Submitting a Project Prospectus to an Open Call for Ideas
CARSS accepts project ideas throughout the year. However, before developing and sending us a formal prospectus, proponents are requested to contact CARSS directly to determine if the project idea and initial rationale fall within the scope of CARSS’ mission. While all CARSS projects place the advancement of the social and behavioral sciences in the foreground, project ideas are invited and welcomed from the full range of academic and professional perspectives at U-M.
Types of Projects that Match the Mission
Projects should be high-risk, potentially high-impact explorations that will exceed the limits of what is typically submitted to study sections and to funders such as the NSF or NIH. CARSS investments are typically directed to one of two types of projects:
- Incubation projects that enable teams of scholars, planners, practitioners and policymakers to generate greater collective clarity about the nature of a problem, and potential solutions, including the identification of interventions which have been successful in other, but similar settings; OR
- Intervention projects in which new or adapted solutions are refined, piloted, and subjected to rigorous, local evaluation, or in which ongoing natural experiments are subjected to critical appraisal.
Format of a Formal Prospectus
Prospectus statements should be no longer than 5 pages but should describe the rationale behind the project (Why this? Why now? Why at Michigan?). To the extent possible, the following should be addressed:
- The project’s goals and intended outcomes, emphasizing aspects of novelty, innovativeness, and risk-taking that will be entailed;
- The societal problems and/or intellectual dilemmas to be addressed and their significance;
- The advances that could accrue to the social and behavioral sciences;
- The type of legacy products expected to be produced. Examples include research-based policy briefs or white papers, federally-supported collaborative research programs that consolidate new fields of inquiry, or a curriculum or textbook that synthesizes this new field;
- Who will lead the effort, and who from UM plus elsewhere will likely be invited to participate, addressing the mix of disciplinary (or subdisciplinary) perspectives that are essential to the project;
- An abbreviated CV for the core proposer(s) should be attached; and
- Key activities (e.g., workshops, conferences, commissioned papers) and a time-line for a one-to-two-year initial period of work.
Funding and Budgets
CARSS funding is intended to help initiate and leverage projects until that they become positioned for extramural funding and ultimately a long-term administrative base outside of CARSS. Budgets for CARSS approved projects will be negotiated as projects mature.
Importantly, however, CARSS funds are not sufficient to cover faculty release time or salary during summer months. Some examples of the types of investment that CARSS can typically make in projects are the following:
- Very early, small-scale and short-term exploratory efforts to brainstorm, define, and develop potential future collaborative projects (one year, as little as $7,500 to as much as $140,000).
- Seminars and networking on more highly developed topics, intended to lead to the establishment of longer-term collaborative projects (one-to-three years at $25,000 to $100,000 per year).