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Partnership Planning Seed Grant Program

Program Goals

Establishing trust and ensuring all partners are working toward mutual goals is critical to community science work’s long-term success. To that end, ASTC’s Community Science Initiative is offering Partnership Planning Seed Grants to support teams of science center/museum- and community-based partners in identifying shared objectives and creating actionable, collaborative community science project plans. Partnership Planning Seed Grants are intended to support partnerships in early stages of development, with the aim of strengthening relationships and identifying shared goals for future action in community science. By the end of the grant period, grantees will have established clear objectives and developed new community science projects proposals.

Program & Funding Structure

The Partnership Planning Seed Grants will include $8,000 of funding to support ASTC member and community partner staff time, as well as strategic support and targeted training opportunities. Teams will consist of multiple individuals from both the museum institution as well as the community partner (up to two from each). Teams will co-develop their proposals, which will include a Letter of Interest from all institutions involved. On a limited basis, we may consider proposals from teams of more than four individuals; interested teams should reach out to the ASTC in advance of submitting their proposal.

In addition to funding, grantees will receive strategic support from ASTC and training in developing and managing collaborative relationships. Early programming will focus on better understanding each other’s goals, priorities, and preferred ways of working together, as well as learning about ASTC’s Community Science Framework. By the completion of the grant period, partners will have defined project objectives and identified other stakeholders or potential partners to help advance their goals. Grantees will likely be well-positioned to apply for ASTC Project Implementation Grants (to be offered late 2023).

Proposal, Decision, and Program Timelines

  • Proposals due by 11:59 pm Eastern on Monday, February 20, 2023
  • Grantee teams announced by Wednesday, March 1, 2023
  • Full grantee teams will attend monthly virtual workshops hosted by ASTC
      • First virtual workshop held Wednesday, March 15 from 1:00 pm to 3:30 pm Eastern
      • Additional monthly virtual workshops (April-June 2023) scheduled based on grantee availability 
  • Final project plans due July 2023

Eligibility Requirements & Desired Attributes

This opportunity is open to ASTC member institutions and community-based partners with which they are working to deepen collaborative relationships in pursuit of community science goals. The community-based partner may be a new organization, or they may be an existing partner that you want to engage with in a new way. Community-based partners can include (but are not limited to) Tribal organizations, community development nonprofits, libraries, regional planning commissions, neighborhood civic associations, faith-based organizations, youth-focused nonprofits, environmental advocacy organizations, or parent-teacher associations.

You are eligible to submit a proposal regardless of whether you have received past support from ASTC for community science work. If you have received past support from ASTC, we will give preference to projects exploring work in new contexts or with new partners. We are interested in supporting teams advancing community priorities on a wide range of issues, including but not limited to public health, land use, environmental hazards, food and nutrition, air and water quality, or other community priorities at the intersection of science and society.

Proposal Instructions

For their proposal, teams must submit:

  1. A letter of interest from the ASTC member institution (no longer than 2 pages), which:
    1. Identifies 1-2 science center/museum staff who will participate in the proposed program, including a 1-2 sentence description of each team member’s job responsibilities and why you chose them for the team
    2. Briefly explains your institutional interest in developing a relationship with the community partner
    3. Outlines intent/objectives for sustaining relationship with the community partner beyond the grant period
  2. A letter of interest from community-serving partner, which:
    1. Identifies 1-2 community-based staff who will participate in the grant program, including a 1-2 sentence description of each team member’s job responsibilities and why you chose them for the team
    2. Describes your organization’s mission/vision for the community and how this collaborative partnership will help meet those goals
  3. Brief description of the relational history between the science center/museum and community-serving partner applying for this award (suggested 250-500 words max). How long have your institutions worked together? What projects have you undertaken together? What common goals/priorities do you share? What motivated you to apply for this opportunity?
  4. Description of priorities/topics/issues/questions to explore through this seed grant (suggested 250-500 words max). Why is this topic of significance to all partners? How could your work advance community priorities? 
  5. Brief description of your reasons for applying to this program (suggested 250-500 words max). How would this seed grant support your broader goals for community science? Why do you and your partner want to work on community science together?

Click here to submit your proposal materials for the Partnership Planning Seed Grant to ASTC.

Click here to download a PDF overview and proposal instructions for this award.

Watch our recorded webinar for an overview of the 2023 funding opportunities and Q&A session with our participants.

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