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Call for proposals in second round of Research Forward initiative

November 2, 2021 By Natasha Kassulke

In its recent and historic annual gift announcement in support of the University of Wisconsin–Madison, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation designated $10.5 million to show its strong and continued support for strategic research initiatives on campus in 2021-22.

One such initiative is the Research Forward competition from the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Educations, which aims to stimulate and support collaborative, multidisciplinary and multi-investigator research projects that are high-risk, high-impact and transformative.

Beginning today, the OVCRGE is welcoming proposals for the initiative’s second round. Eleven projects were funded in round one (announced earlier this year) and spanned several areas, including computer science, physics, medicine, anthropology and more.

Research Forward funds projects that have the potential to fundamentally transform a field of study as well as projects that require significant development prior to the submission of applications for external funding.

“As proven by early outcomes from Research Forward’s predecessor, the UW2020: WARF Discovery Initiative, seed funding is crucial for helping our faculty collect the preliminary data necessary to secure extramural funding,” says Steve Ackerman, vice chancellor for research and graduate education. “Research Forward also allows our faculty to explore new ideas while supporting student engagement in research activities and showcasing our unique strengths at UW–Madison.”

Collaborative research proposals are invited from within any of the four divisions (Arts and Humanities, Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences, Social Sciences), as are cross-divisional collaborations.

“We are looking for innovation and impact,” says Cynthia Czajkowski, associate vice chancellor for research in the biological sciences. “Today’s pressing societal challenges require us to bring together experts from diverse scientific, social, engineering and humanity domains. Research Forward is intended to incubate collaborations of interdisciplinary research teams that are best suited to address complex issues.”

UW–Madison faculty who are principal investigators or researchers with permanent PI status are eligible to apply for the initiative, which provides up to two years of funding depending on the needs and scope of the project. A cover sheet with a 300-word abstract is due Dec. 6, and the complete proposal is due Jan. 24, 2022.

Two reviewers with subject expertise will conduct an initial evaluation. Proposals and solicited faculty evaluations will then be reviewed by a divisional faculty committee. Ackerman will make final award decisions in consultation with the divisional associate vice chancellors for research.

Award recipients will be notified in late April 2022.

Learn more/apply

For questions about submitting proposals or eligibility, please contact the appropriate divisional associate vice chancellor for research.