American Family Funding Initiative – FAQ

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 below). 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.

How do I apply? What’s included in the application? Where do I find the budget form?

Detailed application instructions are available HERE. The link to download the budget form is in Step 2 of the first application phase.

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.

What is the start date for funded projects?

The recommended start date for funded projects is September 1, 2023. 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.

What is the funding limit? 

Awards will vary, but the maximum is $100,000. 

Do indirect costs apply? 

Yes. The budget form will automatically calculate indirect costs. They are included in the $100K maximum award amount.

How many years of funding can I request?

PIs can apply for one year 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 and postdocs. It is allowable to ask for small levels of PI effort (e.g., one summer month). Other allowable costs include academic staff salary, 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 2024, in my budget for faculty and academic staff salaries?


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.

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.

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.

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 the end of April.

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.

Whom can I contact with additional questions?

If you have questions about the application process, please email For other project-related questions, please contact