Research Foundation Guidelines
are the latest University Research Foundation Guidelines,
revised as of June 27, 2001. The Guidelines and additional information
may be found on line at www.upenn.edu/research/FoundationGuidelines.htm.
For the recipients of the Fall 2001 awards see Almanac
online at www.upenn.edu/almanac/v48/n21/RF-Awards.html.
The University Research Foundation (URF) is an intramural resource
to support faculty research for a variety of purposes, including:
established faculty perform exploratory research, particularly
on novel or pioneering ideas, to determine their feasibility
and develop preliminary data to support extramural applications.
junior faculty undertake pilot projects that will enable them
to successfully apply for extramural sources of funding, and
aid in establishing their careers as independent investigators.
support in disciplines where extramural support is difficult
to obtain and where significant research can be facilitated
with modest funding.
modest institutional matching funds that are awarded contingent
upon a successful external peer-reviewed application that requires
an institutional match.
URF supports research in all disciplines, including international
research. For purposes of review, applications are assigned to four
broad disciplinary areas, liberal arts, social and behavioral sciences,
natural and engineering sciences, and biomedical sciences.
are given for a single year only. Applications for a second year
of funding may be submitted but usually receive low priority. Funds
must be spent within 12 months of the beginning of the grant, and
may not be "banked" for future use. Unexpended funds must
be returned to the Foundation.
up to $50,000 will be entertained, but most grants are for no more
than $25,000. Because the total cost of meritorious requests exceed
available funds by several fold, applicants are encouraged to request
only absolutely essential resources.
is limited to Standing Faculty (tenure track or tenured faculty),
Standing Faculty-Clinician-Educators, and Research Faculty.
are accepted twice each year, for November 1 and March 15 deadlines.
If the date falls on a weekend or holiday, the deadline is the next
working day. Every effort will be made to process applications and
notify applicants of the outcome within 10 weeks after the deadlines.
Application--Brevity and clarity will enhance the likelihood
of success. All applications should be limited to 10 pages (applications
for >$25,000 can be up to 15 pages) and should include:
Research Foundation Proposal Cover Sheet.
abstract, no more than 200 words, written for the educated non-specialist.
description of the research proposal, which should be no more than
5 single spaced pages for grants up to $25,000 and no more than
10 pages for grants >$25,000. Proposals should provide background,
hypothesis or purpose of the research, significance of the research,
methods used, work to be undertaken, and outlook for future extension
of the research and its potential for external funding (see also
criteria for evaluating proposals, below).
single page biographical sketch.
budget, with justification for each item requested. Items that can
be requested include faculty release time, summer stipends, research
travel expenses, supplies, minor equipment specifically designed
for the proposed research. Items that are usually excluded include
renovations of the physical facilities, major equipment, and extension
of projects that are already well funded.
research support, including current funding with a list of titles,
amounts, sources, and grant periods, expired funding for the prior
three years, plus pending applications. Applicants with "start
up packages" should provide detailed dated budgets.
Assistant Professors in their first three years are required to
include a letter from their department chair indicating their career
plans within the department, and listing all department funding,
including startup packages and the like. In addition, the letter
should document the degree of independence of these investigators.
issues. If research involves human subjects, animals, biohazards,
or other regulatory issues, the application should identify those
concerns and provide documentation that they have been addressed.
This may require IRB or IACUC or Environmental Safety review and
approval. It should be emphasized that full regulatory compliance
apply to Research Foundation grants which must meet the same standards
applied to larger extramural applications. Regulatory documentation
can be provided as an appendix to the body of the application and
will not be included in the page count. For advice please consult
the Office of Regulatory Affairs.
of interest. The applicant should explicitly make a statement whether
or not the application involves any potential conflict of interest,
and any such conflicts should be described. For instance, if the
research could forward the interests of a company in which the applicant
has a pecuniary interest, this should be disclosed. Conflict of
interest documentation (if required) can be provided as an appendix
to the body of the application and will not be included in the page
Original and Ten Copies of the complete proposal with the cover
sheet should be submitted to the Office of the Vice Provost for
Research, 119 College Hall/6303.
applications are reviewed by one of four faculty committees, in
the four disciplinary areas mentioned above. Every attempt is made
to spread funding equitably across the major disciplines. Each application
is reviewed for a variety of attributes, including:
merit, creativity and innovation
for the modest funding provided
of the research
opportunities that require immediate funding
for future extramural funding
support from other sources
of alternate funding sources
development of young researchers
that junior applicants will be working as independent investigators
of school or institutional objectives, such as interdisciplinary
frequently found weaknesses should be avoided, such as
the wheel" due to ignorance of prior published work often
in cognate fields
fishing expedition without a focused hypothesis
for equipment, such as computers, that could be funded by the
for faculty salary that exceed the scale of URF grants
requests for research projects that are eligible for but have
failed to garner external peer reviewed support
meritorious requests exceed available funds, reviewers often reduce
budgets to extend the number of applications that can be supported.
The review committees make their recommendations to the Vice Provost
for Research, who makes the final decisions about funding, based
on year-to-year availability of resources. Decisions will be made
shortly after review committees have met and should be distributed
by email within 10 weeks of the date of submission.
for Approved URF Grants
of funds. Within one month following notice of award, recipients
are required to arrange a transfer of award funds from the Provost's
Administrative Office to their home department. This transfer
should be arranged by the Business Administrator for the home
department. The process is initiated by submitting the financial
form which accompanies the award letter to:
Friedman, Provost's Administrative Office, 133 S. 36th Street,
Suite 401/3246, fax: (215) 573-2227
approvals--If regulatory approvals (IRB, IACUC, and the like)
are required and have not been obtained at the time of the award,
they must be obtained prior to the utilization of funds or initiation
of the research. Failure to comply would be considered a serious
transgression of the policies of the University of Pennsylvania.
A brief (1-2 pages) report is required to be submitted to the
Office of the Vice Provost for Research one year after the date
of the award. This should describe the work accomplished, the
planned date of completion, and whether there are residual unused
funds in the budget. In general, it is expected that the scope
of research would be completed within one year of the date of
award. Also, if alternative funding has been obtained, recipients
are expected to return unexpended funds.
should be directed to:
Rogers, Office of the Vice Provost for Research, 119 College Hall/6303
(215) 898-7236 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Almanac, Vol. 48, No. 25, March 5, 2002