact in their local communities.
Building trust in science and with local communities and with policymakers through public engagement is an essential skill for scientists to develop. 87% of Americans surveyed believe it is important for scientists to inform elected officials about their research and its impact on society, based on a 2022 poll commissioned by Research!America.
Early-career scientists’ perspectives and creativity are uniquely valuable to the “public square” and the development of innovative policies and programs that build strong linkages between scientists and non-scientists. Civic engagement provides opportunities for scientists to take part in our democracy while contributing a scientific perspective on important issues facing our communities and our nation.
Another reason that civic engagement skills should be prioritized: scientific research is heavily dependent on taxpayer funding with almost 50% of basic research support coming from the federal government. Knowing how to communicate effectively with the public and policymakers about the value of science is vital to strengthening research as a national priority.
CIVIC ENGAGEMENT MICROGRANTS INITIATIVE
The 2022-2023 Civic Engagement Microgrant Program welcomes novel ideas and programs for early career researchers to support building policy and communication skills and increase their level of engagement with their communities, community leaders, and elected and non-elected government officials.
Civic engagement is highly interdisciplinary by nature, acknowledging the complexities of scientific and societal concerns by drawing on expertise from a wide breadth ofdisciplines. The most competitive proposals will facilitate collaborations across STEM disciplines. Collaborations including the following STEM disciplines are encouraged (and are not limited to): psychology, sociology, anthropology, physical sciences, biological sciences, biomedical sciences, computer science and related technologies, engineering, economics, math, and medicine.
“As we think about creating a complex global problem-solving agenda…, It will engage all fields from physics to psychology, from economics to biology, from electrical engineering to sociology…Policymakers will be crucial to any and all solutions. Science and technology and public policy empower each other’s goals. In contemporary society, neither could be appropriately effective without being a partner-participant with the other.” —Neal Lane, Scientific Advisor to President Bill Clinton.
APPLICATION DETAILS AND DEADLINES
Each proposal is reviewed by Research!America using based on this rubric. Highly competitive proposals will address the areas listed in the rubric and facilitate collaborations across STEM disciplines.
- Applications open August 1, 2022 and close on August 24, 2022.
- Decisions will be announced the week of September 19, 2022.
- Microgrant projects will officially begin when contracts are returned (to late October 2022).
- A brief midterm progress report is due February 15, 2023.
- Funds must be spent by May 15, 2023.
- Final report is due May 22, 2023, signaling the end of the grant.
On your application, please indicate the category you are applying for.
Designed for new science policy groups (less than one year old), this provides year-long funding (with the possibility of a renewal) to build interest among students, initiate programming, and develop sustainable local support. (Maximum: $4000)
This category supports the development of in-person, virtual, or hybrid events to bring together scientists, the community, and local elected and non-elected officials. Examples include thought-leader panels, roundtable discussions, and hands-on science fairs.
Technology and social media play a significant role in conveying and distributing information. This category is designed to support the creation of digital media that will be used to support science policy and civic engagement projects on topics of interest to local communities. The creation of podcasts, data visualization/infographics, videos, and other digital deliverables fall under this category. Data-driven projects should utilize publicly-available data sets.
SUPPLEMENTAL PROGRAMS FOR MICROGRANT RECIPIENTS
Micrograntees will have access to exciting programming including:
Networking Sessions – Meet fellow microgrant recipients through virtual “coffee hours” to expand your network, share news updates, promote your events, exchange ideas, and troubleshoot any issues you may have.
Science Advocacy Forum – Thorough discussion of thought-provoking articles and topics, participants will join a community of early-career scientists who are interested in policy and advocacy. Participants will have access to a new “journal club”-style discussions focused on science communication, policy, and advocacy led by Research!America.
Webinar Trainings – These trainings bring experts to share best practices in program management, event planning, science communication and media relations, public engagement, and more.
Science policy groups consisting of any combination graduate students, postdocs, and professional students (medical, dentistry, pharmacy, nursing, etc.) residing in the United States or a U.S. territory.
MICROGRANT- TERMS AND CONDITIONS
- Grants are designated to support the activities of groups and are not payable to individuals.
- Grants are payable to the fiscal sponsor for the benefit of the named group (see FAQs below).
- Questions about locating a fiscal sponsor should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org(link sends e-mail).
- The fiscal sponsor is responsible for ensuring the financial guidelines of the grant agreement are met.
- Groups must be located in the United States or a U.S. territory with a fiscal sponsor based in the U.S. or U.S. territory.
- Microgrants do not provide indirect costs for sponsoring institutions.
- Grants cannot be used to support stipends, salaries, or be used to pay for research expenses.
Please note that Research!America is a 501(c)(3) organization. As such, we are nonpartisan and do not participate in or support activities that favor specific political parties or candidates.
The grantee(s) shall not use any portion of the grant to:
- To attempt to influence specific legislation (“lobbying”).
- To directly or indirectly participate in, or intervene in, any political campaign on behalf of, or in opposition to any candidate running for public office.
Visit https://www.researchamerica.org/civic-engagement-2022-microgrant-initiative for more information.