IMPORTANT REVISIONS FOR JANUARY 2021 APPLICATIONS

Please take note of the following key changes to the RC seed grant forms and guidelines:

  • Revisions to cover sheet, current and pending support form, conflict of interest disclosure form, and special requirements form.
  • Projects involving an external partner (e.g., schools, care facilities, indigenous peoples, etc.) must provide a letter of support from the external partner as part of Appendix F.
  • Successful RC awardees are not eligible to apply for additional Office of Research seed grant funding of any type for three years.
  • Parallel funding for the same project is not allowed.

light bulbThe Research Catalyst (RC) program provides funding to help applicants develop new initiatives or directions in their discipline. The purpose of this program is to seed research/creative scholarship that will lead to external funding. To facilitate this goal, it is expected that funded RC projects will result in the development and submission of at least one proposal to an external funding agency.

RC grants provide one-year seed funding. Budgetary requests should be consistent with the scope of the proposed activity but cannot exceed $20,000 to assist investigators exploring new avenues of research that will lead to new externally funded grants. Lesser budgetary requests will be equally considered during the review process.

The RC program is not intended to be a parallel funding program. The goal is to generate data that will lead to externally funded future research/creative scholarship activities. As such, projects which seek parallel funding (i.e., the project idea is submitted externally before or within six months of seed grant application submission) will be disqualified from funding. Under rare circumstances (e.g., Extension seed grant program, etc.), parallel application submissions may be appropriate; however, projects can receive funding from only one internal program. Such projects should be discussed with the Office of Research prior to submission of an RC application.

Questions? Contact Jeri Hansen at jerilyn.hansen@usu.edu or (435) 797-3437.

Proposal Process

Eligibility

All USU tenured or tenure-eligible faculty, research faculty, or other research professionals are eligible to apply. Research professionals in limited term positions (e.g., adjunct faculty, post-doctoral researchers, graduate research assistants) are not eligible.

Applicants must complete the Office of Research-sponsored faculty grant writing seminar to be eligible for a seed grant award.

If an application is turned down by the seed grant review panel, an applicant is allowed one re-submission of a revised proposal for the same project in a subsequent grant cycle. Revised proposals must include the panel summary and a line-by-line description of how the review panel comments were addressed as an attachment (Appendix G).

Proposals that have already been submitted to an external funding agency and for which a funding decision is pending, or those already reviewed and found to be non-competitive (rated as less than “good”), are not eligible for RC funding consideration.

A PI receiving Office of Research seed grant funding of any type is not eligible to receive additional Office of Research seed grant funding of any type for a three-year period (counted from the project end date to a new project start date).

Evaluation Criteria

All RC proposals will be reviewed by a panel of USU researchers and administrators. In evaluating proposals, particular consideration will be given to the following criteria:

  1. Scholarly merit and relevance to the targeted external program announcement or RFP.
  2. Strength of applicant’s and other team members’ expertise, resources, and research record as they relate to the proposed research/creative scholarship.
  3. Strength of the research/project plan.
  4. Strength of the management plan, as appropriate.
  5. The degree to which the project will engage graduate, undergraduate, or post-doctoral researchers, as appropriate/feasible.
  6. The potential of the project to extend USU’s research/creative scholarship capability and increase external funding for activities based on agency program officer feedback.

Additionally, it may be advantageous for projects to consider:

  • The potential to establish long-term, multidisciplinary, or interdisciplinary collaborations.
  • The potential of the project to build Utah’s economy through new intellectual property or industry sponsored research.

Reporting Requirement

Grantees must produce and submit a new external proposal, directly facilitated by the RC award within three months of completion of the project. If funding is not awarded for the external proposal, the PI will provide the Office of Research with reviewer comments as well as a written plan for resubmission.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The USU faculty member of the RC project may serve as PI or Co-I on the external proposal, but USU must be the lead institution controlling the submission of the resulting external proposal (i.e., USU cannot serve as a subcontractor on the project).

PIs who do not submit the required proposals will be ineligible for future Office of Research funding of any type until this requirement is met.

Proposal Format

Each RC proposal is limited to eight (8) pages:

  • Single-spaced text
  • 12-point font, 1-inch margins, page numbers
  • Page limitation includes figures and tables
  • Page limitation excludes cover sheet, external funding target(s) information, references, summary budget, budget justification, and appendices

Proposal Submission

Proposals must be submitted to the Office of Research by the Dean or Associate Dean of the PI’s college. An electronic (PDF) copy of the entire proposal should be submitted by the Dean or Associate Dean by uploading the document to the “Seed Grant Submissions” folder in Box (contact Jeri Hansen to get access to this folder). Proposal deadlines are January 15 and June 15 (if the deadline falls on a weekend or USU holiday, proposals are due on the next business day). Applicants are advised to check with their colleges regarding internal submission deadlines.

Cover Sheet (Word template, required)

External Funding Target(s) (Word template, required, one-page limit)

Research Plan (required, eight-page limit)

1.     Introduction and Seed Grant Project Description

Describe the proposed research/creative scholarship. Include a summary of relevant literature, specific objectives/primary questions to be addressed, procedures and methods utilized, novel/cutting-edge aspects of the project, and broader impacts of the research. Provide an explanation of possible pitfalls/risks of the project and how these will be mitigated.

If the proposed project will include human subjects research, documentation showing support for the research/creative scholarship by the external partner(s) (e.g., school district, care facility, tribe, etc.) must be provided and included in Supplementary Documentation (Appendix F).

2.     Management Plan

Describe the scope of work and responsibilities of the key personnel of the seed grant project, such as data, project responsibilities, and information/communication management, as appropriate. This will be of particular importance if the project includes multi- or interdisciplinary partnerships. Provide a timeline for major activities, including the preparation and submission of the external proposal.

3.     Research/Creative Scholarship Products

Identify and describe the expected research/creative scholarship products aside from the external funding request (publications, research data sets, etc.).

4.     Relationship of Seed Grant Project to External Funding Goal

Explain how the seed grant’s project outcomes/products are relevant and necessary to the development of a strong and successful external proposal to the targeted funding opportunity. Describe how the seed grant work will enhance or be incorporated into the external proposal. In addition, describe how a less than satisfactory outcome of the project will be mitigated in the external proposal. Seed projects targeting NSF may want to consider involving Extension specialists to help improve the Broader Impacts requirement of the external proposal.

5.     Relevance of the Proposed Research/Creative Scholarship to the PI’s Career

Include a statement about how the seed grant and the external proposal will advance the career of the PI.

References (required, no page limitation)

Budget (Excel template, required)

Budget Justification (Word template, required, no page limitation)

Provide a summary budget and justification for all proposed expenses, including faculty, student, postdoctoral researcher, and/or Extension specialist support; fringe benefits; supplies; equipment needed to generate preliminary data for the external proposal; and travel required to complete the project. Research/Project plans that include travel must comply with USU travel policies.

Up to one month of salary support plus benefits per investigator is allowed.

Explain any departmental or college contributions to the project (not required, but could include providing student help, travel or administrative support, or other expenses associated with external proposal development).

The following costs are not allowed: conference travel, literature review costs, and funding paid to other institutions (unless well justified).

Appendices (required, no page limitation)

Appendix A. Curriculum/Curricula Vitae (required, two-page maximum per person)

CV information is required for the PI and any Co-Is.

Include as part of the CV a record of grant writing experience and role (PI or Co-I). If no funding has been received, indicate any grant writing training received.

Appendix B. Current and Pending Support (required)

List the current and pending support for the PI and any Co-Is.

For any current or pending projects that are related to the proposed seed grant project, include a separate description of the specific objectives and how they differ from the objectives of the seed grant.

Appendix C. Conflict of Interest (required)

Disclosure of any potential conflicts of interest is required for the PI and any Co-Is.

Appendix D. Education and Training Plan (if required by external RFP)

If the targeted external funding opportunity requires a major educational or training component, describe how these elements will be addressed. Outline any plans for recruiting, retaining, or educating students from underrepresented groups.

Appendix E. Special Requirements of Project (if applicable)

Identify any special requirements of project (human participants, animal use, hazardous materials, etc.) and whether protocols are pending or approved.

Appendix F. Supplementary Documentation (if appropriate)

Letters of support from external partner(s) whose collaboration is integral to the execution of the proposed seed grant project (e.g., school district, care facility, tribes, etc.).

Appendix G. Review Panel Comments (if applicable)

If seed grant proposal is a resubmission, attach previous seed grant review panel comments and address comments line-by-line.

If the research/creative scholarship outlined in the seed grant application is intended to support the resubmission of an external grant proposal that was not funded in a recent cycle, but did receive favorable scores from the agency review panel, a full copy of the agency review panel comments must be attached.

Appendix H. Results of Previous Seed Funding (if applicable)

Provide a one-page description of the results of any previous Office of Research seed funding the PI has received.

RC projects are funded semi-annually, with start dates of April 1 or September 1. Applicants should select the timeline that best ensures they can develop and submit an external grant proposal within three months of RC project completion. See schedule below for the semi-annual timelines of RC submissions, awards, and project deliverables.

Proposals must be submitted to the Office of Research by the Dean or Associate Dean of the PI’s college. An electronic (PDF) copy of the entire proposal should be submitted by the Dean or Associate Dean by uploading the document to the “Seed Grant Submissions” folder in Box. Proposal deadlines are January 15 and June 15 (if the deadline falls on a weekend or USU holiday, proposals are due on the next business day). Applicants are advised to check with their colleges regarding internal submission deadlines.

Schedule for RC Submissions, Awards, and Project Deliverables

Steps For April 1 Start Date For September 1 Start Date
Proposals are submitted to Dean’s Office for internal review

College determines internal deadline

(allow ample time for review and signatures by the Department Head and Dean)

College determines internal deadline

(allow ample time for review and signatures by the Department Head and Dean)

Dean’s Office submits proposals to the Office of Research

January 15

(if this falls on a weekend or USU holiday, proposals will be due the next business day)

June 15

(if this falls on a weekend or USU holiday, proposals will be due the next business day)

Notification of awards by the Office of Research March August
Grant period April 1 – March 31 September 1 – August 31
Final financial report Within 60 days of project end date Within 60 days of project end date
Final project report Within 60 days of project end date Within 60 days of project end date
External proposal submission Within 3 months of project end date Within 3 months of project end date

Templates & Forms