More ABC Micro Grants available!

UPDATE May 12, 2014: This round of micro grants has been completed – see the results. As further micro grants become available, they will be described on the website.


The Center for Intercultural Dialogue will distribute micro grants for intercultural dialogue from a pool of $5000 made available by the Association for Business Communication. These micro grants are intended to support either or both of the two types of activities described in the mission of the Center: study of intercultural dialogues by Communication scholars, and/or participation in intercultural dialogue through academic interactions between Communication scholars based in different countries, or different linguistic and cultural regions. Thus, you do not have to be studying intercultural dialogue as your topic – putting intercultural dialogue into practice through collaborative research is also eligible for funding. These grants are sufficient to provide seed funding only: no more than $1000 maximum can be awarded to any one individual. The goal is to encourage international, intercultural, interlingual collaborative research by giving enough funding to offset the cost of airfare only, while providing opportunity (and cause) for matching grants from universities. Past experience shows that even these small grants help researchers obtain matching funds from their departments, or administration.

ABC logo
If you already have multiple international connections, this grant is not for you – obviously you don’t need it. But if you are at a small college, or if you are a new scholar, or have not yet established significant international connections related to research, or if your university has recently cut back its budget for travel, you are the intended audience for this competition. If you have been reading publications by an international scholar on a topic of potential relevance to your own research, consider a short trip to discuss ways to collaborate on a future project. If you do not know who has been doing relevant work, check the sources you’ve been reading lately, ask your colleagues, and/or think about who you know from graduate school or who you have met (or heard present an intriguing paper) at a conference. Find someone with similar interests but who takes a different theoretical or methodological stance by virtue of being based in a different cultural context.

The intention is to support the development of new intercultural, professional connections. Thus continuing collaborations are ineligible. Those based in the US are expected to propose travel outside the country. International scholars currently living outside their country of origin are asked to establish a new affiliation in a different region rather than proposing a return to their homeland. We recognize that much interesting work can be done within a country between cultural groups, however this grant program focuses on connecting researchers who are not yet connected, across cultural regions that are typically disconnected. This rationale of cross-cultural connection must be explicit in the project description.

The ABC Micro Grants Application requires applicants to describe their project, provide a brief resume, a short note from their department chair documenting their current status, and one from the host scholar expressing interest in holding conversations related to research. The deadline is April 15, 2014. Membership in ABC is required, but they have decided to consider this a recruitment opportunity, meaning that you may join and be eligible immediately.

The National Communication Association set aside similar funding for micro grants in 2012-13. Those projects have already been completed, and have been described in sufficient detail that they may serve as models for this year’s applications.

Contact the Center’s Director, Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, with questions.

Reminder: ABC Micro Grants available

UPDATE May 12, 2014: This round of micro grants has been completed – see the results. As further micro grants become available, they will be described on the website.


The Center for Intercultural Dialogue will distribute micro grants for intercultural dialogue from a pool of $5000 made available by the Association for Business Communication. These micro grants are intended to support either or both of the two types of activities described in the mission of the Center: study of intercultural dialogues by Communication scholars, and/or participation in intercultural dialogue through academic interactions between Communication scholars based in different countries, or different linguistic and cultural regions. These grants are sufficient to provide seed funding only: no more than $1000 maximum can be awarded to any one individual. The goal is to encourage international, intercultural, interlingual collaborative research by giving enough funding to offset the cost of airfare only, while providing opportunity (and cause) for matching grants from universities.

ABC logo
If you already have multiple international connections, this grant is not for you – obviously you don’t need it. But if you are at a small college, or if you are a new scholar, or have not yet established significant international connections related to research, you are the intended audience for this competition. If you have been reading publications by an international scholar on a topic of potential relevance to your own research, consider a short trip to discuss ways to collaborate on a future project. If you do not know who has been doing relevant work, check the sources you’ve been reading lately, ask your colleagues, and/or think about who you know from graduate school or who you have met (or heard present an intriguing paper) at a conference. Find someone with similar interests but who takes a different theoretical or methodological stance by virtue of being based in a different cultural context.

The intention is to support the development of new intercultural, professional connections. Thus continuing collaborations are ineligible. Those based in the US are expected to propose travel outside the country. International scholars currently living outside their country of origin are asked to establish a new affiliation in a different region rather than proposing a return to their homeland. We recognize that much interesting work can be done within a country between cultural groups, however this grant program focuses on connecting researchers who are not yet connected, across cultural regions that are typically disconnected. This rationale of cross-cultural connection must be explicit in the project description.

The ABC Micro Grants Application requires applicants to describe their project, provide a brief resume, a short note from their department chair documenting their current status, and one from the host scholar expressing interest in holding conversations related to research. The initial deadline for review of proposals is February 1, 2014. If funds remain after the initial set of grants have been awarded, April 15, 2014 will be the second deadline.

The National Communication Association set aside similar funding for micro grants in 2012-13. Those projects have already been completed, and have been described in sufficient detail that they may serve as models for this year’s applications.

Contact the Center’s Director, Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, with questions.

Micro Grants for Intercultural Dialogue Available!

UPDATE May 12, 2014: This round of micro grants has been completed – see the results. As further micro grants become available, they will be described on the website.


The Center for Intercultural Dialogue will distribute micro grants for intercultural dialogue from a pool of $5000 made available by the Association for Business Communication. These micro grants are intended to support either or both of the two types of activities described in the mission of the Center: study of intercultural dialogues by Communication scholars, and/or participation in intercultural dialogue through academic interactions between Communication scholars based in different countries, or different linguistic and cultural regions. These grants are sufficient to provide seed funding only: no more than $1000 maximum can be awarded to any one individual. The goal is to encourage international, intercultural, interlingual collaborative research by giving enough funding to offset the cost of airfare only, while providing opportunity (and cause) for matching grants from universities.

ABC logoIf you already have multiple international connections, this grant is not for you – obviously you don’t need it. But if you are at a small college, or if you are a new scholar, or have not yet established significant international connections related to research, you are the intended audience for this competition. If you have been reading publications by an international scholar on a topic of potential relevance to your own research, consider a short trip to discuss ways to collaborate on a future project. If you do not know who has been doing relevant work, check the sources you’ve been reading lately, ask your colleagues, and/or think about who you know from graduate school or who you have met (or heard present an intriguing paper) at a conference. Find someone with similar interests but who takes a different theoretical or methodological stance by virtue of being based in a different cultural context.

The intention is to support the development of new intercultural, professional connections. Thus continuing collaborations are ineligible. Those based in the US are expected to propose travel outside the country. International scholars currently living outside their country of origin are asked to establish a new affiliation in a different region rather than proposing a return to their homeland. We recognize that much interesting work can be done within a country between cultural groups, however this grant program focuses on connecting researchers who are not yet connected, across cultural regions that are typically disconnected. This rationale of cross-cultural connection must be explicit in the project description.

The ABC Micro Grants Application requires applicants to describe their project, provide a brief resume, a short note from their department chair documenting their current status, and one from the host scholar expressing interest in holding conversations related to research. The initial deadline for review of proposals is February 1, 2014. If funds remain after the initial set of grants have been awarded, April 15, 2014 will be the second deadline.

The National Communication Association set aside similar funding for micro grants in 2012-13. Those projects have already been completed, and have been described in sufficient detail that they may serve as models for this year’s applications.

Contact the Center’s Director, Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, with questions.

Andrew Spieldenner-Microgrant report

NCA Microgrant Report
Andrew R. Spieldenner, Hofstra University

ARSpieldenner at Sigma
I applied for one of the Center for Intercultural Dialogue‘s microgrants funded by the National Communication Association  to explore the possibilities of meeting with researchers in London. Currently, I am looking at using communication methods to better implement and evaluate the roll out, implementation and uptake of HIV biomedical interventions among gay and bisexual men in the United States. Because of the disproportionate impact of HIV in the United States on certain groups, my work focuses on African American, Latino and HIV-positive gay men – all populations that experience persistent structural barriers in the healthcare system.

Matching funds
The Hofstra University School of Communication supported this project with a faculty research support grant. The matching funds covered the costs of housing and food while at the host institution.

Local host
The Global Forum on Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) hosted a Pre-Conference focused on gay and bisexual men at the International AIDS Conference 2012 in Washington, DC. I chaired the panel on HIV, community mobilization and immigrant MSM. On the panel, Ibidun Fakoya, Research Fellow at University College London presented her formative assessment of African gay men living with HIV in London. Ibidun Fakoya works with Dr. Fiona Burns on the advancing Migrant Access to health Services in Europe (aMASE). aMASE uses a multi-site Community Advisory Group to assess clinical and health care access for migrants in Europe with some focus on MSM and substance users. As such, aMASE is constructing a framework for effectively working with mobile and marginalized populations in assessing healthcare. In follow up conversations and through social media, a relationship emerged on common research interests. Through these conversations, the project emerged and additional meetings were made through Ibidun Fakoya and social media. In the past few years, I have developed a network of other advocates and researchers who are active on twitter and whose specialty is health disparities and the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities.

Ibidun Fakoya, Andrew Spieldenner
Ibidun Fakoya, Andrew Spieldenner

Trip itinerary
My colleagues were generous with their time. I visited University College London, Birkbeck College and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Each meeting opened up other doors to consider – with other researchers, community groups, medical providers, and health policy institutions.

Uni College London

Ibidun “Ibi” Fakoya and Dr. Fiona Burns of University of College London aMASE project were my primary hosts. Ibi and I met with the Community Mobilization Coordinator to discuss the Community Advisory Group and the implementation of the research survey in multiple countries in clinic and community settings.  We brainstormed on possible community partners to achieve the target survey populations in the United Kingdom (UK), Germany, Spain and Italy. I was able to review the processes that aMASE has implemented to get a shared research tool and protocols across all partner sites. In addition, Ibi and I reviewed social marketing and health messaging in order to develop marketing materials. Ibi was instrumental in coordinating with the other researchers for my trip.

At the University College London, I met with Professor Graham Hart on HIV and gay men in the London and New York City, focusing on the vastly different healthcare systems in the two countries. Professor Hart is Dean of the School, and he has extensively researched HIV and gay men. Professor Hart was interested in how the differing healthcare systems and social attitudes about health impact the treatment and service environment for gay men of varied racial/ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. He gave several referrals to visit community groups and health policy institutions.

Professor Matthew Weait of Birkbeck College is an expert on HIV criminalization laws. We discussed the ways that HIV criminalization laws operate in various countries, and how cultural views frame the laws. We also examined the concurrent passage of gay marriage legislation in Maryland alongside an enhancement of the state’s HIV criminalization law. We discussed the importance of translating research and policy into accessible language in order to mobilize community members.

Matt Weait, Andrew Spieldenner
Matt Weait, Andrew Spieldenner

Dr. Catherine Dodds and Dr. Ford Hickson of the Sigma Research Group are currently housed at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The Sigma Research Group has been on the forefront of research in the UK on gay men and HIV. They have conducted surveys at gay prides in the UK for over a decade, and have implemented several Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) projects alongside community partners. We had an intense discussion about harm reduction in HIV, the limits to current public health discourse on gay men and HIV, methods of conducting CBPR projects (including the use of Skype), and how communication – as a field – can be used in public health research.

Further activities
There are several future activities possible in the future. Many of these involve future correspondence and research support. We acknowledged that there were several meetings about HIV and our respective fields that may be of interest to the others. Dr. Hickson, Dr. Dodds  and Professor Weait committed to ongoing communication about projects and possible next dates for meetings when we happened to be in the same event (such as the International AIDS Conference 2014).

Ibidun Fakoya and I sketched out two different research projects to advance, and we are looking to collaborate over the next two years on these projects.

Finally, I plan to return to Europe summer of 2014 on another project, where I will be renewing my relationships with these researchers.

[NOTE: Andrew Spieldenner’s original project proposal is available here.]

Louisa Edgerly-Microgrant Report

NCA Micro Grant Report
Louisa Edgerly, Independent Scholar

This report details my travel to the Republic of Congo to begin fieldwork on a collaborative research project with the International Conservation and Education Fund (INCEF), a US-Congolese nonprofit organization that produces educational films on topics related to public health and environmental conservation. The aim of my research is to develop descriptive accounts and interpretations of the intercultural communication that takes place between INCEF, their audience of rural Congolese villagers, and the global health workers and environmentalists who also work on the issues of human health and environmental conservation in Congo.

Identifying local partners
I learned about INCEF’s work – and its relevance to theories of intercultural communication – through conversation with an INCEF board member. Following this initial conversation in May of 2011, I drafted a project proposal outlining a possible collaboration between INCEF and the University of Washington’s Center for Local Strategies Research (UWCLSR) to study INCEF’s methods of communication and their process of project design through the lens of speech codes theory.

I sent the draft proposal to INCEF’s Executive Director, Cynthia Moses, and to UWCLSR. When all parties expressed interest in moving forward with the project, I then began to discuss possible dates for an initial research trip to Congo to observe INCEF’s work in place. Based on INCEF’s planned activities for 2012, Cynthia and I determined that November and December, 2012 would be a good time for my visit. I estimated that I could raise funds to cover a two-month stay in Congo, and to pay for travel of about a week to a remote location outside the capital city to observe INCEF’s project implementation.

Sunrise-smRaising research funds
Once I had chosen the dates for my research trip, I began by setting up an account on a crowd-funding web site called Petridish. I had done quite a lot of research on possible sources of funding for research, but as an independent scholar there were not many options available. The National Communication Association‘s Travel Microgrant was one notable exception, and I applied for this in addition to my other fund-raising efforts.

Crowd-funding offered the best – and fastest – mechanism to raise the $7,000 I estimated I would need to cover the costs of the entire trip. I created a short video to put on the Petridish web site, chose the different donation levels and the rewards for each level (a photograph from the trip, subscription to the trip’s blog, etc.), and set up the crowd-funding platform. In fifty days I raised just over $7,000 through my personal network of friends and family, using social media tools and email appeals. Petridish charged 4% of the total raised for providing the web site, and Amazon Payments also took a transaction fee from each donation made online. I was able to use the remainder to cover my direct research costs, including air fare, food, housing, and local transportation in Congo.

The timing of my travel depended to a great extent on INCEF’s schedule, and thus I had to depart for Congo before the decision about the NCA microgrants was announced. I crossed my fingers and booked my ticket for Brazzaville, Congo.

The NCA microgrant for $1,000 covered one third of the total round trip airfare from Seattle to Brazzaville, and thus allowed me to use other funds raised to cover unexpected expenses that arose during my field work, including several extra days spent in the northern town of Impfondo due to canceled flights, and the wildly unpredictable cost of gasoline, which increased travel costs within Congo.

Research Activities in Congo
The aim of my research in Congo was to study the communication methods used by INCEF, and to assess the degree to which they constituted a dialogic and participatory approach to intercultural communication. This field trip also aimed to allow me to see whether further academic collaboration might be able to offer some real benefits to INCEF, by offering a theoretical approach to intercultural dialogue that was compatible with their overall goals and experience, as well as helping them make connections with other organizations doing similar work.

In Brazzaville, I stayed in a guest room at INCEF’s headquarters, located in the Centreville neighborhood. The experience of studying human beings in their natural settings almost never goes completely smoothly, and this trip was no exception. INCEF’s Executive Director had intended in be in Brazzaville to meet me, but she was delayed several weeks and did not arrive until I had been there almost four weeks. The project that I had planned to observe was on hold due to lack of funds, and many of the activities that I had hoped to observe were likewise delayed or suspended. All of this provided me with the chance to explore Brazzaville and observe daily life there, to have longer conversations with INCEF’s staff, and to study their library of public health and conservation films in greater detail. The realities of living and working in a developing country, with inconsistent electrical supply, running water, and internet service also provided important background context to help me understand the structural barriers INCEF faces in their work every day.

My first weeks of observations and interviews with INCEF staff, and with individuals from other organizations such as the Wildlife Conservation Society that partner with INCEF in Brazzaville, provided me with a preliminary set of data to analyze, and important context for my later observations in the field. After four weeks in Brazzaville, I traveled north to the town of Impfondo, where I met with two of INCEF’s educators to prepare for a trip out to the village of Makolongoulou to screen several INCEF films as part of their work on violence prevention and public health with UNICEF. I conducted observations at a number of INCEF film screenings and at the facilitated discussions that followed, both in the village and in Impfondo. This trip gave me the opportunity to see INCEF’s communication methodology in practice, and added a great deal of information to the data I had collected through earlier interviews. From Impfondo, I returned to Brazzaville to conduct a few final interviews and prepare to return to Seattle.

Louisa & Mika-sm

Further research activities
Back in Seattle, I have continued to pursue new contacts and find connections with researchers doing similar work. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I have found that many more people are interested in talking with me now that I have completed an initial field study, and I have begun to develop several promising contacts at the University of Washington in the departments of Anthropology and Computer Science and Engineering. I have written a paper based on my preliminary research findings, and submitted it to the NCA conference. I am also developing a project in collaboration with Public Health-Seattle & King County and the Masters of Communication in Communities & Networks program at UW. I will lead a year-long graduate student practicum to apply some of the communication methodologies used by INCEF – video, facilitated discussion, local perspectives and languages – to the task of reaching the many different cultural and language communities around King County, Washington with public health messages.

I remain in touch with INCEF’s Executive Director and I am actively pursuing ways to return to Congo to conduct more field research with INCEF staff. My research experience thus far has shown that there is a very clear connection to theories of intercultural dialogue in INCEF’s practice, and that engaging with these theories could enhance INCEF’s work on future projects. It has also become clear that continued involvement in scholarly research will benefit INCEF by raising their profile among possible donor organizations and academic institutions. In addition, this collaboration will offer them access to new technologies to assist in the dissemination of their films and educational tools. Another possibility that has opened up would involve INCEF in training local people in Congo to produce their own videos on public health and environmental topics, thus creating a more participatory process of two-way communication between citizens and policy makers in Congo. This methodological shift has emerged from the research connections I have begun to build as a result of my initial fieldwork.

The NCA travel microgrant played a very important part in the successful completion of my field trip to Congo. Completing this initial pilot study has given me a foundation of preliminary data and access to a whole new network of connections that would not have been possible without the travel grant.

[NOTE: Louisa Edgerly’s original project description is available here; further information about her project in a report to the Center for Local Strategies Research is here.]

C. R. Anderson Research Awards

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS

The Association for Business Communication is currently accepting applications to its C.R. Anderson Research Foundation (CRARF), which financially supports innovative research projects in the field of business communication. The support offered is in the form of micro-grants of US $1,000 to US $3,500 to be spent on equipment, hard- and software, travel and accommodation expenses, and/or research support-staff compensation within the course of a research project of up to 12 months.

To provide grants to support ABC members’ research activities in the interdisciplinary field of business communication. In particular, the CRARF aims to encourage and support innovative, academic research in such areas as business communication, management communication, business writing, consulting, marketing, English, speech communication, intercultural communication, linguistics, rhetoric, and information systems.

Eligibility criteria: Who can apply?
All graduate students and faculty who are members of ABC are welcome to apply.

What can be applied for?
Minimum $ 1,000 and maximum $ 3,500 to be spent on equipment, hard- and software, project-related travel and accommodation expenses, research support staff compensation (e.g. the costs of coding data, interview transcription, designing and running statistical analysis), etc. within the course of a research project of max. 1 year. The money should not be spent on dissemination (e.g. conferences) but on the execution of the project.

When are applications due?
Applications will be evaluated on a continuous basis. Selection Guidelines:
Eligibility of the applicant
Originality and innovative nature of the project
Feasibility of the project
Scholarly contribution to the field of business communication
Appropriateness of research methodology
Necessity of the budgeted resources

Selection Procedure:
The applications are presented to the ABC Research Foundation Committee, who assess the merits of the applications and  who report their recommendations to the CR Anderson Board. The allocation is made by the CR Anderson Board. Members of the ABC Research Foundation Committee and of the CR Anderson Board are not allowed to apply for a grant.

Selection Follow-up:
Grant recipients’ attendance (and presentation) is mandatory at an ABC convention (Annual Convention or regional conference) in one of the first two years following the allocation of the funds. Recipients should acknowledge the financial support of the ABC Research Foundation in all conference presentations and publications (both print and online) reporting research conducted with the Research Foundation’s money. Recipients  should submit a 1,000-word research report to the ABC Research Foundation Committee within 6 months after the close of the project.

How to apply:
Please send your application in pdf-format to the chair of the ABC Research Foundation Committee, Dr. Geert Jacobs, at geert.jacobs@ugent.be, including a description of the project (max. 1,000 words), a statement of its academic and practical relevance to the field of business communication (max. 500 words) , a list of expected output and deliverables (publications, conference presentations, etc.), and the applicants’ CVs, as well as a detailed budget.