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2018 Kauffman Knowledge Challenge FAQs
Proposers are encouraged to consult these FAQs before submitting questions about the Kauffman Knowledge Challenge. Foundation staff will not respond to inquiries about project scientific content, fit with Special Interest Areas, project design and other substantive questions at the white paper stage; nor will questions submitted during the question period receive individual responses. Foundation staff will group similar questions and regularly update the FAQs until the end of the question period so they may be accessed by all interested parties. Answers to queries raised during the question period are shown in blue text.
Q.    Will the Foundation still offer its Dissertation Fellowship Program, Junior Faculty Fellowship and Kauffman Prize Medal?
A:    The Knowledge Challenge approach is a change in the way we seek information from research. It was designed after listening to researchers, entrepreneurs and those who support entrepreneurs. With this change, previous programs including the Dissertation Fellowship, Junior Faculty Fellowship, and the Kauffman Prize Medal, will be consolidated into this approach. 
Q:    I work in a nonprofit that provides mentoring and networking opportunities to entrepreneurship. We are interested in research, but we don’t have full-time researchers on staff. Can I still apply?
A:    Yes. You are eligible and encouraged to apply. We encourage you to identify opportunities to partner, acquire or source research.
Q:    I’m a professor at a university, and my project will require that I hire a research assistant. Should I apply as an individual researcher or as a team?
A:    If the research will be conducted primarily by you, and you are asking for student support to help you do the work, you can apply as an individual researcher. If the work being conducted is a substantial part of a dissertation, thesis or student activity, then the student(s) should apply for the funding.
Q:    My company is a for-profit. Can I still participate?
A:    Yes. However, funds to for-profit organizations require the identification of a clear charitable purpose before the Foundation can award a grant. This typically requires that the research be done for the public good, which can be demonstrated by making the data, model, research findings and assumptions public so they may be widely used and/or replicated. If a charitable purpose is accomplished, then grants to for-profits are permissible.
Q:    We are a for-profit. Can you provide more guidance as to whether our potential project would satisfy the definition of clear charitable purpose?
A:    At this stage we encourage all potential applicants to submit a white paper with their research idea if they believe it fits with the Challenge. If you are invited to submit a full proposal, we will provide more guidance regarding this requirement.

Q:    I’m an existing Kauffman grantee. Am I still eligible to participate?
A:    Yes.
Q:    May I submit research that is also under consideration by another funding institution?
A:    Yes. You should disclose previous, current and potential funders at the white paper stage. The Foundation also will expect full disclosure of funding sources as part of due diligence for full proposals.
Q:    My work is about international entrepreneurship interventions. Is this of interest to the Foundation?
A:    The Foundation is focused on entrepreneurship in the United States. You are eligible for the Kauffman Knowledge Challenge if your research will produce clear implications for entrepreneurship in the United States.
Q:    I think my project is very important, but it doesn’t fit within the four areas you outlined in this Challenge.
A:    The Foundation continues to be open to research proposals, so you can still submit your idea for consideration through our website. The areas identified in the Kauffman Knowledge Challenge represent our priority research areas for the 2018 cycle.
Q:    I’m working with a colleague at another university. Should we submit the white paper under one institution or both?
A:    The white paper should identify key project team members. Note that the online submission system will ask for information about the proposer’s organization. In the event that multiple organizations are involved, proposers should identify the lead organization through which the proposed project will be managed.
Q:    Can proposers be located outside Kansas City?
A:    Yes.
Q:    May I submit more than one white paper or be part of more than one submitting team?
A:    Yes.
Q:    May I participate if my project is already underway, but I need additional support in order to expand or scale my work?
A:    Yes.
Q:    Can different university departments on campuses across the country apply at the same time for this funding or is the limit one application per organization?
A:    There is no limit on the number of applications per organization, provided each application is a distinct project.
Q:    If a group of individual researchers, each of whom may not necessarily be affiliated with a university, non-profit or for-profit business, together submit a proposal, will this be considered a “project team” and thus be eligible for the up to $400,000 funding level?
A:    Yes.
Q:    I’m a researcher at a non-U.S. based institution. Am I eligible for an award?
A:    Researchers outside the United States are eligible if their research has clear and direct implications for entrepreneurship in the United States.
Q:    We are seeking funding for program operation or development. Are we eligible?
A:    The Knowledge Challenge is primarily intended to fund research activities that result in tangible insights for entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship program and policy design, ecosystem builders and researchers. If you believe your project will result in tangible research insights, we encourage you to submit a white paper.

Application/White Paper Requirements
Q:    How do I submit my project?
A:    Create an account or login here to submit your paper.
Q:    You asked for a two-page white paper. Is this single-spaced?
A:    The white paper should be two pages, single-spaced, in Times New Roman 12-point font. It must be submitted in PDF format.
Q:    What do you mean by “rough estimate of budget” for the white paper?
A:    At the white paper stage, an approximate budget estimate or range will suffice. The Foundation will issue guidance on full proposal budget preparation at the time proposers are invited to the second stage.
Q:    I have an idea that fits pretty well with two (or more) of the Special Interest Areas. Should I identify all of them in my white paper?
A:    You should identify the principal area that is most relevant for your work.
Q:    I am confused by the two notification dates in October and February. Does this mean that people who apply for multiple years will be notified separately or that there will be a separate call for proposals for 2019 and the timeline will be very close to the 2018 timeline?
A:   There is only one call for proposals. Applicants who move to the second stage will be invited by May 30, 2018, to submit full proposals. Due to our internal due diligence and budgeting processes, the Foundation anticipates some proposals will take longer to evaluate than others. As such, some awardees will be announced by October 1. These awardees will be disbursed funding beginning in 2018. Other awardees will be announced by February 1, 2019, and will be disbursed funding beginning in 2019.

Q:    May I speak to someone about my idea to see if it is a fit?
A:    The April 11-18 question period allows interested parties to submit questions to the Foundation. Refer to the process described above. You will not be able to speak directly to Foundation research staff during the white paper stage.
Q:    Do you have evaluation criteria or information about the evaluation process that you can share with applicants?
A:    Not beyond the information provided on the Knowledge Challenge website. The Foundation encourages all applicants who believe their projects are a good fit to submit a white paper.
Q:    What is Kauffman’s role in the execution part of the project? Will winner(s) be leading the effort and have the ability to leverage Kauffman’s resources as part of the effort or will Kauffman’s involvement be limited to just program management?
A:    The Foundation’s involvement generally will be limited to grant management and will not extend to execution. Applicants should assume they will be responsible for all activities necessary to complete their projects. If applicants believe they will require support from Kauffman aside from funding, they should explicitly indicate in their applications the nature and extent of the support they will require.
Q:    Will white papers and/or proposals be kept confidential?
A:    Yes. To protect the confidentiality of applicants and their research ideas, application materials will not be circulated outside of the Foundation. In the event a technical or scientific review is needed to fully evaluate a proposal, the Foundation will share the proposal with third parties who review the proposal under the terms of a confidentiality agreement. The Foundation will seek permission from the proposer prior to sharing the proposal with a third party reviewer.

Q:    Who will own the IP generated by the white papers submitted for the Kauffman Knowledge Challenge?
A:    The Foundation will not seek to exploit IP contained within a submitted white paper. With respect to any grants awarded at the end of the Challenge, the grantee/researcher will, in almost all cases, retain ownership over the IP generated during the research project, but the Kauffman Foundation will retain a right to use the data and findings for its own purposes. However, in unusual circumstances, the Foundation may require that the IP generated from a Foundation-funded research project be open sourced in order to meet legal requirements around accomplishing a charitable purpose. These discussions will be part of the Foundation’s engagement with applicants who are invited to submit full proposals during the second stage of the Challenge.
Q:    What access will the public and other grantees have to the insights gained from all participants at the completion of the Kauffman Knowledge Challenge?
A:    As a matter of policy, Kauffman requires that all funded grants, including those funded through the Challenge, contribute to public good. Kauffman will engage directly with applicants who are invited to submit proposals to ensure their projects result in insights that further the Foundation’s charitable mission and that are publicized widely.
Q:    Can the Foundation provide guidance as to the most advisable or desirable team structure?
A:    Applicants should propose whichever team structure they think is most suitable to accomplish their research goals.

Q:    Are images allowed in the two-page submission? Are URLs to external data allowed?
A:    The white paper may contain images, URLs, tables or any other material you consider appropriate and crucial to your submission. The Foundation will review only the material in the white papers themselves.

Q:    Does the two-page limit of white papers include text and all the figures and tables?
A:    Yes. White papers are limited to two pages including text, figures and tables.​​

Q:    Does the Foundation require an institutional signature/sign-off for the white paper to be submitted? Or is submission by PI (on behalf of institution) sufficient?
A:    No institutional sign-off is required at the white paper stage. Submission of your idea by a PI (or designated representative) is sufficient.

Q:    If I submit a white paper, when will the Foundation send me a check?
A:    Neither submission of a white paper nor a full proposal is a commitment of funding from the Foundation.
Q:    Will I receive feedback on my white paper if I am not invited to the second round?
A:    Foundation staff will not be able to provide individual feedback on white papers.
Q:    Can the Foundation provide guidance on realistic or expected funding amounts for specific types of projects?
A:    At this stage, applicants are encouraged to provide a rough estimate of their budget and to identify any confirmed or expected co-funding opportunities (if relevant). The Knowledge Challenge may grant up to $400,000 annually for project teams, up to $150,000 annually for individual researchers (including hiring contract or research assistance) and up to $30,000 annually for students or student teams and/or doctoral researchers. At this stage, the Foundation will not be providing guidance as to suggested expenses or budget amounts beyond these general parameters.
Q:    Are there restrictions or preferences on how grant money is used?
A:    The Foundation will not comment on suggested uses of funding at this stage beyond the general parameters discussed above. Applicants should provide a rough estimate of the total amount of funding required to complete their projects.
Q:    Does Kauffman allow for indirect/overhead costs?
A:    Generally, the Foundation’s policy is to disallow indirect costs. Exceptions are on a petition basis only and require approval from the Foundation’s senior leadership. To receive an exemption, the organization must provide an indirect cost business case, including detail of the expenses types and direct application to support the grant purpose. If an exception is approved, in no case will the indirect cost expense items allowed exceed 10 percent of the grant. At the white paper stage, a breakout of costs is not needed. Applicants need only provide a rough estimate of the amount of funding they will require. However, applicants are encouraged to take this policy under consideration, as detailed budget information will be required at the proposal stage (should you be invited to submit a full proposal).
Q:    How does EMKF typically manage distribution of grant funds to awardees? Are these reimbursement-based? If not, are these typically milestone-based or staged in any way?
A:    The Foundation utilizes a variety of methods to disburse funds to awardees. These strategies vary depending on the type of organization; the size, length, and complexity of the project; and the internal resources of the organization receiving funding. The Foundation will engage directly with applicants who are invited to submit full proposals to identify the distribution method that best meets their needs while complying with our funding policies.