Office of the Vice Provost for Research

University Research Foundation

The University Research Foundation (URF) offers limited support on a competitive basis for investigator research projects and scholarly conferences and is offered in the Fall and Spring semesters.  Proposals will be evaluated by faculty review panels.

The URF provides up to $50,000 in project support to junior faculty undertaking pilot projects to launch their investigative careers and established faculty developing preliminary data on novel or pioneering ideas to support extramural applications. The URF in particular focuses on disciplines where extramural support is difficult to obtain and where significant research can be facilitated with internal funding. In addition, special attention will be paid to project proposals that include mentorship of Penn undergraduates.  

For Penn faculty interested in convening scholarly meetings on the University’s campus, the URF provides up to $3,000 in conference support, particularly in disciplines where external funding is difficult to obtain.

Disciplines: Biomedical Sciences, Humanities, Natural Sciences and Engineering, and Social Science and Management

Grant Term, 1 year only: Unexpended funds must be returned. A no cost extension must be approved by the Senior Vice Provost for Research. Request for a no cost extension should be made prior to the expiration of an award. No cost extension will only be granted for extenuating circumstances. Extensions will not be made for longer than 6 months. A progress-to-date report including a revised budget will be required. The extension form is available on the website or by emailing  

Budget: Allowable costs include supplies, non-faculty salaries, and travel expenses (EXCEPT for Biomedical Applications) related to the project. Salary support for Faculty is not allowable.

Eligibility: Eligibility is limited to Penn assistant, associate, and full professors, in any track. Instructors and Research Associates may apply but need to establish (by letter from Department Chair) that the applicant will receive an appointment as an Assistant Professor by the time of the award. Assistant Professors should also submit a letter from their Department Chair describing their research independence. Adjunct Faculty are not eligible to apply. 

Renewals: Applications for renewal of a previously funded project may be submitted but receive low priority.

Resubmissions: Applications not previously funded must be revised, changes should be clearly indicated.


URF Application Deadline: November 7, 2014

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