SOA REX Pool Researcher Guidelines

Guidelines for Requesting Funding from the SOA’s “Research Expanding Boundaries” Pool (“REX Pool”) - Researcher

The Society of Actuaries (SOA) Board of Directors has established a pool of special funding called the “Research Expanding Boundaries Pool”, or “REX Pool”, to support a research strategy that includes a focus on increasing the amount of impactful research produced by the SOA. The REX Pool has been budgeted at $320,000.  The goal of this special funding is to encourage the development of more multi-year, multi-phase projects that advance the profession through expansion of practice across traditional practice-area boundaries, addressing issues relating to public policy, and/or addressing actuarial issues of broad societal interest.

To support this goal, the SOA’s Research Executive Committee (REC) periodically issues Requests for Proposals (RFP) seeking applications for funding on various topics. The funding is provided by the SOA’s Research Expanding Boundaries (REX) Pool.

Eligibility Criteria

There are no eligibility requirements for a researcher submitting an application directly to the REX pool.

Procedure for Submitting Applications

Researchers may submit an application for funding from the REX pool in response to an RFP or independent of an RFP.

  • To make a request for funding, researchers must complete and email the Application Form along with a full proposal for conducting the research.
  • Researchers may submit more than one application and proposal for funding at a time. A separate form for each application and proposal is required.
  • There is no minimum funding requirement for an application to be considered.
  • There is no maximum funding limit for applications; however, funding is subject to available resources.
  • Multi-phase and/or multi-year projects are encouraged. The REC may require intermediate approvals for multiple phases of a given project. The application requests information on how it should be considered for this purpose.
  • Questions about submission of an application may be addressed to: REC@soa.org

Process for Reviewing Researcher Applications

  1. After the due date for application submissions has passed as specified in an RFP, the review process begins. Applications are reviewed in batch; in other words, the applications are judged against one another rather than completely independently.
  2. All applications received are categorized as pertaining to one or more actuarial practice area(s). Categorizations will rely on: a) the application response to the question asking which SOA sections the application is most closely aligned; and b) the judgment of the review group.
  3. After the categorization is complete, subject matter experts review the application to assess whether the application merits further review by the REC.
  4. Considerations for the subject matter expert review include the applicant’s demonstration of technical proficiency, topic relevance, and whether the application complements or advances other research conducted by the SOA. 
  5. All applications that are deemed worthy of further consideration upon completion of the subject matter expert review are then collected for the REC to review in batch.
  6. The REC scores each application based on the five criteria set forth in the last section of the application – Criteria for Selection for Funding.
  7. The REC uses the scores as guidance for the final determination for funding.
  8. Notification of the status of applications will be according to the dates specified in the RFP.

Applications for Topics Not Covered by an RFP

Applications for topics not covered by an RFP will be considered.  The review of such applications will be in combination with the batch review of applications received in response to an RFP.

Time-Sensitive Applications

An exception to the batch review described above is if a researcher requests an immediate review and demonstrates the time-sensitivity of an application. If so, the application will be reviewed as soon as possible. It is intended that such applications will be considered only on rare occasions and upon thorough explanation of its necessity.  

Criteria for Selection for Funding

The REC has established five criteria for evaluating applications for REX Pool funding. For each application, a total score will be determined based on the following criteria and scoring weights:

  1. Impact (50% of total score): In scoring an application for this criterion, reviewers will consider how the proposed research makes an impact for the actuarial profession or addresses a critical gap in research. Since impact is a function of both significance and innovation, reviewers will also consider the likelihood that the proposed research will achieve its desired outcome.
  2. Cost-Benefit (20% of total score): In scoring an application for this criterion, the reviewers will examine the amount of funding requested against the desired outcomes and deliverables.
  3. Uniqueness (10% of total score): In scoring an application for this criterion, the reviewers will assess the uniqueness of the proposed research application and its likelihood for success.
  4. Viability (10% of the total score): In scoring an application for this criterion, the reviewers will analyze the viability of the research concept and methodology, as well as any past SOA experience working with the researcher(s).
  5. Quality (10% of total score): In scoring an application for this criterion, the reviewers will judge the proposed research for how carefully the research process and methodology have been considered and described in the application, in order to have a greater assurance of providing high-quality research.