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Request for Proposals: Technology and the Common Good

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 2023-24 is Technology and the Common Good.

In light of Notre Dame’s mission to be a powerful force for good in the world, ISLA aims to foster scholarly engagement with the promise and peril of technology. The technological innovations of the Industrial Revolution greatly expanded what humanity could produce and accumulate, even as many of these same technologies fostered exploitation and destruction and now threaten the earth and humanity. Information technologies, from the printing press to the internet, have greatly increased the speed of communication. Today, not only information but also misinformation can traverse the globe in seconds, inspiring violence and dissolving trust. The same technological breakthroughs that have increased quality and length of life for some have widened the gap between those who benefit and those who lack access. Clearly technological advances have had varied effects. How can we make technology serve the common good? How can we, in the words of Pope Francis, “ensure that scientific and technological growth is increasingly reconciled with a parallel ‘development of the human being as regards responsibility, values and conscience?’” 

Taking to heart the notion that technology is a subject of inquiry not only for science and engineering but also the liberal arts, we seek proposals that evaluate the impact and ethics of technology in the past, present and future. How can the arts make use of technological advances to create meaning, or how might artistic endeavors shed light on the ethics of using particular technologies? What do we learn by studying technology through a humanistic lens that fully accounts for the social and cultural contexts that foster and respond to innovation? How might the social sciences point toward the best ways to harness the benefits of technology while restraining its worst effects? How might interdisciplinary inquiry help us meet our current moment to ensure the dignity of all amid profound and rapid change? 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, Kate Marshall.

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