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Nat’l Institute for Civil Discourse Offers Grant Opportunity

NCDD member organization, the National Institute for Civil Discourse (NICD) recently announced a call for proposals on a new grant opportunity to fund cross-sector research on American civic and political life. With funding from the Charles Koch Foundation’s Courageous Collaborations initiative, they seek to fund five projects, up to $25,000 each, for research projects across disciplinary and ideological lines on a core concept or institution in American civic and/or political life. Awardees would receive the grants to collaborate on research over the next 15 months then present their findings at future public events. Proposals must be submitted by April 1st. You can read the announcement below and find the original on the Charles Koch Foundation site here.


National Institute for Civil Discourse Projects to Provide Models for How to Restore Civility

Though Americans of varying worldviews share a concern over the health of our country’s institutions, the way in which we discuss the topic differs across communities—including academic disciplines. The University of Arizona-based National Institute for Civil Discourse (NICD) aims to bridge those gaps. In a new project announced today, NICD is issuing a request for proposals to scholars with different ideologies and from different disciplines who seek to come together to research the core concepts and institutions that are vital to American political and civic life.

NICD will select 10 scholars for a total of five projects. Each group will receive grants to enable them to conduct research over 15 months and present their findings at events around the country. Additionally, to demonstrate how – and why – researchers of varying backgrounds and beliefs can work together, each grantee group also will write at least one paper that documents how they collaborated.

Read NICD’s full request for proposals below and find the original here, and read a recent Washington Post article highlighting NICD’s work here.

Call for Proposals: Creating Research Projects across Disciplinary and Ideological Lines February 4, 2019

The National Institute for Civil Discourse (NICD) is pleased to announce its intent to oversee, fund, and promote five projects in which pairs or teams of scholars with different political views or areas of academic specialization conduct research together on some of the core concepts or institutions in American political or civic life. We are open as to the precise subjects of these projects, but we do propose that many such political and civic concepts – for instance, civility, community, freedom, and tolerance – are subjects of inquiry in many different fields. Moreover, many Americans across the political spectrum share a concern that the health of American institutions – not only governmental institutions such as congress or political parties, but social ones such as the media, organized religious groups, or even the established business community – is in question at the moment, although the way in which this subject is discussed varies across academic and political communities. The funding for these projects would be sufficient to enable the researchers to play a role in helping to develop joint projects. That is, we are interested in ensuring that constructive criticism across political and disciplinary lines is raised before the research is undertaken, and that the criticisms are raised by people who have a stake in the work itself. If we are to take seriously the occasional criticisms about the insularity of academic work, it is vital to provide models of how this work might be done differently.

Our intent here, however, is not just to fund research but to encourage reflection on this research. The research teams will be asked to write a paper or set of papers that outline the process of their collaboration. What steps were taken? What did the participants learn that they could not have learned from working with someone closer to their field of specialization? How would the collaboration of, for instance, a historian and a sociologist concerned with defining what moderation is, or a political scientist and an expert in classical and religious philosophy working to understand what the corruption of political institutions is, proceed? In short, how would participants in this study offer their work as a model for others, not only in terms of the quality of the research but as a tool for building tolerance and civility within the academy?

NICD will provide $25,000 for each project. All grants are to cover research conducted during the 15½ month period from June 1, 2019 to September 15, 2020. Eligible expenses include course buyouts, research travel, or any other research-related expenses. At the end of this period, grantees will submit drafts or final versions of their work, along with a reflective essay on the work process, and will make themselves available for events designed to explore the merits of the project. NICD public relations staff will work with the grantees to ensure that the collaborative nature of this project is presented as a model that others might follow in working to promote civility and tolerance and to overcome divisions within the academy.

1-2 page proposals, with a description of the project and the nature of the collaboration, biographies of the collaborators, and a budget, should be submitted to NICD Research Director Robert Boatright (rboatright@clarku.edu) no later than April 1, 2019. Inquiries about potential projects are also welcome. Grant recipients will be notified by May 1, 2019.

This grant is made possible through the support of the Charles Koch Foundation, as part of their Courageous Collaborations initiative. NICD is a nonpartisan research and advocacy organization affiliated with the University of Arizona. It was established in 2011 with the goal of encouraging and studying civility in American political and social discourse. For further information on NICD, consult the organization’s website at https://nicd.arizona.edu/.

Proposed Timeline for Projects

  • Feb 4, 2019: Call for proposals for research projects issued
  • Apr 1, 2019: Deadline for proposals
  • May 1, 2019: Select and notify grant recipients
  • June 1, 2019: Research period for grantees begins
  • Sept 2019: Researchers invited to participate in 3rd NICD Research convening, Tucson, AZ
  • Jan 15, 2020: Informal midterm report from grantees due to NICD
  • Sept 15, 2020: Close of research period for grantees; research summary and reflective essay due to NICD
  • Fall 2020/Winter 2021: NICD public events and/or academic conference presentations on results Publication of reflective essays

You can read the original version of this announcement on the Charles Koch Foundation’s site at www.charleskochfoundation.org/news/nicd-projects-to-provide-models-for-how-to-restore-civility/?

Keiva Hummel
Keiva Hummel serves as NCDD’s Communications Coordinator. She graduated cum laude from San Francisco State University with a B.A. in Communication Studies, Minor in Global Peace, Human Rights and Justice Studies, and a Certificate in Conflict Resolution Studies.

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