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Policy Destination Area Call for Research

The Policy Destination Area (PDA) solicits applications from Virginia Tech faculty who wish to pursue research projects with policy relevance. The overarching goal of the PDA is to integrate, connect, and expand policy knowledge—broadly defined—across disciplines.  This call supports two initiatives : the +Policy Fellows program, now in its 5th year; and a new opportunity, the Policy Scholars program, designed to enable researchers without policy expertise to obtain tailored guidance by collaborating with a faculty expert.

Funding is available for up to two research proposals. The program is open to all faculty members at Virginia Tech with continuous or multi-year appointments (tenure-track/tenured, collegiate, research).   Maximum awards are $10,500.

You may apply to only ONE of these two programs.

  • +Policy Fellows Program.  This Program is designed to help researchers with policy expertise (a) join or collaborate with an extant or newly forming interdisciplinary research team that otherwise lacks a member with policy knowledge; or (b) to help to extend a policy scholar’s expertise into a new area.  Accordingly, the award will support either collaboration between a policy researcher (the Fellow) and members of a research team, or an individual policy scholar collaborating with a content expert to develop his/her expertise in that individual’s area.  Priority will be given to applications from interdisciplinary teams or, if a single scholar, interdisciplinary research, a mentoring/collaboration plan and clear plans for future inquiry. 

    All Fellow proposals are expected to result in external funding proposals within three years post-award.
  • Policy Scholar Professional Development Program.  This initiative is designed to assist researchers who lack policy expertise, but who wish to address policy questions or pursue a policy focus in their work.  The Scholar will collaborate with a Virginia Tech faculty member who will serve as policy coach or mentor.  Examples of possible activities and deliverables include:
    • Collaborating on a joint article or grant proposal that has policy relevance;
    • Collaborating on developing and disseminating a policy brief or research tool with policy relevance;
    • Engaging in regular coaching/mentoring sessions that lead to a Scholar-authored article or grant proposal.

The Virginia Tech faculty member serving as policy collaborator or mentor can be someone the Scholar has worked with before or may represent a new relationship.  If the applicant does not have a policy colleague in mind applicants may contact the PDA for suggestions.

Priority Areas

The selection committee will accord priority to initiatives that advance the aims of the Policy Destination Area.  These include research related to one of our four research pillars (health, cyber, environmental or energy policy) or the COVID Impacts and Influences Database of Databases

Application Guidelines 

Applications must include: (a) signed cover sheet, including approval of Fellow’s department head/chair regarding summer stipend or an internal buy-out for Spring semester 2023 if requested; (b) title of project; (c) Fellow or Scholar applicant information together with that of team members and/or mentors; (d) A research narrative of up to 2 pages; and (e) budget and budget narrative.  Policy Scholar and Fellow proposals for developing expertise in a new content area must also include a paragraph describing their expected mentoring or learning plan.  See the RFA for complete guidance. Click here for the required cover sheet.

Budget Guidelines

Maximum grant award is $10,500. Funds can be used for:

  • Summer stipend
  • Spring 2023 course release
  • Research assistant support
  • Collaborating research team activities
  • If two faculty members plan to collaborate on proposed research, the applicant for +Policy Fellow and the partnering content expert, or the Policy Scholar and partnering mentor, should submit a budget appropriate for the proposed project.

Submission Requirements and Deadline

Applications should be prepared using 1-inch margins and Arial 11 font or larger. Submit an e-copy of the complete application and signed cover sheet to Isabel Bradburn ( by September 20, 2022 at 5:00 p.m. Funding decisions communicated no later than September 30, 2022.


We encourage questions or discussion about ideas, tracks and any aspect of this call. Please contact the PDA Program Director Isabel Bradburn ( or PDA Research Committee Chairperson Max Stephenson (