Call for Proposals

The de Castro Research and Creative Work Award supports and enhances the research and creative work of faculty in the College of Media, Communication and Information. The award is made possible through funding provided to the college by Jimmy de Castro, a media industry pioneer and 1974 graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder.

The de Castro Award is designed to align with the core goals of CMCI’s strategic plan (Academic & Inclusive Excellence; Creativity & Innovation; Public Scholarship & Global Citizenship), which in turn are linked to the strategic imperatives of the CU-Boulder campus (Shaping tomorrow’s leaders; Top university for innovation; Positive impact to humanity).

The de Castro Award is intended to support proposals for original and high-quality research, creative work, or a combination, by CMCI faculty that:

  • is oriented toward issues of central societal significance, e.g., social, environmental or economic justice, or focused on issues related to supporting and enhancing global citizenship; and
  • articulates a public-facing aspect, e.g., work that can be shared or presented beyond a strictly-limited academic audience through a variety of forms, means and venues.

The de Castro Award also is intended to serve as an internal seed grant to help faculty launch projects that might be successful in winning external funding in the future.

Size and Terms of Awards

Annual awards may range up to $10,000 for a collaborative project, and up to $5,000 to support the work of individual faculty members, the latter of whom might request funding for expenses related to travel to conduct research and field work and/or present that work; paying for professional or technical services (e.g., book indexing, video/film editing).

The proposed budget must include itemized costs and may not include salary or stipends for the applicant. Examples of budget requests that are allowed include, but are not limited to, graduate or undergraduate student support, equipment, publication costs and travel-related expenses.

If requesting funding for travel, the applicant must include a justification for why the travel is necessary and how it is related to the proposed work. If the travel is related to attending a meeting (for example, to conduct an interview), please give specific reasons why the meeting must take place in person, and explain why meeting in that location is necessary. Proposals should provide details regarding the outreach that has been done to coordinate meetings, for example, an indication that subjects have agreed to the meeting.

Eligibility Requirements

Eligible recipients of the de Castro Award will have full-time CMCI faculty appointments that include a required research/creative work component. Tenured and tenure-track faculty, as well as full-time CMCI instructors and full-time visiting CMCI faculty members whose terms of appointment include weighting for research and/or creative work, are also eligible to apply.

Faculty are eligible for one award per year, and may be included in only one application, whether individual or collaborative. Although faculty may apply for awards in consecutive years, preference will be given to faculty who did not receive an award in the prior year.

A recipient of a de Castro-funded project may apply for additional support in the year after being awarded, although priority will be given to applicants who have not previously received an award. Awardees may also roll over unspent funds from one fiscal year to the next. Money not spent within 2 years from the date of receiving the award will return to the fund.

Collaborative projects must involve two or more full-time CMCI faculty members, and may include graduate students or advanced undergraduate students. Applicants may be from within a single CMCI department, but priority will be given to collaborative projects involving faculty from more than one CMCI department. Collaboration also may include faculty from other CU Boulder colleges and schools, and may include work on community-based projects, as outlined by CU Boulder's Office for Outreach and Engagement. Community-based projects are centered on collaborative efforts between academic researchers and non-university partners who work to generate social action and social change.

Awardees who leave the University of Colorado without having used all of a de Castro award for a proposed project will not take that funding with them.

Award Evaluation Committee

The evaluation committee will be comprised of the CMCI Associate Dean of Graduate Programs and Research as ex-officio chair and three faculty from three different departments. Membership will rotate to new faculty every year, always representing no fewer than three different departments from CMCI, and rotating through the college.

Faculty may not serve on the award evaluation committee in a year in which they have applied for a de Castro grant. Faculty also may not serve on the committee in a year in which a domestic partner has applied.

The committee will submit its ranked recommendations to the CMCI Dean, who will announce the awardees. 

Application Guidelines and Timeline

Faculty are invited to submit a 3-page proposal that concisely explains the nature and scope of the project and directly addresses how it meets the criteria outlined above, notes the projected goals or outcomes, provides a budget indicating the needed and expected use of funds and a timeline for completing the project.

The proposal should clearly state what the outcome(s) of the research or creative work will be, including specifics on what the public-facing aspect will be, as well as what your role will be in presenting and/or publishing the final work. Other areas that should be addressed are the originality of the work and previous related work. If the proposed work is a departure from previous work, please specify your relevant experience, collaborators (if any), and methodology. Applicants should cite relevant work that they have produced, as well as work by others that is illustrative of the proposed project.

Also required are CVs for all faculty applicants and graduate students who are included in the project. Applications are due April 1, 2024, and should be submitted to Sarah Mandos. Awardees will be announced by April 15, 2024, and the funds will be made available shortly thereafter.

  • Patrick Clark, Ross Taylor
    All-Refugee Boy Scout Troop
  • Joëlle Cruz
    African Ecofeminism Approaches in Informal Organizing: The Case of Urban Women Gardeners in Dakar
  • Erin Espelie
    Sunday’s On the Phone to Monday
  • Sara Jamieson
    Rosario Stays: A Life on the Guajira Peninsula, Colombia—An Ethnographic Documentary Project
  • Matt Koschmann
    Profiles in Participation: Civil Society Collaboration & Housing Relocation in the Philippines
  • Omedi Ochieng
    Abolitionist Rhetorics
  • Erin Schauster
    Perspectives from Patient Followers on the Ethical and Supportive Nature of Social Media Influence
  • Natasha Shrikant
    Discourse Analysis of Multilingual Focus Groups with Refugees in a Non-Profit Organization: Implications for Design of a Multilingual Literary Space
  • Thorsten Trimpop
    The Feather Thief

  • Angie Chuang and Autumn Tyler
    From Take a Knee to ‘S.O.B.s’: How Trump’s Performative Speech Inflated the Protest Paradigm and Hijacked Colin Kaepernick’s Protest
  • Sara Jamieson
    Ethnographic research projects (Wayuu indigenous community)
  • Matthew Koschmann
    Diaspora Networks for Disaster Recovery
  • Christine Larson
    Writing the Romance: Women, Voice and Power in the Digital Economy
  • Phaedra Pezzullo
    Beyond Strawmen: A Book Launch Plan to Engage Plastic Reduction Education & Advocacy
  • Sandra Ristovska, Rory Bledsoe, Darija Medic
    When Believing is Seeing: A Multimodal Exhibition about the Power and Limitation of Video Evidence
  • Teri Rueb, Roberto Azaretto, Jiffer Harriman
  • Erin Schauster
    The Moral and Virtuous Development of Emerging Adults in Media Careers
  • Peter Simonson
    The History of Media Study Across the Americas: Toward a Transnational Map
  • Rick Stevens
    Transforming Culture: Hasbro, Marvel, and the Rise of Hypercommercial Media Franchising
  • Ted Striphas
    Algorithmic Culture: Coming to Terms With Technology and Power
  • Ross Taylor
    Mango House Distribution and Public Engagement
  • Erin Willis, Kate Friedel, Mark Heisten
    In Word and Deed, Let the Mission Lead: Can Brand Authenticity Inform Strategic Issue Management and Crisis Communication?

  • Burton St. John and Danielle Quichocho, APRD
    The Personalization of News and Journalistic Credibility: News Consumer Reaction to Black Lives Matter News Stories
  • Colette Perold and Harsha Gangadharbatla, MDST/APRD
    Exploring the Role of Strategic Communication in Social Justice Activism
  • Karen Ashcraft, COMM
    Wronged and Dangerous: Viral White Masculinity and the Populist Pandemic
  • Kathleen Ryan, JRNL
    Interactive Documentary: Decolonizing Practice-Based Research
  • Toby Hopp and Pat Ferrucci, APRD/JRNL
    A Proposal to Fund the Antecedents to the Fake News Self-Efficacy Project
  • Thorsten Trimpop, DCMP
    Support for Film Project: “Stealing Paradise”

  • Jared Browsh for his proposal, “A Spectrum of Possibilities: The Evolving Relationship between Neuroatypicality and Popular Culture”
  • Angie Chuang for her proposal, “American Otherness: News Media Representations of Belonging and Alienation”
  • Patrick Clark for his proposal, “The Insta360 Titan: An Investigation into Cinematic Virtual Reality”
  • Harsha Gangadharbatla for his proposal, “Artificial Intelligence and Communication”
  • Chris Larson for her proposal, “Writing the Romance: The Rise and (Near) Fall of Romance Writers of America”
  • Polly McLean for her proposal, “The Calling”
  • Liz Skewes for her proposal, “Victims, Heroes and Villains: How the Media Frame Mass Shootings”
  • Ross Taylor for his proposal, “Serving the Underserved”
  • Erin Willis for her proposal to continue her examination of online health communities related to cancer and to prepare applications for funding to the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute.

  • Erin Espelie
    Project: “Harvesting Light”
  • Lisa Flores 
    Project: “Deportable and Disposable: Rhetorical Tropes in the Making of Mexican Illegality”
  • Harsha Gangadharbatla
    Project: “Investigating the Effectiveness of Purpose-Driven Brands”
  • Christian Hammons and Eric Coombs Esmail
    Project: “Danger in the Forest”
  • Toby Hopp
    Project: “Trust and the Digital Citizenship Project”
    • Co-submitters on this project: Patrick Ferrucci, Jolene Fisher, Brian Keegan, Mike McDevitt, Chris Vargo and Jennifer Wolak (Political Science)
  • Sandra Ristovska
    Project: “Seeing Human Rights: Video Activism as a Proxy Profession”
  • Ross Taylor 
    Project: “Last Moments”