Request for Proposals: Heading off Nuclear Catastrophe


Carnegie Corporation of New York and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation invite proposals for analytical work on reducing the risks posed by nuclear materials. 

We seek projects that will generate fresh thinking and new approaches that can be taken up by government and industry.

Despite progress through the Nuclear Security Summit, risks persist. There are enough fissile materials to fuel tens of thousands of weapons, and these global stocks are growing. With no further Summits scheduled, and no clear roadmap for future progress, the role of civil society becomes all the more important.


As the Corporation and MacArthur indicated in their Civil Society Gift Basket, there are many impediments to progress and no simple solutions. How can secrecy and national security be balanced with transparency and accountability? How might access to the benefits of civilian nuclear technology be balanced with corresponding security considerations? How can we ensure that solutions take into account the constraints and incentives of existing stakeholders?


This call for proposals seeks innovative, solutions-oriented approaches to address these challenges. Successful projects will:

  • Demonstrate new approaches to existing problems in nuclear material minimization and elimination, security, control, governance, and culture;
  • Outline a research agenda, a plan for multi-stakeholder convening, or other collaborative effort that has direct relevance to a current policy issue;
  • Contain ideas that can be adopted by governments, international organizations, or private industry;
  • Include a strong dissemination plan to increase the salience and viability of the ideas;

NOTE: This contest will not consider direct implementation or training projects. 

Top proposals will include some or all of the following characteristics:

  • An interdisciplinary team that incorporates both technical and policy expertise;
  • Inclusion of untapped expertise and new voices;
  • Collaboration by experts representing more than one institution;
  • Integration of early and/or mid-career experts;
  • Demonstration of institutional buy-in and, when possible, funding from other sources.

Application Process

Please register as a user and log into this portal to fill out one letter of inquiry (LOI) per organization. Inquiries will be accepted only through this web-based platform. Any inquiry submitted to this portal will receive consideration from both Carnegie Corporation of New York and the MacArthur Foundation.

Applicants may save their work and return to edit within the portal. For technical assistance please email Direct assistance will be available within 24 hours of each request.

The online application consists of two sections: Applicant Organization and LOI. The application questions for the LOI are listed below. Please take care to comply with the word limits for each section. All proposals must be written in English.

While projects of varying sizes will be considered, each request should be scaled to the amount required to carry out its corresponding work plan. Requests should not exceed $500,000 over 2 years, and overhead costs will be limited to 15% of total direct costs. A detailed budget, full proposal, and work plan will be requested of applicants that are selected to proceed to the second round of assessment.


How to Apply

Please submit a succinct presentation of the statement of need and the proposed solution(s) you have identified; methodology, outreach plan, budget and timeline, and your organization's qualifications for pursuing the work. In total, LOI narratives addressing questions 2, 3, and 4 below should not exceed 900 words. Budget and timeline and organization description documents will be uploaded separately and not count towards the word limit.

Entries should address the following:

  • Proposed project title, duration, and amount requested
  • Project proposal and its statement of need: What is the need to be met by your research? Why is this significant? What do you intend to demonstrate or prove? Please offer concrete examples.  Limit 400 words
  • Methodology: Briefly describe the project and include major activities and desired objectives. What is the path to policy influence?  Limit 250 words
  • Outreach plan: Who are the target audiences for this work? Present the plan for reaching these audiences and driving a broader conversation on this issue. What outcomes do you expect for the project, both immediate and long-term?  Limit 250 words
  • Budget and timeline (one page): What is the estimated overall cost of the project? On what specific activities will the money be spent? When will project activities take place? Are there other complementary sources of support (internal and external, current or potential)?
  • Organization description: Provide a very brief summary of your current programs and the qualifications of key staff.


The deadline for all Letters of Inquiry is October 24, 2016. Final decisions for LOIs will be communicated by email in mid-December, 2016. The deadline for full proposals will be mid-January, 2017. We expect final decisions on invited proposals to be made in June 2017.

Please click below to download the RFP and Guidelines document.

Please click HERE to apply.