Question and Answers - Letter of Intent


Are grants awarded to private, non-academic, for-profit organizations? Yes.

Are Visionary Circle donors eligible to receive the Visionary Grant?  Yes. We have consulted legal counsel. Also, the Awards Committee conflict of interest rules will be followed. In keeping within those guidelines, members of the Visionary Circle Awards Subcommittee are not eligible to submit a proposal for that cycle.  Each visionary donor has only one vote and as of June 3 there are 76 voters. We recognize the potential for a conflict of interest, but, in fact, the review of letters of intent and then the voting by the visionaries themselves involves so many people from different perspectives that the concern about donor direction of a fund is minimized. So, visionary donors can provide letters of intent, and if they were to be selected in the first round to submit a full proposal, they would continue to be eligible.

Are master’s students allowed to participate?  We require only that the principal investigator of the project be a current SIOP member.   Note the lower case “m” in “member”.  Thus, for every Student Affiliate member of SIOP, the answer is yes.  The same is true for Associate members.  Non-members are allowed to be members of project teams whether they are SIOP members or not.

By what date do you have to be a SIOP member? The membership year is July 1 thru June 30. Your dues will need to be current when you upload the Letter of Intent.

Is it okay for a multidisciplinary team of researchers to join an I/O psychologist to submit a proposal? Or are you looking primarily for I/O psych researchers? That's an interesting nuance and we would accept the multi-disciplinary team if there is an I-O psychologist willing to take them on. We are willing to read the Letter of Intent, and render a decision by the end of July.

Are research teams preferred over single PI submissions?  The short and clear answer here is no. There is the possibility for multiple PIs depending on how you decide to organize internally, and there is no preference given one way or another.

I have a project idea but won’t propose it due to being retired.  Can you recommend a PI to me? No, the leadership of this effort is not in a position nor is it willing to recommend principal investigators or other team members.  We suggested that you might post the idea on social media (SIOP LinkedIn and Facebook groups) and contact other potential participants that way.

Is the review process blind at the stage of LOI? No. We ask for the identity of the principal investigator. The conflict of interest process that the awards committee follows calls for disclosure of conflicts and potential conflicts, so some amount of identification is needed.



We are in the UK. Are there restrictions on the location of the project or where funds can be spent? The short answer to that is no.  Realistically, most of SIOP members are in the United States, but SIOP has members from many, many countries and there is no restriction on where the funds might be expended.  

Is there an expectation to provide a draft budget or budget outline as part of the letter of intent?  No, do not supply budget information in the letter of intent (LOI).  The LOI should be used exclusively to share the innovative ideas of your research project. Budget allocations and details are not needed in Letters of Intent, only in full proposals. 

It is helpful to think about how we can scope our work based on budgetary allocations. I know that indirect costs are not allowed but what are the budget categories that are allowed (e.g., are we allowed to pay a research assistant or hire an expert in a particular analytical technique, etc.)? The answers to that is, first, we have not yet developed the template which we will be asking finalists to use to tell us about their budgets. But within that, all of the options that you list would be eligible, that is, yes, for hiring a research assistant, yes, for hiring experts, and yes, for spending nearly any other kind of funds. The key, of course, will be justifying the needs and fitting them together. Another piece of the budget picture will be whether there are other funds beyond the $100,000 being expended in the overall project and how that might play out. Describing the entire budget will be important, and also any impact that might have on timely finishing of the schedule. So, indirect costs are not allowed. We will do everything we can to avoid them. But with that as guidance, any direct expenditures needed to conduct the project are what we will be wanting to understand.

Could this funding be combined with funding from other sources covering a portion of a larger effort, for example, how will intellectual property rights be decided? Yes, this can be combined with other funding. This is part of an area where we have little experience. We will be looking to the Creative Commons ShareAlike license version 4.0 as our starting point and coming to an agreement with the winner in terms of intellectual property rights. The ShareAlike version 4.0 license looks to us to be a very general license that allows a mix of commercial development and public use. At this point we want to surface the IP issue so that it might be resolved satisfactorily for all parties.

In addition, grant recipients must acknowledge that intellectual property resulting from the project is to be available to the public as widely and generally as possible, consistent with the evolving standards for open science. If the project requires measures that are the intellectual property of others, the project director should indicate that rights to use the measures have been obtained. If the project is funded from additional sources, then the proposal must specify expectations for final disposition and rights of any resulting intellectual property, or agree that the intellectual property will be owned by the SIOP Foundation and be available through a Creative Commons ShareAlike 4.0 license.

My company is interested. Must raw data be publicly available? The first part of the answer is that SIOP and SIOP Foundation follow the general data protection regulations (GDPR) and so raw data, if it is furnished to the Foundation would need to be anonymized. We don't expect to receive a data set that violated in any way the GDPR. That said, anonymization can alleviate concerns about replicability, doing secondary analyses, and so on. A second part of the answer is that SIOP Foundation is a public charity and so the public good is the intended beneficiary of all of the foundation's activities. The Creative Commons ShareAlike 4.0 license will be able to provide a satisfactory balance between commercial ownership of a measurement device or process and the public benefits of its use.

If a project creates a new tool, who owns it; that is, is the project deliverable a publication, or is the tool open source?  Here we don't know what is meant by “open source”, but this is where the Creative Commons ShareAlike 4.0 license enters into play in the Letter of Intent form.  If you have not downloaded it yet, you can get it on the Visionary Circle page at the very top. You will see in the question about ownership of intellectual property created in the project funded by the grant that it would go to SIOP Foundation. If you have considerations or concerns, there is a small additional text box in which a partial or a complete answer can be stated about what those concerns or considerations are. If that space is inadequate, send an email follow-up to to continue the conversation about IP.

Being in an applied science field such as I-O psychology is fun because a lot of the action arises in application.  Today you see many public-private partnerships and other ways of dealing with ownership issues in ways that still serve the public good. We raise the IP issue at this point so that there aren't any unwelcome surprises downstream.

Could a part of the whole funding spent be justified as funding to cover a PhD fee provided research proposal fits evaluation criteria? Guessing at the meaning of the question, could this cover your dissertation expenses? I'm not sure whether it would pay for the graduation fee that some universities charge, but certainly the direct costs of doing the research, if it is a research project that will be proposed, would be coverable as part of the funding.

If we collected data, and if the SIOP Foundation ended up owning that data, would you still allow us to publish that data in peer-reviewed journals/popular press outlets under our own names or would the SIOP Foundation want to own the data and publish it without us? This will change what we scope because we will need to weigh the pros and cons of collecting data under the Visionary Grant versus on our own, if we might not be able to publish or present the data ourselves in the future.

For the intellectual property, we want to be open to discussions as to how the research will be disseminated. The SIOP Foundation doesn’t intend to commercialize the research output. Please put any concerns that you have in the comment box under the intellectual property section. 

We are not sure what the first box (2000 characters) is supposed to contain. Is it supposed to contain information about the sort of intellectual property that will be created through the project? Or is it meant for an abstract/summary? The comment box under intellectual property is an opportunity for you to mention your thoughts on IP and/or concerns with the Foundation’s plans to make the outcome of the research available to the public.



Do you have an actionable definition of “future of work”? Yes, if something could impair your paycheck within the next week, that would certainly get your attention. Anything work-related includes all the work-life balance literature, all of the employee health and well-being literature, as well as traditional selection, attitude surveys and so on. Even a project about uncompensated work would be eligible. And we leave it for you to take from there.

Do proposals need to fit in traditional SIOP boxes, or will proposals that are based on good IO research and practice that push the boundaries be encouraged?  Certainly, we are wanting to encourage pushing boundaries. One of the nice things about I-O psychology is that it has been steadily evolving over its more than 100 years. We were among the first folks to be using multiple choice questions and group administrations of tests over a 100 years ago. We like to be on the cutting edge, and so there is no preference for traditional boxes. Among the criteria themselves, you saw some nudges toward multi-disciplinary work. We hope that might be part of it, but that is not the sole criterion and there are many drivers for it.

The main purpose of this effort is to encourage work that goes beyond boundaries, addresses topics that haven't been traditionally addressed, creates new procedures, tools, and/or brings in a multi-disciplinary perspective that we haven't seen before. These are all the things we mean by being visionary. You might want to keep that in mind when you're framing your Letter of Intent. So, what's new and how does your proposed project take us forward?

Could a project look at 'pedagogical issues' by which I mean 'what do we need to do now to prepare IO psychologists to be effective in the future of work'?  The answer is a clear yes.  

Do you see the chance to fund proposals focused on secondary research (systematic reviews and meta-analyses, rapid evidence assessments)? Are reviews and secondary analyses reasonable? The answer to that is yes, they are certainly eligible, and so meta-analyses, rapid evidence assessments and so on would all be reasonable kinds of ideas to propose. We are very interested in disseminating ideas as broadly as we possibly can, and in that sense, publication in the traditional sense seems to be part of the answer, but it's not the entire answer, and we would also welcome projects that go in different directions. It might be building infrastructure of some kind that would be broadly useful. A case of that would be perhaps a new assessment instrument of some type for some new dimensions and making that idea generally available. Reviews are eligible as are tools of any kind that people might wish to propose.

Visionaries funders are prominent scholars in I/O and a precious source of advice. What, if any, interaction mechanisms between PI/teams and visionaries do you foresee? Excellent question, something that is unexplored at this point. The steering committee will take this up on its conference call next week, I am sure. The chance for interaction and mentoring here has many advantages – the chance for building teams, also multi-disciplinary teams, can bring us many advantages.  We are open to all that creativity.



Is the project period one calendar year? The answer to that is no, not necessarily. We would love to have some visible results within that first year but realize that this may not be possible for some projects. If we are going to be able to repeat this funding cycle and go into a second year, we will need to have ways of showing the funders that Visionary Grants are very worthy of support. Some visible results during the first year will be important.

Can a figure be included in the text and how would you count “characters” for a figure? Unless the figure will speak directly to the innovative aspects of your project, our suggestion is that you use the limited space for other details. E.g. Promote the key ideas, and document them in the full proposal when asked. 

Will you have any further Q&A sessions once we get started drafting? We are not expecting any further Q&A sessions via Zoom like this one during the next month, but once you get started drafting, if you have questions, email us at  We will respond to you as rapidly as we can and then also post the question and answer to the growing list at