The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences is launching a major research initiative, designed to encourage LAS faculty to develop and lead interdisciplinary, collaborative research projects. The goal of this initiative is to enhance the international visibility and impact of LAS-led research and to increase the College’s sponsored research expenditures. Criteria for funding of LAS Signature Research Initiative (SRI) proposals will include evaluation of the potential to compete successfully for external funding and to align with one or more of the anticipated LAS College Signature Themes*. Innovative, forward-thinking research with a significant risk but a high funding potential, if successful, is especially encouraged.
The LAS College expects to fund approximately 6 grants per year for up to 3 years duration: approximately 3 with a maximum of $100,000 per year and approximately 3 with a maximum of $50,000 per year, although these numbers will be flexible, since the intent is to provide maximum impact for the funds invested. The total investment of the College per year for each, three-year proposal cycle will be $450,000. LAS SRI proposals will require an explanation of how it relates to and enhances one or more LAS Signature Themes, in addition to a description of and rationale for the research project and any research to be performed. LAS SRI proposals also will require an explicit funding action plan for future external research proposals. This funding action plan will require submission of external research proposals that request 1) during the first year of SRI funding, at least as much funding as the total funding provided by the LAS SRI grant received, and 2) during the lifetime of the LAS Initiative grant, at least 5-times the total funding provided by the LAS SRI grant received. LAS SRI projects are anticipated to run for up to 3 years, but funding will be approved and provided for only one year at a time, with funding in subsequent years dependent on research progress and on submission of external research grant proposals identified in the funding action plan. Brief progress reports will be required each year to allow evaluation whether funding should continue. All available funding action plan proposal reviews must be shared with the LAS College office as part of the annual progress reports. Awarded LAS SRI funds can be used for research and/or team building activities but must include, at a minimum, a visit by the PI to each of the sponsors targeted in the funding action plan and a team-building workshop or retreat to assure integration of all members of the team. Collaborative groups submitting LAS SRI proposals must be led by an LAS faculty PI and should include at least two additional co-PIs from ISU. Support for non-ISU collaborators will be limited to travel. Cost-share funding amounting to 10% of the total LAS SRI grant funding will be expected from departments, programs, faculty, or other sources, distributed on a pro-rated basis for PIs/co-PIs in different departments. This 10% cost share will be added to the total LAS SRI investment (i.e., a $100,000 per year LAS SRI grant will actually have $110,000 per year of available funding).
*Currently, we are collecting feedback on a draft version of these Signature Themes; we expect the final version to be available before the SRI proposal deadline on March 15, 2013.
LAS Signature Initiative Grants Application Process
LAS Signature Research Initiative proposals should be submitted by 5:00 pm March 15, 2013, to firstname.lastname@example.org. The application should be no more than five pages, single-spaced, using a 12 point font and one inch margins, and must include the following:
Names and affiliations of investigators. Provide the full name, organizational and departmental affiliation, and major role for each investigator. The tenure home of the PI must be in the LAS College. Description of the proposed project. Clearly describe the proposed project, including the aims and objectives for the project, whether it is focused on research, team-building or a combination of both. Also include a concise description of the role of each of the investigators in the project. Justification and rationale for the proposed project. Clearly describe the rationale for the proposed project and any research to be performed, as well as how it relates to and enhances one or more LAS Signature Themes (link to be added). Description of the long-term research goals and activities that will be undertaken. Explain the need for a collaborative approach involving multiple investigators, and the means of achieving an integration of the various investigators into a functional collaborative. Funding action plan for the project. On the provided Funding Action Plan form, provide details including sponsor, RFP descriptions, maximum award dollars, and actual or projected submission dates for external research proposals that will be enabled by this LAS SRI funding .and will be submitted during the active funding period for the LAS SRI grant. Note that the funding action plan must include at least one proposal during the first year of LAS SRI funding that requests at least as much funding as the total LAS SRI grant, and, during the active period of the LAS SRI grant, external proposals requesting at least 5X the total funding provided by the LAS SRI grant. Budget and budget justification. On the Budget Form provided, itemize the requested funding, and explain and justify how funds will be used. Note that funds can be used for research and/or team building activities but must include, at a minimum, a visit by the PI to each of the sponsors targeted in the funding action plan and a team-building workshop or retreat to assure integration of all members of the team.
Only one application per principal investigator (PI) is permitted; however, a PI may be a co-PI on other applications.
Review Criteria and Selection Process
Applications will be evaluated and ranked according to the following criteria:
Demonstrate the greatest potential to compete successfully for extramural research funding. Innovative, forward-thinking research with a significant risk but a high funding potential, if successful, is especially encouraged. Demonstrate quality and potential of the project to advance research in one or more of the LAS Signature Themes and to advance University Priorities, such as increasing sponsored research expenditures and graduate student enrollment. Well developed funding action plan that provides a clear and realistic potential for returning at least five times the LAS SRI funding investment in externally-funded research grants.
Applications will be reviewed and ranked by an interdisciplinary team of ISU faculty, excluding those with conflicts of interest. Therefore, proposals should be written in a manner appropriate for review by a broad team that includes non-experts. The final award decision will be made by the LAS College by April 30, 2013. Funding will be available beginning July 1, 2013, but start dates can begin later.
Applicants receiving LAS SRI grant funding will be expected to provide annual progress reports at least 30 days prior to the end of each year of funding, except in the final year. This timing will allow the College to decide whether sufficient progress has been made to warrant awarding of the next year of funding. At the end of the final year of funding, a final, comprehensive report should be submitted within 30 days following the end of funding.
The annual progress reports and the comprehensive, final report should each include the following:
Progress toward research goals, including papers published and manuscripts submitted, presentations at conferences, etc., in addition to a concise narrative explaining research progress to date. The narrative should include information on how the research is advancing one or more of the LAS Signature Themes and advancing the University Priorities. Description of travel and other efforts undertaken to interact personally with the sponsors targeted in the funding action plan, and a description of any team-building workshops or retreats that took place. Progress on submission of all relevant extramural research proposals, whether included in the funding action plan or not, as well as information on whether funded, not funded or still pending. Reviews should be included for any proposals on which funding decisions have been made, whether positive or negative.
Any questions should be directed to Interim Associate Dean Martin Spalding, email@example.com, 294-4851. In addition, Dr. Spalding will be available to meet with groups to discuss this opportunity and encourages individuals and groups to contact him with ideas, questions, etc., by telephone or email, as well as for in person discussions.