New Ideas in the Social Sciences

This fund is designed to encourage innovation, as well as scholarship on new and enduring questions. Faculty members are invited to propose projects that will result in the advancement of a discipline (through the development of new ideas, working groups, conferences, technologies, software, datasets, and/or expanded access to research resources) and/or a major piece of scholarly work.

PI Eligibility

Tenured and tenure-track faculty members in division II are invited to submit proposals limited to one proposal per faculty member. Other things being equal, preference will be given to faculty members who did not receive funding in previous rounds of this competition. 


Proposers may request up to $50,000 (total) for projects lasting up to two years. Expenditures may include research assistants, graduate student stipend and tuition (where applicable), postdoctoral researchers’ salary and benefits, consultants, publishing charges, materials and equipment, event organization, travel, and costs related to purchasing, curating, or creating data.

Faculty summer salary or release time (semester leave), preparation of textbooks and courses will not be supported through this innovation fund.

Proposal Preparation Instructions

Applicants are encourage to use this this template to compose a narrative of no more than three pages, and a separate budget with justification.  The proposal should specifically describe how the funds will be utilized to accomplish the research objectives. Include a list of other sources of funding received or pending, and explain how they relate to the research described in this proposal. When developing the proposal budget, applicants are strongly encouraged to work with the Office of the Dean for Research, in addition to working with your regular grants manager, to ensure that a prospective budget will have all of the information needed for reviewers to assess the budget as a key component of the proposal.

If relevant to the proposed project, letters of support from collaborators may be included as an appendix to the proposal.

Submission Information

Submit proposals as a single PDF attachment to [email protected].

Review Criteria

Proposals will be judged on the basis of quality (the soundness and persuasiveness of the concept and the elegance of the research design), originality (how the proposal brings new ideas together to suggest surprising outcomes) and potential impact (the ways in which the proposed research will shift thinking in the field toward new methodological or topical directions or the ways it will help address important questions in the relevant field of scholarship). The proposal template is provided to assist faculty in developing their submissions; the committee will not use adherence to the template as a review criterion. A faculty committee will review the proposals and make funding recommendations to the Dean for Research.

Project Report

At the end of the project, awardees must submit a brief report summarizing the outcomes and impact of the award to the Office of the Dean for Research. Download the Project Report Template.

Call for Proposals

  • Dates
    • This fund will not be accepting applications in 2024.
    • Funds will not be disbursed in 2024.
  • Contact
    • Karla Ewalt, [email protected], Senior Associate Dean for Research, with any questions.


People in a classroom