CBE Intranet

CBE Inspire Fund

The CBE Inspire Fund is designed to support research activities for which a relatively small amount of support can be transformative. This may include work that is traditionally underfunded, or that done by scholars who are members of groups currently underrepresented in our college.

Inspire Fund proposals may request awards between $1,000 and $5,000. We anticipate awarding up to $14,000 during the 2024-25 funding cycle. The funds come from the Indirect Cost Recover (ICR) funds from sponsored projects. Completed proposals are due by February 1, 2024 (see timeline below).

  • Download the 2023-4 RFP
  • Learn about the 2021 Inspire Fund Awardees
  • Learn about the 2022 Inspire Fund Awardees
  • Learn about the 2023 Inspire Fund Awardees (coming soon)
  • Take a deeper dive into the background and impact of the Inspire Fund


  • Lead applicants must be faculty or research staff, with PI status, and primary appointments in the College of Built Environments, at the time of submission and the appointment must be active in Workday.
  • Individuals may not serve as a lead on more than one project team.
  • Teams may not submit more than one application.
  • Individuals can be on more than one team, but can only lead one project team.
  • The proposal must have one or more of the following attributes:
    1. The research is centered in the arts and humanities disciplines;
    2. The project engages with community partners in substantive ways, i.e., community-engaged research;
    3. The project seeks ‘seed funding’ with view to a larger goal or source of funding. If applying for seed funding, the proposal should describe how the seed funds will support a new self-contained project on its own or through matching existing funding. In addition, the proposal should describe how this seed-funded project will lead to future proposals or research momentum.
  • Funds can be used to support conferences or workshops per UW and state policy, and other support to engage in the research, including salary, course buy-out, student research assistants, supplies and materials, relevant travel per UW travel guidelines, and reasonable support for non-UW partners.
  • Applicants must be available and willing to join a lunch & learn event during the award period and the period following, to share ideas with other awardees.


  • December 4, 2023: RFP announced / application period opens
  • January 8, 2024: 1-2pm, Gould 227 – office hours for application questions
  • February 1, 2024: application deadline (11:59pm PST)
  • Feb 2- 14, 2024: Committee review
  • February 17, 2024: awardees notified
  • March 27, 2024- March 25, 2025: period of performance
  • March 29, 2025: final report and final budget reconciliation due (see terms and conditions)
  • Spring Quarter 2024 and Spring Quarter 2025: Inspire Fund Lunch and Learn events

Application Instructions

Please submit the following to be-research@uw.edu by February 1, 2024 (11:59pm PST):

  • A description proposal’s goals and context (max 1 page):
    • Statement of work, including research questions, context, and justification
    • Relevance to the field and impact for community partners when applicable
    • Why this research cannot be supported by other funds, and why the Inspire Fund is a good fit for this proposal.
    • List of the members of the project team along with their titles and UW or organizational affiliations, and a description of the rationale for their involvement and the role each member will play in the project. This should include students.
    • Work plan including potential hurdles the team might encounter
    • Timeline for completing the work
    • Anticipated outputs or deliverables, along with a plan for disseminating and/or using them
    • and a brief discussion of whether/how additional funding will be sought for this project, including whether applicants have start-up funds or other funding they could be using
    • If the funds are intended as seed funding, identify the sources of funding that you will be pursuing to build on this work
    • Articulate how and what ways this funding contributes to the momentum of the researcher’s portfolio.
  • Budget and budget narrative (max 1 page):
    • Budgets must list all expenses and all funds (external and internal) available. Include justification or rationale for any budget items where need is not self-evident. If including travel in your budget, be specific and use the University per-diem rate. Identify matching as applicable.

Proposal Review Process

Proposal Review Process: 

The committee will rate proposals based on the following criteria:

  • Merit and impact: Will the proposed use of funds make a positive contribution to the field? Will awarding funds for this proposal be money well spent in terms of impact for the college, the university, and beyond? How does the proposed work align with the college  strategic plan?
  • Appropriateness for the Inspire Fund: How well does the proposed use of funds fit within the proposed budget? Is the budget adequate to address the stated goals of the proposal? Does the proposal describe how the budgeted funds will be used? If seed funding is requested, what larger funding pursuits will the team target?
  • Feasibility of proposal: Does the proposal make a clear, articulate case for the proposed use of funds?
  • Does the proposal align with and operationalize the CBE Strategic Framework, including Bold Thought Leadership, Climate Solutions, Equity Diversity and Inclusion, and/or Interdisciplinary Research: including collaboration among more than 1 researcher or department? Student participation will also be favorably considered.

Funding will prioritize proposals that relate to at least one of three categories: arts/humanities; community-engaged scholarship; and seed funding for an articulated larger source of funding.

As well, CBE is interested in increasing funding equity; members of underrepresented or minoritized groups are encouraged to apply.

Individuals and teams funded in the prior cycle will be given lower priority for funding in this cycle.

Review Committee: 

  • Each application will be reviewed by two faculty committee members; in the case of a significant variation in evaluation such applications will be reviewed by a third faculty committee member.
  • Conflict of Interest:  Reviewers will not review proposals where they have co-authored publications or proposals, co-taught, or have direct supervision relationships with the PIs in the past 5 years.
  • The Associate Dean for Research will make final review and recommendations to the dean.

Terms and Conditions

  • The award must be used within 12 months of release of funds (see timeline below).
  • For projects that involve research on human subjects or on animals, it is the PI’s responsibility to ensure compliance with all applicable federal, state, and institutional regulations. Work may not begin on the project until all appropriate compliance procedures are complete and verification has been provided to CBE Office of Research.
  • Any unspent funds will be returned to CBE’s Office of Research.
  • Awardees shall submit a final report detailing accomplishments and final budget reconciliation no more than 30 days from the project’s conclusion.
  • Awardees will be asked to participate in a post-program evaluation survey.
  • Awardees are requested to acknowledge the College of Built Environments in publications and other dissemination of work funded by the Inspire Fund.

Questions: Please contact be-research@uw.edu.