Instructions for Submitting Proposals to the American Family Funding Initiative

The American Family Funding Initiative application window is closed. Applications were due March 1, 2024, at 5pm.

UW–Madison faculty and academic staff with permanent PI status are eligible to apply. NetID authentication is required to open, create, and submit applications in Apply, which is the submission platform we are using for this competition. The project PI must start and submit the application. 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.

Important update: On 2/23/24, we updated the budget spreadsheet to reflect the lower indirect cost rate for cloud computing services. If you downloaded the older version of this spreadsheet and are including cloud computing costs in your budget, please download and use the new version.

There are two phases to the application process.

Phase I

The first phase of the application process involves the creation of your proposal and submission through Apply. Specific steps are described below.

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

Step 1: Initiate your application in Apply and complete the application components

The PI should initiate the application by clicking the “Apply” button, above. Once you start your application, you can add collaborators in Apply. Alert your grants administrator that you are submitting an application.

Complete applications will include the following components:

  • A Statement of Work, limited to 2 pages, saved as a PDF and uploaded to Apply. All figures and graphs must be included within the page limit. Because we are using a blind review process, the statement of work must not include any identifying information (e.g., do not include the PI’s first or last name, contact info, department, or names of collaborators or personnel in the file name, title, header, footer, or the body of your Statement of Work). References to relevant work can be uploaded as a separate document (see below), but this document will not be shared with reviewers. Before starting your application, we strongly recommend that you review the topics of interest to American Family. The statement of work should include the following description of your project:
    • Which funding tier are you applying for?
      • 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.
    • What are the problem(s) you are trying to solve?
    •  What specific topic(s) of interest to American Family does your proposal address? How are the problem(s) you are trying to solve relevant to these topic(s)?
    • What are the innovative features, the potential impact and the significance of the research?
    • How will the project be transformative for the field? Why is this research important?
  • A list of deliverables, limited to 1 page and saved/uploaded as a PDF. The list of deliverables will be shared with reviewers and must not include any identifying information (e.g., do not include the PI’s first or last name, contact info, department, or names of collaborators or personnel in the file name, title, header, footer, or the body of your list of deliverables).
    • A deliverable refers to a tangible output produced as a result of conducting your research project. These deliverables are specific and typically serve to communicate the findings, progress, or results of the research to various project sponsors or collaborators. Examples of research project deliverables include methodologies, code, algorithms, models, software products, prototypes, results… etc.
    • The nature of the deliverables may vary depending on the type of project being performed. Please specify whether each deliverable is considered standard or proprietary, based on the definitions found here.
  • A detailed Budget, created using our standard budget form, saved as an Excel file or PDF and uploaded to Apply. You will need to indicate which funding tier you are applying for:The form shows allowable expenditures and will calculate UW negotiated fringe and indirect cost rates, which must be included within the maximum award limit. We are using a MTDC budget model.
  • A Budget Justification, limited to 2 pages and saved/uploaded as a PDF. This document should include and describe all anticipated project expenditures, including those on the budget form and any in-kind contributions. Please provide names, job titles, and descriptions of the roles each member of your team will play in this project, and list the funding sources that will support their effort on this project. If they will not be paid (for instance, if you plan to have a student work on your project for course credit), please note this. Salary may be requested for faculty, academic staff, postdocs, and graduate students. If you are planning to purchase or use any software packages / services for the proposed research, please list these in your justification.
  • Optional Document
    • References to relevant work, limited to 2 pages and saved/uploaded as a PDF. These references will be used to aid team building if your proposal is selected, but will not be used as part of the proposal review.

Step 2: Create a funding proposal in RAMP and complete all required fields. Submit your proposal for department review

Instructions for creating American Family Funding Initiative proposals in RAMP are listed below. You can find RAMP user guides and videos here.

General Proposal Information Smartform

  1. Type of Application: New. Answer NO to Question 1a. This award is not transferring from another institution.
  2. Short title of proposal: Dept. abbreviation-PI’s last name-DSI-AFFI Round 6 (Example: Athletics-Badger-DSI-AFFI Round 6)
  3. Long title of proposal: Enter the PI’s proposal title
  4. Program director/Principal investigator: To select a different PI, first clear the listed PI by selecting the “X” next to the PI’s name. Next, search for the desired PI by either typing the PI’s name directly into the question field or selecting the ellipses in the question field to open a more detailed search window.
  5. Select the direct sponsor: MSN102457 American Family Mutual Insurance
  6. Instrument type: Contract
  7. Primary purpose of this project: Set the type of research: as “Miscellaneous.”
  8. Expected start date: If you know the anticipated start date, please enter it here. If you don’t know this date, use 9/1/2024.
  9. Submission Information: Type: “Proposals will be submitted by the PI via the Apply portal. Please review the proposal materials and, if approved for submission, provide an RSP signed cover letter as verification of SPO approval of the submission.
  10. Is this limited submission? No
  11. Is this a pre-proposal, white paper, or letter of intent to submit? No

Personnel Smartform

  1. Program director / Principal Investigator: This will automatically populate with the PI’s name entered in the prior section. Leave (a) blank. There is no need to upload a biosketch or other support document.
  2. Responsible department / division / institute: This will default to the PI’s department. If another department or center will manage the award, please update this field.
  3. Project personnel: In Question 3a, enter all UW–Madison personnel named in the Statement of Work / Budget  – co-PIs, other faculty and staff, and postdocs – and answer questions 3 and 6 in the new window that opens for each person. You don’t need to attach biosketches or current and pending support documents. If you plan to hire someone if funded, but don’t currently have a name for that person, you don’t need to include them here. In Question 3b, add non-institutional key personnel, if applicable. Subawards are not permitted.
  4. Administrative personnel: The Administrative Contact in Question 4a defaults to the logged-in user who created the funding proposal record. Change to the the department or center administrator you work with when submitting proposals. In Question 4b, please add Benjamin Ball, DSI. Ben will only access proposal if needed or requested to do so by Dept / Division / RSP. Enter any additional contacts who may need edit or read-only access to the record under Questions 4b and/or 4c. If the proposal is a collaborative proposal with another department(s), add other department administrators to view access.

Submission Information Smartform

  1. Submission type: Industry/For Profit
  2. Director Sponsor: American Family Mutual Insurance
  3. Add any general submission documents: Add the documents created in Step 1: a) Statement of Work, b) Deliverables, c) Budget form, d) Budget Justification, e) Optional: References to relevant work
  4. Budget Periods and Key Dates
    • 1. Application submission deadline: 3/1/2024
    • 2. Date response expected from sponsor: 5/3/2024
    • 3. Date project starts: Enter your anticipated start date here. If you don’t know your anticipated start date, use 9/1/2024.
    • 4. Date project ends: Initially this will reflect a five-year timeline. This is a one-year project, and this date will update once you remove the extra budget periods under Question 7.
    • 5. Project length (years): Initially this will reflect a five-year timeline. This is a one-year project, and this date will update once you remove the extra budget periods under Question 7.
    • 6. Modular budget? No
    • 7. Budget periods: Remove until there is only one period. The project end date and project length should automatically update. No matter what your start and end dates, your project length should be one year.

Compliance Review

  • Answer questions 1-7 for your project.
  • 8. Controlled Technology – Does this project include any of the following: This will likely be NO unless any of your project deliverables are proprietary. In this case, item C would apply and you should answer YES.
  • Answer questions 9-10 for your project.

Additional Proposal Information

  • Answer questions 1-3 for your project.

Completion Instructions

  • Complete all steps
  • After you click FINISH, you will still need to submit your proposal for departmental review. Before you submit your proposal, you will need to complete the following in RAMP:
    • Chair approval
    • PI certification
    • Budget approval
    • Other departmental approvals (if applicable)
      • Tip – If budget reflects personnel outside of your department/institute/center, be sure to obtain an “Additional Dept Review” from their pre-award team by submitting an ancillary review.
    • Ensure that all of the required approvals and all the documents required are uploaded to the RAMP record before submitting for departmental review. Your instructions when submitting for departmental review should include: “Please review the proposal materials and, if approved for submission, provide an RSP signed cover letter as verification of SPO approval of the submission.”

RAMP Budget Proposals

  • RAMP Budget Proposals (BP) should be completed in accordance with your Division’s standard practice.
  • The Sponsor/Am Fam standard budget form, budget justification and Statement of Work must be uploaded as standard RAMP attachments (see above).

Step 3: Upload your completed application to Apply and fill out the cover sheet

All documents created in Step 1 should be uploaded to Apply.  Additionally, you will need to upload the RSP cover page (signature page) to Apply.

Completed proposals should be submitted following the directions in Apply. When submitting your proposal, you must complete a Cover Sheet within Apply. You can save and return to this cover sheet before submitting your application. The cover sheet form includes:

  • Project title
  • PI name, title, department, email address, and NetID
  • Project collaborators
  • Total budget and funding tier
  • Anticipated start and end dates
  • RAMP record number (FPxxx)
  • Project continuation status
  • Alignment with American Family topics of interest
  • Project summary: One or two sentences explaining your project in plain, non-technical language, followed by a brief explanation of the value proposition of your work for the data science community. If possible, also describe the value proposition of your work for American Family and/or the insurance industry. The project summary is limited to 250 words. If proposals are awarded funding, the project summary may be shared in press releases, on the DSI website, and with AmFam business partners.

Phase II

After initial review, a subset of submitted proposals will be selected to move to the second phase. Projects that reach this phase will be asked to complete a Computing and Data Management Plan. PIs may also need to submit more details about their proposed projects, including milestones and deliverables. PIs will be required to confirm that they have read UW’s Master Research Agreement with American Family Insurance. Please complete this form to request access to this document.

Questions? Start with our Frequently Asked 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.