The Institute for Social Research (ISR) launched the Rural Contexts pilot grant program in 2022 in collaboration with the College of Engineering (CoE).

ISR is excited to continue the partnership with CoE to invite proposals for pilot projects on the Study of Rural Contexts. Pilot grants from ISR foster innovative research that investigates social, behavioral, and economic aspects of life. CoE’s People-First framework emphasizes the application of advanced technology in interdisciplinary settings to address major societal challenges. The Study of Rural Contexts pilot grant program invites proposals for projects that bring together colleagues from CoE and ISR with a focus on rural areas. The intent of this program is to promote interdisciplinary research among faculty members at Michigan, as well as gain novel insights into rural life through this unique collaboration.


The Study of Rural Contexts pilot grant program will make funds available to support pilot research concerned with rural issues. Proposals may involve but are not limited to behavioral and social science research, studies of geographic and socioeconomic contexts, mobility technology research, health related studies, research on the effects of climate change, projects in infrastructure and public health, and computer science/information technology research. 

Proposal Format

Submit a proposal through Interfolio by February 23, 2024.

Please attach the following in PDF format using 12-pt Times New Roman or Arial Font and margins of at least ½ inch.

  1. Cover page that lists the following:
    • Project title
    • Names, email addresses, and institutional affiliations of key investigators
  2. Abstract (300 word maximum)
  3. Technical proposal up to 3 pages that incorporates the following:
    • Specific aims of pilot project (½ page maximum)
    • Significance of the topic of the project, and its contribution to the field (1 page maximum)
    • Brief statements that explicitly address the following:
      • How does this project highlight work of both engineering and social science?
      • How does this project contribute to the study of rural living?
      • Research plan, including timeline showing start/completion of major activities.
      • Budget justification
  4. Documentation of human subjects approval (if necessary) by the appropriate U-M institutional review board (IRB), including PI Name, HUM Number, IRB Study Title and approval period. If the project has not yet received IRB approval, this should be explained in the application.


The project team must include at least one affiliate from the Institute for Social Research and one from the College of Engineering who holds a faculty position (including non-tenure track) or an approved postdoc-to-faculty transition position. Research scientists, research professors, and research investigators of any rank are eligible to apply.  

The pilot grant application is not currently under review with any other grant-administering program.


The amount awarded will be up to $75,000 per year for two years, based on the needs of the project.


Full proposals are due by February 23, 2024 by 11:59PM EST.
Funding decisions will be made and shared in early to mid-March.

Questions may be directed to Paige Brann.

Expected Outcomes

The Study of Rural Contexts pilot grant program will culminate in a symposium where teams will have the opportunity to present and discuss their research findings. Awardees will also be asked to provide a one year update on their work. This pilot grant may also serve as a path to larger interdisciplinary research and grant applications.

Scroll to Top