2019 Call for Grant Proposals

The Arthur W. Page Center at Penn State's Bellisario College of Communications has announced its annual Page and Johnson Legacy Scholar competition for the study of integrity in public communication. This year, the Center is issuing two calls for research proposals: 

1) Advocacy communications

2) Narratives in public communications

The Center will award the 2019 grants to support scholars and professionals making important contributions to knowledge, practice or public understanding of ethics and responsibility in public communication. The intent of the program is to foster a modern understanding and application of the Page Principles and the Johnson & Johnson Credo. The Center accomplishes this goal by supporting innovative research, educational or public service projects in a wide variety of academic disciplines and professional fields.

Call for Proposals: Advocacy Communications

If you have questions about the advocacy communications call, contact Colleen Connolly-Ahern at cuc15@psu.edu.

One of the most important ways organizations can use their voices is in support of others. Advocacy communications take many forms: they may seek to build awareness of issues among publics, to influence policy-makers or to attract donors. But while most non-governmental, governmental and supra-governmental organizations engage in some kind of advocacy communications, limited research in the area has not resulted in comprehensive best practices for organizations. This is particularly salient as advocacy communications increasingly take place in the digital space, where effects are less understood.

In the spirit of community responsibility, charitable action and respect for human interest that exemplifies integrity in public communication, this Page Center research call seeks original research in all areas of advocacy communications, including, but not limited to:

► Production

► Content

► Media

► Public opinion

► Effects

► Methodological innovations

All areas of advocacy will be considered, but areas of public health and social justice will be prioritized, particularly those studies focused on communications-driven behavior change and social mobilization. Research can focus on communications in both the digital space and in legacy media.

Click here for guidelines on submitting your proposal.

Call for Proposals: Narratives in Public Communications

If you have questions about the narratives in public communication call, contact the co-managers of the call, Fuyuan Shen at fus1@psu.edu or Heidi Hatfield Edwards at edwardsh@fit.edu.

Narratives or stories can be powerful communication tools for corporations and organizations. In recent years, scholars in multiple disciplines have documented the power of stories. Researchers generally agree that given their unique structures and features, the narratives we read, hear and share can have significant effects on individuals. A good story can be more effective in drawing our attention and changing our attitudes than facts alone.

Corporations use narratives to develop brand reputation, manage crises and connect with audiences. Organizations rely on them to raise awareness and change attitudes on health, social and political issues. Organizational members use narratives to make sense of the organizational culture. The increased use of narratives in public communication calls for additional research that we hope will help shed new light on their applications and influences in these areas.

This call therefore seeks grant proposals that will examine the uses and implications of stories and storytelling in public communications. We welcome proposals that use different methodological approaches including experiments, surveys, interviews, focus groups, content or textual analyses, case studies and others to explore narratives from a variety of perspectives. Relevant proposals include, but are not limited to, the following potential topics. 

► Uses of narratives in corporate and non-profit communications

► Effects of narratives in crisis and reputation management

► Analysis of narrative use in public communications

► Implications of narrative use in political communication

► Use of narratives and their impact in science and sustainability communication

► Cross-cultural studies of narratives’ uses and influences in public communications

► Moral, legal, ethical implications of narrative use in communications

► Journalistic use of narratives and their implications

► Case studies of narrative use and impact

► Social media, narratives and public communications

► Conceptual and critical reviews of narratives in areas of public communication

Final deliverable for all funded projects will be a research paper that will appear as a chapter in an edited book. The book will serve as an important collection of articles reflecting the current state of research on narratives in public communications for academics, media and public relations professionals.

Click here for guidelines on submitting your proposal.

Deadlines & notifications

► Application materials must be electronically submitted on or before Jan. 15, 2019 using the Proposal Submission Form.

► Scholars will be notified of the selection committee's decisions on March 15, 2019.

► Contracts for successful grants will be finalized by June 30, 2019.

► Final reports are due July 1, 2020.


General questions about the Page and Johnson Legacy Scholar grants can be sent to PageCenter@psu.edu.