2023 Funding Opportunities

Spring 2023 Call for Proposals: Projects on Inequality

BRIDGE (Building Research on Inequality and Diversity to Grow Equity) aims to enhance knowledge of inequality’s patterns, causes, and consequences, promote dialogue and action about inequality’s impact, and invest in the training of future scholars of inequality. To this end, BRIDGE is devoting resources to projects which nurture intellectual clusters examining inequality and identifying solutions, encourage scholarly interdisciplinary collaboration, and facilitate rigorous exploration of emerging research areas. We seek proposals from scholars from the Rice community including Faculty (NTT & TT), postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students in partnership with a faculty adviser. All awards may be spent over the next three years.

Available Funding and Proposed Activities

Speaker Series (15K): Funds could be used to produce an inequality-themed speaker series. Events must be free and open to the public. Proposals are evaluated on how well the theme speaks to the mission of BRIDGE, the speakers invited (and their likelihood of success in identifying important issues to discuss). Funding may be applied to associated costs for speaker convening to cover travel, honorarium, promotion, and other costs.

Seed Grant (50K): Funds provided would support new research on inequality and allow PIs to perform preliminary research to submit competitive proposals to external funding agencies within the last twelve months of the grant. Please note the special project description instructions on the next page when submitting proposals for seed grants.

Advisory Board or Panel (25K): Funds can be used to convene a seminar-style group of scholars (faculty, students, post-docs) who take on the roles of experts to discuss a current problem or issue and aim to generate a research-informed briefing. The briefing’s audience is the broader public or policymakers seeking evidence-based and informed insight on a particular issue. Applicants are encouraged to think broadly and creatively about the form the recommendations can take. The use of multiple media approaches is welcomed (written report, documentary, etc). Projects are evaluated on the basis of the a) broad importance of the question for current denotes on inequality as well as the b) feasibility of proposed activities.

Topic Areas

Projects may address any new or enduring scholarly question, debate, or issue focused on the following areas:

  • Inequalities in resources /DEI challenges in K-12/university level education
  • Urban infrastructure
  • Health disparities
  • Environmental justice
  • Democracy, Voting and Social Justice
  • Employment and Opportunity disparities
  • Mobility and Migration

We encourage projects to address systemic and structural forces that result in inequality as well as topics that examine how the realities are experienced at the intersection of race, ethnicity, class, gender and gender identity.

Award Details

This award will provide three years of funding (2023-2026). Awards are to be devoted toward direct costs associated with project-related expenses such as research activities, travel accommodations, outreach events, etc. We also encourage students (undergrad and graduate), as well as post doc involvement in the proposed activities, and budget allocations for research assistance, are permitted. Funds are not intended to cover salary replacement for any project participants. Co-sponsorships are also encouraged and recommended. Matching funds provided by the sponsoring colleges or universities are not required, but applications including a commitment to match resources in some manner will be viewed favorably. The budget must include other current or pending funding sources.


Proposed projects must be led by one or more (Tenure Track or Non-Tenure Track) faculty members, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students in partnership with a faculty adviser. In the case where there are multiple PI’s, one must be affiliated with Rice University. Co-PIs may have affiliations at other institutions. Underrepresented and junior scholars are encouraged to apply.

How to Apply – Project Description

The deadline for applications is Wednesday, May, 10, 2023. Applications must be emailed to BRIDGE Program Administrator Alana Holmes (aholmes@rice.edu). Applicants should prepare a PDF document formatted as single-spaced in Calibri 12-point font and include:

Applications for any of the above awards with the exception of seed grants should have the following format (no more than 2 pages). 

  • Type of award (working group, speaker series, advisory group) should be noted at the top.
  • Significance of question/topic. State project topic and its relationship to topic areas. Describe the significance and contribution to what is known about inequality and the ability to address or remedy inequality.
  • Proposed Activities. Discuss goals for the grant period including intended activities of participants (e.g. faculty, undergraduate and graduate students or postdocs) as well as other interested parties.
  • Potential audience and outreach. The application should reference units on and off-campus that are potential audiences or participants in the working group. How will research be paired with outfacing events and inquiry-based learning opportunities?
  • Training or mentorship activities. Address any opportunities of training and/or mentoring for junior scholars, especially those who are part of underrepresented minority communities. Priority will be given to applications that include capstone-like and/or independent/mentored research projects that involve or are developed by undergraduates.
  • Outgrowth/Future pathways. Make clear the transformative potential of funding for the long-term impact of the project. Working group funding should be deemed as seed funding that will be built upon additional resources.

Seed Grants Application (no more than four pages). Applications for seed grants must be in the following format. 

  1. Type of Award: Seed Grant should be noted at the top.
  2. A project description in 12-point font (including any figures or tables) in .pdf format (can be single spaced). This description must outline a clear program of scientific, scholarly, or policy-related innovation that speaks to the initiative’s goals and a clearly articulated plan of scholarly and/or publicly accessible publication.
  3. While project descriptions can be formatted in a variety of ways, they should broadly speak outlining project goals and their significance, proposed methods to address the question, and products from the project (papers, presentations, future grant funding, creation and dissemination of new data).
  4. Projects descriptions should address how the proposed project can accomplish one or more of the following aims
    • Generate new information or extend current knowledge
    • Engage or partner with existing Rice University centers, institutes, or programs
    • Engage Houston community members/partners Build interdisciplinary linkages across departments/schools
    • Facilitate the training of junior scholars (graduate/undergraduate students). Priority will be given to applications that include capstone-like and/or independent/mentored research projects that involve or are developed by undergraduates.
  • Works Cited (one page)
  • Budget (one page): A budget outline of proposed expenses for the three-year period, noting any matching funds or resources provided by the host or partner institutions.
  • Timeframe (one page): Please outline a timeline for activities over the three-year period.
  • Three-page CVs for each working group director: CVs should highlight scholarly experience as well as leadership experience within Rice University and other academic communities.

Selection Criteria

  • Criteria for selection, apart from the usual standards of rigorous academic inquiry, will emphasize the innovative groupings of scholars and approaches proposed.
  • Applicants should demonstrate knowledge of the field(s) and the project’s potential to meet specific needs or attain goals within that/those field(s). If similar projects or programs currently exist at Rice, applicants should discuss how the proposed project is distinctive and engages these efforts.
  • Proposals will be evaluated with their ability to generate one or more of the following:
    1. The ability to generate new scholarly insight may be in the form of providing space for important dialogue, generating new data, or extending existing data.
    2. Outreach or dissemination of insights to relevant audiences. This includes programming or events targeting a wide variety of audiences in addition to publicly accessible reporting (e.g., op-eds, essays, papers, social media).
    3. Student involvement (research training, advising, and mentorships for future scholars)
    4. Connecting with policy, including conversations with key stakeholders and decision-makers.
    5. Potential for securing additional funding

Selection Process

The Steering Committee will review applications in Mid-May with notifications to be delivered by May 30, 2023. Funding will be available on July 1, 2023.



Funds will be available for a three-year period. A final report will be due two months following the conclusion of the grant period. On occasion, awardees will be invited to monthly steering committee meetings to give brief updates on research activities. Awardees may also be invited to join the BRIDGE leadership


Please contact Alana Holmes, BRIDGE Program Administrator (aholmes@rice.edu), for further guidance in preparing your application.