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University of Wisconsin–Madison

Increasing Social and Economic Inclusion

Widespread disparities in access to social and economic opportunities and, in turn, social, economic, and biophysiological wellbeing have been well documented in contemporary society. Disadvantaged and marginalized populations are less likely than advantaged populations to have access to and, thereby, benefit from high quality modern technologies, educational institutions, health care, labor markets, housing markets, neighborhoods, and financial markets. They are also disproportionately likely to experience high levels of stress, trauma, food insecurity, and exposure environmental toxins. Differential access and opportunities in these domains are associated with disparities in social, educational, economic, health, wealth, environmental, and political opportunities and outcomes across population groups. The OVCRGE seeks proposals for innovative research to inform policies and programs aimed at ameliorating such disparities and increasing social and economic inclusion. The proposed research can be fundamental or applied and can create benefits over the short or long term. Projects may have a domestic, international, or comparative focus.

This initiative is specifically intended to support research that will significantly expand knowledge on how to reduce social and economic disparities in opportunities and wellbeing and increase social and economic inclusion. As such, competitive research projects will be designed to identify actionable solutions for reducing disparities on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, disability, economic standing, language, minority status, country of origin, and/or immigration status, rather than only to describe the causes and consequences of such disparities. We are particularly interested in research on how disparities in opportunities and wellbeing and associated social exclusion may be driven and perpetuated by historic and contemporary social structures, policies, systems, and institutions, with implications for promising scalable approaches to ameliorating such disparities and their adverse effects. Policy and program evaluations of such approaches are highly encouraged.

Proposed studies may consist of:

  • analyses that use newly available data or demonstrate innovative use of existing data, including population surveys, administrative records, proprietary data, and environmental data;
  • original data collection, including surveys, field experiments, in-depth interviews, and ethnographies;
  • textual and archival analyses; and
  • policy and program evaluations.


Interdisciplinary collaborations that advance fundamental understanding and address problems that go beyond the scope of a single discipline are strongly encouraged.

Criteria for evaluation include:

  • significance of the research question(s);
  • innovation in study focus, design, data, and analytic methods;
  • methodological rigor for addressing the research question(s);
  • strength of collaborations and interdisciplinarity;
  • potential to generate real-world implications to inform programs, policies, and/or practices to reduce the specific inequality of focus; and
  • potential to lead to extramural research support.


Award Application Process


  • A coversheet with a 500-word abstract is due Dec. 9, 2022 (item no. 1 below)
  • The complete proposal is due Jan. 30, 2023 (items 1-5 below)



  • The lead Principal Investigator (PI) must be a UW–Madison tenured or tenure-track faculty member or a researcher with permanent PI status. See related information here on permanent PI status.
  • CHS faculty and academic staff without permanent PI status may participate as co-PIs.



The on-line application form is available at:

The lead PI may log-in using their UW-Madison NetID and password.  Select the “Increasing Social and Economic Inclusion” program tile. Click “Apply” to start a new application.

Some Key Tips:

  • The lead PI must initiate the application in the on-line system.
  • The lead PI can invite additional collaborators (writers/editors) to fill out the application form. However, the lead PI who initiates the application must also be the person that ultimately submits the application.
  • Remember to scroll down to select “mark as complete” at the bottom of each completed page.
  • You will be able to select “review and submit” before final submission.
  • You will also have the option of downloading the entire application document.


All applicants must provide:

1. A coversheet that includes:

PI information (name, email address, departmental affiliation)A list of anticipated co-Principal Investigators and co-investigators

b. A project title

c. A 500-word research abstract (in accessible language) that reflects the key elements of the full proposal and is organized by the following sub-headings:

  • Problem statement/research question(s).
  • Significance, innovation, and potential impact.
  • Research design, data, and methods.
  • Implications for policies, programs, and/or practices.
  • Expected products (e.g., grant submission, publications, evaluation of a new intervention/treatment)

d. The amount of funding requested (Research grants will be available in two categories: projects less than $100,000, and those $100,000 up to a maximum of $250,000.)

e. A brief description of any funded, pending, or planned extramural grant applications that overlap with your proposal, including funding source, status, (planned) submission date, funding amount, and WISER project identifier (if applicable).


Your cover sheet and abstract (item no. 1 above) must be completed by Dec. 9. (You should scroll to the end of the first section and select “mark as complete”.)  You may proceed with the remaining sections (items no. 2-5 below) of the proposal only after the abstract has been completed by the due date. Complete proposals are due by 4:30 pm on Jan. 30, 2023.


Please read two important notes below:

  • The OVCRGE will review all the abstracts and notify any PIs if there are concerns or issues with going forward and completing the full proposal.  If we have not contacted you via email by December 30, then you should proceed with your full proposal, knowing that it will receive full consideration.  (This abstract phase is primarily intended to give us an idea of the number of proposals and potential reviewers in advance of the proposal deadline and not to eliminate applicants.)
  • While we do allow minor changes in the abstract (e.g., typos, etc.) and project team as you prepare the full proposal, we request that the primary focus of the full proposal remains the same as the advance abstract, and that you avoid major changes.


Additional items in the research proposal:

2. A single PDF file that contains a narrative, not to exceed five pages, that describes:The specific aims, major research questions, and hypotheses being addressed

      • The innovative features, the potential impact, and the significance of the proposed research for achieving the goals of this initiative.
      • The approach proposed to address these specific aims and research questions. This should include a detailed description of the study design, methods, and analysis planned for achieving the study aims.
      • A statement of the expected outcomes of the proposed activities and an explanation of how these activities will provide the necessary foundation for seeking external funding.
      • A timeline of research activities for the funding period.
      • Plans for external grant submissions.
      • If graduate students will be involved, a statement describing their proposed role in the research project.
      • If other funding has been received for this or a closely related project, a description of the previously funded project.
      • Optional additional material, as appropriate:
        • One page of figures or tables to accompany the narrative (or submit a six-page narrative with figures and tables embedded in the text);
        • References (citations from the research literature) that are not counted in the five-page limit; and
        • Letters of support or commitment to the project that are not counted in the five-page limit.

3. In a PDF file: A detailed budget request, indicating the individual staff to be supported and other categories of funding that will be needed. Although collaborations with faculty outside of UW–Madison may be beneficial, funds from this initiative cannot be used to cover the expenses of researchers at other institutions. The budget may include faculty salary for summer support only. Faculty with 12-month appointments are not eligible for faculty salary support. For faculty with 9-month appointments, you may not exceed the NIH salary cap. For example, the current NIH salary cap is $203,700 over 12 months (1 month = $16,975, plus fringe benefits). Thus, if your annual salary exceeds the cap you are limited in your request to $16,975 (plus fringe benefits) per month. Faculty with 12-month appointments are not eligible for faculty salary support. Use the budget template.  Once you have completed the budget template, save the entire workbook as a PDF (and fit each worksheet as a single page in the PDF) and upload both the .xls workbook and the .pdf workbook to the on-line submission system.

4. Please indicate your final, total funding request to VCRGE for Increasing Social and Economic Inclusion (last line of the budget form, tab 3) in the space provided. Please also provide a brief (no more than one page) budget justification (PDF) that explains the rationale for each item in your budget. Proposals will not be reviewed if missing an itemized budget justification.

5. In a single PDF file: CVs or Biosketches for the principal investigator, co-principal investigators, co-investigators, and collaborators. Include all current and pending intramural and extramural research support for each investigator.


Submitting the full application:

After completing the five items above, you will be able to select “review and submit” before making your final submission. Please make sure to review the entire document before you select to “submit” it. You will also have the option to download the entire document.

For questions regarding submitting an abstract or eligibility, please contact Associate Vice Chancellor for Research in the Social Sciences, Lonnie Berger (

For technical questions or for general information, please send an email to


Review Process

A faculty committee of subject matter experts will review the proposals to identify those that hold the most promise for meeting the goals of this initiative.  The committee will then make recommendations to the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education.  The OVCRGE will make final selections.

Progress Report and Final Report

A progress report and a final report will be required. The reports will provide a summary of the progress that was accomplished on the project.  Second year funding is contingent on having spent down 75% of Year 1 funds and on the receipt of a progress report. The final report should include citations to any published papers or conference presentations that derive from the research undertaken or the equipment purchased and any new grants that were awarded or submitted by the research team.

Frequently Asked Questions 

How much is the funding? 

Research grants will be available in two categories: projects less than $100,000, and those $100,000 up to a maximum of $250,000.

Can faculty salary support be requested?

For faculty on 9-month appointments, only summer salary support may be requested. Faculty with 12-month appointments are not eligible for faculty salary support.

If I received a UW2020, Research Forward or Contemporary Social Problems grant, am I eligible to apply for the Increasing Social and Economic Inclusion Initiative?

Yes. But, you cannot be awarded an Increasing Social and Economic Inclusion grant for the same project that was previously awarded a UW2020, Research Forward or Contemporary Social Problems grant.

Can I be a PI on more than one proposal?

An individual can be PI on only one Increasing Social and Economic Inclusion Initiative proposal. It is not a problem to be PI on one proposal and be a co-PI or collaborator on another.

Is there a matching fund requirement?


When will awards be announced?

Awards will be announced in late April 2023. Projects may begin in July. The award period is up to two years with one year of funding awarded at a time.