2021 Phase I
Call for Research Proposals

Closed for submissions

The deadline has now passed and this call is closed to any further submissions.

The following is an open call to all faculty, fellows, and research staff at SERC/AIRC universities for 2-page research proposals related to the topics included in this solicitation. Our intent is to also consider proposals from faculty at non-SERC/AIRC universities within the United States.

This is not a formal government solicitation but rather a mechanism to reach out to existing and potential colleagues within academia to participate with us in this endeavor. Research proposals will be assessed for funding as incubator research projects for the Summer of 2021.

Research Topic Categories

  1.   Workforce Upskilling under Continuous Change
  2.   Management and Business Knowledge Representation for Decision-Making
  3.   Aligning Workforce and Organizational Incentives for Agility and Innovation
  4.   Innovative Test Approaches to Enhance Organizational Agility
  5.   Return-on-Investment from Digital Transformation

Proposers Meeting:

A virtual meeting was held to further explain this research funding opportunity, clarify the simple process involved, and answer questions. For more information, a recording of the meeting and FAQs are available below.

To apply for Phase I incubator funding, submit a short description of your proposed research concept, addressing the first six Heilmeier Catechism [1] criteria  used to “help Agency officials think through and evaluate proposed research programs,” namely:

  1. What are you trying to do? Articulate your objectives using absolutely no jargon.
  2. How is it done today, and what are the limits of current practice?
  3. What is new in your approach and why do you think it will be successful?
  4. Who cares? If you are successful, what difference will it make?
  5. What are the risks?
  6. How much will it cost? [i.e., How much are you requesting for Phase 1?] [2]

Proposals and all supporting material must be concise; proposals must be no longer than two (2) pages in length. An additional page can be included to contain endnote references, graphics, and URL links to faculty/researcher bios or CVs. Include the names of the research team, lead university, partner universities (if any), and research challenge area with the title of your proposed research task. Format should be text extractable PDFs or Microsoft Word files.

The overall value of the submissions will be judged based on several criteria, including: intellectual merit, clarity of the vision, novelty, past performance of the investigators, the potential strategic impact on and importance for the DoD, and the degree of taking full advantage of academia’s multi-disciplinary research capabilities. For past performance, please include references to previous research reports and published papers. If there are other sponsors within the DoD who may be interested in your proposed research and might provide matching funds or project guidance, please include this information as well.

Submissions should be made through the AIRC website submission form tab. Research proposal responses are due by May 14, 2021 by 11:59 pm EDT.

Please contact Ms. Kara Pepe at kpepe@stevens.edu if you have any questions about this research opportunity or the proposal response format.


[1] https://www.darpa.mil/work-with-us/heilmeier-catechism

[2] Note: If your Phase I summer seedling is successful, the Phase II proposal generated during Phase I will need to address all criteria in the Heilmeier Catechism, including the last two:

  1. How long will it take?
  2. What are the mid-term and final “exams” to check for success?

19 APRIL 2021
Call for Research Proposals Open

28 APRIL 2021
Proposers Meeting
3:00 pm EDT (12:00 pm PDT)

14 MAY 2021
Proposals Due

14 JUNE 2021
Awards Announced