Research Grants » RFP

2017 REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS

The Center for Rural Pennsylvania is a bipartisan, bicameral legislative agency that serves as a resource for rural policy research within the Pennsylvania General Assembly. The Center’s mission is to promote and sustain the vitality of the state’s rural and small communities by:

As part of the Center’s yearly Research Grant Program, the Board of Directors approves topics for research projects. All projects must show a clear relationship to one or more of the Center’s mandated research areas, which are:

    
Eligibility
The Center’s enabling legislation allows the Center to award grants to qualified faculty members of Pennsylvania State University, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) universities, and the regional campuses of the University of Pittsburgh. A qualified faculty member must serve as the project director. Partnerships with other academic institutions, community organizations, and public and private agencies are encouraged.

Research Grant Program
One-year grants are awarded to conduct applied policy research or to identify local strategies that can result in legislative or program policy considerations or recommendations. For the 2017 grant cycle, the maximum allowable grant award is $50,000 per project.

Targeted Topics
This year the Board of Directors has approved seven targeted topics. The topics are listed below.

Open Topics
Other reasonable and beneficial projects that address one or more of the Center’s mandated research areas (see above) will be considered by the Center under the Open Topics category.

Mini Grant Program
Mini Grants are awarded to projects that focus on basic data collection and analysis, time-sensitive issues, and/or the preparation of reference materials. Projects supported as Mini Grants are a maximum of nine months in duration and are eligible for a maximum of $15,000 in Center support. 

Targeted Topics
This year the Board of Directors has approved six Mini Grant targeted topics. The topics are listed below.

Open Topics
Open topics will also be accepted for Mini Grants.

Grant Application Process
The Center’s 2017 Research Grant Program application process is as follows:

1. Request for Proposals released. April 2016
2. Deadline for submission of Letters of Intent. May 23, 2016
3. Letters of Intent are reviewed and selected applicants are invited to submit a full proposal. June 2016
4. Proposal planning discussions are conducted with applicants. July-August 2016
5. Deadline for full proposal submission. August 29, 2016
6. Center's Board of Directors selects projects for funding. December 2016
7. Final work plans are negotiated and accepted. December 2016
8. Cooperative Agreements are issued and work begins. January 2017


TARGETED TOPICS FOR THE 2017 GRANT PROGRAM

Analysis of Emergency Medical Services Personnel in Pennsylvania
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Bureau of Emergency Medical Services (BEMS), approximately 60,000 EMS personnel and more than 1,000 licensed ground and air ambulance services respond to more than 1 million patients each year in Pennsylvania’s EMS delivery system. Using current BEMS licensure data, this research will profile Pennsylvania’s rural and urban emergency medical services personnel. It will determine barriers to and opportunities for recruitment and retention to provide a better understanding of the current and future status of emergency medical services personnel in Pennsylvania.   

Key Expected Outcomes:

Economic Impact of Hunting and Fishing in Pennsylvania
In 1996, the Center for Rural Pennsylvania published research that estimated the economic impact of hunting, fishing and trapping. This research project will provide an updated analysis of the impact of hunting and fishing on Pennsylvania’s economy with the exclusion of trapping, which is now a much smaller segment of the industry.

Key Expected Outcomes:

Availability of Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction in Rural and Urban Pennsylvania
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT), which may include vivitrol, suboxone, methadone and other medications, combines behavioral therapy and medications to treat substance use disorders and is one option in a comprehensive service delivery system used to address addiction. This research project will examine the availability and accessibility of this treatment modality in rural and urban Pennsylvania and identify issues related to its expanded use.

Key Expected Outcomes:

Examination of Sportsmen’s Clubs in Pennsylvania
While the number of licensed hunters in Pennsylvania has been in decline since the early 80’s, sportsmen’s clubs continue to provide an avenue for recreational shooting while generating funds for conservation efforts, hunter education and shooting programs. Sportsmen’s clubs have an impact in communities in terms of open space conservation, habitat restoration, hunter and fishing education and training, and social gathering. This research project will provide a baseline examination of sportsmen’s clubs in Pennsylvania including membership, activities, and community and economic impacts, both locally and statewide.

Key Expected Outcomes:

Economic Impact of the Pennsylvania State Forest System
With more than 2.2 million acres, Pennsylvania state-owned forests are a significant component of many rural communities. This research project will use existing Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) data and other sources to assess the economic benefits derived from state forest land including income from forest products, resource extraction, and hunting, fishing and recreation income. It will also assess the adequacy of Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILT) payments that are provided to municipalities, school districts and counties.
Key Expected Outcomes:

Employment Opportunities for Rural Residents with Disabilities in Pennsylvania
Among the provisions of the 2014 federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) are significant limits for placements at sheltered workshops and other work environments where people with disabilities are earning less than minimum wage. This research project will assess current sheltered workshop employment to determine the impact of the 2014 federal act on rural individuals with disabilities in terms of opportunities for competitive employment, and will identify methods that other states are using to comply with this act.

Key Expected Outcomes:

Inventory of Historic District Ordinances in Pennsylvania Municipalities
Historic districts can be used to preserve a community’s historic character. In Pennsylvania, historic districts may be created using the Municipal Planning Code or the Historic District Act. This research project will identify the use of these two methods among Pennsylvania’s rural and urban municipalities and evaluate each method.

Key Expected Outcomes:


OPEN TOPICS FOR THE 2017 RESEARCH GRANT PROGRAM

In addition to the targeted topics, other reasonable and potentially beneficial projects will be considered by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania under the Open Topics category. Proposed projects for this category must show a clear relationship to one or more of the Center’s mandated research areas listed above.  Application procedures for proposed open topic projects must follow the Letter of Intent guidelines listed above.  Open topic projects must define specific key outcomes and specific policy implications that will benefit communities in rural Pennsylvania.


MINI GRANT TARGETED TOPICS FOR THE 2017 RESEARCH GRANT PROGRAM

Analysis of Mental Health Services in Pennsylvania
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, nearly 500,000 Pennsylvanians are living with serious mental illness. This research project will analyze county mental health (MH) services data collected by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services to determine the number and characteristics of consumers of mental health services, the types of services provided, expenditure patterns over time, and differences between rural and urban areas.

Key Expected Outcomes:

Analysis of Municipal Debt
According to 2013 data from the Governor’s Center for Local Government Services, 48 percent of rural Pennsylvania’s reporting municipalities have outstanding debt and rural municipalities have a combined debt of $602.0 million. Using data from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development’s Governor’s Center for Local Government Services and other sources, this research project will analyze rural and urban municipal debt over the past 5 years.

Key Expected Outcomes:

Cost of Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Care in Pennsylvania
According to Pennsylvania’s State Plan for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders (ADRD) (2014), as many as 400,000 Pennsylvanian’s over the age of 65 are likely afflicted with ADRD. With Pennsylvania’s aging population, that number will likely rise significantly in the coming years. This research project will estimate the cost of providing care to rural and urban Pennsylvanians with ADRD and develop cost projections for providing such care over the next 10 years.

Key Expected Outcomes:

Analysis of Pennsylvania Youth Survey Data
The Pennsylvania Youth Survey, or PAYS, is conducted for students in the 6th, 8th, 10th and 12th grades to learn about their knowledge, attitudes and behavior concerning alcohol, tobacco, other drugs and violence. The survey assesses risk factors that are related to these behaviors and the protective factors that help guard against them. This research project will analyze data from the 2015 PAYS from a rural/urban perspective and compare the results of the 2015 survey with the three prior PAYS surveys.

Key Expected Outcomes:

Analysis of School District Buildings in Rural and Urban Pennsylvania
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, school districts in Pennsylvania had a total of 2,780 school buildings in the 2014-15 school year. While statewide enrollment projections show an increase of 4 percent overall by 2021, this masks the fact that 52 percent of rural districts will have a decline in enrollment in the same period. Using data from the Pennsylvania Department of Education and other sources, this research project will inventory school district buildings in rural and urban Pennsylvania and estimate future school building needs based on the most current enrollment projections.

Key Expected Outcomes:

Analysis of Cost-of-Living Data
In 2000, the Center for Rural Pennsylvania published the research report, Differences in the Cost of Living Across Pennsylvania's 67 Counties, that provided cost of living estimates for each of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. This research was used extensively by Pennsylvania economic development agencies, local governments and policymakers, but is now quite dated. Using the most current Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) data, this research project will analyze the cost-of-living estimates for Pennsylvania counties. This project will also analyze socio-demographic and economic conditions within each county relating to the cost of living.

Key Expected Outcomes:

OPEN TOPICS FOR THE 2017 MINI GRANT PROGRAM

Open topics will also be accepted for the Mini Grant Program. Proposed Mini Grant topics for this category should focus on basic data collection and analysis, time-sensitive issues and/or the preparation of reference materials. Mini Grant projects are to be a maximum of nine months in duration. Proposed Mini Grant projects must show a clear relationship to one or more of the Center’s mandated research areas listed above. Application procedures for proposed open Mini Grant projects must follow the Letter of Intent guidelines listed above.

2017 Request for Proposals (pdf)