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Frequently asked questions

Finding Partners

Q: How do I find the right research partner?

A: Doing collaborative research is a time-consuming, new way of doing research. Whatever your past experience has been with research, CRCs require a new way of thinking, acting, and talking. The decision of who your research partner will be is probably one of the most important decisions you will make. Take your time, ask around, and interview people you might be interested in working with. For more help, review "Finding a Partner" or call the CBCRP office at (888) 313-2277 for referrals.

Q: How do I know who is interested in the same topic I am?

A: Unfortunately, there is no central database of researchers and communities who are interested in collaboration and what their topics of interest are. The best way to proceed is to begin making calls to individuals you know, let them know what you are interested in, and ask if they know of anyone who is interested in similar work.

Q: Can we submit our request for funding without identifying a partner?

A: To submit a full application, both members of the team MUST be identified.

Q: Can we have more than one community member on the team?

A: Yes! Some previously-funded CRC teams have found that having multiple community members on the research team is helpful for spreading the workload and keeping the power balanced with the traditional researcher. For the purposes of the application, however, one person must be identified as the Community Co-Principal Investigator.

Q: Can we have more than one researcher on the research team?

A: Yes! Research often requires a multi-disciplinary approach; when choosing your team you should pay particular attention to whether you need researchers with quantitative or qualitative experience, a methodologist or statistician, or an epidemiologist or behavioral scientist. Again, one person must be identified as the experienced scientific Research Co-Principal Investigator.

Q: Can we split up the work so that the community does only the community outreach part and the researcher designs and conducts the research?

A: Technically you can. Remember though, the CRC Award is meant for an equal partnership between the community and traditional researchers. The partnership works together to identify the research question, develop the research plan, carry out the research, interpret the results, and disseminate information to the community. If you are planning on "splitting the work" between the two partners, then you do not reflect the intention of the awards and may receive lower scores on the review. This kind of split in the beginning of the partnership, however, may lend itself to allowing participants to avoid setting up a structure for deciding how difficult issues, such as how disputes about research design, budget allocation, presentation of results, and so on, are to be resolved.


Q: Does the community-partner have to be incorporated or a 501(c) 3?

A: No. Ad-hoc community groups are welcome to apply. This does affect two aspects of the application. First, it's important that the community-partner represents the community of interest for the research. If you are submitting an application as an ad-hoc community group, you should pay particular attention in your application to how you are going to ensure broad community interest, support, and input. Second, for purposes of allocating the actual funding, both research partners are eligible to receive the full award (be the fiscal sponsor and then dispense via subcontract or consultant agreements the appropriate amount to their partner) or the check can be split and the appropriate amount sent to each partner directly from the CBCRP. However, if you are not incorporated you would not be able to be the fiscal sponsor of the project or have funds disseminated directly to you by the CBCRP.

Q: Does the researcher have to be from a university or research institution?

A: No, but the team must be comprised of at least one traditional, experienced scientific researcher. A traditional researcher is someone who has advanced training in research methodology and techniques. Often, but not always, these individuals are associated with University systems.

Applying for funds

Q: Do we need to submit a “Concept Paper” before we can submit an application?

A: No. Starting in 2009 CRC “concept papers” will not be required as a prerequisite prior to submission of an application. We will offer an optional pre-application review (for the research plan only) for those teams wishing to receive feedback prior to the actual application submission. Detailed information about this process will be made available in the early Fall.

Q: Can we still submit an application if we miss the deadline for the optional pre-application research plan review?

A: Yes. Submitting a draft of your research plan for review is an optional step. There is no expectation or requirement that applicants submit their research plan for pre-review prior to submitting an application.

Q: How are indirect costs calculated?

A: In the nonprofit world, indirect costs are usually part of the overall grant award. If an award is $100,000, the indirect costs are part of that total award. In research, indirect costs are usually in addition to the award. The award would be the $100,000 plus the indirect costs. For the CBCRP CRC awards, both the academic and community-based partners are eligible for indirect costs under certain conditions (see the CRC application for a full explanation of this). Those that are eligible can use either an existing federally agreed-upon rate or if they don't have one, they can use the CBCRP's default rate of 25 percent of their award as the indirect costs.

Q: Can we apply for a Full award while we are still finishing a Pilot award?

A: Yes. You can have multiple awards on different research topics and you can also overlap awards on the same topic. Remember, though, the purpose of the Pilot award is to prepare you for a Full award so it's essential to plan your application so that the Full award application will benefit from your pilot work.

Conducting the research

Q: What if we have a disagreement with our partner while conducting the research?

A: All applicants are asked to address the issue of conflict resolution in their application. We suggest that you make plans now, while the partnership is in its beginning stages, about how you will deal with differences of opinions. Many funded partnerships have both informal and formal agreements about handling differences. Informally, the partners agree to keep talking to address whatever problem comes up. Formally, partnerships have agreed to a fair and impartial third person arbitrator.

Q: Can we get an extension if we aren't able to complete the research on time?

A: No-cost time extensions up to a maximum of one year are almost always granted. Contact the CBCRP office for more information on how to request this.