College of Arts Hard Questions Fund (HQF) | College of Arts

College of Arts Hard Questions Fund (HQF)

The College of Arts invites applications to our new Hard Questions Fund,

offering one grant per academic year of up to $5,000 for a cross-unit collaborative research initiative.

The Fund is intended to spark and enhance cross-disciplinary approaches to pressing questions of broad interest that will engage researchers from across the College.

Open to College of Arts faculty members, limited-term appointments and post-doctoral scholars, this call invites proposals from research (and/or research-creation) teams composed of at least three researchers from at least three COA Departments/Schools. The funds awarded will be available to be used flexibly for most research-eligible expenses—including to bring in speakers, fund internal workshops, hire research assistance, support the communication of results, etc.—but should be tightly connected to the proposed research question and should benefit researchers across at least three units equitably. Using the funds to lay groundwork for an application for future external funding to support COA research into the topic is a plus but is not required. Colleagues from other colleges can be members of research teams (with at least three COA members) but the focus of activity should be in the COA.

This competition is open to proposals on all cross-disciplinary questions of broad importance or interest that will catalyse cooperative research activity in the College. Illustrative examples might include, but are certainly not limited to: the problem of the erosion of public trust in experts; the role of narrative, art or the humanities in motivating effective responses to climate change; ethical environmentalism; the way new digital technologies are shaping social movements or ways we research and understand the (cultural) world; the place of visual or musical literacy in knowledge creation or communication; the ethical consequences of new technologies such as AI; the continuing significance of feminist (or other equality-seeking) theory in the face of contemporary social and intellectual challenges; the shifting experience of national or cultural identities under pressure from, e.g., globalization or migration; the importance of the humanities and arts in a comprehensive university and a healthy public culture. We expect proposals to be tailored to the interests of the research team, and to be focussed on a particular research question more specific than these examples.

Applicants are asked to submit a proposal of no more than five pages that:

  1. describes the proposed research question, its importance, and the pressing need for crossdisciplinaryapproaches to tackle it;
  2. describes the research team, and demonstrates collaboration possibilities from researchers across the College;
  3. lays out a provisional plan for how the funds will be used; and  describes provisional proposed outcomes from the project.

This proposal should be submitted by October 15th for research projects to be realized within the 2022–23 academic year (i.e. before August 31st 2023). Submissions will be adjudicated within the Dean’s Office with results announced by the end of October. Evaluation criteria include the project’s interest and timeliness, potential contribution to knowledge, its feasibility to be completed within one year, along with evidence of strong cross-unit collaboration.