RESEARCH GRANTS IN THE ARTS: Other Requirements and Priorities

Responsible Conduct of Research

The NEA is committed to the responsible conduct of research. As such, the NEA requires applicants to comply with all applicable laws and regulations governing the conduct of research in the United States. We require applicants to obtain permissions (including but not limited to the acquisition of existing data) from all appropriate entities or individuals (including but not limited to minors or other sensitive populations) for conducting the proposed project and to include evidence of such permissions in the application material. These may include, but are not limited to, approval from Institutional Review Boards (IRBs), and/or data licensing for the acquisition of existing data, as may be required.

Data collection activities conducted under an award are the sole responsibility of the recipient organization, and the NEA’s support of the project does not constitute approval of those data collection procedures. Therefore, data collected from respondents/participants will be conducted by the awardee or at the awardee’s direction. Any researchers collecting data for a project supported with NEA funds—or by the cost share/matching funds for the project may not represent to those subjects that such data are being collected on the NEA’s behalf. Awardees may, however, use the NEA logo to aid in data collection if data collection is included in the project budget. In such cases, use of the logo must include the grant number, and the awardee should not state or imply that such data are being collected at the direction of or on behalf of the NEA.

Applicants who propose primary data collection as part of their projects are required to describe plans and/or status of ethics training on human subjects research protections, including such aspects as working with minors and other sensitive populations, as well as the role of IRBs. Evidence of such plans and/or status can take the form of an active, unexpired certificate of completion of a training module. The NEA does not specify or endorse any specific educational programs. Certificates of completion of the training are not required at the time of application. If you are recommended for an award, you will be expected to submit active, unexpired certificates of completion of a training module for each key personnel involved with primary data collection or analysis of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) from human subjects. The NEA will not reimburse costs for ethics training under the Research Grants in the Arts program. Awardees are required to submit updated ethics training documentation as relevant. The NEA may withhold funds until ethics training is demonstrated.

In addition, applicants who include primary data collection as a proposed project activity are required to provide an explanation for whether IRB approval is needed to execute the project. If IRB approval is required, then applicants also must indicate the measures they have taken or plan on taking to gain IRB approval. If multiple organizations are directly involved in human subjects research for a proposed project, then the applicant must provide documentation from each of those organizations as well. Awardees are required to submit IRB approval documentation to the NEA prior to engaging in any activity determined to require IRB approval, as well as submit updated IRB documentation as relevant.

IMPORTANT: The NEA may withhold award funds until IRB approval is submitted to us.

Applicant organizations can use their own IRB if they have one. Applicant organizations who do not already have an IRB should work with a partner and/or consult with another institution or organization that does have an IRB to determine whether IRB approval is necessary for the project. Costs of submitting research proposals to IRBs are allowable only if this activity takes place during the award period of performance; however, the application proposal must include evidence that the applicant has consulted with their preferred IRB or IRBs.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides additional guidance and resources for learning about the responsible conduct of research, including decision charts for assessing whether a project needs an IRB/research ethics review, a set of free training modules (which can be used to provide evidence of ethics training for an NEA research application), and a database of registered IRBs; the National Science Foundation also has resources related to IRB and human subjects research protections.

Research about Arts Education

Through a partnership with the U.S. Department of Education, the NEA supports the Arts Education Partnership, which hosts an online clearinghouse of more than 300 studies of student and educator outcomes associated with arts education in both in-school and out-of-school settings. If you are interested in submitting a proposal to investigate some aspect of arts education or related variables and outcomes, you are encouraged to explore ArtsEdSearch for summaries of previous studies, criteria for inclusion in the ArtsEdSearch database, discussion of policy implications, and suggested areas for future research.

Separately, the NEA’s State Data Infrastructure Project for Arts Education offers a suite of resources and tools to help stakeholders in the arts extract, analyze, and report on data about arts education.

Data Management and Sharing

We intend for the Research Grants in the Arts program to generate new findings that will inform the public about the value and/or impact of the arts in American life. We require applicants to submit a data management plan, documenting how any raw data and meta-data resulting from the proposed project will be used and maintained during and beyond the life of the award. Applicants should discuss confidentiality, security, intellectual property, or other relevant rights or requirements (to include but not be limited to securing and handling / deidentification of Protected Health Information (PHI) and PII). This may include referencing the HIPAA Privacy Rule, IRB status, and permissions and/or protections of minors and other sensitive populations, as appropriate.

Costs of storing and/or sharing data are only allowable if these data management activities take place during the period of performance.

National Archive of Data on Arts and Culture (NADAC)

The National Archive of Data on Arts and Culture (NADAC) is a repository that facilitates research on arts and culture by acquiring and archiving data, particularly those funded by federal agencies and other public organizations, and making the data and a variety of data tools freely available to researchers, arts and cultural practitioners, other stakeholders, and the general public.

Contact to learn about opportunities for research awardees to deposit their raw- and meta-data in NADAC.