Project Grant Application

The Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics awards project grants each year to community organizations, university faculty and departments, and student organizations. Awards are given to projects that stimulate and support educational events and activities related to the center’s theme of inquiry. The maximum award is $10,000, but most awards range from $2,000 to $6,000.

Applications for the 2019-20 academic year are due on Monday, February 25, 2019, by 5 p.m. 

The Wayne Morse Center’s theme of inquiry for 2019-21 is Science, Policy, and the Public. In academic year 2019-20, we will focus on Environmental Disasters and Resilience with an all-hazards emphasis on Oregon. 

Priority focus topics for 2019-20 include:

  • Decision-Making Through a Resilience Lens
    Resilience has been described as the capacity of individuals, communities, institutions, businesses, and systems to survive, adapt, and grow no matter what kinds of chronic stresses and acute shocks they experience. Applying a resilience lens to decision-making leads to better designed projects and policies that address multiple challenges at once.
  • The Public Life of Science and the Public Roles of Scientists
    When, why, and how are recommendations by scientists incorporated into the legislative, regulatory, legal and planning process? To what extent is scientific illiteracy responsible for the lags between science and the responses of elected officials, government agencies, and ordinary citizens? How do we address the gap between scientific complexity and the need for public solutions that are simple and familiar?
  • Unequal Vulnerabilities
    Risks of exposure and responses to disasters are structured by historical patterns of power and powerlessness and already-existing social inequalities. Marginalization of certain segments of the population make some individuals and communities more vulnerable and less resilient due to such forces as race and ethnicity, class and income, age and education, gender, and geographical location. Why are some people disproportionately affected by environmental disasters? What can we learn from people who have already experienced displacement and trauma linked to fires, floods, droughts, earthquakes, and hurricanes?
  • On-the-Ground Action
    How can practical planning address fear and denial as well as threats to our built and natural environments? What steps are being taken on campus, locally, and in Oregon to address the harm that is occurring and will occur? What is being done to increase resilience on campus and in our community? What role do university students, faculty, and staff have in shaping and engaging in those efforts?

Project grant applicants should propose activities that complement the focus topics. The theme of inquiry is broad and is intended to include topics and issues from many community perspectives and academic disciplines, including the arts.


The Project Grant program is open to community organizations (including nonprofits and schools), university faculty and staff, university departments and programs, and student organizations. The Center does not offer grants to governmental or quasi-governmental organizations (except for schools), but such organizations may partner with a community organization or university department to jointly submit a proposal. Additionally, the Center is unable to fund projects that involve advocacy for or against a specific ballot measure, constitutional amendment or candidate for office. Projects that educate the public on the anticipated impacts of a ballot measure or constitutional amendment are acceptable.

We are looking for applicants with a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences to enhance the conversation at the Center. Awarded funds may be used for program expenses, speaker honoraria and travel, summer support for scholarly work, and faculty release time. A wide variety of projects have been funded in the past including lectures, new classes, workshops, art exhibits, conferences and theatrical performances.

Duties and Conditions

  1. Projects must be related to the theme of inquiry.
  2. Projects must impact the university and/or Oregon communities.
  3. Projects must commence no earlier than July 1, 2019 and be completed no later than June 30, 2020. If the grantee is unable to use the award during this time period, the award is forfeited. Project grants cannot be deferred. However, the grantee may reapply during the next application period.
  4. Projects must be independently administered by the grantee, without reliance on the staff of the Wayne Morse Center. Applicants must show they have the capacity to organize and carry out the project successfully.
  5. Details of project events (dates, times, locations, speakers, etc.) will be provided to the Wayne Morse Center as early as possible, preferably three months prior to the event.
  6. Projects must include The Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics as a supporter on all printed materials, publicity and websites.
  7. Within one month of completion of all work associated with the grant, we request that you submit a report to the Wayne Morse Center including a description of how the money was used, an explanation of the funded activities, and a summary of the goals achieved through the grant.


The selection committee consists of interdisciplinary university faculty, at least one community member, and Wayne Morse Center staff, Law Fellows and advisory board members.
The Wayne Morse Center seeks to fund a variety of projects that effectively examine the theme as well as impact the community and/or the university. The following criteria are considered:

  • Relevance to the theme of Environmental Disasters and Resilience
  • Capacity of the individual or organization to complete the project successfully
  • Strength of links to the university, the community and the state
  • Impact on the lives of individuals and/or or impact on scholarship or policy
  • Overall quality of the proposal, including whether the applicant followed the directions listed below

The selection committee may request additional information from applicants. Successful applicants will be notified of selection in mid-March 2019.


Proposals must be written in language accessible to readers from several disciplines. The complete application should include the following parts:

  1. Cover letter (one page maximum) that includes a summary of the project, the amount of the request, and contact information (including email address) for applicants.
  2. Description of the project (800-word maximum). Describe the nature of the project, proposed speakers, target audience, publicity, volunteers and/or staff who will complete the project, and other relevant information. Please indicate if there are cosponsors and the timelines for planning and executing the project. Proposals should address links between the university and community.
  3. Statement of qualifications and resume (resumes limited to 2 pages per person). Please describe your qualifications to carry out the project. Explain your experience in administering similar projects and your capacity to complete the project. University applicants should demonstrate departmental support for the project.
  4. Project budget and amount requested (grant request). Please include a budget for the project and the amount requested from the Wayne Morse Center. Please indicate other sources of support and any cosponsors. Be sure to include expenses for outreach and publicity.
  5. Supporting materials. Additional materials are NOT required. (Sometimes less is more.) If you submit supporting materials, a maximum of two pages will be considered. Materials in excess of this limitation will not be considered or reviewed. If you submit a video of a performance or documentary, know that selection committee members will not view more than five minutes of it.

Application submission: email the completed application packet as a single pdf to Rebecca Flynn, codirector,

Applications for the 2019-20 academic year are due on Monday, February 25, 2019, by 5 p.m.