Announcing the NAKFI CHALLENGE Results! MEET THE WINNERS
Are you a past participant of a NAKFI conference with an idea to more effectively conduct interdisciplinary research programs and projects? Learn more about the application process and submit your proposal by March 13, 2018, at 3:00 PM Pacific.
Each valid application receives scores and comments from five Peer-to-Peer Reviewers, using a trait-scoring rubric with four criteria: collaborative, feasible, creative, and adaptable. The top-scoring submissions will also receive feedback from the Evaluation Panel.
Based on the recommendation of the Evaluation Panel, the Selection Committee will determine three winning teams, each of whom will receive $500,000 to implement their proposal to improve interdisciplinary research and the cross-collaboration of scholars from various fields.
During Peer-to-Peer Review, each team lead will score and comment on five applications from other teams, using four criteria included in the trait scoring rubric: collaborative, feasible, creative, and adaptable. This is the same trait scoring rubric that the Evaluation Panel will use.
Scores will be calculated using a normalization algorithm that ensures a level playing field for everyone. In addition to scoring each application on the four criteria found in the trait scoring rubric, Peer-to-Peer Reviewers will also provide a final numerical score, ranging between 0-100, representing an overall assessment of quality for the entire application. We ask that you carefully review the applications assigned to you and provide meaningful feedback.
The Peer-to-Peer Review will result in a rank-order of all valid applications. The top 30 of these applications will be reviewed by the Evaluation Panel.
Using the trait scoring rubric, the Evaluation Panel Judges score and comment on the top 30 applications based on the rank order as determined by the Peer-to-Peer Review process. The top 30 applications will receive an additional five sets of reviews that have been statistically normalized. A subset of the Evaluation Panel will confirm and validate the top-scoring applications as determined by the entire Evaluation Panel.
Once the top-scoring applications have been confirmed and verified, they will be presented to the Selection Committee who will make a final determination as to the Winners. The selection of the three Winners is at the sole discretion of the Selection Committee.
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Review the traits the judges will use to score valid applications. Scores will be normalized for fairness.
Everyone is Treated Fairly
To ensure fairness, once a valid application has been submitted for assessment, a minimum of five reviewers will grade each submission. Those reviewers will offer both scores and comments against each of four distinct traits. Each trait will be scored on a 0-5 point scale, in increments of 0.1. Those scores will combine to produce a total normalized score. Examples of possible scores for a trait are… 1.4, 3.7, etc.
The most straightforward way to ensure that everyone is treated by the same set of standards would be to have the same reviewers score every application; unfortunately, due to the number of applications that we may receive, that is not possible.
Since the same reviewers will not score every application, the question of fairness needs to be explained carefully. One reviewer scoring an application may take a more critical view, giving any assigned team a range of scores only between 1.0 and 2.0, as an example; meanwhile, another reviewer may be more generous and want to score every submission between 4.0 and 5.0.
For illustrative purposes, let’s look at the scores from two hypothetical reviewers:
The first reviewer is far more generous, as a scorer, than the second reviewer, who gives much lower scores. If your application was rated by the first reviewer, it would earn a much higher total score than if it was assigned to the second reviewer.
We have a way to address this issue. We ensure that no matter which reviewers are assigned to your team, each application will be treated fairly. To do this, we utilize a mathematical technique relying on two measures of distribution, the mean and the standard deviation.
The mean takes all the scores assigned by a reviewer, adds them up, and divides them by the number of scores assigned, giving an average score.
Formally, we denote the mean like this:
The standard deviation measures the “spread” of a reviewer’s scores. As an example, imagine that two reviewers both give the same mean (average) score, but one gives many zeros and fives, while the other gives more ones and fours. It wouldn't be fair, if we didn’t consider this difference.
Formally, we denote the standard deviation like this:
To ensure that the judging process is fair, we rescale all the scores to match the judging population. In order to do this, we measure the mean and the standard deviation of all scores across all judges. Then, we change the mean score and the standard deviation of each judge to match.
We rescale the standard deviation like this:
Then, we rescale mean like this:
Basically, we are finding the difference between both distributions for a single judge and those for all of the judges combined, then adjusting each score so that no one is treated unfairly according to which judges they are assigned.
If we apply this rescaling process to the same two judges in the example above, we can see the outcome of the final resolved and normalized scores. They appear more similar, because they are now aligned with typical distributions across the total judging population.
We are pleased to answer any questions you have about how we seek to ensure a level playing field for every team. Please login today and join our discussion forums, where you can ask questions or seek clarification.
Understand the legal rules governing the competition
Thank you for your interest in the NAKFI Challenge (the “Competition”). The Competition is sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences with platform support provided by RAMPIT. Please know that by participating in this Competition and in accordance with these Rules you are eligible to receive various forms of recognition and a possible award from the National Academy of Sciences of up to $500,000 as an Awardee. The Rules governing this Competition ("RULES") are stated here as an extension of the Terms & Conditions ("TERMS") for use of this website. The full TERMS are available for your review by accessing them on this website. The RULES constitute "Competition Terms and Conditions" under Clause 2.3 of the Terms. Capitalized words used but not defined in the RULES have meanings given to them in the TERMS.
Please read these RULES and the TERMS carefully, as they describe the conditions under which you are allowed to participate. As you participate, you may periodically be asked to recognize your acceptance of these RULES and the Terms by clicking "accept" at various pages on this website, but by continuing any use of this website you expressly consent to all of these RULES and the TERMS.
SUBMISSION OF AN ENTRY IN THE NAKFI CHALLENGE CONSTITUTES FULL AND UNCONDITIONAL AGREEMENT TO AND ACCEPTANCE OF THESE RULES.
The National Academy of Sciences welcomes applications from individuals who have previously participated in a NAKFI conference and who represent an organization or entity that have a recognized legal existence and structure under applicable law (State, Federal or Country) and that are in good standing in the jurisdiction under which they are organized.
Employees of the National Academy of Sciences, RAMPIT, The Common Pool, LLC, and any of their subsidiaries and affiliates, and immediate family members (spouse, parent, child, sibling and their respective spouses, regardless of where they live) or persons living in the same households of such employees, are not eligible.
All applicants must demonstrate their financial and organizational capacity to accept any Award. If You are selected as an Awardee, You warrant that the appropriate officers, executives, managers, or other persons who have the authority to approve participation in this competition have approved Your Entry and that You understand that these terms will be binding on both You and Your Entity. Furthermore, You understand that if You submit an Entry without obtaining the appropriate approval, the National Academy of Sciences may, in its sole discretion, disqualify Your Entry. Finally, if You are selected to receive an Award, an officer or person entitled to bind the entity will be required to validate that You are entitled to receive the Award on the behalf of the entity and the officer or person entitled to bind the entity must provide the appropriate information for payment of the Award.
All applicants are required to comply with the application requirements published on this website.
Each application should reflect the anticipated ownership, use, and licensing of any intellectual property. You represent and warrant that your Entry is an original work created solely by You, that You own all Intellectual Property in and to the Entry, and that no other party has any right, title, claim or interest in the Entry, except as expressly identified by You to us in writing in Your application. You retain all right, title and interest in any inventions, software or work of authorship You invent or create. The ownership and use of intellectual property arising from this competition remains with You subject to the License provided to the NAS and Keck Foundation set out in Section 6.4 of these Terms and Conditions
You may contact us with any questions or comments about these RULES. Please enter NAKFI Challenge in the subject line of your email. You may reach us at: email@example.com.
Over the past fifteen years, NAKFI has promoted interdisciplinary research and collaboration through our annual conferences and seed grant program. Some of the brightest minds across in sciences, engineering, medicine, and arts and design disciplines have participated in deep conversations and developed bold approaches to the real-world challenges of our day.
Many of our past conference participants have applied for and received seed grants to enable further pursuit of new ideas and inspirations generated at the conference. These seed grants allowed investigators to recruit students and postdocs to the research effort, purchase new equipment, acquire preliminary data, develop prototypes of exhibits, or create new collaborative teams and modes of inquiry -- all of which can position the project to compete for larger awards from other public and private sources.
The NAKFI Challenge invites past participants of NAKFI conferences to submit a proposal that will continue the essential work of NAKFI.
Each application must demonstrate a clear understanding of the problem currently holding back interdisciplinary research and the collaboration of scholars from various fields. Your proposal may address structural barriers, interpersonal hurdles, or other types of impediments to effective interdisciplinary collaboration. For example, the goals of the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative are to influence:
NAKFI has inspired its diverse network to "think big" at the frontiers of science, engineering and medicine. Help us continue this important work by envisioning how your NAKFI experience can shape the future of boundary crossing research and collaboration.
Propose Your Solution
Please read all of the application requirements before completing each section. All applications must be submitted in English. If you are selected as a Finalist, portions of your application, including the Proposal Title and Quick Pitch, and may be published on this website; the remainder of your application will only be viewed by prize administrators and judges.
Be sure to "review your application as the judges will see it" through the link on the internal application page, and confirm your changes have been saved. When you have completed all of the requirements, a message will be displayed on the screen. At that point, you can submit your final application. Once you have submitted the application, you will no longer be able to make changes.
You must submit your application no later than Tuesday, March 13, 2018, at 3:00 PM Pacific.
Please provide a title for your proposal. This title may be displayed on the competition website post-submission so please be descriptive.
Provide a summary of the new model your team is offering that fosters and rewards interdisciplinary research and interactions. The description should read as a short and interesting pitch for your core concept. Focus on delivering a compelling overview so that the Evaluation Panel members assigned to score your application will want to read more. Your description should not require any other context to clearly explain what you are offering. This is your opportunity to make a strong first impression so make every word count.
Advances in science and engineering increasingly require the collaboration of scholars and practitioners from various fields, and coordination across sectors and institutions. The following information is required to capture a basic understanding of the leadership, structure, vision, and capabilities of your team. Teams may consist of members from multiple organizations or consist of members that belong to the same organization.
Each team member must fulfill a specific purpose in implementing your proposed idea. Let us know how your team is structured. Be sure to identify each team member and their affiliation and role. You may include an organizational chart by inserting an image into the text box. Clearly identify which team members have participated in NAKFI conferences.
Please name up to three of the managing team members or decision makers, including their specific titles within their affiliated organizations. Provide a short biographical statement for those three team members; focus on their interdisciplinary experience most relevant to your proposal and include a description of their role on your team to oversee implementation of your proposal.
If your team consists of multiple organizations, you are required to upload a letter of support, which stipulates the relationship between the organizations. Make sure to include all necessary parts by referring to the following guidelines for drafting your Letter of Support. Be sure to include all team members who are critical to the implementation of your proposed idea.
If your team is internal to a single organization, you do not need to complete this section.
Provide the details of your idea. Be sure to emphasize how your proposal aligns with the four traits that will be used to assess each valid application (see Trait Scoring Rubric).
Each proposal must demonstrate a clear understanding of the problem currently holding back interdisciplinary research and the cross-collaboration of scholars from various fields. Your proposal may address structural barriers, interpersonal hurdles, or other types of impediments to effective interdisciplinary collaboration. For example, the goals of the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative are to influence:
To achieve a deeper understanding of your idea, convince those reviewing your application that you understand the greater context and the local realities of the environment in which you work. Describe the circumstances that hinder interdisciplinary researchers and practitioners and set the stage for why your approach offers meaningful change and opportunities to address complex problems that transcend disciplinary, professional, structural, and other types of boundaries.
Please provide a broad description of the specific problem that you are committed to addressing through your team’s idea. Offer an explanation of the current resources available to address the problem. Focus on why those resources are insufficient to break-through the current barriers. Explain any previous attempts to solve the problem, if there were any, and why your big challenge persists within your environment.
Build on your description of the big challenge and offer a complementary description of the environment where you plan to implement your approach. Show that you understand the specific intricacies that you must overcome. Explain your understanding of the necessary operations or tactics critical to overcoming any implementation challenges.
Describe your expertise and the specific details of your technical and operational approach. How will your team foster ways to more effectively conduct, facilitate, and understand interdisciplinary research programs and projects and the individuals and institutions who undertake them? Be specific, get creative. Explain your knowledge of what’s required to achieve success while offering insight into the technical aspects of your idea – what makes your approach different and better? Why does your approach matter? Feel free to include a link to conceptual sketch or drawing that represents your ideas.
NOTE: If you include a link to a file, be sure that the appropriate permissions are set so that individuals outside your organization can open it.
Describe your plan to support the proposal after implementation. Describe how your proposal will become self-sustaining over time. What are the key implementation details that will ensure a long-lasting change in your organization(s) to support the overarching goals of your proposal?
The information provided in the previous sections is intended to reveal team leadership, and strategic and practical plans; we also need to understand the feasibility of your idea.
In chronological order, identify the milestones and timeline for implementing your idea.
Please offer an overview for how you would use the grant award of $500,000. This Budget Narrative should complement your project plan. Your budget narrative description should include, in broad terms, total projected needs by category, and you may include any explanations of existing resources that you have secured. Additionally, if you plan to subcontract any of the work of the project, provide a description of what part of the project you will subcontract and who will do the work.
Please provide specific line items from your budget narrative (above) in United States Dollars (USD). Award funds can be used to cover direct and indirect expenses necessary for the successful completion of the project. Please make sure that any funds identified in this table reflect your general explanations provided in your budget narrative.
NOTE: Per National Academy of Sciences policy, tuition is an indirect expense and should be included in the “indirect expense” category.
In this section, describe any additional capital or support you have secured from other sources. If you do not have additional capital, please enter “NONE.”
Will private interests (such as shareholders, for-profit companies, contractors, consultants, or other individuals) benefit more than incidentally from the solution as compared to the public or charitable benefit? If your solution will trigger any private benefit to one or more individuals, provide an explanation of how the public benefit cannot be achieved without necessarily benefiting those individuals and to what degree any private benefit compares to public benefit.
Please describe any threats to your proposed idea and how you plan to address them. While every project plan is different, we expect teams to raise the most important assumptions of risk and how you will manage them.
This is your opportunity to describe outstanding issues that you could not offer in other sections.
The implementation of your idea may require other resources or partnerships; please explain them. You can offer any contingency planning, based on specific issues raised in the risk or budget sections of your proposal.
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Under the RULES of the NAKFI Challenge, participants may submit a proposal that includes multiple organizations. To the extent two or more organizations seek to collaborate with respect to a proposal, a single entity must have definitive responsibility for supervision of the project, control over the use of the grant funds, and responsibility for reporting on the use of the grant funds.
Any organizations seeking to collaborate on a project must execute a letter of support that defines and controls the relationships among the parties. The letter must be included as part of any valid application. NAKFI and any designees may review the letter to determine if it satisfactorily addresses these key points:
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