Educational Research Call for Proposal

Investigate the impact of innovations in teaching and learning

The Center for Academic Innovation invites University of Michigan faculty, staff, and students to apply for research grants to support projects in the areas of higher education and academic innovation. Proposals should align with one of the research priorities outlined below.


March 15, 2023

Proposals will be accepted until March 15, 2023. To discuss potential research ideas and learn more information, please contact Caitlin Hayward at

Research Priorities

We are currently accepting proposals that align with the following key priorities for innovation research: 

  • Experimenting with the landscape of ChatGPT and other large language models to evaluate how they can be implemented as effective teaching tools in the classroom 
  • Exploring the role of open learning experiences in supporting undergraduate student success 
  • Investigating the impact and efficacy of XR-enhanced learning experiences 
  • Analyzing the impact of one of CAI’s educational technologies on student experiences 
  • Leveraging one of our Assessment Toolkit’s Major/Department Equity Reports to evaluate student curricular experiences through an equity lens

Examples of recent projects include efforts to use data from past semesters to understand how students experienced innovative pedagogy, experiment with technology to enable immersive and engaging learning experiences, and hear directly from students and instructors about their needs and interests. Creative proposals are encouraged. Projects that center on diversity, equity, and inclusion will be prioritized for funding.

Funding and Support

Approved proposals will receive up to $25,000 to fund research projects and in-kind support in the form of consultation from our educational research and data science experts.

Funding may be used for: 

  • Wages for students, post-docs, or contractors
  • Salary support for faculty
  • Transcription services
  • Software fees
  • Open access fees
  • Other expenses will be considered

Conference attendance/travel is not supported at this time. Funding can also be tied to other received grants. You are encouraged to highlight in the proposal how a CAI research grant is useful to furthering your research program. For instance, is it new work that is coming out of previously funded work? Is this grant intended to kick off work and then lead to additional funding?

Proposal Submission Process

Proposal Criteria

Excellent proposals will describe how the proposed research project aligns with CAI priorities, include clear research questions, outline the data sources and methodologies to be used, and highlight how this work can impact teaching and learning. Projects are generally expected to last up to 1-year, but requests for longer-term projects will be considered.

Proposals that expand the academic innovation community, especially to those who have not yet collaborated with CAI, will be prioritized for support.


  • Call for Proposals Open: February 23, 2023
  • Final Proposal Deadline: March 15, 2023

Please review the application form and submit to by March 15, 2023. Notices regarding status will be sent out no more than four weeks after the proposal deadline.


What are examples of types of projects that would be well-suited for a Center for Academic Innovation research grant?

  • Pilot studies of implementing new technology or pedagogy in the classroom
  • Experiments or approaches you’ve tried out in your classroom, but have not yet had a chance to study
  • Secondary analysis of an educational dataset

What do I need to produce as a report on this work?

We would like to receive a final version of any publications or presentations you produce via this funding. We also understand that while many of the things explored with this funding may not be quite ready for publication, we would very much like to learn from the work you have done. With that goal in mind, we ask that projects that do not result in a formal publication share a 3-4 page summary of work, describing what work was done, what was discovered, what you see as next steps for this work, and any challenges faced to enable us to support others better in doing this work. Ideally this document would be shared with CAI within 2 months following the conclusion of the work, but no later than one year after the grant award.

In addition, we invite you to contribute to knowledge sharing and institutional learning in one or more of the following ways:

  • Give an Academic Innovation at Michigan (AIM) Research presentation (public talk to the U-M community)
  • Share the work with a guest authored story on the CAI website describing the work done and initial findings
  • Discuss your work with CAI staff over a Research Brown Bag meeting (casual lunch talk)
  • Join the staff of CAI for an “Innovation Hour” (internal to CAI talk)

We are happy to discuss other ways for you to share your work back with us.