2020 (Round 16) NCWIT Academic Alliance (AA) Seed Fund Call for Proposals FAQ

Does your institution want to apply research-based practices to broaden the participation of women and underrepresented populations in computing and IT? Could your ideas benefit from seed funding? NCWIT has a variety of institutional members, including community colleges, minority-serving institutions, undergraduate institutions, and research institutions and all are encouraged to apply for Seed Fund award.

About the Award

The NCWIT Academic Alliance (AA) Seed Fund awards non-profit, U.S. (including U.S. territories) college or university AA members with start-up funds ($10,000 per project) to develop and implement initiatives for recruiting women and other underrepresented populations into computing and information technology. To date, NCWIT Seed Funds have awarded $735,450 to 66 AA member institutions. For more information about previous NCWIT Seed Fund recipients, go to: ncwit.org/seedfund.

The principal investigator(s) and the institution must be a member of the NCWIT Academic Alliance as listed here: ncwit.org/aamembers. To join (membership is free), a faculty member should complete the online form by November 4, 2019: ncwit.org/aamembershipform.

Strategic Focus for 2020 Seed Fund

We are continuing to call for proposals that focus on using existing promising and effective practices for recruiting and retaining women and under-represented populations into your computing-related majors. Submissions are encouraged to make use of existing practices or programs that have been shown to recruit and/or retain women and other under-represented populations into computing programs. Outreach programs aimed at pre-high school age are discouraged. Winners are eligible to receive up to $10,000 to implement the project and measure its impact on enrollment.  

The Seed Fund’s objective is to award proposals from a variety of institutional settings, including community colleges, minority-serving institutions, undergraduate institutions, and research institutions.

Proposal Content

All Applications

Proposals must clearly explain the specifics of and rationale for the project. The project should implement either existing evidence-based practices or new practices that are grounded in theory or research, including: NCWIT resources (e.g., Programs-in-a-Box, Promising Practices, Top 10’s, etc. found at www.ncwit.org/higheredresources), evaluation data, or other research.

Be prepared to provide the following information:

  • proposal title
  • principal investigator’s name(s) and email(s)
  • institution and department name
  • proposal summary (40 words) 
  • project overview (500 words) 
  • alignment with NCWIT resources ncwit.org/higheredresources and other research (including citations) (300 words)
  • implementation plan and schedule (300 words)
  • budget justification—maximum $10,000 (300 words)
  • evaluation plan (300 words)
  • sustainability plan (300 words)
  • letter of recommendation from chair or dean (submitted as a separate PDF) Upload a signed letter of recommendation from the dean or department chair expressing institutional commitment to sustaining financial support for a Seed-funded project. (Note: Your letter of recommendation will be submitted on the same online form so please have it ready to upload upon beginning your proposal. The recommendation should be no longer than one page and must be uploaded as a PDF.)

Award Timeline

  • deadline for proposal submission:  November 4, 2019 at 11:59 p.m. (MST)
  • deadline for letter of recommendation from chair or dean:  November 4, 2019 at 11:59 p.m. MST
  • deadline to request NCWIT membership (if not currently a member):  November 4, 2019 at 11:59 p.m. MST
  • awardees notified: March 2020
  • deadline for recipients to submit payment information: April 2020

Review Process and Criteria

Applications are peer-reviewed by members of the Academic Alliance and NCWIT staff. Based on those reviews, NCWIT AA Co-chairs submit recommendations to the NCWIT CEO, and the NCWIT President and CTO for final approval. 

Applications are reviewed using the following criteria:

  • focus on inclusive strategies for effectively recruiting or retaining underrepresented populations
  • use of one or more theoretically grounded or research-based practices (e.g., ncwit.org/higheredresources)
  • likelihood of successful implementation
  • suitability of evaluation plan
  • likelihood of producing useful information about the conditions necessary for success (i.e., information useful to NCWIT and its members)
  • quality/amount of institutional support
  • type of institution (variety of institutions will be selected)
  • evidence of commitment to institutional reform
  • potential to sustain the project, if continuation is warranted by evaluation results
  • potential future sources of funding

Seed Fund Award Recipient Agreements

  • Attribution to award sponsors is important for continued funding of the NCWIT Seed Fund. We ask award recipients to promote their programs and acknowledge Microsoft Research and NCWIT with a press release or award announcement.
  • Award recipients will be recognized at the annual NCWIT Summit May 18-20, 2020 at the NCWIT Summit at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center. Reimbursement will be provided for one PI and it is hoped that all involved PIs will be able to attend.
  • NCWIT will make the selected proposals available for viewing by AA members.
  • Program Reporting: Award recipients will be asked to report on their program’s progress to NCWIT at least once per year in the form of a short survey and/or interview. Your individual program evaluations allow NCWIT to determine the overall success of the Seed Fund, and we report Seed Fund-wide results back to Microsoft Research, the National Science Foundation, other funders, and the NCWIT community. Therefore, Seed Fund recipients must conduct an evaluation. Please collect data on the following measures, at minimum:
    1. number affected by the project (e.g., # K-12 students, # undergraduate students, # graduate students, # teachers, # parents, # schools)
    2. demographics of those affected (i.e., gender, race/ethnicity, socio-economic status of students, faculty or other individuals)
    3. most interesting results (positive or negative)
    4. survey data about participants’ intent to persist in computing (study or career), engagement in computing, confidence in computing, and computing skills (as relevant)
    5. potential or actual sustainability of the program
    6. other evidence of funding impact
  • We encourage all Award applicants and recipients to consult with an affiliate of the NCWIT Social Science Advisory Board on their evaluation plan and its implementation (via the free SSAB Consultation Service).

NCWIT Round 16 Seed Fund Award Application Summary

Deadline

November 4, 2019, at 11:59 p.m. MST

Submission POC

AA Program Director (academic@ncwit.org)

Budget

Requests may be made for up to $10,000      

Format

An online application, including the upload of a one-page recommendation letter in PDF format.

Checklist

  • proposal summary
  • project overview
  • relationship to NCWIT resources or other research
  • implementation plan and schedule
  • budget justification
  • sustainability plan
  • evaluation plan
  • letter of recommendation from chair or dean (submitted as a separate PDF)
  • If you, or your institution, is not currently a member of the NCWIT Academic Alliance, submit your request for membership by November 4, 2019.

 

NCWIT Seed Fund Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Who is eligible to apply?

    Any non-profit, U.S. college or university (including U.S. territories) that is a member of the NCWIT Academic Alliance (AA).  We strongly encourage applications from a variety of institutional settings, including community colleges, minority-serving institutions, undergraduate institutions, and research institutions. A principal investigator who has moved to a different campus or an institution that has not won in the past 10 years becomes eligible to apply again.

  2. What types of projects are within the scope of the fund?

    Projects can focus on any type of intervention program and/or curricula that further NCWIT goals of recruiting and/or retaining women and under-represented populations in computing and information technology, and that relate to one or more established practices for doing so. Outreach programs aimed at pre-high school age are discouraged.

  3. Will multiple proposal applications be considered from the same institution?

    Yes.  Potential synergies or overlaps between proposals, however, should be addressed and will be material to the review process.

  4. Are these funds subject to university overhead?

    The Seed Fund is a gift, thus NCWIT prefers that the full amount be given to the award recipient.  However, if necessary a maximum of 10% can be used for university overhead/indirect costs. 

  5. Are there restrictions on how the funds can be used?

    Funding cannot be used for equipment purchases, alcohol, conferences, or to support lobbying.

  6. Can multiple institutions submit a shared proposal?

    A regional/multi-institutional project is acceptable but must remain within the stated funding limits.

  7. When will decisions be made?

    Decisions will be made approximately six months after the submission deadline.

  8. How will awards be decided?

    Applications are peer-reviewed by members of the Academic Alliance and NCWIT staff. Based on those reviews, NCWIT AA Co-chairs submit their recommendations to the NCWIT CEO, as well as the NCWIT President and CTO, for final approval.

  9. Is an institution outside the United States eligible to win?

    No. Funding can only be sent to U.S. non-profit institutions (including U.S. territories).

  10. Is a for-profit institution eligible to win?

    No. Seed Fund gifts can only be sent to non-profit institutions that submit an IRS form W-9.