Virginia Tech® home

Call for Proposals: Planning Grants for Large-Scale Research Efforts

Center for Human-Computer Interaction

Proposal Deadline: April 1, 2024, 5:00 PM EDT

Overview and Purpose

The Center for Human-Computer Interaction (CHCI) invites proposals for internal planning grants leading to significant externally funded research efforts on any topic related to HCI. The goal of this program is to identify and support interdisciplinary teams of researchers in convergent research areas to prepare for submission of large external grant proposals. In this context, “large” grants are defined as externally funded projects with significant budgets in the context of the topical area of the project and the funding source. A CHCI planning grant will support new or existing teams to perform activities, such as team building and project scoping, that are necessary to enable the submission of a competitive large proposal in the future. This internal planning grant should lead directly to an external proposal submission as a next step, but the external submission may be a stepping stone to the envisioned large grant (i.e., an external planning grant or small grant).

Research Areas

Following on the theme of the 2023 Workshop and the 2024 Workshop, we are seeking proposals for “big ideas” related to human-computer interaction. Interdisciplinary work and convergence between multiple areas is strongly encouraged.


Proposals should come from teams of at least two faculty investigators from at least two different departments or disciplines. The PI must be a member of CHCI (or must apply to become a member). In addition to listing the core investigators, proposals should identify additional faculty members, disciplines, or external partners that the team will engage during the planning grant period.

Activities Eligible for Support

Planning grants aim to support a range of planning activities intended to foster a convergent research team that can effectively integrate multiple disciplinary perspectives, explore the research theme in depth, build collaborations with relevant stakeholders, and hone specification of research gaps, questions, and hypotheses. Activities within scope include, but are not limited to, workshops, stakeholder meetings, literature reviews, data collection, preliminary experiments, prototypes, and pilots. In all cases, the proposed activities should be designed as a step along the path to a future large-scale external grant.

Available Funding and Budget Guidelines

The program has a total budget of $25,000; we expect to make one award. Teams should propose a budget commensurate with the scope of their proposed activities and their intended next steps. In particular, teams proposing activities leading to an external planning grant might request a smaller amount, while teams proposing to submit a large-scale external grant immediately after the planning grant activities might request the full amount. The maximum allowable budget for a proposal is $25,000. The total requested amount, as well as the individual line items, should be clearly justified in the budget section of the proposal. The anticipated outcome(s) of the planning grant should be articulated in as much detail as possible to assist reviewers in clearly understanding the connection between the scope of proposed activities and the requested budget. 

Eligible budget categories include faculty time (summer salary and/or AY course buyout), student assistantships and/or wages, travel (for team building), equipment, materials & supplies, and participant support costs.

The start date for the proposed work should be no earlier than July 1, 2024, and the end date should be no later than June 30, 2025 (i.e., during FY25). Funds will be transferred to the PI’s home department in the form of E&G funds. Unspent funds must be transferred back to CHCI within 45 days of the project’s end date.

Proposal Content

Proposals should be no more than five (5) single-spaced pages, using Times New Roman 12-point font.

Proposals should address the following topics:

  • Definition of the big idea and motivation for its importance

  • Related research and scholarship, both at Virginia Tech and more broadly

  • Vision for development of the big idea

  • Qualifications of the interdisciplinary team

  • Specific large, external grant objective and target source 

  • Roadmap to achieve the large-scale funding objective

    • Proposed activities for this planning grant

    • (If applicable) proposed next steps before large-scale proposal submission 

  • Budget and budget justification

  • Timeline (projects should start no earlier than July 1, 2024, and end no later than June 30, 2025).

Submission Process

In addition to the five-page proposal narrative, submissions should include a cover sheet with signatures of the investigators and their department heads.

Email a PDF copy of your submission, including cover page with all necessary signatures, to Andrea Kavanaugh by 5:00 p.m. EDT on April 1, 2024.

Review Process and Criteria

Proposals will be reviewed and funding decisions will be made by the CHCI executive committee. Review criteria will include:

  • Strength and potential of the interdisciplinary team

  • Importance and potential of the big idea

  • Opportunity for the team to create a distinct and compelling research niche

  • Clarity and feasibility of the plan to achieve large-scale external funding

  • Overall potential return on investment

  • Relevance of the idea to the vision and interests of CHCI, VT, and the nation

Grantee Requirements

Teams awarded a CHCI planning grant are expected to make a good faith effort to submit at least one external grant proposal by the end date of the planning grant period. In addition, teams will be required to provide a status update to ICAT/CHCI twice during the year of the grant, and to respond to requests for follow-up information for five years afterwards. Finally, teams will be expected to participate in an ICAT Pecha Kucha presentation and to present at the ICAT/CHCI playdate.

Important Dates

  • February 2, 2024 Call for proposals available

  • April 1, 2023 Submissions due by email to Andrea Kavanaugh before 5:00 PM

  • April 19, 2023 Announcement of award