We are announcing a campus-wide call for proposals for the 2017 Grand Challenge. Proposals due July 1, 2017.

CU Boulder’s Grand Challenge Our Space. Our Future. fuses our unique core strengths in earth, space, and social sciences with new technologies and creative cross-disciplinary partners to address the pace and pattern of changes for our environment, our resources, and our planet.

Submit Proposal  Proposal FAQs

Goals of the Grand Challenge

  • Develop pathways to connect critical earth and space science knowledge to stakeholders and decision makers through the incorporation of communication, social science, and education.
  • Create an environment within which academia, industry, and government work collaboratively to solve problems of national and international importance.
  • Build new infrastructure and capabilities that support CU Boulder's academic strengths and cross-disciplinary activities while increasing CU Boulder’s stature nationally and internationally.
  • Create new ways for education and training of students to meet national needs in the emerging earth and space exploration sectors.
  • Increase the number of federal and commercial partners engaged in CU Boulder earth and space exploration efforts, allowing CU Boulder to successfully compete for both traditional and nontraditional funding opportunities.

The goal of this call for proposal is to build on and expand the accomplishments of the current Grand Challenge programs and efforts. We anticipate funding one large research initiative (~$1.0M/year for 3-5 years) and one or two smaller projects ($250k/year for 3-5 years). Submissions can have direct and strong ties to existing Grand Challenge projects or represent new and complementary additions to the portfolio.

Evaluation Criteria

  • Innovation
    Demonstration of cutting edge work, embedded in best practices, that represents a significant step forward for the university. 
  • Transforming our Campus
    How does this work bring new capabilities or areas of work to campus? This could include addition of new capabilities that lead to new research pathways, new interdisciplinary partnerships that expand current models of engagement, or additions to current activities that allows for the translation of discovery to stakeholders. 
  • Sustainability
    Demonstration of how project and any associated new capabilities lead to new funding pathways or partners with a clear path to sustainability after the granting period.
  • Impact
    At the end of the project period, what is the impact of the work? This can be demonstrated as academic, social, economic, or humanitarian impact that effects the research field, the campus, and/or national or international communities.

Proposal Guidelines

Proposals must be led by a CU employee. While external partners are welcome, Grand Challenge funds are expected to stay within the university (e.g., no subcontracts to external organizations or people). An exception to this is that GC funds may be used to support travel to bring partners to CU or to hold conferences or workshops.

To be submitted as a single PDF:

  1. Executive Summary. (1 page)
  2. Proposed work, including the explicit integration of evaluation criteria (Innovation, Transformation, Sustainability, and Impact) and a detailed work plan. (3-5 pages)
  3. References.
  4. PI CV.
  5. Partners and collaborators, including roles and responsibilities.
  6. 3-Year Budget (Year 1: 10 months [9/1/17 to 6/30/18], Year 2 & 3: Full 12 month budgets), including Budget Justification.

Proposals will be evaluated by a panel that includes both internal and external members, including academic, industry and government perspectives.  We anticipate selections will be announced in early August, with funding to start September 1, 2017.

Submit Proposal

For questions, please contact Dr. Emily CoBabe-Ammann: cobabee@colorado.edu