Research & Policy Team Request for Proposals

The core of the Center’s work is developing problem-centered and solution-oriented research and policy teams (R&P Teams). Proposed each year and led by Center-affiliated BU faculty and supported by grants, R&P Teams are comprised of a team of researchers, and practitioners of policy, journalism, art, and advocacy who together will exhaustively study a critical racial inequity or injustice, ascertain the policies leading to the inequity, develop policy correctives, narrate the problems and solutions through journalism and art, and organize a campaign for change to work with policymakers to test the policy correctives. Normally, the Center will call for RFPs a year prior to the R&P Teams beginning their work. But we felt it necessary to put out this RFP now with COVID-19 racial disparities an urgent and pressing issue and with the Center tracking racial demographic data through its COVID Racial Data Tracker, a collaboration with The Atlantic’s COVID Tracking Project.

Proposed Research & Policy Team members should apply to the Center’s Affiliates Program. The BU Center for Antiracist Research is seeking to build a network of faculty and graduate students who are engaged in antiracist research across the University. This interdisciplinary group will bring their expertise and unique disciplinary perspectives towards the goal of investigating and dismantling racism.

The Center for Antiracist Research is now accepting proposals from BU faculty for a research and policy team related to COVID-19. Applicants will be pre-formed teams. Research & Policy Teams must be comprised of at least 3 people, with interdisciplinary teams strongly preferred. From grants and gifts, the Center will make funding available for research infrastructure and advocacy support.

Research Priorities (Choose 1)

  • COVID-19 racial and ethnic disparities, using or advancing data from the COVID Racial Data Tracker
  • Racial disparity in economic precarity during the COVID-19 pandemic

Please submit the entire application as one PDF via to Jessica Simes at, the Center’s Associate Director of Research. Proposal Deadline: August 31, 2020, including the following:

  • Name and contact information of all team members, and current CV of PI
  • Research Proposal (5 pages max) Please include the following:
    • Research questions, methodology, and initial hypotheses
    • Connection to antiracism and the Center’s mission
    • Proposed research team (comprised of BU faculty and other universities in the region)
    • Proposed integration of research project in courses
    • Proposed policy, communications, and advocacy strategy
    • Short budget narrative

Note: Due to the quick turnaround, there is not enough time to suggest a journalist, artist, policy expert, and advocate as part of the R&P team as would normally be required. However, please propose how policy recommendations could come out of the research, as well as a communications and advocacy strategy, and the potential impact of the project, both in the policy realm and within academia.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the deadline? The deadline has been extended to August 31st. Materials must be sent as a single pdf by August 31 at 5PM ET to

Will there be an informational session?On Friday, August 14th,  Jessica Simes, Associate Director of Research, hosted an informational session for interested applicants. Slides are available here. 

What is the timeframe for the Research & Policy Team? For the Fall 2020 cycle, the Research & Policy Team will be supported for 1 year.

How much grant funding will be offered? From funds raised through gifts and grants, we will provide up to $50,000 in research infrastructure and advocacy support per team.

What kind of activities will be supported? Do you fund course buyouts or indirect costs? We will provide support for data/data collection, research assistance, dissemination, consultants, and faculty PI summary salary or equivalent and fringe. We will not cover course releases/buyouts or indirect costs.

Will you fund projects studying international settings? For the Fall 2020 cycle, we are focused on U.S. research and policy.

How many Research & Policy Teams will be selected? We anticipate selecting 2 teams for the Fall 2020 cycle.

When will I be notified of a decision? We anticipate selecting the R&P Teams by the end of September 2020.

For additional questions, please contact Jessica Simes at, Associate Director of Research for the Center for Antiracist Research.