2016 Special Focus Awards


New 3F Project-The Faster Forward Fund Special Focus Prizes (4F): 

The Essay Prizes. A new $1,000 “Focus Award” will be given for each of the five categories below (assuming minimal standards are met). Each of the five following topics will be run as a separate competition.

Submissions. Written entries must be submitted with less than 1,500 words, with no names or other identifying information in the body of your submission.  Your name and contact information must be included on a separate cover sheet and in the body of your email, which should have the subject line: 3F Foci # (insert focus number); no cv or nonprofit affiliation necessary.

Send entries to: FasterForwardFund@gmail.com by midnight PST on 15 November, 2016 (an extended deadline)

Special Focus  – Ethics & Scientific Method

Do reason and scientific method oblige us to adopt and report our evaluations from an ethical point of view; or do they oblige us to be skeptical about or to ignore ethical considerations? Note: this means evaluating the ethical defensibility of the evaluand itself, not the, or not just the, methodology and creation of the evaluation. In other words is ethics simply one branch of applied science? (A 2,500 year old problem; time to solve it?)

Special Focus 2 – Peter Singer Prize 

Best design for the evaluation of at least three charity watchdog organizations; e.g., Charity Navigator. These outfits are the primary evaluators used by donors of millions of dollars every year. Which of them gives the best advice is therefore a really important question and 3F should try to provide a good meta-evaluation. Note: problems of data access and transparency of results should be addressed, and a cost estimate included. An effort should be made to provide for a low cost (less than 25K) and a higher cost (50K) approach. You can also indicate your interest in doing the evaluation (with further funding) as yes or no.

Special Focus 3 – Meta-evaluation Checklists 

Best critique of available meta-evaluation checklists, including at least those by Dan Stufflebeam, GAO, and Michael Scriven. Extra points will be awarded for the best improved version based on or unlike the published ones (in other words, a prize for the best invention and use of a meta-meta-evaluation checklist).

Special Focus 4 – Meta-evaluation of Mainstream Science

At long last, serious work has begun on investigating whether the hard-core sciences are in fact scientific, at centers in Stanford and the University of Virginia. Their first reports are out and both are very critical. The first meta-meta-evaluation is also out and is very critical of UVA’s effort. Can we improve this area of research?

Special Focus 5 – Future Topic Ideas

Suggest and support a special focus 3F topic or topics for 2017. What would be useful to accelerate the discipline or practice of evaluation (i.e. take us faster forward)?

Why is it important? What problems is it causing because it is not being adequately addressed?

Project Support Awards. If you would like to actually attempt to address one of these issues, please submit it as a proposal for regular 3F General Mission funding rather than as an idea or approach for someone else to address next year. (Read 2016 Overview and Call for Proposals for complete details and download an application here.)

A slight preference will be given to 2016 General Mission grant applications that tackle one of the foci on this list—this means if two submissions of equal merit are entered, and only one can be funded, preference will be given to a 2016 special foci topic submission.