University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

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Frequently Asked Questions

Call to Action to Address Racism & Social Injustice Research Program
2022–23

About the Research Program

What is the Call to Action to Address Racism & Social Injustice Research Program?

The Call to Action to Address Racism & Social Injustice Research Program will provide support for academic research and the expansion of community-based knowledge that advances the understanding of systemic racism and generationally embedded racial disparity, two of the greatest challenges facing our society. 

Why was the Call to Action to Address Racism & Social Injustice Research Program created?

Chancellor Jones announced the creation of the Call to Action to Address Racism & Social Injustice Research Program in July 2020. Recognizing the critical need for universities across our nation to prioritize research focused on systemic racial inequities and injustices that exist not only in our communities but in higher education itself, the Call to Action to Address Racism & Social Injustice Research Program will provide support for academic research and the expansion of community-based knowledge that advances the understanding of systemic racism and generationally embedded racial disparity. The original announcement was sent to the campus community in a Massmail on July 27, 2020

How much is the university investing in this program?

Chancellor Jones has committed $2 million annually to support this research program. 

What is the goal of the program?

The goal of the program is to enhance exceptional cross-disciplinary research strengths at the University of Illinois and expand collaborations to build cultures of research that address structures of racism and injustice.

On the Request for Proposals

What are the research focus areas for 2022?

For 2022, the Call to Action to Address Racism & Social Injustice Research Program will once again focus on three critical research areas: 

  • Systemic racism and social justice 
  • Law enforcement and criminal justice reform 
  • Disparities in health and health care 

Why were these research focus areas chosen? 

There is a critical need for high quality, high integrity scholarship that provides foundations to intervene in institutionalized disparities, structures of violence, and over-criminalization to fundamentally address the root of issues that continue to create inequality, inequity and lost opportunities for too many in our society. 

I am interested in researching a different issue to address racism and social injustice. Will the research program focus on other topics in the future? 

Yes. While the purpose of this research program will always remain on finding new solutions to address the persistent and destructive issue of racism and social injustice, we anticipate that the research focus areas will change annually. 

My project falls under more than one research focus area. Can I select two or more areas?

Only one selection of a research focus area is permitted in the Special Programs Webtool (SPWT). However, you may reference more than one in your research project detail.  In the SPWT, please select the one focus area that best aligns with your project.

What type of funding is available?

The solicitation includes three funding tracks, each with a maximum funding threshold:

Community-Based Innovation $25,000
Systemic Institutional Change$75,000
Societal Impact$75,000

About the Application Process

How do I apply?

You can download the application templates and submit your completed application electronically using the Special Programs Webtool (SPWT). The full Request for Proposals is available on the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion website at go.illinois.edu/AddressingRacismRFP.

What are the deadlines?

  • The Pre-Proposal Deadline is December 3, 2021, 5 pm Central Time 
  • The Full Proposal Deadline: March 4, 2022, 5 pm Central Time

Am I required to submit a pre-proposal? 

Yes. Submitting a pre-proposal is the first step in the application process. This pre-proposal is very short – only two pages long – and should provide a succinct and accurate description of the proposed work and includes the broad long-term objectives, specific aims, and how the project contributes to the Call to Action goal and focus area(s). You can download the Pre-Proposal template from the Special Programs Webtool.  

Are specialized faculty eligible to apply? 

Yes. Both tenure-stream and specialized faculty with appointments in any academic college or research unit at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign are eligible to apply. 

Are academic professionals eligible to apply?

Yes, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign academic professionals can serve as principal investigator. Please see https://cam.illinois.edu/policies/rp-06/ for additional information.

Are members of the Champaign County community eligible to apply? 

Yes. The Community-based Innovation funding track is open to members of the wider Champaign County community. Members of the public are eligible to apply if they are collaborating on a project with a University of Illinois tenure-stream or specialized faculty member, or an Academic Professional staff member. Collaborators may be from non-university units and/or stakeholder groups (e.g., non-profit organizations, public agencies, school districts, etc.) but cannot serve as Principal Investigators (PIs) or Co-PIs. You can read more about the eligibility to serve as principal Investigator in the Campus Administrative Manual (CAM) policy. 

Is payment to non-university research project team members permitted?

Non-university team members may not be listed in the proposed budget as receiving salary. They may receive an honorarium payment subject to university policy.

How Do I Learn More?

Where can I find out more information? 

There will be a Pre-Proposal Information Session on November 3, 2021 at 4 pm. Learn more about the Pre-Proposal Information Session. A recording of the session will be available to re-watch.

Why should I attend a Pre-Proposal Information Session? 

During this session, you will be able to learn more about the full RFP, the goals of the program, and hear about what a successful application might look like. You will also have a chance to ask questions. A recording of the session will be posted to the OVCDEI website. Learn more about the Pre-Proposal Information Session.

Is there help available to assist me in the development of my ideas?

Yes. To assist applicants in developing project ideas and a Pre-Proposal submission narrative, OVCDEI is partnering with the Center for Social & Behavioral Science, Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Institute, and the Office of Research Advising and Project Development within the U of I Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation.

Please contact Cristina Alvarez-Mingote, Associate Director of the Center for Social & Behavioral Science, at alvarez9@illinois.edu or Maggie Berg, Research Development Manager, IHSI, at meberg@illinois.edu, for assistance with projects related to health disparities. Contact Maria Gillombardo, Research Development Manager in OVCRI, at gillomba@illinois.edu, for projects in the humanities and the arts. They will work with you to determine the next step to provide assistance.

Who should I contact if I have more questions? 

The Call to Action to Address Racism & Social Injustice Research Program is administratively supported by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. For questions, please contact Holly Clingan at C2ARFP@illinois.edu or call 217-300-9580.

What else is the University of Illinois doing to address racism and social injustice?

The Call to Action to Address Racism & Social Injustice Research Program is one part of a comprehensive commitment by the University of Illinois to actively seek solutions that will help to dismantle embedded racial disparities and inequity. In addition to this research program Chancellor Jones has also charged a steering committee and four working groups to review the role of the university in addressing systemic racism and social injustice on our campus in ways that can impact our community, and develop processes, structures, and action plans that establish the foundation for lasting, positive systemic change throughout the University of Illinois.