2022/23 Innovation Grants RFP FAQs
Here are some common questions we have received concerning the EarthLab Innovation Grants Program, bucketed by theme.
Is the Letter of Intent submitted through the System to Administer Grants Electronically (SAGE)?
Answer: No. The Letter of Intent is submitted through a Google form at this link.
Does the grant need to be submitted to the Office of Sponsored Program (OSP) prior to the application deadline?
Answer: No. The Innovation grant does not go through the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP). It is a direct grant of funds from EarthLab to the Principal Investigator’s home department. Therefore, if part of the grant funds goes to a community partner, it is not set up as a subaward but instead uses the UW Procurement processes of non-PO invoicing or setting up a contract and BPO.
Do you need to have Principal Investigator (PI) status to apply?
Answer: Yes. At least one of the UW researchers must have PI status. If you are unsure if you have PI status, please contact your department administrator.
Do we need to have 1 or 2 PIs?
Answer: You need one UW PI. In addition to the UW PI, there should be an individual identified as the Community Lead.
How do social scientists fit into Innovation Grant projects?
Answer: EarthLab requires interdisciplinary teams that can approach the project from multiple perspectives. Many of the EarthLab teams have included social scientists.
Would a for-profit business be eligible to participate?
Answer: The grants are not meant to support commercializing efforts, but companies can be non-academic partners in these grants. You will need to frame the company’s role in a community-driven project and what the climate/social justice problem you are trying to address.
Are community partnerships limited to partners in the US, or can it be global?
Answer: It can be global; we have some global community partnerships in our previous existing cohorts.
Can it be an existing partnership moving into a new project/project area?
Answer: Yes, and preference will be given to new collaborations that bring together new partners or connections.
Would EarthLab be able to help connect with community partners?
Answer: EarthLab is better able to connect community partners with faculty at UW at this time.
Letter of Intent
Who writes the Letter of Intent (LOI)?
Answer: The LOI should come from the entire team, including the community partner, committing to the project and collectively addressing the questions in the RFP.
Is the idea of the Letter of Intent that you will review them and then help us if there are questions?
Answer: The purpose of the letter of intent is to make sure teams submitting a full proposal meet all of our criteria. In addition, given the volume of interest in these grants in the past, we only want to burden those teams with the most competitive proposals (in the eyes of our grant review committee) to submit a full proposal.
Do Letters of Intent require a budget and budget justification?
Answer: No. A budget and budget justification is only required if your team is invited to submit a full proposal.
Are the letters of support from community and non-academic project collaborators mandatory at the LOI stage?
Answer: Letters of support are not mandatory at the LOI stage. Letters of support can be submitted with the full proposal should your project be invited to submit a full proposal.
Does the student need to be named with the LOI or Full Proposal submissions?
Answer: The specific student(s) does not need to be identified (named) at the time of application, however, the applicant should describe how the student (once identified) will have meaningful involvement in the project. Meaningful involvement might include leadership opportunities.
How long is the full proposal?
Answer: The full proposal narrative is 2-pages, not including the project abstract, timeline, and budget and budget narrative. Submissions that exceed the page limits or that do not follow the application instructions will be disqualified.
What is the timeline for being notified to submit a full proposal?
Answer: February 15th, 2023. Full proposals will be due March 16th, 2023 by 5:00 pm PST and awards will be announced on April 11th, 2023.
When is the start date determined? Is it by EarthLab or the team?
Answer: The grant award period is between April 2023- September 2024. EarthLab understands there can be a lag between funding availability and project commencement. However, the expectation is that these funds are used within the award period.
How much of the grant goes to UW for overhead?
Can these funds be part of matching funds for a new project?
Answer: Yes, but the intention is to fund new or emerging partnerships.
How much of the funding needs to be dedicated to research? Community? Students?
Answer: Ideally a third of the grant funds are dedicated to each component (researcher, community partner, and student). It should be clear that there is sufficient support for those participating in the project.
Are there any limitations/rules around how a project is being funded if there are other funding sources as well?
Answer: No restrictions if additional funding is available.
How do funded teams access their funding?
Answer: The funds are provided to the UW PI via transfer to a new sub budget set up in the PI’s home department..
Is there a way for the money to be directed to the community members involved in the project?
Answer: Yes, funds can be directly paid to the community partner through a one time non PO invoice or by setting up a contract and BPO with the partner organization. UW Invoice System.
Are there any restrictions on how community partners may use funds?
Answer: Expenses for the community partner should be consistent with the allowable expenses identified on page 9 of the RFP and follow all relevant UW policies.
How do you measure success or impact?
Answer: We want to see that a project produces usable knowledge to address the needs of the community partner (local impact). Ideally, when shared, the solution developed by these collaborations could benefit other communities in similar circumstances (global impact).
What do you mean by “clearly stated goals for sustainability or growth” of the projects you are funding?
Answer: We recognize these grants are for early stage funding. We are looking at how teams are thinking ahead about how the Innovation grant can get them to the next phase of growth and implementation of the project or of the partnership. Your team should respond with the following in mind: Does the project have the potential to persist and grow? Is there a commitment to the partnership beyond the scope of this grant? Is there the potential to obtain external funding to sustain the work? Is it visible and understandable to various stakeholders? Is this relevant for multiple communities?
What support is EarthLab providing to build support and create a more dynamic exchange between faculty members and community networks?
Answer: At this time we do not have a formal mechanism for matching academic and community members. It is something we seek to develop over time. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your project ideas and, when possible,, and we can help facilitate connections between faculty and community partners.
Is EarthLab primarily interested in projects that generate scholarly research in a body of academic literature relevant to this cycle’s goals (climate change and social justice), or projects that generate direct humanitarian impacts relating to climate change and social justice?
Answer: EarthLab is interested in generating usable and used science that has the potential to make an immediate impact for the community or non-academic partner. This research may produce academic literature related to addressing the challenge or question of interest for the community partner.
Is there a disadvantage for applications with similar projects?
Answer: Addressing climate is a massive problem so it is okay to have overlap.
How important is scaling a project to larger and more impactful outcomes? Thinking about proposing a pilot scale project?
Answer: Pilot projects are of interest to us, and even more interesting if they are scalable and could benefit multiple communities challenged by similar issues.