Frequently Asked Questions

New questions and answers will be added as they come to the committee. Please check for them.

April 2, 2007

Q 1: The Committee has only people from the social and natural sciences. Does this mean that proposals from the Humanities are not sought or will receive lower priority?

A: Not at all. As the website says, “We do not have preconceived ideas of what types of proposals are preferred. Rather, creativity in the development of proposals will be highly prized.” As needed, the Committee will seek additional expertise to evaluate proposals.

Q 2: If a person wishes to travel to Darfur or neighboring areas to study conditions first hand, or work in a refugee camp, would this make for a strong proposal?

A:  Especially if a proposed activity might otherwise be considered as personal travel, proposals must have a strong on-campus educational component and would not be considered complete without it. Please see, also, Q(5), below, if you are a 4th year expecting to graduate, a postdoctoral near the end of your appointment, etc.

Q 3: How important is the proposed budget?

A: Proposed budgets will be reviewed very carefully. They should be constructed to correspond to what is proposed. They should request support to effectively complete the project, but should not be lavish.

Q 4: What happens if I cannot complete the proposed project?

A: Within the bounds set by University policies, each case would be considered on its merits. Fees for speakers will be paid after their talks are given. All travel requests should include funds for trip insurance.

Q 5: If we invite a speaker, is the speaker then free to visit other institutions?

A: University funds cannot be used to subsidize activities at other universities. Each university should bear its share of the travel expenses, especially overseas airfares.

Q 6a: I am student in the Graham School. Can I serve as Project Leader?

Q 6b: I am a part time student, enrolled for classes in Winter and Spring quarters this year. Can I serve as Project Leader?

A: Since proposals are likely to extend over several quarters, how would we ensure continuity in your commitment to the proposal, and to the University of Chicago community?

Q 7: I am working with several students and [another organization]. We are in preliminary planning phase and it looks like our budget may exceed the threshold of US $25,000. We have a very ambitious plan and are very upbeat about our proposal. As advised by the website, we would like to work with you for further guidance.  

A: I suggest you prepare a one-page preproposal for the Committee that administers the fund. It should outline who the principals are, how to contact the project leader, what you want to do, what its educational component is, and roughly how much each part is going to cost i.e. a draft budget.  To allow time for some discussion, it would help if we received this by the end of this week i.e. March 30, or as soon thereafter as possible.  Send it as an e-mail (in the body of the text, or as an attachment) to We can then offer guidance.  

There's a help session for proposers on Tues April 3 12 - 1:30 in 107 Pick Hall; you might find it helpful to attend. If the entire plan is "very ambitious" as you suggest, can you imagine submitting an initial, more limited phase 1 now, to be followed by a phase 2 (and 3) in later submissions, if the early phases are successful? If so, what form might these phases take?