Request for Proposals

Who are we?

The Plasticity of Well-being Network, funded by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), is one of six networks across the US that National Institutes of Health (NIH) is supporting to advance research on emotional well-being. In this capacity, the Plasticity of Well-being Network aims to refine and test key concepts that advance the study of emotional well-being, including development of innovative intervention programs and measures of emotional well-being. (Grant: U24AT011289).

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Community Engaged Research Grants

There is no single, agreed upon definition of emotional well-being. Research on emotional well-being includes, but is not limited to, addressing disruptive and distressing mental health symptoms. It also involves addressing how to live a purposeful and fulfilling life, and what this may mean in the context of resisting unjust systems. Emotional well-being frameworks emphasize the potential for personal growth and transformation. Social support and connection are considered crucial for such transformation, and for realizing our collective potential to create a more just society.

Plasticity of Well-being Pilot Awards 

The Plasticity of Well-being Network invites proposals that address emotional well-being through activities that promote ongoing, mutually beneficial research partnerships between UW-Madison academic researchers and local community organizations. Applicants may propose a community-engaged research project or a capacity building project that enables partners to pursue an identified research agenda. The long-term goal of the proposed project must be to impact the emotional well-being of Wisconsin residents and must reflect a community-identified concern. The focus of the research can involve conceptualizing and measuring emotional well-being and/or investigating culturally relevant interventions designed to increase emotional well-being. Priority will be given to applications that advance the science of emotional well-being for and with communities of color and that promote emotional health equity (i.e., the fair and just opportunity for all communities to be as emotionally healthy and well as possible). Both academic and community partners are expected to contribute to the development of the proposal. 

Two grant awards are available (for application instructions click the links below):

It is anticipated that two partnership development grants and one community-engaged grant will be awarded in this application period. A similar request for applications—for partnership development and community-engaged research grants—is currently planned for 2023 and 2024. 

All applicants must:

  1. Have both a community and academic partner to apply. The community organization must be based in Wisconsin and the lead academic partner based at UW-Madison (further guidance and details below).
  2. Complete the letter of intent form online by 12/9/22, which will ask you to:
    • List the names of the community and academic partner. 
    • Specify which grant you are applying for: partnership development or community-engaged research
    • Provide a brief synopsis of your project (up to 500 words). If you are applying for a community-engaged research grant, please briefly address the development of your community-academic partnership and why your partnership is now prepared to undertake this research.
  3. Propose a partnership development or community-engaged research project that aligns with key characteristics of community-engaged research:
  • Relationships of academics with community partners are expected to be equitable, respectful, and mutually beneficial
  • Partnerships should provide outputs that are useful to the community, as well as outputs that are useful in the academy
  • Community and academic knowledge are viewed as equally valuable
  • Decisions are made jointly by university researcher(s) and community members, thereby valuing all sources of knowledge and expertise

For additional information on community-engaged research, please see this description of benefits and things to consider by the Morgridge Center for Public Service and these resources provided by UW-Madison Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR). For recent examples of community-engaged approaches to research on emotional well-being in the published literature, please see these articles on partnering with African American churches to create a community coalition for mental health, increasing diversity and equity in contemplative neuroscience, exploring adolescent emotional well-being, and climate change and emotional well-being in Rigolet, Nunatsiavut, Canada.

Measuring Emotional Well-being Grant

Research on emotional well-being addresses how to live a fulfilling and meaningful life. Emotional well-being frameworks emphasize the potential for personal growth and transformation. The goal of the Plasticity of Well-being Network is to identify ways to measure people’s emotional health and well-being in everyday life and to understand how flexible those aspects of well-being could be with effective, culturally relevant interventions and training.

Plasticity of Well-being Pilot Awards

The Plasticity of Well-being network invites applications for Pilot Awards for projects that explore emotional well-being measurement and assessment (Novel Measures Development Grant Instructions). Priority will be given to applications that:

  1. Address measurement of a construct that, theoretically, may change with training and contribute to cultivating emotional well-being

  2. Involve methodologies that are not retrospective self-report (for example, experience sampling, behavioral, or biological measures)

  3. Address sensitivity to change of measure(s)

A variety of activities may fall within the scientific scope of this RFA. These include but are not limited to one or more of the following:

  • Initial validation of a novel measure (again, prioritizing measures that are not retrospective self-report)
  • Analysis of existing large-scale data to examine the validity of a measure in relation to emotional well-being
  • Examination of the sensitivity to change of a measure for use in intervention research

As such, Pilot Awards may be awarded to novel emotional well-being measurement in a broad range of fields, including psychology, neuroscience, microbiology, electrical and computer engineering, population health and biology, and the humanities. Unresponsive topics are those that focus exclusively on psychopathology or negative affect alone in the absence of an emotional well-being measure or context. For community-engaged measures research that promotes emotional health equity (i.e., the fair and just opportunity for all communities to be as emotionally healthy and well as possible), please see our network’s funding opportunity supporting Community-Engaged Research.

A LOI is required for this proposal to ensure fit with the RFA and to plan for the review process. By the date listed above, prospective applicants should submit a LOI online by 12/9/22 that includes the following information:

  • Descriptive title of proposed study
  • Names(s), address(es), and telephone number(s) of the PI(s)
  • Names of other key personnel
  • Participating Institution(s)
  • An abstract describing the aims, significance, and primary activities of the proposed project (500 words maximum)