November 1, 2014

1896 Pilot Project


1896 Request for Proposals

Solicitation Opening Date: August 11, 2014
Solicitation Closing Date: September 2, 2014, 11:59:59 PM Central Time

Request for Applications
The 1896 Pilot Project at the University of Chicago is pleased to announce a new grant program to support research that demonstrates the power of critical thinking in finding solutions to the world’s energy and climate challenges. With generous support from a group of private philanthropists, 1896 is seeking applicants for seed grant proposals (awards up to $30,000), and large grant proposals (up to $200,000 per award). The Pilot will also entertain the possibility of funding full-scale projects with a maximum of $500,000 per award for exceptional proposals. Additional funding for renewals may become available after the first year; however, projects should be designed to produce results within the initial grant period. The application process for both seed and large-scale grants is the same but the PI should specify which grant mechanism their project falls under. Grant proposals will undergo a rigorous review process, and funding decisions will be made by an Executive Committee made up of senior administrators and faculty. Proposals will be evaluated based on scientific rigor; alignment with the mission of the 1896 Pilot Project; and capacity to transition successfully into larger, more ambitious and potentially impactful projects at the end of the grant period. In addition, the Pilot aims to provide resources to ideas that cannot easily be supported by existing funding sources.

Proposal Submission and Selection Schedule
August 11: Solicitation opening date
September 2: Solicitation closing date (proposals sent to committee for review) Mid-September: Funding decisions are made
October 1: Projects start
December: Project kickoff meeting (at the University of Chicago) March 1: Midterm progress report due
July/August: Final group meeting or conference
October 1, 2015: Final report due (one year after start date)

About the Initiative
Named for the publication year of Svante Arrhenius’ landmark climate paper, the 1896 Pilot Project is a new initiative led by the University of Chicago that seeks to address threats to the planet’s vital living systems and their interrelationships with human sustainability. Recognizing that current energy and climate policies have frequently been ineffective at prompting individual and collective human behavioral changes, the Pilot Project aims to launch and develop a privately financed institute focused on funding pivotal scientific research, as well as the communication and commercialization of these scientific findings. The ultimate goal is to accelerate important changes in human behavior that will increase the planet’s habitability in the long run.

With this guiding mission, 1896 aims to identify and pursue feasible steps toward neutralizing negative human impact on earth’s vital systems and to remediate cumulative damage already inflicted on habitat sustainability. 1896 aims to intervene effectively through achieving the following goals:

● Privately fund a global network of existing research institutions and universities to conduct
integrated energy and environmental pollution related research
● Educate and inform the broader public and decision makers about the implications of this research in order to accelerate individual and collective behavior change
● Steer intellectual property that derives from research into enterprise development that carries
private economic benefits for the broader public

Scope of Research Funded Under the RFP
Successful projects funded by the Pilot Project should demonstrate how they address important gaps in tackling the world’s energy and climate challenges. Projects considered for funding will need to produce results that have the potential for commercialization or other forms of broad impact as a path toward a future where global living standards, broadly defined, can continue to advance rapidly. For example, research that evaluates the costs and benefits of specific energy or climate change mitigation or adaptation technologies, and the technological, economic, and regulatory factors that may affect their adoption and impact, are encouraged. Moreover, research that provides actionable information for multiple stakeholders is desirable, such as the potential consequences of weather and climate extremes for specific sectors.

Funded projects will be selected using four main criteria:
1. Strength of research concept and intellectual merit
2. Alignment with 1896’s mission and goals
3. Capacity to transition successfully to an ambitious and potentially impactful project at the end of the grant period (this includes commercialization and other broad applications)
4. Focus on high-risk research that falls outside the scope of traditional funding mechanisms

Proposals must be submitted by faculty or researchers at the University of Chicago, Argonne National Laboratory, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, or the Marine Biological Laboratory.  Co-Investigators may be from other institutions. We encourage proposals from both experienced and more junior researchers across disciplines.

Proposal Requirements
1. Cover Page including:
● Proposal title
● PI name, rank, department
● Co-Investigators name, rank, department
● Financial contact
● Requested amount

2. Project Description (250 word limit)
The central part of the proposal will be a narrative description of the project itself, limited to no more than 250 words (not including bibliography). This description should include:
● Research topic
● Research hypothesis
● Objectives for the period of the proposed work
● Methodologies and plans for analysis
● Relationship of the project to the relevant scholarly literature, and your project’s distinctive contribution
● Statements elaborating on the expected significance and impact of this work, with reference to the selection criteria
● Statements detailing how this research will address a critical gap in current research

3. Project Outcomes (250 word limit)
In your proposal, please outline the major activities of the project over the grant period, concrete deliverables of the proposed activity, and the anticipated outcomes (short- and long-term implications) of those activities. Deliverables may include, but are not limited to: data sets, manuscripts, educational or training tools, press releases, and conferences. Deliverables should be concrete or measurable products that will be generated during the course of this project. Outcomes should demonstrate the short- and
long-term impacts of the research academically and on society.

4. Bio-Sketch for Key Personnel
A professional bio-sketch for all individuals considered to be key personnel. Include a brief description of your experience and qualifications, any relevant positions, honors, peer-reviewed publications, ongoing and completed research projects. Each bio-sketch should not exceed 2-pages in length.

Award Recipient Requirements
Successful award recipients will receive formal notification about funding. Recipients must sign an award agreement and commit to working with 1896 faculty and staff to ensure appropriate implementation of the funded proposals. Recipients will be required to submit a progress report half way through the grant period and a final report at the end of the award. Additionally, the Pilot Project aims to build a collaborative community of scholars that makes progress on the planet’s energy and climate challenges. Awardees will be expected to help build this community in a variety of ways. One critical piece of these efforts will be to participate actively in the Energy Policy Institute at Chicago’s (EPIC) monthly lecture-dinner series. These interactions will facilitate the building of a community of people who can collectively make more progress on these challenges than is possible when working individually.

Submissions should be made electronically to by Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Proposal Format
All proposals must be typed in English, single spaced, with 1-inch (2.54-cm) margins. Font size is restricted to no smaller than 11-point and no larger than 12-point. Font type must be Arial, Calibri, or Times New Roman. Proposals that do not follow these format specifications will not be accepted. Emphasis should also be placed on completeness, timeliness, and clarity of content. The full proposal must include all content outlined in the Proposal Guidelines.