Columbia World Projects launched the CWP Impact Awards in 2022. This social impact awards program aligns with Columbia University’s Fourth Purpose of advancing human welfare and confronting the great challenges of our time. This program aims to support social impact ideas across the University designed to catalyze investment in the most promising solutions to pressing societal challenges, with potential to scale and accelerate impact.
CWP Impact Awards emphasize
- Translation of evidence into innovative, practical solutions with sustainable impact
- Interdisciplinarity and collaboration with change agents across and beyond the University
- Substantive community and student engagement in Fourth Purpose activities
- Partnerships and innovations that advance gender equity and racial justice
- Collaboration that aims to solve some of the most pressing global challenges in education, health and economic opportunity globally
The inaugural Impact Awards focus on one of CWP’s four themes, Supporting Generations, which encompasses efforts to decrease inequality and improve health and well-being, and advance economic stability by supporting evidence-based, people-centered strategies specific to particular stages of life. This includes improving early childhood development outcomes, enhancing maternal and reproductive health, improving the well-being of children and youth, and supporting healthy aging and longevity.
A competitive call for proposals was disseminated widely across the University, eliciting 75 expressions of interest. Of these, 38 advanced to the proposal stage, representing innovative ideas to improve generational well-being throughout the life course. Proposals submitted reflect 15 distinct disciplines across the University.
CWP has announced three award recipients with activities scheduled to launch in 2022-2023.
Project SHINE! Supporting Healthy Interaction, Nurturing, and Enrichment for Preschool Children in Sierra Leone. It is led by Dr. Elaine Abrams of the Mailman School of Public Health in collaboration with Dr. Amale Andraos of the Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation and Dr. Mame Awa Toure, Country Director of ICAP Sierra Leone, in partnership with the Government of Sierra Leone (Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education and Ministry of Health and Sanitation).
Planting Stories: Seeds of Diaspora in New York City will be led by Dr. Lynnette Widder of the School of Professional Studies in collaboration with Dr. Anelise Chen of the School of the Arts and Dr. Ana Paulina Lee of the Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures, in partnership with the Humanities Institute at New York Botanical Garden and Columbia Secondary School.
Ubumwe: Arts for Education and Public Health with Refugee Children and Youth in Uganda will be led by Dr. Juliana Bol of the Mailman School of Public Health in collaboration with Dr. Mary Mendenhall of the Teachers College and Mark Canavera of the Care and Protection of Children Learning Network, in partnership with Building African Communities Opportunities (BACO) Foundation, Hopelink Action Foundation (HAF) Uganda, AfriChild Center at Makerere University, Artolution, and Arts Ignite.
Other current CWP activities under the Supporting Generations theme include:
- Measuring the Impact of Youth Justice Initiatives
- Leveraging Policy to Improve Maternal Health in the Fourth Trimester
- The Room to Grow Model: Closing the Opportunity Gap for Young Children in Low-Income Families
- Empowering the Next Generation of Social Impact Leaders
- Project teams must reflect at least two faculty and/or research scientists from at least two Columbia schools, institutes or centers. Interdisciplinarity among members of the project team is highly desirable. Each proposal must have an identified Principal Investigator (PI). The full administrative and fiscal responsibility and management of the project resides with the Principal Investigator named in the award.
- Project teams are encouraged to include external partners, as appropriate, e.g. universities, government agencies, bilateral agencies, civil society organizations and/or private sector partners.
- Projects must engage relevant communities in the project’s design and implementation.
- Projects may be focused on launching new initiatives or accelerating and scaling existing projects.
- Projects must seek to advance gender equity and racial justice.
- Projects must include plans to engage undergraduate and/or graduate students.
Columbia World Projects Impact Awards are available at two funding levels:
- Impact Awards: Up to three projects will be selected to receive between $750,000 and $5,000,000 over a period of two to five years (with an annual funding ceiling of $1,000,000). CWP will provide support for project design, management, evaluation and strategic positioning. Recipients will be required to engage with CWP by participating in CWP programming and submitting regular financial and programmatic reports.
- Early Concept Awards: Selected proposals will receive between $25,000 and $50,000 for a period of up to two years. Recipients will receive targeted support from CWP and be required to submit regular financial and programmatic reports to CWP.
Recipients of both types of awards will be invited to participate in CWP’s network to share findings and engage in events and discussions focused on the Fourth Purpose, Columbia University's mission of using university research to advance human welfare and confront the great challenges of our time.
The next CWP Impact Award cycle is anticipated for Spring 2023. Join the CWP newsletter to be alerted when the next cycle opens.
Who Can Propose Projects?
Columbia University faculty and research scientists from all disciplines are encouraged to propose projects.
- Principal Investigators must be full-time faculty members and/or research scientists at Columbia University and must have the support of their school, institute or center’s most senior administrative leadership (e.g., dean or director). Faculty and/or research scientists may serve as Principal Investigator on only one proposal.
A PDF outlining all proposal components and questions is available here. A completed proposal package includes the following:
- Project abstract
- Project narrative
- Budget narrative and budget template
- Letter of support from school, institute or center’s most senior administrative leadership (e.g. dean or director)
- External partner letter of support
- Organizational chart reflecting team
Templates and Resources:
Templates that must be filled out alongside a completed proposal, as well as a document that offers theory of change guidance, are included below:
Proposals will be evaluated by a review group established specifically for this purpose. Proposals will be scored based on established criteria that include: strength of the proposed idea/solution, the potential for achieving impact, the level of innovation and ambition, interdisciplinarity, student involvement, partnerships and community engagement, and the promise for scalability and sustainability.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Are faculty from all Columbia University schools invited to apply? add
Yes, full-time faculty and research scientists from all Columbia University schools are invited to apply
- Are Associate Research Scientists eligible to apply? add
Yes, Associate Research Scientists who are full-time at Columbia University are eligible to apply.
- Is there a preference for projects in specific geographic locations? add
No, there is no preference for specific geographic locations. Columbia World Projects is seeking to invest in projects with strong partnerships and community involvement, so this should be considered when selecting a project location.
- Will Early Concept Award recipients be eligible to apply for Impact Awards in the future? add
It is not anticipated that CWP will restrict Early Concept Award recipients from applying for Impact Awards in the future. However, please note that Columbia World Projects has not yet released any specific information about (e.g., timing, potential themes or parameters of) future requests for Impact Award proposals.
- What is the maximum length of the proposal narrative? add
The executive summary must be limited to 350 words. Other proposal narrative components do not have a specific word limit. A PDF of all proposal questions is available for general reference here (under the section “Proposal Requirements). All proposals must be submitted via the CWP’s Impact Awards submission platform.
- Can Impact Award funds be used to cover a percentage of Columbia faculty salaries? add
Yes, Impact Award funds can be used to support a portion of Columbia University faculty salaries.
- I was invited to submit a full proposal; how do I access the proposal form in Submittable? add
There are two ways to access the proposal form:
- The person who submitted the expression of interest form should have received an email inviting them to submit a full proposal. That email contains a direct link to the proposal form.
- The person who submitted the expression of interest form can log into the Submittable platform here and access the proposal form under the "forms" section.
- I have a different question. add
Please contact [email protected].