American Family Funding Initiative – FAQ

General

Who is eligible to apply?

UW–Madison faculty and academic staff with permanent PI status are eligible to apply. The PI must start the application. Once the application is initiated, the PI can add collaborators (see the Application section, below, for details). The PI must submit the completed application.

Can I invite a faculty member who received funding in a prior round, or who is applying this year, to serve as co-PI on a project where I am PI?

Yes While it is unlikely we would fund two proposals from the same PI, we have funded faculty who are PI on one proposal and co-PI on another.

What is the start date for funded projects?

Projects must initiate and complete 12 continuous months of effort between 9/1/2024 and 2/28/2026. Applicants will need to include their anticipated start and end dates in their applications. American Family supports projects with both funding and data scientists. Keeping projects on schedule ensures American Family’s data scientists are available to support all projects and PIs.

In the review process, is there any disadvantage to submitting a proposal as a sole PI, rather than with a co-PI?

No. We will review the content of each proposal using a blind review process where the reviewers will not know the identities of PIs and co-PIs.

Does the proposal need to be completely new? If I have a proposal that is under review by an external agency (e.g., NSF, NIH), can I use some of the content for this initiative?

It is is perfectly fine to propose work that you have included in a proposal to another agency. The American Family Funding Initiative proposal will likely be smaller in scope. That said, we discourage you from simply copying and pasting content from another proposal. Your Funding Initiative proposal needs to clearly address impacts to a) data science fundamentals and/or practice and b) insurance analysis and/or operations in an insurance company. You should consider how you might proceed if you receive both awards.

When will I know if my proposal was funded?

We aim to announce our decisions by early May.

Where do I find the UW’s Master Research Agreement with American Family Insurance?

Complete and submit this form to request access to the Master Research Agreement.

Application

How do I apply? What’s included in the application? 

Detailed application instructions are available HERE.

Do I need to create a Survey Monkey account?

No. Do not create a Survey Monkey account. Log into Apply using your NetID. This will ensure protection of your intellectual property.

Is it possible for members of my team to work together on our application in Apply?

Yes!  Once an application is opened in Apply, PIs can add co-PIs, students, administrators, and other proposal collaborators to the application using the “Add collaborator” button within the application, on the left side of the screen. PIs can choose to give collaborators viewing or editing permissions. However, the PI must create and submit the application—these tasks can not be delegated to collaborators.

Can I cite my previous, related work in the Statement of Work and include it in my list of references?

No. References to relevant work should not be cited in your Statement of Work. They can be uploaded as a separate, optional document, but this document will not be shared with reviewers. We are using a blind review process, and citations can provide identifying information.

Budget

Where do I find the budget form?

The link to download the budget form is in Step 1 of the Phase 1 application instructions.

What is the funding limit? 

In Round 6, we are offering two funding tiers for proposed projects:

  • Tier 1: Maximum award: $100,000. This tier is intended for projects that will require 9-12 months of graduate student support or partial effort from a postdoctoral researcher, data scientist, or software engineer. 
  • Tier 2: Maximum award: $150,000. This tier is intended for projects that will require 9-12 months of support from a postdoctoral researcher, data scientist, or software engineer. Tier 2 awards are more competitive than Tier 1.

Do indirect costs apply? 

Yes. The budget form will automatically calculate indirect costs. They are included in the maximum award amount.

How many months of funding can I request?

PIs can apply for 12 months of funding. They have the option to apply for continued funding for a project in subsequent rounds. No-cost extensions will only be granted under special circumstances.

What costs are allowable for this proposal? 

All allowable costs are on the budget form. Awards typically fund effort for graduate students, staff, and postdocs. It is allowable to ask for small levels of PI effort (e.g., one summer month). Other allowable costs include student hourly help, tuition remission, LTEs, project travel, supplies, equipment, computer services, and publication costs. The budget form will automatically calculate and include fringe benefits. All requests must clearly justify why the expenses are necessary for project success in the budget justification.

Are there any costs not allowed?

Subawards are not allowed.

Will the budget be divided among two PIs, or will all of it be allocated to the PI?

It is up to your team to develop a budget and decide how to allocate the funds.

Can I include a 2% compensation increase, starting January 2025, in my budget for faculty and academic staff salaries?

Yes

Who can I contact with additional questions?

If you have questions about the application process, please email research@datascience.wisc.edu. For other project-related questions, please contact external-ml-research@amfam.com.