Frequently Asked Questions

The Chancellor’s Call to Action Research Program


What is the Call to Action Research Program?

The Chancellor’s Call to Action Research Program provides support for academic research and the expansion of community-based knowledge that advances the understanding of systemic bias and structural disparities – and enhances the capacity/capability of Illinois to affect societal change.

Why was the Chancellor’s Call to Action Research Program created?

Chancellor Jones announced the creation of the Call to Action to Address Racism & Social Injustice Research Program in July 2020. The initiative prioritizes research focused on systemic racial inequities and injustices that exist not only in our communities but in higher education itself. The original announcement was sent to the campus community in a Massmail on July 27, 2020.

How much is the university investing in this program?

Chancellor Jones has committed $2 million annually to support this research program.

What is the goal of the program?

The goal of the program is to leverage and enhance exceptional cross-disciplinary research strengths and expand collaborations to build cultures of research and scholarship that address system bias and social injustice and make change.

What are the research focus areas for 2024?

For 2024, the research program will focus on areas that span domestic, international, and transnational spaces. Projects may include but are not limited to:

  • Systemic interventions to improve educational outcomes and increase college readiness.
  • Research that tackles the complex drivers of health disparities.
  • The interrogation of systems of disparity, discrimination, and disenfranchisement.
  • Transnational justice (i.e., achieving justice in issues that bridge local, national, and global communities).
  • Systemic bias as it affects LGBTQIA+ people and communities.

Why were these research focus areas chosen?

There is a critical need for high quality, high integrity scholarship and creative activity to fundamentally address the roots of these issues with generative ideas, imaginative strategies, and open, unexpected collaborations.

What type of funding is available?

The solicitation includes three funding tracks, each with a maximum funding threshold:

  • Community-Based Innovation up to $100,000
  • Systemic Institutional Change up to $100,000
  • Societal Impact up to $100,000

How do I apply?

You can download the application templates and submit your completed application electronically using the Special Programs Webtool (SPWT). The full Request for Proposals is available on Call to Action Research Program website at

What is the deadline?

Full Proposal Deadline: November 4, 2023, 5 pm Central Time

Am I required to submit a pre-proposal?

No. There is no pre-proposal step for the 2024-25 application process.

Are specialized faculty eligible to apply?

Yes. Both tenure-stream and specialized faculty with appointments in any academic college or research unit at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign are eligible to apply. Please see eligibility to serve as principal Investigator in the Campus Administrative Manual for additional information.

Are academic professionals eligible to apply?

Yes, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign academic professionals can serve as principal investigator. Please see eligibility to serve as principal Investigator in the Campus Administrative Manual for additional information.

Are members of the Champaign County community eligible to apply?

Yes. The Community-based Innovation funding track is open to members of the wider Champaign County community. Members of the public are eligible to apply if they are collaborating on a project with a University of Illinois tenure-stream or specialized faculty member, or an Academic Professional staff member. Collaborators may be from non-university units and/or stakeholder groups (e.g., non-profit organizations, public agencies, school districts, etc.) but cannot serve as Principal Investigators (PIs) or Co-PIs. Instead, they may be listed as Co-Project Leader and the Illinois individual will serve as the PI. You can read more about the eligibility to serve as principal Investigator in the Campus Administrative Manual (CAM) policy.

Is payment to non-university research project team members permitted?

Non-university team members may not be listed in the proposed budget as receiving salary. They may receive an honorarium payment subject to university policy.

Is there help available to assist me in the development of my ideas?

Yes. To assist applicants in developing project ideas and a Full-Proposal submission narrative, OVCDEI is partnering with the Beckman Institute, Center for Social & Behavioral ScienceInterdisciplinary Health Sciences Institute, and the Office of Research Advising and Project Development within the U of I Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation.

Please contact Cristina Alvarez-Mingote, Associate Director for Research, Beckman Institute, at, or Brenda Koester, Associate Direct of the Center for Social & Behavioral Science, at, or Maggie Berg, Research Development Manager, IHSI, at, for assistance with projects related to health disparities. Contact Maria Gillombardo, Research Development Manager in OVCRI, at, for projects in the humanities and the arts. They will work with you to determine the next step to provide assistance.

Who should I contact if I have more questions?

The Call to Action to Address Racism & Social Injustice Research Program is administratively supported by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. For questions, please contact Amanda McGuire at or call 217-300-8989.