Media CenterPublic Interest Technology University Network Challenge – Request for Proposals

Public Interest Technology University Network Challenge – Request for Proposals

The PIT University Network Challenge seeks to encourage new ideas, foster collaborations, and incentivize resource- and information-sharing among network members. PIT-UN launched the challenge in 2019. In 2021—PIT-UN’s third year—37 proposals from 28 institutions were awarded a total of $4,161,270 in grant funds.

For its fourth year, projects addressing any of the priority areas below related to public interest technology in university settings are welcome to apply for a grant.

  1. Educational Offerings
  2. Career Pipeline/Placement
  3. Faculty & Institution Building
  4. Strengthening the PIT University Network

Projects may include such ideas as:

  • Experiential learning opportunities, such as clinics, fellowships, apprenticeships, or internships that give students real-world exposure to the practice of Public Interest Technology.
  • New models of career training, placement, and/or financial support for individuals who seek to pursue careers in the nascent field of Public Interest Technology.
  • Partnerships with nonprofit, private sector, or affinity group partners that demonstrate the real-world application of Public Interest Technology to center community voice in pursuit of solutions for pressing problems, particularly challenges experienced by marginalized communities least well served by existing systems and policies.
  • New models to aid pre- and post-tenured faculty participation in (and recognition for) the research, curriculum development, teaching, and service work that builds Public Interest Technology as an arena of inquiry and training.
  • Platforms or practices to connect educators focused on Public Interest Technology so they may share curricula and strategies for improving Public Interest Technology programs.
  • Projects that aim to identify and pursue the central issues and questions that animate Public Interest Technology as a field of study.

The PIT-UN Challenge will prioritize projects that center the needs of communities who have historically been denied access to new technologies, been systematically left out of conversations at the intersection of technology and policy, and who have been denied opportunities to join the technology workforce. PIT-UN will prioritize these projects in an effort to further the positive social impact of technology for all communities. Projects may demonstrate centering community needs by incorporating community partners in the design and execution of their work.

PIT-UN is inviting proposals in two funding tranches. Budgets should be inclusive of an indirect rate, set at 20% of total direct costs.

  1. Tranche 1: Up to $90,000 ($0-$90,000) for direct and indirect costs
  2. Tranche 2: Up to $180,000 ($90,001-$180,000) for direct and indirect costs

If you are interested in having a proposal considered for submission, please complete the attached “preliminary proposal” document, and return to Michael Delli Carpini at by no later than Monday May 2. Note that these preliminary proposals need not be long – just enough to give us a clear sense of your objectives and approach. If your preliminary proposal is accepted for submission to PIT-UN, the full proposal (described in the attached RFP [PDF]) would be due by Friday June 24.

If you have any questions regarding PIT-UN or the proposal process, please contact Michael Delli Carpini at

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