Request for Proposals

Responding to the Addictions Crisis: Request for Project Proposals

Only projects led by IU faculty members are eligible for funding.

Indiana University announces the application process for projects to be funded in 2018 through IU’s Grand Challenge Initiative, “Responding to the Addictions Crisis.”


  • Optional concept papers are due April 5, 2018. Feedback will focus on responsiveness to the stated goals of the Grand Challenge, utilization of IU strengths, potential for strong partnerships within IU and with community organizations, and likely impact on the addictions crisis.
  • Full proposals will be due June 25, 2018, with implementation of selected projects slated to begin in September 2018.

Optional proposal assistance events:

  • Jumpstart conversations (75-90 minutes each) will be held on the Bloomington and Indianapolis campuses and by video conference with faculty from regional campuses. These brown-bag lunches and coffee talks will provide opportunities to learn about the framework and goals of IU’s strategy to address the addictions crisis and to begin exploring ways that different kinds of expertise can contribute to the work the university will undertake.
  • Scoping Sessions (4-6 hours each), to be held in Indianapolis on March 1 and Bloomington on March 2, are facilitated workshop opportunities to begin framing the problems that teams might address, find necessary expertise, and begin envisioning innovative strategies to solve challenges necessary to end the addictions crisis.
  • Ideas Lab (May 14 – 16 at New Harmony Inn Conference Center) is an intensive three-day workshop at which 35-40 participants will work together to create novel, multidisciplinary projects that will tackle specific elements of the addictions crisis. Applications to participate are due March 7; applicants will be selected by early April.

IU will maximize its contribution to substance use prevention, early intervention, treatment, recovery, and enforcement by leveraging and expanding upon our strengths in five key and overlapping areas:

  • Data sciences and analytics

    Governor Holcomb’s Strategic Approach relies on a data-driven system, yet we do not yet have robust, comprehensive, and commonly accessible and actionable data that can be converted to actionable information. Large datasets are siloed or use incompatible ontologies, making cross-source analysis impossible. Drawing on the resources of the Regenstrief Institute, IU Bloomington School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering, the IUPUI School of Informatics and Computing, the Fairbanks School of Public Health, the IU Bloomington School of Public Health, and IU’s unparalleled computing infrastructure, IU will develop robust systems to appropriately characterize the crisis and inform the interventions designed to resolve it. IU will harness the power of Big Data analytics and visualization to transform our understanding of, and ability to respond to, Indiana’s addictions epidemic.

  • Education, training and certification

    Indiana faces a critical shortage of addictions professionals across health care, social work, and related professions. We need more professionals trained to implement strategies that prevent and address addiction and overdose, with expertise spanning prevention, treatment, stigma reduction, and harm reduction. Indiana also needs to ensure that those in other professions have the knowledge they need to recognize addictions and assist those with SUD to access treatment and rehabilitation. IU is uniquely positioned to successfully address these gaps. Home to the state’s only medical school and schools of public health, as well as the state’s largest schools of nursing and social work, IU will strengthen and expand the network of providers and related professionals capable of recognizing and treating SUD through robust and expanded education, training and certification in evidence-based addictions intervention, treatment, and recovery, as well as education related to novel approaches for mental health diagnostics and non-addictive treatment options.

  • Policy analysis, economics, and law

    Public policy, economic strategies, and legal frameworks demonstrably impact rates of addiction and rehabilitation, but are often analyzed and implemented in a patchwork fashion, in isolation from one another and from biochemical and social models of addiction. Additionally, policies of all types impact the vitality of the economy, an important factor shaping the SUD crisis. We will draw upon IU’s policy, economic and legal expertise, in conjunction with data analytics and predictive modeling, to identify policies which inhibit efforts to reduce addictions, develop new evidence-based policies to reduce addictions in Indiana, forecast and evaluate the impact of new policies, and recommend changes in policy or law that can have maximum impact in reducing SUD. We will identify critical gaps in the criminal justice system’s response to persons with or at risk for developing SUD, and work to develop policy, training and resources to address those gaps. We will utilize IU’s strengths in health economics and economic analysis to inform policy makers about the effect of alternative policies on health and social outcomes, as well as the economic impact of policies and regulations, enabling more informed decisions and ensuring that policy initiatives are reducing addiction related harms and are economically sustainable.

  • Basic, applied, and translational research

    Reducing the incidence and impacts of SUD requires basic research that identifies causes, mechanisms and consequences of addiction across genetic, biological, behavioral, psychological, sociological and economic domains. It also requires applied research to understand the comparative effectiveness of different treatments, interventions, and rehabilitation strategies, each situationally and locally contextualized. Together, a robust strategy of research across these domains undergirds effective prevention, treatment, and resilience efforts. Targeting both upstream risk factors and downstream addiction interventions, we will bring the full force of IU’s expertise across biological, biomedical and social sciences to transform our understanding and treatment of SUD.

  • Community and workforce development

    Any successful resolution of the addictions crisis must engage the communities where SUD occur. Community engagement results in improvements for vulnerable communities in health outcomes, access to health services and health behaviors (Cyril et al. 2015). Responding to Addiction will be improved by community engagement, which enables us to better understand community contexts (including capacity, baseline values, preferences and beliefs), tailor interventions to the needs of the particular communities, enhance adoption of interventions, and sustain change. Building on and expanding existing relationships with community-based health organizations, schools, NGOs and local governments, Responding to the Addictions Crisis will assist communities across the state to expand their capacity to resolve and remain resilient in the face of the addictions epidemic.

Most projects will involve partnerships and activity across some subset of these areas; the full suite and implementation of projects pursued through “Responding to the Addictions Crisis” will ensure that all of these focal areas are integral components of IU’s contribution to the state and national strategy to end the addictions crisis.