The Center for Audit Quality and the Auditing Section of the American Accounting Association are looking for academics who want access to audit firm personnel for their research projects.

The two organizations issued a request for proposals Tuesday for their joint Access to Audit Personnel program, which gives accounting and auditing academics access to audit firm personnel to participate in research projects.

“The CAQ is pleased to be able to continue this valuable program aimed at producing scholarly research that can have an impact on the public company auditing profession,” said CAQ executive director Cindy Fornelli in a statement. “This program provides important benefits to academics as well as the profession that would not be possible without the generous support of our eight Governing Board member firms.”

The CAQ and the Auditing Section of the AAA initiated the program in 2012 to provide access to audit firm personnel for doctoral students and assistant professors seeking tenure so they could conduct behavioral research studies on issues related to audit practice. A review committee of senior academics and audit partners assess the proposals based on criteria such as methodological soundness, potential contribution to academic literature, and ability to address important research questions that are relevant to practice.

“The Auditing Section appreciates the continued support that the CAQ and the firms provide to our scholars in their efforts to conduct important research,” said AAA Auditing Section president Chris Hogan. “This unique program offers a great opportunity for academic researchers to obtain study participants from multiple firms to address questions that can provide insights into issues that the profession encounters during the execution of the audit.”

Unlike the CAQ’s Research Advisory Board grant program, where academic scholars seek funds to support projects that can use a variety of research methodologies, the applicants in this program are required to submit a data collection protocol that is ready to be implemented, in conjunction with a proposal that outlines the theory and hypotheses to be tested in the experiment. The expectation is that the data collection will be finalized within five months of award, before the start of the profession’s “busy season.”

Since the first set of awards were made in 2013, the Access to Audit Personnel program has provided grant recipients with access to nearly 2,000 audit participants. The typical number of audit firm personnel requested in these projects ranges from 80 to 210. Researchers have been provided access to staff of all levels – from staff auditors up to audit partners. Protocols are administered through various means: hard copy distributed directly to participants, in-person at firm training sessions, and online. The eight CAQ Governing Board firms worked closely with CAQ staff to ensure successful execution of these projects.

The request for proposal is available on the CAQ’s Web site. Proposals can be submitted using an online application process. The deadline for submitting a proposal is 5:00 pm on Feb. 1, 2016.