Request for Applications

Funding Opportunity Title: Technology and Adolescent Mental Wellness (TAM)

Sponsoring Organization: Social Media Adolescent Health Research Team, University of Wisconsin – Madison

Key Dates:

Fast Start Regular Start
RFA release date 10/19/2018
Letter of intent due 12/3/2018, by 5:00pm CST 2/4/2019, by 5:00pm CST
Applications due 1/7/2019, by 5:00pm CST 4/1/2019, by 5:00pm CST
Earliest Funding Start Date 3/1/2019 6/1/2019
Expiration Date 3/1/2020 6/1/2020

Funding Available: Up to 6 projects will be funded at a maximum of $200,000 for up to 1 year. Projects that achieve important findings and outcomes by early 2020 may be eligible for a second year of funding at up to an additional $200,000.  Indirect costs are allowed at a maximum of 20% of the award (maximum of $40,000/year).

PURPOSE

Mental wellness is a critical component of adolescent health and wellbeing. Adolescents between the ages of 10-24 are avid technology users, and yet the relationship between adolescent mental wellness and technology is underexplored. Existing research has not fully examined and defined “healthy” technology use among adolescents. Furthermore, the potential for technology to assist with prevention, identification, and intervention in cases of anxiety and depression deserves more robust investigation. As such, the Social Media and Adolescent Health Research Team (SMAHRT) is eliciting project proposals that address the foundational question: “How can technology support adolescent mental wellness?”

Qualified proposals must either:

a) Evaluate new or existing programs, projects, or processes which use technology to promote mental wellness among adolescents. These may be programs created by youth, industry, organizations, or schools; or

b) Investigate adolescent behavior with regard to technology, with the aim of defining, testing, and disseminating pro-social or pro-wellness technology use.

Technologies which support self-esteem, self-efficacy, resilience, social support, and access to mental health resources are particularly encouraged. Priority will be given to innovations which reach diverse communities; integrate adolescent voices into the design process; and adopt innovative and far-reaching dissemination strategies.  We are particularly interested in teams embodying an interdisciplinary approach to supporting mental wellness. Projects should focus on the adolescent and young adult age range of 10 to 24 years.

Please note that we recognize the importance of the related constructs of mental wellbeing, mental health, and mental illness. In this document, we will use the term “mental wellness” to encompass these related concepts. Specific mental disorders which do not fall under the umbrella of mood or anxiety disorders are not considered responsive to this RFA.

OBJECTIVES OF THE TAM PROGRAM

Our objectives are threefold. First, we aim to generate innovative and evidence-based responses to the foundational question: “How can technology support adolescent mental wellness?” Second, we aim to disseminate the knowledge gained in Objective 1 to diverse audiences at the industry, academic, community, and individual level.  Third, we aim to unify a collaborative and diverse community of stakeholders around the funded projects.

UNIQUE REQUIREMENTS AND OPPORTUNITIES

Colloquium: Principal investigators who are awarded funding are required to participate in a Technology and Adolescent Mental Wellness colloquium. The colloquium will take place in Madison, Wisconsin in September 2019 and September 2020.  The colloquium will include investigators from all projects, as well as TAM Advisory Board members and reviewers. Each investigative team will present findings and dissemination efforts or plans. The purpose of the colloquium is to ensure that project results are shared, discussed, and translated into meaningful change.

Journal supplement: All TAM projects are expected to yield at least one scientific manuscript. The TAM program work will be featured in a supplement in a leading empirical journal. Thus, awardees are required to submit a minimum of one manuscript to this supplement within 6 months of the project end date. This journal will have the right of first refusal for a minimum of one manuscript resulting from a TAM project.

TAM Portal: The TAM portal is an online platform to provide resources and raise awareness of cutting-edge research relevant to adolescent mental health and wellness.  The audience will include researchers, industry, non-profit organizations, and those seeking relevant information about adolescent mental health and wellness. Funded TAM projects will be a highlight of the portal. Thus, awardees are expected to contribute content to this portal. Specifically, awardees will be solicited quarterly for information related to their research team, their early successes and challenges, and appropriate community-facing facts, findings, and calls to action.

ELIGIBILITY

Eligible applicants may include, but are not limited to, domestic public and private institutions of higher education; nonprofits with or without 501(c)(3) status; small businesses and other for-profit organizations; independent school districts; and faith-based, community-based, or tribal organizations. Each institution or organization may submit more than one application. Each principal investigator is only eligible to submit one proposal to this RFA for consideration of funding, as either a Fast Start or a Regular Start project. Awards will not be made to individuals.

APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS

A letter of intent (LOI) is recommended, though not required. The LOI should include 1) the title of the proposed study; 2) a brief description (limited to ½ page) of how the proposed project will address the foundational research question; 3) names of the participating institution(s) and the name and contact information of the Principal Investigator; and 4) the application type:  Fast Start or Regular Start.

The LOI may identify expert reviewers who would be able to provide a thorough and objective review of the proposal. Please include potential the reviewer’s name, organization affiliation, phone number, and email address.

A formatting guide for proposals is provided below, including required sections and page limits. Completed applications should be e-mailed to ajolliff@pediatrics.wisc.edu with the following subject line: “[PI Name] TAM Proposal.”

 FAST START VS. REGULAR START PROJECTS

Applicants may apply for a Fast Start Project (FSP) or a Regular Start Project (RSP). Both FSPs and RSPs projects are awarded up to $200,000 for one year.

Fast Start Projects are an excellent rapid-evaluation and funding opportunity for applicants whose project ideas are more developed and in some cases already underway, but in need of further evaluation or inquiry. Due dates for the LOI, the application, and the initiation of funding is 3 months prior to the Regular Start project. Due to this rapid turnaround, at the time of proposal, FSP applicants must confirm that the IRB application (if applicable) is approved or has been submitted.  FSP applications that are not funded may be revised and resubmitted as an RSP.

Regular Start Projects (RSP) are a good option for investigators who require more time to assemble a proposal or get a project underway. Given the emphasis on deliverables and dissemination in the TAM program, applicants are encouraged to submit the IRB application prior to TAM application submission.

Opportunity for second year of funding.

Successful projects are eligible to apply for a second year of funding at up to $200,000. To be selected for additional funding, these projects will efficiently showcase important and actionable findings. Eligible awardees will be contacted about the opportunity to request a second year of funding in the Spring of 2020.

APPLICATION REVIEW INFORMATION

Each application will be undergo peer review. Applications will be assessed for overall impact and will be scored according to the following criteria: significance, innovation, investigative team and environment/facilities, research approach, and attention to preferential areas noted in “Purpose.” An emphasis of overall impact is feasibility of implementation and attention to dissemination. We seek projects which will efficiently deliver actionable findings with a real-world impact on adolescent wellness.

Applications with promising scores will be reviewed by an advisory committee of individuals from diverse disciplines, backgrounds, and roles. Advisory board members may include researchers, clinical providers, educators, and representatives from the non-profit, industry, and policy sectors.

AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION

Notification of award will be received in mid-February for Fast Start Projects and mid-May for Regular Start Projects.  Receipt of the award is contingent upon

  1. Confirmation of institutional IRB approval
  2. Execution of award agreement with the University of Wisconsin-Madison
  3. Commitment to involvement with Technology and Adolescent Mental Wellness program, including the special requirements
  4. Confirmation that acknowledgment of funding sources will be present on all publications or presentations
  5. Commitment to completing a final progress report in a format consistent with TAM guidelines

Please direct any questions about the RFA or application process to:  ajolliff@pediatrics.wisc.edu or (608) 262-1734

Click here for instructions on formatting your proposal.