Atlantic Coast Conference Innovation Initiative Research Grant Program Request for Proposals

Funding Agency:
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The Atlantic Coast Conference and the Center for Research in Intercollegiate Athletics at UNC-Chapel Hill are pleased to extend a request for proposals for the second annual ACC Innovation Initiative Research Grant Program. The purpose of this competitive program is to assist conference athletics administrators with data-driven decision-making. To accomplish this, several grants will be awarded to financially support faculty members and students from ACC member institutions who conduct research related to issues deemed critical by conference athletics administrators. Priority will be given to research related to the following topical areas:

1. Student-athlete welfare, including studies and analysis specifically addressing issues such as: a. Mental health b. Time management and scheduling c. Psychological well-being d. Physical health/nutrition/athletic performance

2. Revenue generation and finance/budgeting-related topics including studies and analysis specifically examining issues such as: a. Donor relations and donor activity b. Ticket sales c. Reducing expenditures d. The “Arms Race” (facility and equipment spending)

3. Organizational behavior and managerial issues within athletics departments, including studies and analysis specifically related to issues such as: a. Work-Life balance among athletics administrators b. Salaries and benefits c. Work culture and environment

4. Current Issues specifically examining the impact of, and administrative responses to, the following issues: a. Diversity/systemic racism/implicit bias b. NIL legislation c. The professionalization of college athletes and college sports d. Sports wagering e. Agents, marketing managers and boosters in an NIL landscape f. Transfer student-athletes g. Scholarship levels and amounts

Deadline: Sep. 15, 2021

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

In order for a proposal to be considered, the Principal Investigator (P.I.) of the submission must be a faculty member or student at an ACC institution throughout the duration of the grant. Further, preference will be given to research grant proposals that include investigators from multiple ACC institutions and from research teams comprised entirely from ACC institutions. If the research involves the use of human participants, the proposed study must receive approval from the appropriate Institutional Review Board(s) prior to any data collection. Data collection does not need to be exclusive to ACC institutions but ACC institutional data should be incorporated extensively in the research design.



Amount Description

This year, a total grant pool of $25,000 is available to fund research. It is anticipated five to eight grants will be dispersed. Applicants should consider this when developing proposal budgets. Faculty-led project budgets should fall in the range of $2,500 - $7,500, while student-led project budgets should range between $1,000 to $3,000. Upon approval of a proposal, funding will be sent from the ACC conference office to the institution’s Office of Sponsored Programs (or equivalent). NOTE: Institutions may not charge indirect costs.

Funding Type



Grad/Prof Students


Medical - Basic Science
Medical - Clinical Science
Social Sciences

External Deadline

September 15, 2021