OPPORTUNITY – SSRC Social Data Initiative – Social Media and Democracy Research Grants


The longstanding study of media effects on democracy and elections has taken on new resonance with the rise of social media platforms, the dramatic change in the business model of traditional news media, changes in advertising infrastructure, and increasingly globalized and interconnected communications. Recent revelations about the unintended disclosure of industry data and spread of disinformation across national borders make clear the need to better understand the impact of social media on society.

Proposals for the Social Media and Democracy Research Grants should examine the impact of social media and related digital technologies on democracy and elections, generate insights to inform policy at the intersection of media, technology, and democracy, and advance new avenues for future research. This initiative seeks to study these processes in an independent, transparent, and ethical way according to the highest standards of data privacy and academic research, to improve the lives of all.

Researchers whose proposals are selected for support will receive research funding via the Social Science Research Council and access to Facebook data via Social Science One. The first dataset is a database of Facebook URL shares; details about these data, including the codebook can be found at the Social Science One Dataverse repository.

The research is funded by a group of charitable foundations including Laura and John Arnold Foundation, The Democracy Fund, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Charles Koch Foundation, Omidyar Network, and The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.


Preparing Your Application

Detailed submission guidelines and requirements are outlined in the Request for Proposals (RFP).


Submitting Your Application

All grant applications must be submitted through the SSRC Application Portal, located at apply.ssrc.org.  In order to apply through the SSRC Application Portal, you must create a unique login ID and a secure password. You may begin filling out a proposal, save it, and return to complete it at a later time.



This program does not provide pre-submission review of proposals, but staff can answer questions about the program submitted to: socialdata@ssrc.org



Proposals will be accepted on a rolling basis, with the first period of review beginning August 9, 2018.

LIMITED SUBMISSION – Mellon Foundation “New Directions” Fellowship Internal Call for Applications

Syracuse University has been invited by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to nominate an eligible faculty member in the humanities and the humanistic social sciences for consideration for a https://mellon.org/programs/higher-education-and-scholarship-humanities/fellowships/new-directions-fellowships/. Candidates will be faculty members awarded doctorates within the last 6–12 years whose research interests call for formal training in another discipline. Please refer to the following internal call for applications.


LIMITED SUBMISSION – Invitation to the Internal 2019 National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Stipend Competition

The College of Arts and Sciences Humanities Council is pleased to facilitate the 2019 NEH Summer Stipend program internal competition [link to new limited submission page].  The University may nominate two faculty members for the national competition. The program provides $6,000 grants for two consecutive full-time months of research and writing.

Read more here

OPPORTUNITY – Announcing the 2019-20 Society for the Humanities Fellowships – Energy

The Society for the Humanities at Cornell University invites applications for residential fellowships from scholars whose research projects reflect on the 2019-20 theme of ENERGY. Six to eight Fellows will be appointed. The fellowships are held for one academic year. Each Society Fellow will receive $50,000. Applicants living outside North America are eligible for an additional $2,000 to assist with travel costs. Apply here: https://societyhumanities.as.cornell.edu/society-fellowships

Limited Submissions – Pew Biomedical Scholars – Internal Selection Process – For posting to limited submission, PLUS

Syracuse University has been invited to nominate one faculty member to the Pew Biomedical Scholars Competition for 2019. If you meet the criteria and wish to apply, please submit the following pre-proposal materials as a single PDF to Melissa Whipps (mjwhipps@syr.edu) by 5:00 pm on Friday June 1, 2018.

1)      Research project description

 Format: All text, including figure captions = 12 point Times New Roman; 1” margins all sides; 3 pages in length inclusive of figures but excluding references


  • Statement of the project to be undertaken
  • Aims and objectives
  • Methods to be used
  • Potential significance of the research
  • How this project fits into your ‘big picture’ plans (2 – 3 paragraphs recommended)

2)      Curriculum vitae (NSF or NIH format)

3)      Letter of support from your Chair. Letter should address:

  • Your most significant research contributions to date
  • The most innovative and novel aspects of your proposed research including any risky or creative approaches you might use to achieve your goals
  • How you personally would benefit from the Pew Scholarship and why your particular research is personally significant.

Eligibility for the 2019 award

  • Candidates must have been awarded a doctorate in biomedical sciences, medicine or a related field.
  • As of Oct. 15, 2018, nominees must hold full-time appointments at the rank of assistant professor. (Appointments such as Research Assistant Professor, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Assistant Professor Research Track, Visiting Professor or Instructor are not eligible.)
  • On June 29, 2018, candidates must have been in such an appointment for less than three years (not appointed before June 29, 2015), whether or not such an appointment was on a tenure track. Time spent in clinical internships, residencies, or in work toward board certification does not count as part of this three-year limit
  • Candidates may be nominated by their institution two times in total. ALL applicants must be nominated by their institution and must complete the 2019 online application.

Based on their performance during their education and training, candidates should demonstrate outstanding promise as contributors in science relevant to human health. Strong proposals will incorporate particularly creative and innovative approaches. Candidates whose work is based on biomedical principles, but brings in concepts and theories from more diverse fields, are encouraged to apply.  Risk-taking is encouraged. Selection of the successful candidates will be based on a detailed description of the work that the applicant proposes to undertake, evaluations of the candidate’s performance, and notable past accomplishments, including honors, awards and publications. In evaluating the candidates, the National Advisory Committee gives considerable weight to evidence that the candidate is a successful independent investigator and has published significant work.

Funding from the NIH, other government sources, and project grants from non-profit associations do not pose a conflict with the Pew scholars program.

Terms of the Award

An award of $75,000 per year will be provided to the sponsoring institution for use by the scholar over the four-year period, subject to annual review of the scholar’s progress. Grant agreements will be issued in August of the award year. Annual progress reports are required, describing research accomplishments, project status, and future directions. In addition, financial reports are required annually accounting for grant expenditures. Funding for the second, third and fourth years is contingent upon timely submission of acceptable financial and narrative progress reports and attendance at the annual meeting in March during the four-year term.

The awarded funds may be used at the discretion of the Pew scholar, for personnel, equipment, supplies, or travel directly related to the scholar’s research and as to best advance his or her research and career. Not more than $12,500 of the annual award may be used for the scholar’s salary (including benefits). Should the funds not be immediately required, they may be accumulated  and carried over through the four years of the grant period, and, with written approval of the program office, the grant may be extended for one additional (fifth) year (without additional funds). Not more than 8 percent of the total award may be allocated for overhead costs. It is expected that Pew scholars will spend at least 80 percent of their time in work related to the accomplishment of their overall research goals. However, Pew provides flexible support to the overall research aims of the scholar and does not monitor or restrict percentage of effort or time of Pew scholars.

During the four-year scholarship term, program participants are required to attend an annual meeting held in March. All expenses for attendees’ travel, lodging, and meals are paid by Pew. The meeting provides Pew scholars with an opportunity to present their research and for scientific collaboration and exchange with other scholars and members of the National Advisory Committee.

OPPORTUNITY – National Science Foundation (NSF) Dear Colleague Letter: Rules of Life (RoL)

NSF 18-071

Dear Colleague Letter: Rules of Life (RoL): Design and Engineering of Synthetic Cells and Cell Components (DESYN-C3)

April 18, 2018

Dear Colleagues:

NSF seeks proposals that jump-start the de novo design of complex, synthetic biological components and cells. This DCL intends to engage scientists and engineers in the application of Design-Build-Test-Learn and experiment-modeling cycles to create synthetic cells. It is anticipated that the research will lead to new rules relevant for cell metabolism, epigenetics, interaction networks, and organelle function; molecular components and organelles of cells; and strategies for the design and synthesis of cells.


Synthetic cellular biomanufacturing has the potential to improve the production of fuels, chemicals, functional biomaterials, and human therapeutics, and to enhance bioremediation and ecological engineering in a profound and sustainable fashion. New therapies and cell-based products depend critically on the development of robust, reliable and reproducible biomanufacturing technologies. The design of these technologies has been enabled by basic science research on biomolecular design and synthesis aimed at understanding biological function, the development and application of chemistry for probing cellular function, and the identification of causal relationships in biological systems (e.g. genotype/phenotype, structure/function). Effective utilization of these science and engineering developments will enable biosystem designers to avoid the constraints of existing biological regulatory systems to create novel, optimized biosynthetic reaction systems that are adaptive and responsive to external stimuli.

The de novo design of synthetic cells will require the convergence of traditional chemistry and chemical engineering activities (chemical synthesis and self-assembly, process synthesis and control, reaction engineering, mass transport, separations) with diverse other research areas, including control theory, synthetic biology, systems biology, biomaterials science, biochemistry, molecular structure, dynamics, and modeling, chemical biology, and bioorganic and bioinorganic chemistry. This effort will also require advanced nanomanufacturing technologies, such as DNA-enabled nanofabrication, to produce the subsystems (motors, pumps, constrained volume reactors, actuators) that comprise the synthetic cells.

This Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) describes an initial effort to expand and test our current understanding through the design of synthetic cell components (ribosomes, mitochondria, membranes, regulators, molecular machines, etc.) and molecular probes, and their synthesis and integration into “pseudo-cells” that efficiently convert raw materials to useful products. This effort resonates with the high priority placed by the Directorate for Engineering on advanced biomanufacturing and by the Directorate for Mathematics and Physical Sciences on understanding the fundamental science that underlies life processes, and it complements the NSF Ten Big Ideas of Understanding the Rules of Life and Growing Convergent Research.

The NSF Divisions of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental and Transport Systems (CBET), Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation (CMMI) in the Directorate of Engineering (ENG), and Chemistry (CHE) and Materials Research (DMR) in the Directorate of Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS) seek to support activities that include Conferences, EArly-Concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER), and Research Advanced by Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering (RAISE) grants.


Prior to submitting EAGER or RAISE proposals, interested principal investigators (PIs) must prepare research concept outlines. Note, conference proposals (see the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG), Chapter II.E.7) do not require the submission of a research concept outline. The research concept outlines must include clear statements as to why this project is appropriate for either EAGER funding (see PAPPG, Chapter II.E.2) or RAISE funding (see PAPPG, Chapter II.E.3). Research concept outlines must also include the compelling research challenge being addressed and its direct relevance to synthetic cell design. The research concept outline should address the current state of the research challenge and describe an integrated strategy for addressing that challenge.

The research concept outlines must not exceed two pages and must comply with standard proposal margin and spacing requirements (see PAPPG, Chapter II.B.2). They must contain the following information:

  • Title of the DESYN-C3 research.
  • Description of and justification for the proposed research.
  • Names, and the Departmental and Institutional affiliations of researchers.
  • Contact information of the researchers (email and phone number).
  • An estimated budget amount (including both direct and indirect costs). A detailed budget is not required for the research concept outline. See the Summary of the Opportunity section below for budget limitations for EAGER and RAISE proposals.

The research concept outline should be emailed to SynCellDCL@nsf.gov and must be submitted by May 17, 2018. Research concept outlines that either do not provide the requested information or do not comply with formatting guidelines may not be reviewed.


PIs submitting research concept outlines that effectively address how self-sustaining (not necessarily self-replicating) “pseudo-cells” exhibiting specific functions can be effectively designed and implemented may be invited to submit a full proposal. Decisions on full proposal submissions will be based on research efforts that could lead to major advances in the design of effective cellular subsystems.

Please note that an invitation to submit a full proposal is not an indication that the proposal will be funded. Full proposals will undergo further internal review by the participating divisions before funding decisions are made. The number of research concept outlines invited to submit a full proposal are subject to the quality of concepts received and available funding (up to 20 may be invited). All funding decisions will be made during fiscal year 2018 (FY 2018).


NSF will review proposals that propose activities in the following areas:

  • Conferences that engage the research communities in identifying the minimal composition (structurally and functionally) of a functional “pseudo-cell”: Conference awards will provide up to one year of support for projects that do not exceed $100,000 in total. Proposals must include the prefix “RoL: Conference: DESYN-C3” in front of the title. There is no deadline for submission of these proposals; however, to be considered for FY 2018 support, proposals should be submitted by June 15, 2018. Conference proposals should follow the guidance in PAPPG, Chapter II.E.7.
  • EAGER projects to develop and test the functionality of integrated, natural or synthetic multi-component cell subsystems identified as critical for system function. EAGER proposals encouraged for submission in response to this DCL must include the prefix “RoL: EAGER: DESYN-C3” in front of the title. Please note that the maximum for EAGER awards is $300,000 for a maximum period of 2 years. Please see the PAPPG, Chapter II.E.2 for further information on EAGER proposal guidelines. Following encouragement to submit, full proposals must be submitted by July 12, 2018.
  • RAISE projects encouraged for submission should support innovative research into “pseudo-cell” functions by multidisciplinary teams. RAISE proposals encouraged for submission in response to this DCL must include the prefix “RoL: RAISE: DESYN-C3” in front of the title. Requests may be for up to $1,000,000 and up to five years in duration. The award size and duration will be consistent with the project scope. Please see PAPPG, Chapter II.E.3 for further information on RAISE proposal guidelines. Following encouragement to submit, full proposals must be submitted by July 12, 2018.


General and procedural inquiries should be directed to SynCellDCL@nsf.gov.

Specific questions pertaining to this Dear Colleague Letter can be directed to the following cognizant Program Directors:

Dawn M. Tilbury
Assistant Director (ENG)

Anne L. Kinney
Assistant Director (MPS)