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Innovation Challenge

In the fall of 2016, President Kathleen McCartney announced the creation of a new competitive funding opportunity—the Innovation Challenge—to support projects that strengthen our community and beyond. The theme for the inaugural challenge was Advancing Inclusion, Diversity and Equity. For 2021–22, grants will be offered to fund innovative projects related to the themed Year on Democracies.

Submit a Proposal

The Year on Democracies planning group invites project proposals from Smith students, staff and faculty. Proposals may include high-profile speakers, departmental lectures, coordinated courses across academic divisions, performances, exhibits and more. The planning group also welcomes proposals for combining and aligning existing initiatives under the Democracies theme. In order to support initiatives across the campus, funding for any single proposal will be capped at $10,000.

For more information, please contact

Proposal Considerations

Priority consideration for funding will be granted to proposals that:

  • Demonstrate innovative approaches to teaching, research and activism related to democracies
  • Take a team approach, engaging students, staff and faculty in a collaborative project
  • Contemplate the intersecting issues of inclusion, diversity, equity and democracies
  • Have the potential to succeed in both in-person and virtual contexts

List name, Smith affiliation and email address for up to four co-applicants.




Please enter a budget figure and brief description for each appropriate category, and a final total. Note that, although the Innovation Grant itself cannot fund student worker compensation, the committee can help connect successful applicants to funding sources for that budget line as appropriate.

Describe how you will assess the success of this project.

Innovation Challenge Award-Winning Proposals