University of Wisconsin–Madison

IRP Extramural Large Grants 2023–2025 – Call for Applications, LOI Due 1/10/2023

Letter of Interest Deadline: January 10, 2023, 11:59 p.m. CT
Full Application Deadline: March 20, 2023, 11:59 p.m. CT

View/Download the RFP in PDF format | Frequently Asked Questions | Recording of the Informational Webinar | Webinar Presentation Slides

Recording of the Informational Webinar

About the Grant

As the National Research Center on Poverty and Economic Mobility, the Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP) at the University of Wisconsin–Madison seeks to fund research on the following three programmatic areas:

  1. Integrating substance use services and human services programs;
  2. Facilitating access to multiple programs; and
  3. Social-emotional development and mental health.

These are key areas of interest identified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), Office of Human Services Policy (HSP), which serves as the sponsor of the National Research Center on Poverty and Economic Mobility. Applications are welcome from Principal Investigators with research projects that address one of the three focal areas. To learn more about HSP and the work they do, check out this video.

HSP is particularly interested in research that focuses on the policy implications for human services programs administered by HHS (e.g., child welfare, child support, child care, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, youth homeless services, and Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) but is also interested in the broader social safety net programs (e.g., Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, subsidized housing programs, employment and training programs, and tax credits) especially when those programs interact with the human services administered by HHS.

Competitive applications will meaningfully and equitably engage affected communities in the research and/or dissemination process (e.g., collaboratively developing research questions, potential methods, and plans for data collection; working with community members to interpret findings and put them into context; and sharing results in ways that are accessible to impacted individuals such as through visuals, blogs, and videos). For more background, see Strategies to Center Community Voices in Research and Engaging People with Lived Experience to Improve Federal Research, Policy, and Practice.

Proposals are invited from Ph.D.-holding scholars at all career stages, from postdoctoral fellows to senior faculty, and from all disciplines who are interested in pursuing policy-relevant research. Researchers will participate in partnership consultations with IRP throughout the grant cycle and will be asked to consider integrating this feedback into their projects and ongoing research.

focal themes

Applications are welcome from Principal Investigators with research projects that address one of the three following focal areas.

Focal Theme 1: Integrating Substance Use Services and Human Services Programs

HHS has a mandate to prevent drug overdoses in the U.S. More than 932,000 people have died since 1999 from a drug overdose. The age-adjusted rate of overdose deaths increased by 31% from 2019 (21.6 per 100,000) to 2020 (28.3 per 100,000). Overdose deaths impact families and communities in detrimental ways because they cause a loss of life, emotional pain, family disruption, and financial instability. HHS’s Overdose Prevention Strategy[1] has four components: primary prevention, evidenced based treatment, recovery support, and harm reduction.

This research topical theme addresses the harm reduction component of the HHS Overdose Prevention Strategy. It will help HHS better understand issues related to integrating harm reduction services and strategies into existing human services programs. Harm reduction is an approach that emphasizes:

  • engaging directly with people who use drugs to prevent overdose and infectious disease transmission;
  • improve the physical, mental, and social wellbeing of those served; and
  • low-threshold options for accessing substance use disorder treatment and other health care services.[2]

Among other approaches, harm reduction strategies are an important part of the continuum of substance use prevention and treatment. They promote human dignity and family wholeness by preventing overdose and engaging families impacted by substance use. Additionally, harm reduction supports often serve as entry points to other human services to support the needs of individuals and families, which can result in a cascading environment of support from a holistic, individual as well as family perspective.

IRP and HSP seek to support research that examines issues related to the integration and coordination of harm reduction substance use approaches in human services programs.[3] While we welcome projects that focus on a range of substance use services and human services, IRP and HSP are especially interested in:

  • Services focused on the homeless and runaway youth population;
  • Services focused on people who experience domestic or family violence; and
  • Services integrating two generation approaches, focusing on children, parents, and other family members living with children.

Successful projects will be designed to generate actionable policy and/or programmatic implications at the federal, state, or local levels for families involved in multiple programs, with particular attention to addressing inequities.

Focal Theme 2: Toward a More Family-Centered and Equitable Social Safety Net – Facilitating Access to Multiple Programs

While safety net programs aim to improve the economic and social wellbeing of families and individuals in a time of need, they are often hindered by lack of integration across different programs serving similar populations. Safety net programs provide supports such as housing, nutrition assistance, health care, cash assistance, early care and education, child welfare, education and training, and others. Oversight and administration of these programs span federal, state, and local levels, resulting in significant variation across programs and localities and potentially multiple levels of program guidance. Varying eligibility rules, processes, requirements, and authorities across programs create a confusing and burdensome maze that individuals and families must navigate to receive benefits.

These challenges are exacerbated for individuals participating in multiple programs. When people receive multiple benefits, the complicated structure and lack of alignment of eligibility rules can result in work disincentives stemming from real or perceived marginal tax rates and benefit cliffs, which can make it difficult to attain economic stability and mobility. The safety net is fragmented and there is often a lack of alignment and coordination among programs. This results in human services delivery systems that are not family-centered, impeding many vulnerable families’ abilities to fulfil basic needs, feed their families, find and retain employment, and achieve economic mobility and self-sufficiency. These challenges are particularly acute for communities of color, given inequities stemming from historical and systemic racism, and have been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

IRP and HSP seek to support research that identifies barriers and facilitators to accessing multiple programs and promising strategies for more integrated, family-centered service delivery, with a focus on addressing inequities. There is particular interest in strategies related to one or more programs funded or administered by HHS (e.g., child care, TANF, Medicaid, child support, child welfare, Head Start) and coordination with one or more funded or administered by other federal agencies (e.g., SNAP, WIC, housing assistance, WIOA). Projects may utilize a variety of analytic methods, may focus on an array of programs or outcomes, and are encouraged to employ an intersectional lens. Examples of project topics could include, but are not limited to:

  • Case studies of innovative state or local efforts to better align policies in safety net programs and the barriers and facilitators of that alignment;
  • Examination of leveraging data across programs or systems to improve service delivery or extend outreach efforts to underserved populations;
  • Journey-mapping of families’ experiences and outcomes in seeking services from multiple programs, and how those experiences vary by different groups;
  • Qualitative assessment of what aspects of program access make families feel more and less supported, and how that varies by program and by race and gender;
  • Exploration of whether and how service navigators are used for helping families access and navigate multiple social services programs and what can be learned from navigators in other policy and program contexts (e.g., ACA health exchange navigators); and
  • Analysis of level and nature of integration among social services delivery systems in other developed countries and what lessons could be learned in the U.S. from those systems.

Successful projects will be designed to generate actionable policy and/or programmatic implications at the federal, state, or local levels for families involved in multiple programs, with particular attention to addressing inequities.

Focal Theme 3: Social-Emotional Development and Mental Health

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a surge in children’s mental health needs. Pandemic-related health, social, and economic challenges (e.g., illness, pandemic-related deaths, social isolation, financial hardship) exacerbated existing stressors, resulting in higher rates of mental health challenges among all age groups but is particularly concerning for children and youth still in critical developmental periods. Federal funding for COVID-19 relief (e.g., American Rescue Plan Act) has allocated substantial funding to children’s mental health services, and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has prioritized efforts to address increased need, with the Roadmap for Behavioral Health Integration, the HHS-Department of Education (ED) Dear Colleague Letter on Social-Emotional Development and Mental Health, and the HHS joint letter on Supporting the Mental Health Needs of Children.

To facilitate continued recovery from COVID-19, IRP and HSP seek to support research related to policies and programs to address the social and emotional challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on young children and youth. There is particular interest in understanding the implementation and/or successes and challenges of approaches and programs that have been supported by COVID-19 relief funding in early childhood education (ECE) programs, schools, and other child and youth-serving settings. These providers are part of a comprehensive, community-based approach to providing necessary mental health services and supports to children, adolescents, and their families. Projects are encouraged to include a focus on programs administered by HHS (in collaboration with other state and federal programs) including those administered by the Administration of Children and Families such as the Child Care and Development Fund or Head Start; initiatives funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration such as Project AWARE or Project LAUNCH; evidence-based models such as the Certificate in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation or the Pyramid Model.

Successful projects will be designed to generate actionable policy and/or programmatic implications at the federal, state, or local levels for families involved in multiple programs, with particular attention to addressing inequities.

Terms

Eligibility

The Principal Investigator must hold a doctorate or the highest degree appropriate for their discipline at the time of application. Applicants must be associated with a university. Individuals not associated with a university (domestic or foreign) and foreign entities are ineligible for grants made under this announcement.

University of Wisconsin–Madison faculty and postdoctoral fellows are ineligible for funding.

Contract Period

The grant contract period is flexible depending on scope of the project not to exceed 24 months from grant start date.

Funding

Grants may not exceed $50,000. This amount includes indirect costs at the applicant’s institution, if required (see Item 4 under Application Instructions below).

Commitment

Receipt of a grant from IRP will require a commitment to:

  • Within the first 6 weeks of the grant period, participate (either in person or via video conferencing) in a meeting with IRP to discuss the project and how to maximize its policy relevance.
  • Submit brief quarterly progress reports (<150 words) of work accomplished during the preceding three months every quarter in the established grant period except for the last two quarters (see timeline for more details) to irpapply@ssc.wisc.edu.
  • Submit a draft paper for review and comments to irpapply@ssc.wisc.edu three months before the end of the established grant period.
  • Within two weeks of submitting the draft, participate (either in person or via video conferencing) in a meeting with IRP to provide an update on project progress and discuss how to maximize its policy relevance.
  • Submit a revised draft by end of established grant period, to irpapply@ssc.wisc.edu.
  • Present the paper at a seminar, workshop, or other mutually agreed upon public event sponsored by IRP.
  • Agree to have the work summarized in an IRP publication (i.e., Focus on PovertyFast Focus Poverty Brief), webinar, and/or podcast.
  • Submit a final paper for academic publication no later than nine months after the end of the established grant period and alert IRP of the submission by sending an e-mail to irpapply@ssc.wisc.edu with the name of the journal.

All travel related to project conversations referenced above and all travel related to presentations requested by IRP will be funded by IRP directly; applicants do not need to include this travel in their budgets. When relevant, IRP will coordinate meetings with HSP and principal investigators.

All publications associated with the grant should acknowledge the support of IRP and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE).

Selection Process

This is a two-stage selection process. All interested parties must submit a letter of interest which will be reviewed by IRP scholars and staff as well as HSP research staff for the following:

  • The relevance of the topic to one of IRP’s focal themes;
  • The potential usefulness of the proposed research project to influence the policymaking process, especially related to programs administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; and
  • The quality and feasibility of the plan for engaging affected communities in research or dissemination processes.

IRP will provide feedback to applicants. Top projects will be invited to submit full applications. (See timeline for details.)

Selected applicants will have additional time to submit a full proposal. (See timeline for details.) Final applications will be reviewed as follows.

  1. Applications will be screened for completeness, including:
    1. online application completed; and
    2. application materials uploaded.
  2. Qualifying applications will be evaluated by a panel of distinguished scholars from IRP, its CPC partners, and HSP research staff and management. The panels will use the application materials as the basis for scoring the following:
    1. The relevance of the topic to one of the IRP’s focal themes;
    2. The potential usefulness of the proposed research project to influence the policymaking process, especially related to programs administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services;
    3. The potential usefulness of the proposed research project for the advancement of scientific knowledge;
    4. Clarity of stated objectives and anticipated results;
    5. The appropriateness and soundness of the research design, including choice of data, methods of analysis, and other procedures;
    6. Clarity, appropriateness, and feasibility of stated plan for engaging affected communities in research and/or dissemination processes;
    7. Demonstrated ability of research to be conducted in the timeframe established in this grant particularly regarding the availability of data required to conduct described analysis;
    8. The reasonableness of estimated cost and time commitments in relation to anticipated results; and
    9. The qualifications and experience of personnel, including demonstrated familiarity with the literature and data to be used.

Award Info

IRP anticipates funding up to four projects, with total funding (including direct and indirect costs) up to $50,000 each. Applicants are encouraged to request that their home institution forego or charge minimal indirect costs. Support is subject to the availability of funds. Nothing in this description of applications should be construed as committing IRP to dividing available funds among all qualified applicants.

Application Instructions

This is a two-stage selection process. All interested parties must submit a letter of interest. IRP will provide feedback to applicants who submitted a letter of interest. Selected applicants will then have additional time to submit a full proposal. Note that only applicants who submit a letter of interest will be invited to submit a full proposal. Applicants cannot submit a proposal if they did not submit a letter of interest and were invited to submit a full proposal.

Submit letter of interest by January 10, 2023 at: https://irpwisc.formstack.com/forms/extramural_large_grant_letter_of_intent

Fax submissions will not be accepted. Proposal receipt will be acknowledged.

The letter of interest must contain the following components as a single PDF file in the order listed:

  1. A letter (not to exceed two pages) that describes at a high level:
    1. the issue(s) to be examined;
    2. hypotheses to be evaluated;
    3. methodology proposed;
    4. data sources to be used (including whether the data sources are already available to the PIs and how and in what timeframe those data sources will be acquired if not already available);
    5. anticipated results of the research, including their potential implications for public policy; and
    6. how the project will engage affected communities.
  2. Curriculum vitae for the Principal Investigator.

Submit full proposal by March 20, 2023 at: https://irpwisc.formstack.com/forms/extramural_large_grant

Fax submissions will not be accepted. Proposal receipt will be acknowledged.

The application must contain the following components as a single PDF file in the order listed:

  1. A cover sheet giving the title of the proposed research, applicant’s name, date of Ph.D., and institutional affiliation with full address and telephone number, e-mail address, and home address.
  2. A one-page (double-spaced) abstract, describing research objectives, data, and methods.
  3. Description of the applicant’s proposed research, not to exceed eight double-spaced pages in 12-point font with one-inch margins all around, exclusive of references or appendices. The proposal should carefully describe:
    1. the issue(s) to be examined;
    2. hypotheses to be evaluated;
    3. methodology proposed;
    4. data sources to be used (including whether the data sources are already available to the PIs and how and in what timeframe those data sources will be acquired if not already available);
    5. anticipated results of the research, including their potential implications for public policy; and
    6. how the project will engage affected communities, including compensating those who consult on the project.
  4. An itemized budget showing (as relevant) the researcher’s time, research assistant’s time, people with lived experiences’ time spent on project consultation, travel costs (other than those related to IRP-initiated meetings and events), computer services, supplies, and indirect costs if required. (Note that applicants are encouraged to request that their home institution forego or charge minimal indirect costs.) Grant awards will be issued in two or three increments corresponding to the IRP parent award and depending on the length of the project. As such, the itemized budget should be presented in the following periods: from June 1, 2023 to September 29, 2023; from September 30, 2023 to September 29, 2024; and from September 30, 2024 to May 31, 2025.
  5. Curriculum vitae for all investigators.
  6. A letter from the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs of the applicant’s institution confirming administrative approval of the proposal.
  7. A timely plan for obtaining Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval or exemption for human subjects research. The University of Wisconsin–Madison will not execute subcontracts without documentation of IRB exemption or approval.

Contact

All inquiries, including questions on the application process, budget, and research issues, should be directed to irpapply@ssc.wisc.edu.

Timeline

Proposal release November 10, 2022
Optional Webinar December 5, 2022 from:
2:00–2:30 ET | 1:00–130 CT | 12:00–12:30 MT | 11:00–11:30 PT
Link to webinar: https://uwmadison.zoom.us/j/94544893371 | Add to Calendar (iCal file)
Deadline for letter of interest January 10, 2023
Feedback provided by IRP on letter of interest and invitation to submit full proposal Mid-February, 2023
Deadline for full proposal March 20, 2023
Notification of grant award mid May 2023
Contract begins June 1, 2023
Meeting with IRP Summer 2023
Quarterly progress reports due Due the fifth day of the following quarter; examples:

Work completed from June 1, 2023–September 30, 2023 will be included in October 5, 2023 report
Work completed from October 1, 2023–December 31, 2023 will be included in the January 5, 2024 report
Note: Contract dates and reporting requirement deadlines will be specified in the award letter upon notification.

[1] https://www.hhs.gov/overdose-prevention/

[2] https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/harm-reduction

[3] https://www.acf.hhs.gov/archive/fysb/training-technical-assistance/harm-reduction-advice-leaders-field-tip-sheet