Culture Lab Innovation Fund

The Culture Lab Innovation Fund (CLIF) awards grants to Harvard students, faculty, staff, fellows, and personnel to pursue ideas that advance a culture of belonging on campus. Ideas should identify a critical challenge around diversity, equity, inclusion, or belonging. Proposals should aim to have a direct impact on the Harvard community and align with the University's goals towards lasting inclusive excellence.

 

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Grant Guidelines

The Fund will award competitive grants to test and pilot new ideas and scale existing efforts. 

  • Awards from $5,000 to $15,000
  • Teams of two people or more are welcome to apply
  • The award period is one year

Reporting

It is expected that award recipients will provide a general report outlining spending and project progress to the Culture Lab Innovation Fund (CLIF) at the end of the award period. CLIF will provide instructions to awardees regarding the scope and submission of these reports. To the extent possible, CLIF will highlight award project development on relevant websites and may feature your award in press releases communications with donors, and other materials.

Project Support

Fund recipients will join a cohort of fellow awardees and engage in networking and learning opportunities. Fund recipients will have access to coaching, advising, and consultation for the duration of the funding period. Other resources will be made available upon request. 

Funding Terms

Funds may be used for non-exempt overtime (as applicable), software/technology, temporary help (staff or students), back-filling for staff working on the project, and other project-related costs. Funds may not be used for payment to staff salaries. Staff are subject to Harvard University intellectual property policy.

 

Apply

Applications reopen August 2022.

Eligibility

Faculty and Staff:

  • All Harvard University benefits-eligible staff and faculty are eligible to apply. All primary team members must be affiliated with Harvard University.
  • All benefits-eligible Harvard administrative/professional, support or service and trades staff  members are eligible to apply.
  • Primary, secondary, and adjunct faculty are eligible to apply.

Students and Postdoctoral Researchers and Fellows: 

  • All full-time degree seeking Harvard undergraduate and graduate students are eligible to apply. All primary team members must be Harvard University affiliates.
  • Students must be enrolled for the duration of the funding period.
  • Postdoctoral Researchers and Fellows are eligible to apply.
  • A full time appointment at Harvard University is required and the appointment must last the duration of the funding period if awarded.

Review Criteria

Applications should be reviewed based on the degree to which they reflect:

  • Alignment - Aligns with our Office priority for recruitment/retention/development, creating an inclusive campus climate, or fostering a community where everyone has a full sense of belonging
  • Inclusive Design - Proposals that apply inclusive design principles to their project including adherence with the digital access policy will be highly valued
  • Innovation - The proposal represents an innovative approach to advancing diversity
  • Impact - The proposal is expected to have measurable impact once implemented
  • One Harvard - Project teams should aim to include and/or impact a mixture of faculty, student, staff, and/or postdoctoral fellows. Teams exhibiting cross-School and cross-functional and/or multidisciplinary collaboration will be especially valued
  • Promising Practice – Piloting this effort has the potential to have a University-wide impact and/or can be shared with other Schools and Units as a promising practice
  • Connection to Campus - The proposal has a direct connection to the Harvard community and influences the University's trajectory towards sustainable inclusive excellence and highlights a persistent challenge worth solving

Judging Process

First Round Judging 

A review committee of representatives from across the University will review proposals and identify first round finalists.

Second Round Judging

First round finalists will pitch their proposals to a panel of judges including senior leaders from the Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Leadership Council.

Stage of Innovation

There are four different ‘types’ of innovations the CLIF is designed to fund.

  • Start-up: A very limited test of an idea that is expected to generate learning; uses the smallest set of features/activities possible to test a hypothesis.
  • Transitional: Small scale implementation of an idea (e.g., in one School/Unit, or a select handful of Schools/Units).
  • Mature Implementation: Successful experiment seeking to expand to bring the innovative solutions to a cross-school or cross-unit group.
  • Scaling for Impact: Successful local implementation of an innovation seeking to broaden its reach and impact by supporting its application in new settings.
 

Office Hours

Register for group office hours to ask questions and learn more about the application process. 

FAQ

Why was the Culture Lab Innovation Fund created?

In response to the report produced by the Presidential Task Force on Inclusion and Belonging, an innovation fund was established to support innovative ideas from across the University that seek to advance belonging and inclusion. The fund is designed to encourage experimentation by faculty, academic personnel, students, and staff, with an eye toward building a broader base of promising practices that can be models for other Schools and units.

How much funding am I eligible to request?

Awarded projects will receive between $5,000 to $15,000.

I have questions about my application, where can I go?

You may email dib_culturelab@harvard.edu with any questions related to your proposal. Office Hours are available in March. Subscribe to our mailing list to receive alerts for when to sign-up for a one on one consultation.

What is the review criteria?

A review committee comprised of representatives from the across the University will judge applications using the criteria below.

  • Alignment - Aligns with our Office priority for recruitment/retention/development, creating an inclusive campus climate, or fostering a community where everyone has a full sense of belonging
  • Inclusive Design - Proposals that apply inclusive design principles to their project including adherence with the digital access policy will be highly valued
  • Innovation - The proposal represents an innovative approach to advancing diversity
  • Impact - The proposal is expected to have measurable impact once implemented
  • One Harvard - Project teams should aim to include and/or impact a mixture of faculty, student, staff, and/or postdoctoral fellows. Teams exhibiting cross-School and cross-functional and/or multidisciplinary collaboration will be especially valued
  • Promising Practice – Piloting this effort has the potential to have a University-wide impact and/or can be shared with other Schools and Units as a promising practice
  • Connection to Campus - The proposal has a direct connection to the Harvard community and influences the University's trajectory towards sustainable inclusive excellence and highlights a persistent challenge worth solving

What happens if I advance to the final round of judging?

Top rated proposals will move forward to the second and final round of judging where they will pitch their projects to senior leaders including members of the Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Leadership Council. In late April or early May, you will receive a notification about the status of your funding request. If you have been selected to move forward to the second round, you will receive instructions on how to prepare for the pitch competition.

What support will I have access to?

If you receive funding, you will join a cohort of fellow fund recipients. For the duration of your funding term you will be assigned a senior leader advisor. You will also have access to coaches and consultants. Other resources will be made available upon request.

What is expected of our project team?

It is expected that award recipients will provide a general report outlining spending and project progress to the Culture Lab Innovation Fund (CLIF) at the end of the award period. CLIF will provide instructions to awardees regarding the scope and submission of these reports. To the extent possible, CLIF will highlight award project development on relevant websites and may feature your award in press releases communications with donors, and other materials.

If you have additional questions, please email dib_culturelab@harvard.edu