Revised Research Foundation Guidelines (revised 9/99)

Statement of Purpose

The Research Foundation encourages the exploration of new fields across a broad spectrum of disciplines. In doing so, the Foundation expands opportunities for faculty to attract support and resources from external sources while encouraging work in fields that are traditionally underfunded. Money from the Research Foundation is an investment in research at Penn. Thus, the Research Foundation is principally for standing faculty.

The Foundation supports three levels of grants. The first level, Type A grants, provide support in the range of $500 to $5,000. The second level, Type B grants, provide support in the range of $5,001 to $50,000. The third level, Type C international grants, provide support in the range of $5,001 to $15,000. A Type C grant may be combined with either a Type A or a Type B grant, but the maximum total award is $50,000. Type C grants were formerly administered by the University's Office of International Programs and were known as the Internal Programs Fund. They have now been integrated into the University's Research Foundation. The standard application for a Type A or Type C grant is briefer than that for a Type B grant, reflecting respective funding levels. However, the review criteria for all types of grants are similar, and several general factors are considered in evaluating an application for the three types of grants. They are:

  • Its contribution to the development of the applicant's research potential and progress.
  • The quality, importance and impact of the proposed research project.
  • Its potential value for enhancing the stature of the University.
  • Its budget appropriateness in terms of the project proposed, including consideration of need and availability of external support.

The Application Process

The Research Foundation Board will review Type A, Type B and Type C applications in the fall and spring of each academic year. Applications for the fall cycle are due on or before November 1 of each year, while spring cycle applications are due on or before March 15 of each year. If the date falls on a weekend or holiday, the deadline is the following business day. All research projects involving human subjects or animals must receive Institutional Review Board approval prior to funding. Questions concerning human/animal research should be directed to the Office of Regulatory Affairs at (215) 898-2614. All research projects involving the use of hazardous or biohazardous materials and/or radioactive materials must receive approval from the Office of Environmental Health and Radiation Safety (OEHRS) prior to funding. Questions about this approval process should be directed to OEHRS at (215) 898-4453.

An Original and Ten Copies of the proposal with the cover sheet* should be submitted to the Office of the Vice Provost for Research, 212 College Hall/6381.

       Fall Deadline November 1      

Type A Proposals are limited in length to ten single spaced pages and should contain a brief description of the research and the specific needs which the grant will cover. The proposal should include:

  1. The Research Foundation Proposal Cover Sheet*. Failure to fully complete the Cover Sheet or exceeding page limitations will risk disqualification from the competition.
  2. 100-word abstract of the project for the educated non-specialist.
  3. Amount of current research support (including start-up packages).
  4. Other pending proposals for the same project.
  5. List of research support received during the past three years. Include funds from University sources such as school, department, or Research Foundation. If you were funded by the Research Foundation in the last three years, please submit a brief progress report with publications and grants proposed or received (no more than one page).
  6. A one-page biographical sketch of each investigator listing educational background, academic positions held, and five recent publications.
  7. A three to four page mini-proposal, outlining the project and its significance.
  8. A budget that justifies the specific items requested and assigns a priority to each item.

Research Foundation support for Type A proposals will focus on:

  • Seed money for the initiation of new research.
  • Limited equipment requests directly related to research needs.
  • Travel expenses for research only.
  • Publication preparation costs.
  • Summer Stipends, with preference for applications from Assistant Professors.

Type B Proposals are limited in length to fifteen single spaced pages. The following format is suggested for Type B proposals:

  1. Research Foundation Proposal Cover Sheet*. Failure to fully complete the Cover Sheet or exceeding page limitations will risk disqualification from the competition.
  2. 100-word abstract of significance of the project for the educated non-specialist.
  3. Amount of current research support (including start-up packages).
  4. Other pending proposals for the same project.
  5. List of research support, including titles, amounts, and grant periods, received during the past three years. Include funds from University sources such as school, department, or Research Foundation.
  6. A brief curriculum vitae including publications for the principal investigator and each researcher listed on the proposal.
  7. A proposal of not more than nine single spaced pages giving the objectives and scholarly or scientific significance of the proposed work, a description of the research plan and methodologies to be employed, a description of the significance and impact of the project, and a description of how a Research Foundation grant will facilitate acquisition of future research funds.
  8. Budget (one page). Budget items should be listed in order of priority.

Research Foundation support for Type B proposals focuses on several areas of need. These are:

  • Matching funds, vis-à-vis external grant sources.
  • Seed money for exploratory research programs.
  • Support for interdisciplinary research initiatives.
  • Faculty released time.

Type C Proposals are limited to ten single spaced pages and should contain a brief description of the research and the specific needs which the grant will cover. The proposal should include:

  1. Research Foundation Proposal Cover Sheet*. Failure to fully complete the Cover Sheet or exceeding page limitations will risk disqualification from the competition.
  2. 100-word abstract of the project for the educated non-specialist.
  3. Amount of current research support (including start-up packages).
  4. Other pending proposals for the same project.
  5. List of research support received during the past three years. Include funds from University sources such as school, department, Research Foundation, or International Programs Fund. If you were funded by the Research Foundation or the International Programs Fund in the last three years, please submit a brief progress report with publications and grants proposed or received (no more than one page).
  6. A one-page biographical sketch of each investigator listing educational background, academic positions held, and five recent publications.
  7. A three to four page mini-proposal, outlining the project objectives, significance in strengthening the University's international dimension, design, procedures, implementation, time frame, and a description of how a Research Foundation grant will facilitate acquisition of future research funds.
  8. A budget that justifies the specific items requested and assigns a priority to each item.

Research Foundation support for Type C proposals will focus on:

  • Area and international studies, within the context of Penn's Agenda for Excellence.
  • International collaborative research, particularly involving institutions with which Penn has formal cooperative agreements.
  • Comparative international research.
  • Multi-school initiatives.
  • Seed money for the initiation of new research.
  • Travel expenses for research and collaboration.
  • Publication preparation costs.
  • Matching funds, vis-à-vis support from deans and external grant sources.

The following are not eligible for support as Type C awards:

  • Ongoing program support;
  • Physical plant;
  • Equipment.

Requests for student tuition and dissertation fees will not be considered by the Foundation.
______________

* The Research Foundation Proposal Cover Sheet is available from the Office of the Vice Provost for Research, 212 College Hall, and on the web at www.upenn.edu/research/FoundationCover.htm


Almanac, Vol. 46, No. 5, September 28, 1999

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