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Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation: Knowledge Challenge

Deadline: February 5, 2020

The 2020 Knowledge Challenge supports activities aimed at improving understanding about entrepreneurship in the United States. The goal is to produce tangible insights about the levers, tools, and methods that can inform relevant stakeholders, including entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship programs, policy design, ecosystem builders, and researchers.

The Knowledge Challenge grew out of the need to strengthen the feedback loop between research and practice by curating a research portfolio driven by pressing problems faced by entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship support organizations, and policymakers. The structure and focus groups of the Knowledge Challenge were identified and designed based on surveys and feedback from these stakeholders.

Successful proposals should have a sound scientific approach and should clearly describe how they will advance current knowledge and how these insights will benefit entrepreneurs and those that aim to support them. Successful proposals will articulate the users and beneficiaries of the research, as well as how the research will yield tangible and actionable insights. Research projects should aim to balance specific project components with the potential for scalability and generalizability of the expected findings.

The Knowledge Challenge application process has two rounds. In the first round, proposers will submit a white paper describing key details about the project need, plan, and expected gains. In the second round, selected white papers will be invited to full proposal submission.

Focus areas include:

  • Focus Area #1: What strategies can entrepreneurs use to start and grow a business?
  • Focus Area #2: How can entrepreneurs find, recruit, manage, and resource talent in an increasingly digital world?
  • Focus Area #3: What local conditions of ecosystems drive entrepreneurial outcomes?
  • Focus Area #4: How does entrepreneurship affect equality and mobility, and what policies shape this relationship?

Grant types include:

  • Grant Type #1: Student project awards will be made to students and/or student teams to support their research in a variety of fields.
  • Grant Type #2: General research projects and research-practice collaborations will be available to researchers and research teams that propose projects on one of the selected focus areas. Collaborations between researchers and practitioners (e.g., entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship support programs, and other entrepreneurial ecosystem actors) are especially encouraged. Entrepreneurship support organizations are encouraged to consider the Challenge as an opportunity to partner or acquire research expertise. Proposals in this category may include randomly controlled trials, research using program specific interventions and/or data, or other projects where researchers and practitioners work together. It is expected that any proposed partnerships are agreed upon by all parties. If selected to submit a full proposal (round two), a memorandum of understanding or similar documentation confirming the partnership will be required.
  • Grant Type #3: Diversity of entrepreneurship researcher pipeline programs/projects. Proposals in this area should identify projects or programs to promote diversity in entrepreneurship research. Given that the entrepreneurship research community comprises clusters of scholars from several disciplines, projects can address pipeline diversity by addressing one of the four research topics housed within one or several disciplinary approaches. The goal of these grants is to support greater diversity of thought from a broad diversity of researchers. Diversity in this context refers to diversity of income, professional background, gender, race, ethnicity, and may also include diversity of discipline and type of research institution.

Amount: Dependent upon grant type, as follows:

  • Grant Type #1: Student projects – Up to 14 awards of up to $60,000 will be made for a period of 24 months
  • Grant Type #2: General research projects and research-practice collaborations – Up to 14 awards of up to $225,000 each will be made for a period of 48 months
  • Grant Type #3: Diversity of entrepreneurship researcher pipeline programs/projects – Up to eight awards of up to $400,000 each will be made for a period of 48 months.

Eligibility: Proposers conducting research in universities and academic institutions, laboratories, companies, nonprofit organizations, and individuals.

Link: https://www.kauffman.org/grants/current-opportunities/kauffman-knowledge-challenge-rfp

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