Request for Proposals: Catalyst Grants for Advancing Transparent, Reproducible, and Ethical Research

Quick Reference

  • Funding available: $6,000
  • Max. award size: $1,000 for individual projects / $1,500 for collaborative projects (more than one project lead).
  • Expected average award size: <$1,000
  • Eligibility: Catalyst participants from all past Research Transparency and Reproducibility Trainings (RT2). Applicants who have not already been formally designated Catalysts should first fill out this form.[1]
  • Submission requirements: Complete this form by 11:59 pm PT on Sunday, October 31, 2021 (attachments may also be sent via the form).
  • Expected award date: early December 2021
  • Performance period for awards: December 2021-May 2022

Summary

The Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences (BITSS) invites Catalysts who have participated in a past Research Transparency and Reproducibility Training (RT2) to submit proposals for training or organizing projects. These may include developing and delivering new curriculum, workshops, training materials, or convenings to advance transparency, reproducibility, and ethics capacity in social science research.

A total of $6,000 is available for this call. Awards will be based on quality and expected impact, as well as diversity of project leads, intended audiences and beneficiaries, and approaches. In light of circumstances related to COVID-19, we expect to make several small awards that will leverage approaches and opportunities to develop or deliver training virtually. In-person activities may be considered when appropriate safety precautions are taken given institutional contexts. We strongly encourage proposals from early career researchers—especially those who have not received a BITSS Catalyst grant in the past. We also encourage submissions that leverage teaching topics introduced at RT2 and use resources developed by BITSS (e.g., the Social Science Prediction Platform, the Social Science Reproduction Platform) and past Catalyst projects, or work to translate these topics for disciplines or sectors underrepresented at RT2.

Scope for Catalyst Projects

Funding will be primarily directed to projects that advance the teaching, conduct, or publishing of transparent, reproducible, and ethical social science research. These projects will be focused on, but not limited to, one or more social science disciplines, including economics, political science, public health, psychology, and sociology. Project deliverables must be completed by May 30, 2022.

Funded projects will fall under the following categories:

  • Curricula and coursework at the university level

Design new undergraduate- or graduate-level academic courses or modules thereof with content that focuses on transparency, reproducibility, and ethics concepts or practices, or integrating these themes into existing courses. Course formats may vary depending on their goals, with content organized as lectures, labs, practicums, seminars, or reading groups for example. Proposals for confirmed courses will be prioritized over those for aspirational courses. Letters of support from partner instructors, department officials, or curriculum coordinators are encouraged.

  • Workshops, boot-camps, or other trainings

Design and deliver workshops, boot camps, or other trainings the content of which focuses on transparency, reproducibility, and ethics concepts, practices, or tools. These trainings may vary in length or by targeted audiences depending on the theme, content, and available resources. Applicants may elect to use competitive application processes if demand is expected to exceed available space—if this is the case, proposals should include clear plans for fair and equitable selection processes.

  • Development of training materials, guidance, or protocols for organizations

Develop and share materials for training, guiding, or governing research at organizational levels. Intended audiences for these materials may include but are not limited to, academic departments, labs, professional associations, and other research organizations. Letters of support from institutional partners are encouraged.

  • Convenings for consensus building, planning, or organizing

Organize convenings, symposia, working groups, or workshops to discuss, build consensus on, plan the operationalization of, or otherwise advance research transparency, reproducibility, or ethics. Themes might include the causes of limited transparency, reproducibility, or ethics; facilitating the uptake of new methods, practices, or tools in research and publishing; or strategies for advocacy or organizing. If coordinating with an existing convening, please provide confirmation of your event’s acceptance by the convening’s organizing body.

  • Other relevant projects

BITSS invites proposals for other training projects the content or theme of which is relevant to the Catalyst program[2] and the BITSS mission. For questions regarding eligibility, please contact Aleksandar Bogdanoski at abogdanoski@berkeley.edu.

In addition to their own materials, applicants are welcome and encouraged to utilize resources such as RT2 materials, the Social Science Prediction Platform, the Social Science Reproduction Platform, the BITSS Resource Library, the BITSS MOOC “Transparent and Open Social Science Research,”, MetaArXiv, and materials developed by other Catalysts, as long proper attribution is provided.

Proposal Requirements

Proposals should include the following items (also listed in the application form):

Summary information

  • Project title
  • Name and contact information of the submitting Catalyst(s)
  • Applicant demographic information (optional)
  • Applicant’s institution
  • Applicant CV (submit as an attachment)
  • Total funding requested
  • Period of performance
  • Project abstract (150 words or less). Note: This may be used for announcement of selected projects in public-facing BITSS communications.

Expanded descriptive information

In 450 words or less, please respond to the following prompts:

  • Motivation: What issues or gaps does the project intend to address?
  • Themes, topics, and approaches: Discuss the project’s intended themes, topics, and approaches as relevant. Please provide a list of materials or resources to be used, providing actual materials if possible (as links or attachments).
  • Stakeholders: Specify the audience’s expected level of experience, discipline(s), institutional home (if applicable), size, and other relevant factors (e.g., underserved populations, institutional roles, etc.). Also specify project partners or other relevant stakeholders.
  • Location: Where will the project be developed and delivered? Specify the name of the institution or convening at which the project will be primarily led.
  • Timeline: Specify important milestones such as start and end dates, as well as course dates; application, review, and selection dates; event dates; etc. How much time do you expect to spend on development, coordination, and delivery?
  • Expected deliverables: What materials will the project generate? How will the applicant plan to share these with their intended audience, as well as with the broader public? Note that, unless sensitive information is involved, all project materials must be made public by June 30, 2022.

Budget and Budget Narrative

Provide an itemized budget, as well as a short budget justification. Please refer to this template attached for formatting guidance.

  • Eligible spending categories: These may include, but are not limited to, compensation for time to develop or implement project plans, virtual event facilitation tools, costs for software or hosting, and other event-related costs. In rare instances, travel costs may be eligible—if travel costs are requested, please explain how travel is critical to the project’s success.
  • Award mechanisms: BITSS can make awards to individuals or institutions. If your proposal is accepted, we will work with you to select an appropriate funding mechanism. Please specify in your budget justification if you or your institution have a preferred or required funding mechanism. While we cannot guarantee the use of any specific mechanism, we will take these into consideration. Notes:
    • For US citizens requesting payment via a one-time payment or individual Professional Services Agreement: The Internal Revenue Service will tax your award as “non-employee compensation.”
    • Depending on the selected mechanism, awards may take 4-8 weeks to process.
  • Indirect costs: Due to the size of these grants and prime sponsor requirements, indirect costs are not allowed.
  • Other sources of funding: Please specify if you have financial support from other sources. If so, how much and what is the source?

Assessment Criteria

The BITSS team, with support from previous Catalysts, will evaluate proposals using the following criteria.  Not having met all criteria may not disqualify an applicant; proposals will be reviewed holistically.

  • Impact

Does the proposal demonstrate a clear need within the intended audience, institution, or community? Will the proposed project adequately address this need? Is it likely to reach a sufficient number of students or researchers? Does the project have a realistic and effective plan for communication or promotion?

  • Feasibility

Can the proposed project be feasibly implemented within existing time, resource, and expertise constraints? Does the budget adequately account for these constraints? Does the proposal identify possible challenges or gaps in information and include a plan to address these? Does support exist at the applicant’s (or partner) institution for implementing the project, and if not, is there a clear plan for obtaining buy-in?

  • Diversity and Innovation

Does the proposed project reach new or underrepresented audiences? Does the applicant represent one or more historically underrepresented groups? Will the proposed project develop or test new approaches to training or organizing, or will it contribute new knowledge?

Selection

BITSS will notify all applicants of all proposal decisions via email in early December 2021. Selected projects will be announced on the BITSS website and project abstracts will be posted on the Catalyst projects page.

Reporting Requirements

All project materials should be made public by June 30, 2022, and must attribute “the Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences (BITSS), managed by the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA).” By June 30, 2022 awardees will be required to submit a short (1-page) summary of their project outcomes, including attendance, learning and evaluation outcomes, lessons, and next steps. They are also expected to produce a short guest post for the BITSS blog.


[1] This form is meant to capture information about Catalysts’ interests and experiences and is largely a formality for RT2 participants. Questions regarding eligibility may be sent to Aleksandar Bogdanoski at abogdanoski@berkeley.edu.

[2] For examples of past Catalyst training projects, see: http://www.bitss.org/project-tag/catalyst-project/