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The BASIC Initiative

The Belmont Accelerator for Social Innovation Collaboration, or BASIC, promises to encourage and empower individuals across Belmont’s campus to use their intellectual capital and faithful commitment for the betterment of our students, the local community and the region.

BASIC is designed to bring together faculty, staff, students and community partners in efforts to discover and develop innovative ways to promote human flourishing. Faith-based social innovation is an approach to tackling complex, “wicked” problems that involves cross-sector collaboration and multiple strategies and experiments. Examples of wicked problems could include everything from intergenerational poverty and lack of educational opportunity to health care inequities and drug abuse, and beyond. BASIC aims to create a new equilibrium by building, renewing or transforming institutions and offering approaches to social problems that are more effective, efficient, sustainable and just than existing ones.

The preliminary BASIC experiments will typically involve three or more disciplines across colleges or administrative areas, as complex problems require interdisciplinary thinking and diverse perspectives. With academic year 2021-22, we anticipate funding 3-5 BASIC grant proposals that hold the promise of making an impact in our region, especially in initiatives that enable children 0-8 and their families to flourish. Seed grant proposals do not have a cap, but most funded proposals will be under $50,000 with timelines for design and implementation being up to three years.

Key dates for BASIC

Not accepting new full BASIC project proposals at this time. Please find the dates for BASIC research courses below.

September 2nd, 2022 BASIC Research Course for Spring '23 Proposal Due, download proposal form
Relevant Documents
Junior Cornerstone and Interdisciplinary Learning Community course guidelines - download here and here
BASIC Project Proposal Brainstorming Document - download here
BASIC Research Course Brainstorming Document - download here
Values for BASIC Proposal Development - download here


Traits Shared by BASIC Initiatives

BASIC experiments should include all or most of the following elements:


  • They should address wicked problems, not just hard ones, and enhance Belmont’s strategic trajectory
  • They should present an opportunity to develop generative and transformational approaches that change the equilibrium on a given wicked problem
  • They should be transdisciplinary
  • They should be community embedded and involve partnerships across sectors
  • They should be animated by faith and nurture strong character
  • They should have an educational mission
  • They should be well-crafted and planned


Application Process

Applications should be no longer than 5 single-spaced pages (with normal margins and no smaller than 11 pt. font). Each application should have:

  • A one-paragraph executive summary
  • The name and department/broader unit of each collaborator, along with a few sentences explaining their unique strengths to contribute to the experiment (via academic expertise, passion for the wicked problem, past experience/service directed toward the issue, etc.) Please denote the primary contact person within Belmont.
  • A one-paragraph description of community partners and how they will be involved. Please include the name and job title of your key contact at the community partner organization
  • One-to-two page description of the initiative's key activities and how it could change the equilibrium on a wicked problem
  • A paragraph describing the projected course or courses to be developed as a part of the project
  • A timeline for the work to be completed.
  • A detailed budget breakdown indicating how requesting funding will be allocated across the duration of the project.

Suggested Format for Application: Title and executive summary (p. 1), People involved (p. 2), Key activities (p. 3 & 4), and Courses & Timeline (p. 5). Applications should be submitted via email.

Anticipated Outcomes and Impact

We hope to achieve several interrelated outcomes and impact as a result of these experiments.

  • Cultivate an “entrepreneurial mindset” among faculty and staff at Belmont, especially by working across departments and colleges/schools
  • Strengthen faculty and staff morale and creativity while generating ideas for courses that will prepare our students well for the future
  • Engage Nashville, and Tennessee more broadly (including rural Tennessee), and enhance our goal of being “Nashville’s University”
  • Stimulate a greater focus on partnerships and opportunities to strengthen support for important work we are seeking to accomplish.
  • Strengthen Belmont’s identity as a Christ-centered University that focuses on important needs in communities, especially in this initiative by supporting children 0-8 and their families to flourish and get off to a stronger start for their future


Contact the Vice President for Transformative Innovation, Character and Purpose for more information about BASIC, the application process and timelines.

Download the June 30, 2021 Presentation