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Information as Fuel
An International Request for Proposals

Frequently Asked Questions

Do FQXi or TWCF have a preferred philosophical or scientific agenda?
No. We are equally interested in all proposals with great promise and talent falling within the program purview and the parameters of the request for proposals.

Who is eligible for grants?
Researchers working in academic and other non-profit institutions are eligible. Grants cannot be given to for-profit organizations or institutes. Grant awards are sent to the PI’s institute and the institute’s administration is responsible for disbursing the awards to the PI. When submitting your application, please make sure to list the appropriate grant administrator that we should contact at your institute. If you are not affiliated with an institute,

Applicants do not need to be FQXi Members.

How strictly will the criterion of "experiment" be interpreted ?
Theory-only proposals will not be funded, nor will purely numerical experiments. On the other hand, a strong theoretical effort, potentially including analytic work, work in philosophy, or numerical modeling, will be indispensable for competitive proposals.

Can the proposal be for multiple experiments, perhaps hosted by different institutions?
In some cases. The RFP indicates that the supported work should "design, perform, and report on one major experiment or related sequence of experiments." The intention here is that the grant should not be general support for an experimental group, but should support a particular experiment or set of experiments germane to the RFP and a particular set of open intellectual questions. If there are multiple experiments, these should be coherent so that the whole set exceeds the sum of its parts. Thus a collaboration seeking to run multiple related experiments may propose to do so, keeping in mind the strategic tradeoff between a more interesting and high-impact coherent set of experiments versus the total cost, in a highly-competitive and cost-limited overall program.

Can researchers from outside the U.S. apply?
Yes, applications will be welcomed from any country.

Please note that the US Government imposes restrictions on the types of organizations to which US nonprofits (such as FQXi) can give grants. Given this, if you are awarded a grant, your institution must a) prove their equivalency to a non-profit institution by providing the institute’s establishing law or charter, list of key staff and board members, and a signed affidavit for public universities and, b) comply with the U.S. Patriot Act. Please note that this is included to provide information about the equivalency determination process that will take place if you are awarded a grant. If there are any issues with your granting institution proving its equivalency, FQXi can help provide a list of organizations that can act as a go-between to administer the grant. More detail about international grant compliance is available on our website here.

Can I submit an application in a language other than English?
All proposals must be in English. Since our grant program has an international focus, we will not penalize applications by people who do not speak English as their first language. We will encourage the review panel to be accommodating of language differences when reviewing applications. All applications must be coherent.

How and when do we apply?
Apply online here. The webform for Initial Proposals will be opened on February 4, 2019. All Initial Proposals must be submitted via the webform (no emailed applications will be accepted) by March 31, 2019 at 11:59PM US Eastern Time. After screening, you may then be invited to submit a Full Proposal, due June 18, 2019. Please see the RFP Overview for more information.

Do you allow grant extensions?
Please ensure that you can complete the experiment you plan to apply for with a guaranteed final date of August 31, 2022, or earlier. We will require all unused grant funds to be returned after this date. Grants cannot exceed 36 months in duration.

What kinds of programs and requests are eligible for funding?
  • Experimental equipment
  • Student or postdoctoral salary and benefits
  • Summer salary and teaching buyout for academics
  • Allowance for justifiable computers, publication charges, and other supplies
  • Costs for travel, visitor hosting, or small workshops, especially for collaboration within and between groups funded by the program.
  • Overhead policy: Institutional overhead or indirect costs cannot exceed 15% of the grant’s direct costs. The organization hosting the grant must be prepared to cover any overhead or indirect costs that exceed 15% of direct costs.
  • Travel expenses policy: travel expenses cannot exceed 10% of the total project cost.

What is your policy on overhead?
The highest allowed overhead rate is 15%. This is FQXi policy and not negotiable.

Institutional overhead or indirect costs cannot exceed 15% of the grant’s direct costs. The organization hosting the grant must be prepared to cover any overhead or indirect costs that exceed 15% of direct costs.

How will proposals be judged?
After the screening of the Initial Proposal, applicants may be asked to submit a Full Proposal. All Full Proposals will undergo a competitive process of external and confidential expert peer review. An expert panel will evaluate and rank the reviews according to the criteria described in the RFP Overview.

Can you give me any guidance on my research proposal, and on whether or not our project fits within the funding vision?
Please see the Examples page for topics that appropriate research proposals will tackle. We do not provide any further feedback on Initial Proposals. We may provide feedback on a successful Initial Proposal that has been invited for a Full Proposal. Please keep in mind that however positive we may be about a proposal at any stage, it may still be turned down for funding after peer review.

Can I submit multiple proposals?
We will consider multiple Initial Proposals from the same PI; however, we will invite at most one Full Proposal from each PI or closely associated group of applicants.

What if I am unable to submit my application electronically?
Only applications submitted through the form on our website are accepted. If you encounter problems, please contact FQXi immediately.

Is there a maximum amount of money for which we can apply?
No. You may apply for as much money as you think is necessary to achieve your goals. However, you should carefully justify your proposed expenditure. Keep in mind that projects will be assessed on potential impact per dollar requested; an inappropriately high budget may harm the proposal’s prospects, effectively pricing it out of the market. Referees are authorized to suggest budget adjustments.

What will an average award be?
We expect that research awards will range from $500,000 to $2,500,000 total over the life of the award (three years maximum). Grants cannot exceed 36 months in duration.

What are the reporting requirements?
Grantees will be asked to submit progress reports and a final report consisting of narrative and financial reports. Renewal of three-year grants will be contingent on a satisfactory demonstration in the progress reports that the supported research is progressing appropriately, and continues to be consistent with the spirit of the original proposal. FQXi will also conduct site visits to check in on grant work periodically.

What are the qualifications for a Principal Investigator?
The overall grant PI should be a university research faculty or equivalent. Postdocs, students or independent researchers will not be considered as overall PIs, though researchers at the postdoc level or equivalent may serve as Co-I.

My colleague(s) and I would like to apply as Co-PIs. Can we do this?
We require a single overall PI for the experiment; however, the effort can include Co-Is, some of which may lead the effort at a different institution. The Principal Investigator will be the reference for your application(s) and all future correspondence, documents, etc.

Can you fund Ph.D. student research assistantships?

My existing experimental program is not a close match to the topic of this program. Should I work to shoehorn it in anyway?
We are very sensitive to the re-casting of an existing research program to make it appear to fit the overall thematic nature of this Request For Proposals, and the review panel will be as well. We encourage you to work with collaborators, perhaps including new ones as enabled by the Notice of Interest and Collaborative Mini Grants portions of the program, to develop an experiment that would directly and interestingly address the central themes of the program.

What are FQXi "Mini-Grants"?
FQXi has initiated an on-going program to fund small projects (approximately $1,000 to $15,000) by FQXi Members only. If you are a Member, please contact FQXi to find out information on the next Mini-Grant round.

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