Research Excellence Fund (REF) - Research Seed Grants

Research Seed Grants

Budget Deadline: February 27, 2014
Proposal Deadline: March 6, 2014—4:00 p.m.

Program Description

REF Research Seed (REF-RS) grants are designed to provide untenured tenure-track academic faculty and research faculty who have been employed for less than six years with resources to develop an externally supported research program. Typical REF-RS projects will develop preliminary data to be used in subsequent proposals to outside funding sources, support pilot studies developing new research methods or procedures, or support other activity leading to the development of an externally recognized and funded research program. The report submitted at the end of supported Seed Grant projects should include a description of proposals submitted to external funding agencies based on the work supported by the Seed Grant.

Untenured tenure-track academic faculty and research faculty members in any academic unit are eligible to submit REF-RS proposals as the principal investigator. Teams of untenured faculty in one or more academic units are encouraged to submit joint proposals. Tenured faculty, research faculty (who have been employed for more than six years), or research staff are not eligible to be Principal Investigators for REF-RS awards but may be included as Co-Investigators on REF-RS proposals. A PI may only submit one proposal per category (see FAQs). Undergraduate support is allowable and needs to be clearly justified in the proposal. REF-RS grants may be up to $40,000 per year, with an expected average award of $30,000 per year.

We have considered research faculty as eligible for the REF Seed Grant funds in the past and will continue to do so. They need to clearly demonstrate they are early in their appointment. SGs are limited to untenured faculty, so no one past their sixth year of appointment would be considered eligible, which needs to be clear in the proposal.

All project participants with remaining balances in their startup accounts must include a detailed description of why additional REF funds are needed. Remaining startup funds must be entered as cost share in the budget submitted to SPO. The expectation is that remaining startup funds will be dedicated to the REF project if it is funded. The supporting letter from the Department Chair must address the need for additional funds and that the faculty members is spending down his/her startup in a manner consistent with the agreed-upon startup plan.

Evaluation of Proposals

REF-RS proposals will be evaluated on:

  1. Likelihood of leading to the development of an externally supported research program, including future external graduate student funding.
  2. Contribution to the achievement of the University and unit strategic plans.
  3. Matching funds are not required, however the supporting letter from the Chair must clearly show the department's commitment to the success of the project.

Proposal Format

All proposals must include a completed Required Elements Checklist-RS to ensure all necessary documents have been submitted.  Please review this checklist prior to writing your proposal as it explains the requirements and page limits.With an expectation of a heavy volume of submission for this competition, please adhere to all guidelines including the proposal format.

Budget Information 

Budgets must be reviewed and approved by the Sponsored Programs Office one week prior to the proposal deadline. Please submit your budget and completed Cost Share/Matching Support Authorization Form to Jennifer Bukovich.

Cost Share

All cost share is to be disclosed in the budget justification and shown on the budget worksheet. You must also submit a completed Cost Share Authorization form (which is located on the Banner Self Service Site).

Unallowable Expenditures

  • Faculty salary support (including summer salary)
  • Faculty, staff, and temporary salary support
  • Graduate student support (stipend, tuition, hourly, etc). Hourly graduate student support is allowed during the summer semester.
  • Faculty release time

Letters of Support and Submission Requirements

The supporting letter from the Department Chair must address the need for additional funds and that the faculty member is spending down his/her startup in a manner consistent with the agreed upon startup plan.

Institute/Center/School

  • Submit one copy of the final proposal to the appropriate Dean or Director for review—the Dean or Director will submit their letter of support directly to the VP Research office, Attn: Cathy Codere.
  • Submit an electronic copy of the final proposal to ref-l@mtu.edu. Please send one file in PDF format.

College

  • Obtain letter of support from the appropriate Chair(s) and include with the final proposal.
  • Submit one copy of the final proposal, including the letter of support from the Chair(s), to the appropriate Dean for review—the Dean will submit their letter of support directly to the VP Research office, Attn: Cathy Codere.
  • Please submit the Required Elements Checklist, Transmittal Form and Proposal as one pdf file to ref-l@mtu.edu.

Dean Requirement:

The Dean will send their letter of support directly to the VP Research Office, Attn: Cathy Codere. Dean letters are due within seven calendar days of the proposal deadline. If faculty members from the same College/School submit multiple proposals, the Dean needs to prioritize the proposals from the College/School based on need and benefit.

Award Modifications

If you need to make a modification to your REF award end date or budget, please send a completed Request for Modification Form (see resources box on this page) via email to refmod-l@mtu.edu. The form should provide a justification for the requested change and be signed by the required individuals. Please send the document as a PDF file.