Grants

Currently, we are not accepting Letters of Intent as the 2017 grants application round is over. Please check back for the next grants cycle.


2017 Interdisciplinary Research Grants Program

 

Children and Screens: The Institute of Digital Media and Child Development is excited to announce its inaugural Research Grants program to support cutting-edge interdisciplinary scientific research projects that seek to advance our knowledge and understanding of digital media and child development.

Supporting the Institute’s mission, the grants program is intended to:

a) cultivate a national research agenda that was developed at the National Academy of Sciences Sackler “Digital Media and Developing Minds” conference last October
b) continue developing transdisciplinary efforts and collaborations to bridge the scientific research gap that exists between the scientific and clinical communities, and
c) provide researchers access to early stage financial support necessary to pilot worthy new projects studying the impact of children’s engagement with current and evolving technologies.

In addition to piloting grants of up to $250,000 for the design of a national multi-center longitudinal study, the Institute is also introducing a seed grants program. These smaller grants of up to $100,000 are intended to deliver seed funds to interdisciplinary investigators year round to gain the preliminary results necessary to apply and compete for major funding from traditional funding sources.

The Children and Screens Research Grants Program is a competitive program open to experts focused on digital media and child development.

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2017 Grants Research Program
Letter of Intent and Application Guidelines

LOI Deadline: November 14, 2016
Application Deadline: To be announced
For further inquiries, please email: grants@childrenandscreens.org

Table of Contents

1.0  Mission
2.0  Background and Goals
3.0  About the Grants Program
4.0  Focus for 2017 Applications
            4.1  Focus 1:  National Children’s Media Study Framework Grant
            4.2  Focus 2:  Seed Grants Program
            4.3  Eligibility
            4.4  Funding Levels
            4.5  Taxes
5.0  Award Terms and Conditions                                                                                        
            5.1  Acknowledgment of Support
            5.2  Notice of Award
            5.3  Evaluations
6.0  Letter of Intent and Grant Applications Guidelines                                                 
            6.1  Timeline
            6.2  Letter of Intent
            6.3  Invitation to Apply
            6.4  Full Application
7.0  Reviewer Guidelines
8.0  Reporting Guidelines
            8.1 White Paper/Final Progress Report

“Employ the power of collaborative inquiry to understand the influence of digital media on the whole child and on the society to which that child is an heir. Make use of your respectful field’s particular strengths and share them. Help others to understand how your facet of the big picture relates to theirs and how your tools and methods might shed new light on their investigations. Invite them to do the same.”

-Dr. Pamela Hurst-Della Pietra

1.0 Mission

 

Children and Screens:  The Institute of Digital Media and Child Development is an independent 501c(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to seek fundamental insights into how children, their peers and their families are engaging with digital media; and how these interactions at home, school and within their communities affect their cognitive, psychological, social, behavioral and physical development.  The Institute supports and catalyzes high quality, objective interdisciplinary scientific research; educates parents, clinicians, educators, media and policymakers; and seeks to improve children’s healthy media experience so that they reach their full potential as healthy, thriving and productive members of society.

 

2.0 Background and Goals

Since its inception in 2013, the Institute recognized its unique position as an independent nonprofit capable of developing new, integrated questions and ideas bridging the scientific and clinical divides.  It realized the importance of developing a foundational research agenda from a child development perspective generated and curated by researchers themselves.  The Institute also understood the importance of sparking public, private and scientific interest in new, rigorous, and comprehensive approaches to research and research design.   

Toward these ends, the Institute partnered with the National Academy of Sciences to host the “Digital Media and Developing Minds” Sackler Colloquia in October 2015 where nearly 250 leading researchers, clinicians and other experts from a wide variety of disciplines representing the finest academic institutions and research centers nationwide and globally met, collaborated and shared research and perspectives. On the third day of that conference, following months of planning, researchers in 22 workgroups comprised of experts in psychiatry, psychology, neuroscience, sociology, anthropology, communications, education, law, public health and public policy, developed a list of key scientific research questions.  (A conference summary is available at www.childrenandscreens.org.)

The newly-formed national research agenda and workgroup recommendations are intended to guide the Institute’s research funding priorities.

Other Institute goals include: developing and field testing practical guidelines for parents clinicians and educators; stimulating public funding for national, multicenter transdisciplinary longitudinal studies; creating a public discourse and awareness of the empirical, scientific evidence; providing parents, clinicians, and educators with resources and answers to questions they have in order to raise healthy children in the digital age; fostering relationships with media creators and designers to develop healthy, developmentally-appropriate media for families and children; and, motivating the establishment of comprehensive programs and policies concerning the effects of digital media on youth.

3.0 About The Grants Program

The inaugural Research Grants program is intended to support cutting-edge interdisciplinary scientific research projects that seek to advance our knowledge and understanding of digital media and child development. Eligible research should focus on children from birth to age 18.  

Supporting the Institute’s mission, the grants program is intended to a) cultivate a national research agenda that was developed at the National Academy of Sciences Sackler “Digital Media and Developing Minds” Colloquia last October, b) continue developing transdisciplinary efforts and collaborations to bridge the scientific research gap that exists between the scientific and clinical communities, and c) provide researchers quick access to early-stage financial support necessary to pilot worthy new projects studying the impact of children’s engagement with current and evolving technologies.

In addition to piloting one or two one-year grants of up to $250,000 for the design of a national multi-center longitudinal study, the Institute is also introducing a seed grants program.  These one-year grants of up to $100,000 are intended to deliver seed funds to interdisciplinary investigators so that they may gain the preliminary results necessary to apply and compete for major funding from traditional funding sources.  The seed grants are not intended to supplement existing grants.

The Children and Screens Research Grants Program is a competitive program open to teams of experts (at least two researchers) focused on digital media and child development.

Interdisciplinary collaborations are required.  These collaborations can be from one or across multiple institutions and consist of at least two different disciplines.

4.0 Focus for 2017 Grants Applications

The foci for this round are two-fold:

4.1  Focus 1:  National Children’s Media Study Framework Grants

Criteria:  Focus 1 consists of one or more one-year grants of up to $250,000 to develop the framework for a national, interdisciplinary, multi-center longitudinal study to assess the short and long-term consequences of media use and exposure at different ages (from birth to age 18) and stages, its interconnection with a child or adolescent’s peer, family and community relationships and the interrelationship with his or her cognition, mental and physical health; and to determine if there are measurable effects of media use and exposure on outcomes that we care about as a society – whether they be positive or negative.

The design should involve and include the completion of a feasibility study that would build and inform:

  1. Rationale for and design of the study
  2. Ways we can study/determine outcomes across disciplines
  3. Development of standardized measurement methods and validation tools
  4. Critical domains for assessment
  5. Recruitment protocol, cohort description
  6. Sites/Teams of proposed collaborators
Project must also include organizing and hosting a workshop to review and analyze lessons learned and best practices from past, proposed or existing major longitudinal studies such as the National Children’s Study out of the National Academy of Sciences, additional longitudinal studies conducted out of the University of Michigan, and the ABCD study.
4.2  Focus 2: Seed Grants Program

Criteria:  The second focus of the Research Grants program will provide small, one-year grants of up to $100,000, to researchers approximately quarterly after this inaugural cycle for questions generated from the National Academy of Sciences Sackler “Digital Media and Developing Minds” Colloquia (October 2015) which form the basis of the Institute’s research agenda (to be released shortly) as well as other new, creative, critical or interesting questions that a small group wishes to pursue in order to generate preliminary data.  These could include testing components that would better inform a national, multi-center longitudinal study. Naturalistic studies are preferred. Priority will be placed on the research questions developed from the 2015 Sackler Colloquia. These will be posted on the website https://www.childrenandscreens.com/ shortly.  

Broadly, these questions cover:  

  • What is the quantity, quality, and character of media content reaching children today?
  • Which informational attributes account for different children’s responses to different digital media?
  • What are the consequences of pervasive, immersive media exposure for children’s bodies, minds and social experiences?
  • How do children and adolescents’ mental processes and brain mechanisms change for good or ill because of the digital media to which they are exposed?
  • May new evolving policies be formulated and implemented to adaptively and beneficially guide all of this?

Project collaboration examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Two or more research groups have a creative idea for a study that they wish to pursue jointly, but do not currently have preliminary data to pursue other funding.
  • Two or more researchers wish to test supportive adjuncts or laboratory studies as a component of a large-scale longitudinal study.
  • Members of an interdisciplinary research workgroup or collaboration founded at the 2015 Sackler Colloquia wish to continue discussions on the agenda questions at one or more of the members’ labs for a week. To make the discussions more productive, the group wants to include additional experts in fields such as neuroscience, epidemiology, pediatrics, genetics,  child psychiatry, etc.  Funding is requested to support travel costs (travel, lodging, per diem, supplies, etc) for all members and external specialists to visit respective labs enabling exploration and exchange of each other’s work as well as the research questions.
  • Investigators in sleep and obesity research (for example) from different institutions wish to support a graduate student or postdoc for a transdisciplinary research project.  The researchers seek funding to support the student or postdoc and his/her travel costs.
4.3  Eligibility
  • For administrative purposes only and not for credit or publication purposes, one PI should be designated as the “contact” PI and his/her contact information and email address will be used as the login for the online grants portal and for correspondence. The team should then create a shared team password during the online account set-up process. The system only permits one email address and one password for each team’s submission (consisting of the Letter of Intent and if invited, application).
  • The contact PI’s affiliated institution will be designated as the contact institution that will receive and process the grant from the Institute as well as support (i.e., contribute material and in-kind support) the funded research project, if awarded.
  • The Principal Investigators (PIs) must possess a terminal degree (PhD, MD, or equivalent), and hold a tenure-track or tenured position at an university or college, or research facility. The contact PI must be affiliated with an American entity that can receive and administer the grant from the Institute. 
  • The contact PI must be a United States citizen, legal permanent resident, or those who have employment authorization from the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services at the time of the award and for the duration of the grant period.
  • PIs affiliated with international universities, colleges and research facilities may be on the project team, but may not be the contact PI for tax purposes given the international status of their affiliated institution.
  • All PIs are expected to commit at a minimum 10% of their time annually to the project.
  • A minimum of one year (12 months) must have elapsed since receiving their terminal degrees before a PI may apply for a grant.
  • A post-doc cannot be a PI.  
  • Priority will be accorded to applicants who attended the National Academy of Sciences Sackler “Digital Media and Developing Minds” Colloquia (October 2015).
  • A single PI may participate in a maximum of two Letters of Intent projects. A PI may only hold one award from the Institute at a time.
  • A maximum total of five (5) PIs may work on a single project.
  • Additional “collaborators” are permitted.  These individuals do not need to be involved in the conception or execution of the project, but may act as resources or consultants on the project.  

All projects must be a collaborative effort consisting of at least two PIs (maximum total of five).  Projects must represent at least two different disciplines.

  • If the contact institution is a public American university or college, then the grant will be awarded to the private, 501c3 nonprofit entity (e.g., Regents of the University of California, Davis and not the University of California, Davis) designated to support the public university or college.
  • If the contact institution is an American research facility then it must be a private, 501c3 nonprofit entity with a minimum operating budget of $2.5 million, have a minimum three-year track record of leading and conducting multi-year research projects (at least three over the last three years), include research as a core activity as described in recent annual reports, and have produced and publicly disseminated a minimum of five publications (over the last five years) reporting the results of their research.
  • Multiple applicants from a single institution may submit Letters of Intent.
4.4  Funding Levels and Selection Criteria 

The overall available funding is estimated to be from $1- 2 million; the number of awards is contingent on requested budgets and successful applications.  Indirect costs per grant regardless of the number of subcontract institutions are limited to 10% of total direct costs.  The maximum budget request for Focus 1, National Children’s Media Study Framework Grants is $250,000, inclusive of indirect and all other costs.  The maximum budget request for Focus 2, Seed Grants Program is $100,000, inclusive of indirect and all other costs. Awards will be made to the contact institution; subcontract arrangements are managed by the contact institution.

Funding for the Focus 1, $250,000 grants will be awarded based on 1) strategy, feasibility and support of the application;  2) prior experience in designing or implementing multi-center studies; and 3) multi-disciplinary nature that supports the needs of the whole child.

Seed grant Letters of Intent (awards of $100,000 or less) will be reviewed approximately quarterly after this inaugural cycle.  Priority for funding will be based on the following: 1) field impact; 2) novelty in terms of methodology or approach; 3) multi-disciplinary nature that supports the needs of the whole child; and 4) potential to lead to a larger project funded by other public or private sources.

The Institute is particularly interested in both Focus 1 and 2, to attract accomplished investigators with relevant expertise in areas outside of traditional children and media research (e.g., addiction), develop new research methodologies (e.g., digital) and/or attract top scientists with experience investigating young adults to cross over to younger populations.  The Research Grants program is expected to be of interest to a wide range of disciplines and encourages unique perspectives.

All grants will also be reviewed for their potential to support the Institute’s key stakeholders (e.g., parents, clinicians, educators, media and policymakers) to improve children’s media experience.

4.5  Taxes

Grant recipients are solely responsible for determining the tax consequences of Children and Screens Grants.

5.0 Award Terms and Conditions

All awards will be for a one-year (12 months) term. The maximum budget request for Focus 1, National Children’s Media Study Framework Grants is $250,000, inclusive of indirect and all other costs. Funds from these grants will be made in two payments. The first upon signing of the grant agreement and the second pending approval of an interim (six-months) progress and financial report. The maximum budget request for Focus 2, Seed Grants Program is $100,000, inclusive of indirect and all other costs. Funds from these grants will be paid in one payment upon signing of the grant agreement.

A final report is required and should include:

  • A summary of progress toward the achievement of originally stated aims.
  • Description of unexpected accomplishments and/or challenges.
  • A concise description of the results (positive or negative) considered significant
  • A statement on where more research is needed.
  • Status of the required manuscript suitable for publication.
  • Financial report.
  • A list of publications and other products (including website links) resulting from the project not already reported.

A PI can only hold one award from the Institute at a time. Research already supported by any other sponsored award is not eligible for Institute funds.  Applicants who were declined are welcome to resubmit for a different project.   

Indirect costs per grant regardless of the number of subcontract institutions are limited to 10% total direct costs.  Any funds remaining at the end of the grant period must be returned to the Institute.

5.1  Acknowledgement of Support/Control of Research

All publications and presentations resulting from the funded research must acknowledge support of Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development, including the grant number.  Hard copies and website links for all such publications should be made available in draft form to Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development, 1350 Avenue of Americas, 4th Floor, New York, New York 10019 and/or via email to grants@childrenandscreens.com. Materials are to also be uploaded to the online grants system.

5.2  Notice of Award

Awards will be issued to the contact PI’s affiliated “contact” institution through an award agreement that requires the signature of an authorized business official of the private, 501c3 nonprofit entity (refer to section 4.3). Investigators cannot sign these documents. Upon receipt of the signed agreement, the Institute will issue payment. 

5.3  Evaluation

In order to learn from our work and better inform decisions about Children and Screens’  Research Grants program strategy, design, implementation, and impacts, grant recipients will be asked to participate in periodic program evaluation discussions and/or surveys.

6.0 Letter of Intent and Grant Application Guidelines

 

6.1  Timeline

Application submission to the grants program begins with a required Letter of Intent followed by an invitation to submit an application. Deadline for submission of the Letter of Intent is November 14, 5pm EST. Following a review of the Letter of Intent, a selected number of candidates will be invited in early 2017, on a date to be announced, to submit a detailed application. The deadline for the application will be announced shortly. In order to ensure fairness, late applications will not be accepted. All applicants will be notified of their status via email by June 1, 2017. Expected project start date is by August 2017.

Timeline at a Glance
National Children’s Media Study Framework
One or Two, One-year Grants of up to $250,000

Deadline
Date
Time
Grants Program Guidelines on Website August 15, 2016
Grants Online Portal Opens September 30, 2016
Letter of Intent Deadline November 14, 2016 5pm EST
Invitation to Apply To be announced
Full Application Deadline To be announced TBA
Application Status Notification June 1, 2017

Timeline at a Glance
Seed Grants Program 
Multiple one-year grants of up to $100,000

Deadline
Date
Time
Grants Program Guidelines on Website August 15, 2016
Grants Online Portal Opens September 30, 2016
Letter of Intent Deadline November 14, 2016 5pm EST
Invitation to Apply To be announced
Full Application Deadline To be announced TBA
Application Status Notification June 1, 2017

 

6.2  Required Letter of Intent

All interested applicants must submit a Letter of Intent.

LOI DEADLINE:  November 14, 2016

It is expected that the Letter of Intent will be approximately five pages and should include the following information:

    1. Name of “contact”PI, Title, Institution
    2. Up to four additional PI Name(s), Title(s), Institution(s)
    3. Title of project
    4. Total dollar amount requested (approximate)
    5. Description of the needs or problem
    6. Specific aims, research questions and theoretical basis for the project
    7. Methodology including a description of the sample (e.g., sample size, age of children, etc.), measures and analytic approaches
    8. Expected outcomes
    9. Anticipated benefit to the intended population and/or development of the field, knowledge and/or understanding
6.3  Invitation to Apply

Following a review of the Letters of Intent, a selected number of candidates will be invited in early 2017, on a date to be announced, to submit a detailed application.

6.4 Application

APPLICATION DEADLINE: To be announced

Only applications that have been invited following submission and review of the required Letter of Intent will be accepted.

Draft Application:

  • Project Summary (up to two pages)
    • Broad, long-term goals
    • Specific aims, research questions and theoretical basis for the project
    • Methodology including a description of the sample (e.g., size of sample, age of children, etc.), measures and analytic approaches
    • Expected outcomes
    • Anticipated benefit to the intended population and/or our knowledge/understanding

Project Description (up to seven pages). The following lists are headers for the different required sections:

  • The Problem
    • State of existing knowledge
    • Rationale for proposed work, including the research questions and theoretical basis for the project
  • Project Plan/Methodology
    • Specific description of the sample (e.g., size of sample, age of children, etc.)
    • Describe the methods and analyses planned
    • Include a description of use of animals and/or human subjects, if applicable
    • Discuss potential pitfalls and plans to work around them (e.g., sample attrition)
    • Describe how results will be collected, analyzed and interpreted
    • Discuss the team’s expertise and for each member, their individual role in the project
    • Outline how your expected results could be relevant to audiences including those in your disciplines as well as the Institute’s key stakeholders (e.g., parents, clinicians, educators, media, and policymakers)
    • Outline how the research might inform other work your team is planning for the future
  • Timeline
    • Include a timeline of planned activities
  • References cited
  • Brief biosketches of all PIs in the format used for National Institutes of Health (NIH) applications (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/forms/biosketch.htm)
  • For each PI, include a list of current and pending support for your entire portfolio of work: include sponsor, sponsor ID number, PI name, period of support, direct costs for the current grant year, effort, and title of the project.
  • Total project budget itemized for the contact institution with line-item justifications, and separate subcontract budget(s) with line-item justifications.

A decision on funding is expected to be finalized by June 1, 2017. Investigators will be notified by email. Expected project start date is by August 2017.

7.0 Reviewer Guidelines

Interdisciplinary/Collaborative Team

  • Is there an advantage to the disciplines involved? Will the interdisciplinary work impact different fields or are the different fields used to further knowledge in only one discipline?
  • Is there evidence that the disciplines of the collaborative group are represented in the questions, methodology, and outcomes?
  • Is there a clear management plan among the collaborative group that each discipline is represented in the project’s goals?
  • Are the expertise and capacity necessary to complete the project evident within the collaborative team?

Significance

  • Is the project within the mission of the Institute?
  • Are the questions addressed in the project likely to lead to further research across disciplines and field?
  • Is it expected that the proposed outcomes will have a high impact in the field as well as for the Institute’s key stakeholders (e.g., parents, clinicians, educators, media and policymakers)?

Approach

  • Is the project plan well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims?
  • If applicable, is the use of human subjects or animals appropriate and relevant to the study?
  • Are the proposed risks and challenges discussed in the application reasonable?
8.0 Reporting Guidelines
8.1 White Paper/Final Progress Report

A manuscript (e.g., white paper, concept paper or appropriate write-up of your results) suitable for publication will be submitted for review and dissemination by the Institute.  

All products resulting from the funded research should include the following information:

  •       PI Name
  •       Project Title
  •      Institute Award Number (to be assigned)
  •      Grant start and end dates

Interim (six months) progress and financial reports are required for the Focus 1, National Children’s Media Study Framework Grants. Final progress and financial reports are required for all grants.  All progress reports (interim and final) should include:

  • A summary of progress toward the achievement of originally stated aims
  • Description of expected and unexpected accomplishments and/or challenges.
  • A concise description of the results (positive or negative) considered significant.
  • A statement on where more research is needed.
  • Status of the required manuscript suitable for publication where the lead PI is first author.
  • Financial report.
  • A list of publications and other products resulting from the project not already reported.

All progress and financial reports are to be uploaded into the online grants system.