About Making a Difference Grants Making a Difference Request for Proposals - Fall 2020

Introduction

The Greenwall Foundation is requesting proposals for the Spring 2020 cycle of its bioethics grants program, Making a Difference in Real-World Bioethics Dilemmas, to support research to help resolve an important emerging or unanswered bioethics problem in clinical, biomedical, or public health decision-making, policy, or practice.

The Foundation’s vision is to make bioethics integral to decisions in health care, policy, and research. Our mission is to expand bioethics knowledge to improve clinical, biomedical, and public health decision-making, policy, and practice. Projects funded under the Making a Difference program should promote the Foundation’s vision and mission through innovative bioethics research that will have a real-world, practical impact.

Letters of intent are due June 24, 2020 by 11:59 pm ET, for projects to begin on or after January 1, 2021.  

Priority Topics

While we welcome all innovative proposals that will have a real-world impact, we are particularly interested in proposals that address the ethical and policy issues raised by the following priority topics:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic and other public health crises;
  • Bias and discrimination against patients or clinicians, which may be based on a broad range of characteristics and which may involve health disparities or social determinants of health; 
  • Developments in artificial intelligence;
  • Responses to the opioid epidemic; 
  • Advances in biomedical and clinical research and their translation into clinical practice; and
  • Healthcare access, costs, and resource allocation. 

Proposals for projects that address other real-world, practical bioethics problems are also welcome.

Guidance for Proposals

Projects may be empirical, conceptual, or normative. All proposals should explain how they will help address a real-world bioethics dilemma. Projects to analyze the normative implications of already-completed empirical research are encouraged. The Foundation will support mentored projects in which a postdoctoral fellow or junior faculty member works closely with an experienced bioethics scholar. The Foundation will also consider pilot or feasibility projects to evaluate an innovative intervention to resolve a bioethics dilemma, with the goal of obtaining funding from other sources for a larger evaluation or demonstration project. Some highly promising projects may be funded for an initial phase, with additional funding contingent on achieving clear milestones. 

The research team needs to have relevant and appropriate expertise to carry out the proposed project. Successful teams commonly involve a bioethics scholar and persons with on-the-ground experience with the bioethics dilemma, for example, in clinical care; biomedical research; biotechnology, pharmaceutical, big data, and artificial intelligence companies; or public service. Such collaboration can specify the bioethics problems that clinicians, researchers, policymakers, public health officials, and others face in their daily work, and facilitate practical resolutions to these problems. Applicants are also encouraged to engage with relevant lay or community stakeholders throughout their project.

We expect grantees to disseminate their research through practical articles in peer-reviewed journals that reach the appropriate audience for the topic studied, through presentations in relevant professional meetings, and in other ways that will increase real-world impact. Applicants should describe, for example, how they will disseminate their results beyond academic audiences, such as to lay and community groups or to leaders of institutions who could implement the project’s recommendations or act upon empirical findings (e.g., leaders of clinical services, research programs, institutional review boards, or medical education). 

In evaluating proposals, the Foundation will consider:

  • The likelihood the project will promote the Foundation’s vision and mission. Importantly, projects that aim to impact public policy should not constitute advocacy projects with predetermined conclusions.
  • The innovative nature of the project’s approach and how it goes beyond previous work on the bioethics issue.
  • The appropriateness and rigor of the methods, analysis plan, strategy, and approach.
  • The appropriateness and inclusiveness of the project’s planned approach to dissemination and implementation, including to stakeholder audiences beyond academia and key individuals who can change practice or policy.
  • The professional background of the team of investigators, including the team’s expertise in relevant disciplines, and their close, practical familiarity and real-world experience with the bioethics problems to be addressed. 
  • The previous success of the proposed investigators in carrying out similar projects. Young investigators who have not previously published results from a bioethics project are advised to apply with a mentor who actively collaborates in all phases of the project.
  • The success of the investigators in publishing practical bioethics articles, similar to what is proposed, in top-tier journals with a broad audience, and in disseminating the results of their research to relevant stakeholders.
  • The reasonableness of the budget and project timeline. Projects with smaller budgets and shorter timelines will receive priority.

The Greenwall Foundation will fund 10% indirect costs for salary and benefits only. Salaries for investigators are capped at 1.5x the current NIH cap for the basis of the percent effort allocation.

What will not be funded under this program?

Projects with the following characteristics will not be funded under this program:

  • Projects for which bioethics is not the main focus.
  •  Projects that simply describe or analyze bioethics issues or provide a conceptual framework, without making practical recommendations for resolving the issues.
  • Projects that implement or make incremental improvements in established approaches to bioethics problems, build institutional infrastructure, or provide bioethics education, training, or coursework.
  • Projects that have predetermined conclusions or advocate for predetermined positions.
  • Projects whose main goal is to convene or enhance a meeting, unless there is a well-developed plan to produce a major peer-reviewed publication with consensus recommendations, guidelines, or best practices that have a strong likelihood of real-world implementation. The applicant must have a strong record in convening similar successful impactful meetings.
  • Projects to support or extend ongoing or core activities of an organization.
  • Projects with a principal investigator who does not have a PhD, JD, MD, or an equivalent doctoral-level degree.

In addition, The Greenwall Foundation only makes awards to affiliated individuals at institutions with tax-exempt status in the United States.

Review Process

Working with The Greenwall Foundation is a collaborative process. Our goal is to help applicants to develop strong proposals that are positioned to have the greatest impact in real-world, practical settings. Experienced bioethics researchers serve as peer reviewers. After reviewing letters of intent, reviewers typically provide specific feedback and suggestions for consideration along with invitations to submit full proposals. Through this feedback, the Foundation seeks to assist applicants in presenting the best possible proposals and aligning their research interests with the Foundation’s funding priorities. After review of full proposals, the Foundation may request additional clarifications, for example, about the adequacy of human subjects protections or the project’s budget. More detail about the review process can be found here.

In addition to grants awarded in response to this RFP, The Greenwall Foundation may directly initiate some grants.

Please e-mail inquiries about this program to jbrownell@greenwall.org.

Application Timeline

6/24/2020

Letters of Intent due by June 24, 2020, 11:59 pm ET

8/28/2020

Invited Full Proposals due by August 28, 2020, 11:59 pm ET. Invitations to submit full proposals may contain suggestions from reviewers for strengthening the application, and reviewers may request additional clarifications after full proposals are received. Working with The Greenwall Foundation is a collaborative process. Our goal is to work with applicants to develop strong proposals that are positioned to have the greatest impact in real-world, practical settings.

1/1/2021

Projects to commence on or after January 1, 2021

Directions for Submitting a Letter of Intent

Go to https://www.grantinterface.com/Home/Logon?urlkey=greenwall. Once there, please bookmark the site, create an account, and complete your application. To create an account, you must enter your institution’s EIN, which you may need to obtain from your Contracts and Grants Office; please do not input a placeholder or invalid EIN, which may delay consideration of your application. Please note: The Greenwall Foundation updated its online grants management system in June 2017. If you applied for a grant with the Foundation before that time, you will need to create a new account for this new system.

If you have any technical questions or concerns regarding the online application process, please contact support@foundant.com. If you continue to experience difficulty with the online application process, please contact Johanna Brownell at jbrownell@greenwall.org. We will not accept late applications because of technical issues with the online application portal, so please try logging in and entering your information in advance of the deadline.

 Please note: in order to be fair to all applicants, the Foundation cannot give feedback on specific proposals or drafts before a letter of intent is submitted and reviewed.

Letters of intent require the following information be entered into our online application from:

  • Project title
  • A one-sentence summary of the project for a lay audience
  • Priority topic, if any
  • The amount and duration of funding requested (salaries for investigators are capped at 1.5x the current NIH cap for the basis of the percent effort allocation; The Greenwall Foundation will fund 10% indirect costs for salary and benefits only)
  • Names of the proposed research team and copies of CVs for two key personnel (no more than 5 single-spaced pages each, in NIH biosketch format) that highlight evidence that you have the experience and expertise needed to carry out the proposed project
  • A narrative using the following headers:
    • The bioethics problem to be addressed, its significance, and how the project will help resolve it
    • How the proposed project is innovative and goes beyond the current research on the problem
    • How the project will promote the Foundation’s vision of making bioethics integral to decisions in health care, policy, and research and its mission of expanding bioethics knowledge to improve clinical, biomedical, and public health decision-making, policy, and practice
    • The specific aims or research questions of the project
    • Description of methods that will be used to achieve these aims
    • Team expertise and experience, including the team’s expertise in relevant disciplines, and their close, practical familiarity and real-world experience with the bioethics problems to be addressed
    • The nature of peer-reviewed publication(s) expected from the project and other plans to disseminate the project’s findings, including to stakeholder audiences beyond academia and to key individuals who can change practice or policy

    This narrative should be no longer than three single-spaced pages plus references (which do not count against the three-page limit), with one-inch margins and in a font no smaller than 12 point. Please do not submit any additional documents.

Letters of intent for this cycle must be submitted online by June 24, 2020 at 11:59 pm ET. We strongly encourage applicants to submit letters of intent earlier, so that they have time to correct any technical errors that might arise during the application process. Invited full applications will be due August 28, 2020, with project periods to start on or after January 1, 2021. Because of the relatively tight deadline for full proposals that include financial information approved by an appropriate officer, there may be some allowance for budget deadlines. However, priority will be given to fully completed proposals.

We will fund another cycle of grants in Spring 2021. The request for proposals and due date for that cycle will be announced in Winter 2020.