The Center for ELSI Resources and Analysis (CERA)

About CERA

The Center for ELSI Resources and Analysis (CERA), launched in Fall 2019, is a new, interdisciplinary center with the twin goals of establishing a reliable digital platform for scientists, scholars, policymakers, journalists and the general public to learn about the ethical, legal and social implications of genetics and genomics (ELSI) and fostering a community of multi-disciplinary researchers focused on high priority ELSI issues. Funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute, the CERA is co-led by the Division of Ethics at Columbia University and the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics, in partnership with The Hastings Center and Harvard University.

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Please send in your CERA Working Group Proposal by April 1, 2020:

Call for Proposals for CERA Working Groups

To address emerging, high priority, and understudied ELSI issues and to enhance collaborations across institutions, the CERA is pleased to call for proposals for CERA Working Groups:

  • CERA Working Groups are interdisciplinary teams that meet (in person or virtually) to deepen understanding of and create innovative approaches to addressing emerging, high priority, or understudied ELSI issues. The CERA hopes to support two issue-based CERA Working Groups for the 2020-2022 cycle, providing up to $20,000 over two years for each.
  • The CERA does not have a predetermined list of emerging, high priority, and understudied ELSI issues and welcomes a broad range of proposals to further the ELSI field. Examples of ELSI issues around which a CERA Working Group could form include: methods for engaging underrepresented communities in genomics research; equity issues in AI and genomics; strategies for addressing the cost of targeted genomics therapeutics; and ontological frameworks for classifying ELSI scholarship.     
  • Working Group outputs and outcomes may include subsequent research proposals, educational materials, publications for scholarly and lay audiences, online tools, and events for scientists, clinicians, researchers, educators, journalists, policymakers, business leaders, and/or the public. CERA Working Groups will also produce a brief analysis of their issue(s) to be disseminated through the CERA website and will report annually on their work to the CERA Steering Committee.
  • Applications that assemble teams that have not worked together before, increase the diversity of the ELSI community, and/or include early-career researchers are strongly encouraged. 

Initial proposals for CERA Working Groups are due April 1, 2020. Initial proposals of no more than 500 words should briefly describe the issue to be studied and its significance to ELSI scholarship, how the work advances the goals of the CERA, the intended range of disciplinary expertise in the Working Group, a general plan for how the team will work together, and the proposed outputs and outcomes. Finalists will be invited to submit full proposals due June 1, 2020. Awardees will be notified by July 1, 2020. Funding for selected proposals will begin September 1, 2020, and end August 31, 2022

All Proposals are to be submitted online at CERA_WorkingGroup_Application  

Additional information, including details about budgets, review timelines, and criteria for evaluating proposals, can be found in the FAQ section below.

FAQs - Call for Proposals

What are important dates for this call for proposals?

  • April 1, 2020 11pm Eastern Time/8pm Pacific Time: 500-word initial proposals due
  • May 1, 2020: Finalists invited to submit full proposals
  • June 1, 2020 11pm Eastern Time/8pm Pacific Time: 2,500-word full proposals due
  • July 1, 2020: All finalists notified of their proposal status
  • September 1, 2020: Start date for selected CERA Working Groups 
  • August 31, 2022: Completion date for CERA Working Groups 

Will this call for proposals be reissued?

Yes. The CERA expects to reissue this call in January 2021 and January 2022, funding a total of four CERA Working Groups between 2020-2024. 

How will proposals be evaluated?

Proposals for CERA Working Groups will be evaluated by internal and external experts in bioethics, genetics and fields relevant to the proposed issues. Reviews will be based on the following criteria:

  • The importance and timeliness of the selected emerging, high-priority, or understudied ELSI issue.
  • The diversity of the proposed CERA Working Group members across fields, institutions, professions, career rank, geography, race, ethnicities, and genders as well as the strength of their expertise and/or experience. 
  • The potential impact of proposed outputs and outcomes to advance the selected emerging, high-priority, or understudied ELSI issue. 

Invitations to submit full proposals may contain suggestions or requests from CERA leadership for additional specific information. 

What are acceptable outputs and outcomes for CERA Working Groups? 

CERA Working Groups will produce a brief analysis of their topic to be disseminated through the CERA website. CERA leadership will assist CERA Working Groups on additional dissemination venues and will consider a variety of outputs and outcomes, including subsequent research proposals, educational materials, publications for scholarly and lay audiences, online tools and events for scientists, clinicians, researchers, educators, journalists, policy makers, business leaders, and/or the public. For example, CERA Working Groups may produce: special issues of journals; articles; commentaries; videos; curricula for courses and/or webinars; or policy proposals. CERA is able to provide limited administrative and technical support for Working Group outputs and dissemination activities. 

What level of funding can CERA Working Groups request and which expenditures may be included in proposal budgets? 

Each CERA Working Group may request up to $20,000 over 2 years. 

In full proposals, CERA Working Group applicants will provide a line-item budget of costs associated with their proposal. Allowable costs include: salary (capped at the current NIH cap for the basis of the percent effort allocation), travel, administrative and research support, meeting costs. Indirect costs will not be supported. 

Must CERA Working Groups meet in person? 

Meeting in person is not required. Indeed, the CERA encourages applicants to explore opportunities for remote participation in CERA Working Groups.  

Whom should I contact with questions about this call for proposals? 

Rachel Yarmolinsky, Program Director, Division of Ethics, Department of Medical Humanities and Ethics (MHE), Vagelos College of Physicians & Surgeons, Columbia University,  630 West 168th Street, PH 1525, New York, NY 10032

Email: rachel.yarmolinsky@columbia.edu

Phone: +1 (212) 342-0485