Call for Project Ideas-2023

Project Ideas should be submitted via the Submission Link: 

Guidelines for Developing a Project Idea 

1. Introduction: Center for Regional and Rural Connected Communities (CR2C2) is planning to provide Research and Education Exploratory (REE) Grants. These competitive seed grants will be available to faculty, researchers, and professionals within the consortium to conduct projects on emerging concepts and novel approaches to addressing transportation challenges in rural and underserved communities. Work done under the REE Grants could potentially lead to new, larger-scale projects under MRIs in later years (subject to project performance, quality and impact of deliverables, and advisory board feedback). Project selection will be based on a multi-step peer-review-based process. As the first step, CR2C2 is calling for Project Ideas. The proposed ideas are expected to be aligned with the CR2C2 objectives and major research initiatives which can be found on the center’s website: and USDOT RD&T strategic plan

A project idea can be submitted by researcher(s) and professional(s) within the CR2C2 consortium. The idea should be submitted by the project’s principal investigator. Upon review of the proposed idea, direct notification to the principal investigator will be made if a full proposal is requested. 

A total of $400k in funding is available, which will be awarded to the proposals that are submitted in response to the selected ideas.  100% cost-share commitment is required at the time of submission of the full proposal if the idea is invited for full proposal development. The recommended size of a project is $50k-$75k for each year for Single PI projects and $75k-$150k for each year for projects consisting of two or more PIs. Collaborative projects between multiple universities are encouraged. 

One of the awarded projects will be dedicated to equity and must be aligned with the objectives of the Equity 360 program of  CR2C2  or equity-focused research on technological solutions for rural transportation or increasing the involvement of underserved minorities in research, education, and technology transfer activities.

Project idea submission due date: August 31, 2023.

2. Project Duration: REE projects should be less than one year. However, if proposers are planning to submit an idea which will be longer than one year, the proposers should break it down into multiple phases, where the first phase is no longer than 1 year. In this case, Phase 1 is expected to be discussed in more detail, whereas later phases can be more briefly explained. Similarly, a more detailed budget is expected for Phase 1 and for subsequent phases a summarized  budget is sufficient. If awarded, the commitment is only for Phase 1. The proposers will have to submit a separate project idea and proposal during the next cycle for the subsequent phases should the proposers decide to continue the project.

3. Guideline for Development of Project Ideas 

The package should be submitted as a single PDF file and should include the following: 

The project idea description should include:

Explain how the proposed work is relevant to advancing one or more Center MRIs and how it addresses an issue of importance to the U.S. DOT RD&T Strategic Plan  

The application should be submitted as a single pdf file with the size of less than 100 MB. The submitted file should follow the naming convention as Institution-PI Name-Brief Title (e.g., NCAT-Smith-Eval of AVS for Rural.pdf).

Project Ideas should be submitted via the submission link: 

Proposed ideas will NOT be accepted via e-mail.

4. Evaluation Criteria for Selection of Project Ideas 

Project ideas will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

5. Tentative Timeline

6. Additional information

All projects funded under the CR2C2 grant must adhere to the following requirements: