The Church Sexual Abuse Crisis Research Initiation Grant is intended to support early-stage research initiatives that could lead to longer-term, more comprehensive projects.


The projects supported by this grant program are expected to address some aspect of the current crisis that will serve the U.S. and global Church, whether understanding its history and causes, ensuring safe environments for minors and adults, study of possible reforms and deepening the Church’s sense of shared responsibility by all its members. 


Full-time regular members of the University of Notre Dame faculty, including tenured and tenure-track faculty, research faculty, library faculty, and special professional faculty, are eligible to serve as Principal Investigator (PI) on proposals to the program. Research fellows and visiting faculty cannot serve as PIs, but are encouraged to join teams led by eligible faculty. Funding may be used to support research at other universities and partner institutions, but the PI must be from Notre Dame.

Grant Period

The grant period is one year. A one year, no-cost extension may be approved with satisfactory progress on the project.


The grant application is closed.

Proposal Content & Formatting

Given the review panel will contain members from across the University, applicants should write the proposal in clear, non-technical language suitable for a general audience.

Each proposal must include the following items in the order listed:

  1. Cover page with the following information: Proposal title, name of program (“Church Sexual Abuse Crisis”), and the name, department and/or center/institute affiliation, phone number, and email address for each listed investigator with the lead PI listed first.
  2. Abstract of the proposed project (one page maximum, single-spaced).
  3. Description of the proposed project (four pages maximum, single-spaced):
    • The objective of the project.
    • Background, previous work, and/or motivation as appropriate.
    • The project approach and methods.
    • The anticipated outcomes, including anticipated future research that will result from this project.
    • The anticipated time schedule.
  4. Discussion of how the project will address program priorities.
  5. Budget and budget justification:
  6. Current curriculum vitae (two pages maximum) for each faculty member listed on the cover sheet as an investigator. CVs for external collaborators may be included if integral to the proposal. If postdoctoral research associates, graduate students, and/or undergraduates are included in the project as collaborators, describe their qualifications using a maximum of one page for all such collaborators.
  7. For projects involving human subjects, a human subjects protocol plan that includes statements regarding the eligible population of subjects, the subject recruitment strategy, the data to be collected and the means of collection, the risks, and the data management and data security strategy to be used.

The submission should be a single PDF document with naming convention of “<LEAD PI NETID>_CSAC Initiation Proposal<YEAR>.pdf” to Proposals that do not comply with format and content guidelines may be rejected without review.

Budget Requests

Grants from this program will typically be for $10,000 or less. Grant funding may support the following categories of expenditures:

  • Graduate research assistant and postdoctoral research associate stipends and benefits.
  • Conference or workshop expenses.
  • Equipment and supplies necessary for the research.
  • Research travel for conduct of the proposed effort including travel to workshops and symposia associated with the grant.
  • Undergraduate student support.
  • Partial summer salary for faculty (up to one-ninth of academic year salary for faculty on nine-month appointments and up to one-twelfth of annual salary for faculty on twelve-month appointments).
  • Payment to human subjects.
  • Book or article publication costs.

The following expenditures will not be supported by grant funds:

  • Faculty academic year course reduction or academic year salary.
  • Travel for the purpose of presenting research results or attendance at conferences.
  • Library acquisitions.

Proposers requesting support in categories not mentioned above (e.g., sub-awards to collaborating organizations outside of the University) must carefully describe and justify the expense.

Review Process

Initiation proposals will be reviewed by the Church Sexual Abuse Crisis Research Grant committee. The panel will make a recommendation to the Vice President for Research, who will make the final decisions regarding funding in conjunction with the President.

All phases of the review process will conform to existing conflict of interest policies: Review committee members with a current or recent research collaboration with a proposal team member will recuse themselves from review of such concept papers and proposals.

Proposal Review Criteria

  • Alignment with the objectives of the statement.
  • Contribution: The proposed work should seek to initiate a promising project to advance understanding and take positive steps to addressing the current crisis. 
  • Excellence/Rigor: The proposed work should be used to develop a program of research, scholarship, or creative endeavor that is of the highest quality. 
  • Collaboration: Preference will be given to work that will lead to a collaborative and/or interdisciplinary project.
  • Qualifications of Project Personnel: The committee will consider the ability of the researcher(s) to use the initiation grant to develop a program to address the current crisis.
  • Budget: All funding requests will be evaluated on their level of appropriateness in relation to the proposed research.
  • Diversity: When appropriate, proposal will be evaluated on the extent to which the proposed work reflects and incorporates/addresses diversity in a broad sense, including diverse disciplines as well as gender, ethnic/racial, socio-economic, and other kinds of diversity of the research team and proposed research participants.

Acceptance Criteria

In accepting an award, the awardee agrees to:

  • Conform to established practices and procedures concerning sponsored program activity.
  • Submit a final report to Notre Dame Research no later than three months after the end date of the award. The report should summarize the activities funded by the award, list the significant results achieved, and list any press coverage related to the project. It should also include reprints or preprints of papers arising from the research project that have been published, have been submitted, or are in preparation.
  • Act in accordance with the policy that all permanent equipment purchased, in any, is the property of the University unless otherwise specified when the grant is approved.
  • Awards will be contingent upon approval of any protocols for research involving the use of live vertebrate animals, recombinant DNA molecules, and/or human subjects. Please obtain guidelines and policies affecting these types of projects from Notre Dame Research Compliance.

Need More Information?

Please direct general questions about proposal formatting and submission to