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Request for Proposals: The Connected World

Max Award: $5,000


This competition is open to students enrolled in Ph.D., DMA, and MFA programs as well as all regular faculty members with a primary appointment in the College of Arts and Letters. Students must be in good standing with The Graduate School.


The Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts conducts yearly grant competitions that focus on particular research themes of timely importance to society.  We are pleased to announce that the theme for Academic Year 2022–23 is The Connected World.

Just before the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Pope Francis told the BBC, 

We find ourselves increasingly frail and even fearful, caught up in a succession of “crises” in the areas of health care, the environment, food supplies and the economy, to say nothing of social, humanitarian and ethical crises. All these crises are profoundly interconnected. They also forecast a “perfect storm” that could rupture the bonds holding our society together within the greater gift of God’s creation....Every crisis calls for vision, the ability to formulate plans and put them rapidly into action, to rethink the future of the world, our common home, and to reassess our common purpose. 

In the months since his radio address, the ongoing pandemic and global ramifications of the war in Ukraine have brought the interconnectedness of our world into even starker relief. Yet, at a moment when our shared destiny has become radically apparent and technology connects humanity in unprecedented ways, various interrelated crises still threaten to “rupture the bonds holding our society together.”

In light of Pope Francis’ words and Notre Dame’s mission to be a powerful force for good in the world, ISLA aims to foster deep analysis of the interconnectedness of social, cultural, political, and economic life around the globe. We seek proposals that evaluate the impact and ethics of interconnection, past, present, and future. What insights might the social sciences provide on the forces driving diverse populations and places together or apart? What might the humanities tell us about the reciprocal dynamics between the local and the global, or the very coherence of these categories? How can the arts provide deeper understanding of shared destinies and responsibilities? How might interdisciplinary inquiry help us “to rethink the future of the world, our common home, and to reassess our common purpose?” Such questions lie at the center of this year’s research theme. 

It is generally expected that projects can be completed within 12-18 months.

Eligible Expenses

Applicants may request up to $5,000. Eligible expenses include research and creative arts materials needed to directly support the completion of the project, such as transcription services, travel, archive/library assistance, survey and computer programming support, and human subject payments. Funds cannot be used for applicant salary/stipend, professional development activities, office supplies, publication costs, or computer equipment. 

Required Application Materials

All applicants must submit the following materials: 

  • A 100-word project summary written for a broad audience.  
  • A proposal (1000 words max.) that outlines the project’s purpose, research plan, intellectual contribution, and potential benefits to society. 
  • A timeline identifying key goals and targeted completion dates (1 page max.). 
  • An itemized budget and narrative budget justification (max. 1 page). 
  • Graduate student applications must also include an advisor's letter of recommendation (2 pages max.). This letter should specifically address the student’s ability to undertake and complete the proposed project as well as the project’s connection to the student’s broader scholarly interests, trajectory, and career goals.

Evaluation Criteria

Applications will be evaluated on suitability for the theme, intellectual merit, broader impacts, financial need/justification, and the researcher’s qualifications to conduct the proposed work. Priority will be given to proposals that explore creative, original, and potentially transformative ideas and approaches.  Budget items with insufficient justification may be reduced or eliminated in an award offer.

Proposal Preparation and Submission

All proposals should be double-spaced, with one-inch margins and 12-point Times New Roman font. Up to two critical figures, illustrations, or images may be included to supplement the project narrative.  Applications will be considered on a rolling basis throughout the academic year beginning August 1, 2022 and continuing until allocated funds for this RFP are exhausted.     

Questions and Additional Information

Please direct questions and requests for additional information regarding this RFP to the Director of ISLA and Associate Dean for Research and Strategic Initiatives, James Brockmole.

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