Research Grants » RFP

Please note: The Letter of Intent submission deadline was April 22, 2019. Applicants whose Letters of Intent are approved for full proposal submission will receive additional information and instructions on full proposal preparation, submission and review procedures.

THE CENTER FOR RURAL PENNSYLVANIA
2020 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 2020 grant cycle, the maximum allowable grant award is $50,000 per project.

Targeted Topics
This year the Board of Directors has approved 10 targeted topics. The list of topics is 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 eight Mini Grant targeted topics. The list of topics is below.

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

Grant Application Process

The Center’s 2020 Research Grant Program application process is as follows:

  1. Request for Proposals is released. March 2019
  2. Deadline for submission of Letters of Intent. April 22, 2019
  3. Letters of Intent are reviewed and selected applicants are invited to submit a full proposal. June 2019
  4. Proposal planning discussions are conducted with applicants. July-August 2019
  5. Deadline for full proposal submissions. August 26, 2019
  6. Center’s Board of Directors selects projects for funding. December 2019
  7. Final work plans are negotiated and accepted. December 2019
  8. Cooperative Agreements are issued and work begins. January 2020

TARGETED RESEARCH GRANT TOPICS FOR THE 2020 GRANT PROGRAM

Coroner/Medical Examiner Services in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania’s opioid crisis and the deaths resulting from overdose have strained the staff and budgets of county coroners and medical examiners. This research will examine their resources including funding, facilities, forensic capacity, vehicles and equipment, and staffing and training to assess the adequacy and needs of coroners and medical examiners in Pennsylvania.
Key Expected Outcomes:

Examination of the Substance Abuse Treatment Workforce in Rural Pennsylvania
At several of the Center’s public hearings on the opioid crisis, issues of recruitment and retention for professional substance abuse treatment staff were raised, particularly in rural counties. This research will examine the current status and pipeline for those professionals working in rural Pennsylvania.
Key Expected Outcomes:

Small Town Police Chiefs
The Center for Rural Pennsylvania conducted a 2005 survey of municipal police chiefs to better understand the issues facing “small-town” (municipalities with population <10,000) police departments. Using survey methodology, this research will revisit and examine those issues to identify current rural and urban differences in budgeting, staffing, and equipment, as well as attitudes on regionalization, and responses to the opioid crisis.
Key Expected Outcomes:

Analysis of Municipal Land Use Planning Tools in Rural and Urban Pennsylvania
In 2001, the Center published research that examined if and how rural and urban municipalities were using municipal land use planning tools. Since 2001 many municipalities have adopted land use planning tools but little is known about their impact. This research will revisit the issue of land use planning (comprehensive plans, zoning, and alternative land use measures) to determine current use, compliance, and effectiveness.
Key Expected Outcomes:

Access to Mental Health Care in Rural Pennsylvania
The National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates that almost 19 percent of adults in the U.S. experience mental illness in a given year, and that about 21 percent of youth ages 13-18 have experienced a severe mental disorder. In rural areas, accessing mental health services can be challenging due to the lack of providers, stigma, transportation, and other factors. This research will analyze access to mental health care for Pennsylvania’s rural residents with a special focus on youth and the elderly.
Key Expected Outcomes:

An Aging Population: Participants in Today’s Rural Economy
In rural Pennsylvania, one in five residents is 65+, and these older adults are becoming a growing segment of the rural economy as consumers and workforce participants. Older adults may have interest in rejoining or staying in the workforce and also have needs and interests that may translate into business opportunities. This research will examine business opportunities that serve and employ older adults in rural communities.
Key Expected Outcomes:

Access to Maternity and Obstetric Services in Rural Pennsylvania
As mergers and acquisitions among hospital and health care systems continue in Pennsylvania, access to maternity and obstetric services may be affected for rural residents. This research will examine access to prenatal care, labor and delivery services, and post-delivery care for mothers and infants in rural Pennsylvania.
Key Expected Outcomes:

Rural Youth Survey
In 2010, the Center published the final installment of a survey of rural youth that identified attitudes toward education, their communities, future careers, and other issues. Through a survey of rural high school students, this research will gather information on these issues today and compare findings with the prior research.
Key Expected Outcomes:

Case Study of Arts-Based Economic Development in Rural Communities
Rural communities are looking for ways to attract and retain residents, with some incorporating arts-initiated development approaches to boost their economy and enhance livability. This research will include case studies of communities in rural Pennsylvania that have included the arts in their comprehensive planning and successfully used creative industries for revitalization.
Key Expected Outcomes:

Assessment of Food Animal Veterinary Medicine Services in Pennsylvania
Access to veterinary care is important for Pennsylvania’s livestock and poultry industries. Food animal veterinarians ensure the health of food animals and are often the first line of defense against diseases that can spread from humans to animals. This research will inventory food animal veterinarians in Pennsylvania and determine ways to ensure that an adequate number of food animal veterinarians are available in Pennsylvania.
Key Expected Outcomes:

OPEN TOPICS FOR THE 2020 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.

TARGETED MINI GRANT TOPICS FOR THE 2020 GRANT PROGRAM

Analysis of the 2017 Census of Agriculture Data
The 2017 Census of Agriculture will be released in early 2019. This research will use the 2017 Census of Agriculture to provide a comprehensive analysis of farmers, farm operations, and existing trends and conditions in the state’s agriculture industry. It will also compare current data with those from the 2012, and 2007 Censuses of Agriculture to identify how Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry is evolving.
Key Expected Outcomes:

Population Decline: A How-To Guide for Community Leaders
Many municipalities in Pennsylvania have experienced long-term population decline. While reversing this trend will be difficult, there are strategies and programs that can assist communities in maintaining and improving the quality of life for residents. This research will identify such efforts and prepare a user-friendly handbook for community leaders to assist them in addressing population decline.
Key Expected Outcomes:

Profile of Rural Women
Rural womenare engaged in helping their communities achieve economic, environmental and social change. In Pennsylvania, there has been limited analysis about the demographic and economic status of rural women. Using multiple secondary data sources, this research will analyze Pennsylvania’s rural women (18-34, 35-64, 65+) on measures of educational achievement, health care access, economic status, and other relevant demographic and socioeconomic indicators.
Key Expected Outcomes:

Analysis of the Legal Issues Surrounding Cemeteries, Burial Places and Human Remains in Pennsylvania
In recent years, a number of cemeteries and burial places in Pennsylvania have been impacted by construction projects, and human remains have been unearthed. This has led to questions about Pennsylvania’s legal system for handling human remains, and the roles and responsibilities of state and local agencies. This research will examine the state’s current legal framework for burial places, and the treatment of human remains, and identify important issues and trends affecting care and stewardship.
Key Expected Outcomes:

Assessment of Pennsylvania’s Student Assistance Program
Pennsylvania’s Student Assistance Program (SAP) is required under Pennsylvania’s school code and is designed to assist school personnel in identifying issues, including mental health and the use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs, that may be barriers to a student’s success. This research will determine the status of Pennsylvania public schools’ implementation of the state Student Assistance Program statutory mandate.
Key Expected Outcomes:

Sustainability of Pennsylvania’s Wildlife Conservation System
Current methods to fund wildlife conservation and management in Pennsylvania may not be sustainable. Funds to support wildlife agency budgets are generated through license sales, yet Pennsylvania is experiencing a continuing decline among those who participate in hunting and fishing. Other states have instituted new models for wildlife conservation funding. This research will identify funding mechanisms, and any other strategies other states use to fund wildlife conservation and management.
Key Expected Outcomes:

Analysis of Public School Transportation
In 2016-17, Pennsylvania rural and urban school districts spent considerable sums on school transportation: $400 million for rural districts and $1 billion for urban districts. This research will examine school transportation data, including ridership, ownership, finances, safety, and other issues, and will identify trends and challenges concerning school transportation in rural and urban Pennsylvania.
Key Expected Outcomes:

Analysis of Suicide Trends and Prevention Programs
Rural Pennsylvania has a higher suicide rate than urban Pennsylvania. This research will analyze the demographics of suicide victims over the last 10 years. It will also inventory suicide prevention and counseling programs and services to assess availability for rural and urban residents.
Key Expected Outcomes:

OPEN TOPICS FOR THE 2020 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.

OPEN CALL

Measuring the Effectiveness of Pennsylvania’s Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) Programs and Services
As treatment efforts expand to address the opioid crisis affecting our nation and state, federal and state funding to support MAT have increased substantially. The Center is interested in Pennsylvania-based applied policy research focused on measuring the effectiveness of MAT programs and services in Pennsylvania.
We will accept submissions for both full grants ($50,000 max and 1-year timeframe) and mini-grants ($15,000 max and 9-month timeframe).
Note: The Center does not fund operational projects, but rather applied policy research or data analysis.

2020 Request for Proposals (pdf)