Portage Health Foundation (PHF) Research Excellence Fund (REF) - Infrastructure Enhancement Grants (IE)

Proposal Information

Fall Proposal Deadline: October 1, 2020 at 4 p.m.
Award Period: January 1 - December 31

Spring Proposal Deadline: March 4, 2021 at 4 p.m.
Award Periord: July 1 - June 30

PI Eligibility: Each department, college, center, and institute (one per) is allowed to designate/sponsor an academic faculty or research staff member as the PI. PI's cannot have been awarded an PHF-REF-IE/REF-IE in the previous REF round or have an active PHF-REF-IE/REF-IE grant.

PI Limitations: A PI may only submit one proposal per category (see FAQs).

Project Duration: Projects are 12 months long.

Program Description

Portage Health Foundation REF Infrastructure Enhancement (PHF-REF-IE) grants are designed to provide Departments and Research Centers/Institutes with resources to develop the infrastructure necessary to support sponsored research and graduate student education. Funded projects will typically focus on acquisition of equipment, enhancement of laboratory facilities, or enhancement of administrative support structure to expand the research capability of the unit. Administration support structure can include support for personnel directly responsible for the affected research infrastructure (e.g., an equipment technician or research scientist/engineer).  PHF-REF-IE grants may be up to $50,000, are limited to the award period outlined above, and cannot be extended. Unexpended funds at the end of the project period will revert to the VPR office. Two or more departments may jointly submit a proposal.

Funding priority will be granted to infrastructure requests not housed in Shared Facility. 

Please review the Portage Health Foundation Research Awards for more information.

Evaluation of Proposals

 PHF-REF-IE proposals will be evaluated on:

  • Extent of enhancement of the University's research capability.
  • The likelihood of leading to future sponsored research funding and graduate student support.
  • Contribution to the achievement of the University and strategic plans.
  • The impact relevant to the five Portage Health Foundation pillars.
  • Matching funds are not required; however evidence of a departmental commitment to the project needs to be clear in the proposal, as well as reasoning for a lack of cost share.
  • Letters of support from the department chair, center/institute director, and/or college dean.

Review Criteria and Procedures

The evaluation criteria are given for each REF category. The review panels consist of faculty from disciplines across the University. The members are specialists in their fields and general research and methodologies. The proposals therefore should be written to ensure the importance of the project is clear to those outside the writer's field and provide a rationale for each functional element of the project. Please take this into account when writing your submission to ensure your proposal can be understood by all reviewers. These committees review the proposals and make recommendations to the Associate Vice President for Research Development. All funding decisions are final.

Proposal Format

All proposals must include a completed Required Elements Checklist—IE 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. When putting together your proposal package, follow the order on the Required Elements Checklist:

  • Abstract
  • Proposed Project
    • Description
    • Rationale
    • Impact
  • Management Plan
  • Human Health Impact Statement 
  • Budget and Budget Justification
    • A budget approved by Sponsored Programs is not needed during the proposal stage. State the requested budget total and a breakdown in the budget justification. 
    • If cost share is being used, a completed cost share form is not needed during the proposal stage. Provide an email or letter from the cost share provider stating the committed amount. 
    • Refer to "Budget Information" under the section "If Awarded an REF Grant" shown below for a list of unallowable expenditures.
  • Existing Resources
  • References
  • Two page vitae
  • Letter(s) of Support

The proposal must be formatted according to the following guidelines or it will be returned without review:

  • Times New Roman font at a font size of 12 point. A smaller font size may be used for mathematical formulas, equations, figures, tables, or diagram captions. This text must still be readable.
  • Margins in all directions must be at least one inch.
  • The proposal must be single spaced.
  • Page numbers should be placed at the bottom center of each page with the exception of attachments.

With an expectation of a heavy volume of submission for this competition, please adhere to all guidelines including the proposal format.

Management Plan

All PHF-REF-IE proposals must include a management plan section, which is a summary of how the equipment will be used and maintained. The proposer needs to outline the following on their Management Plan:

  • Equipment Operation
    • Identify who will be in charge of and responsible for the equipment.
    • Identify potential users of the equipment.
      • Will it be used by students?
      • Will it be used across campus?
      • Will it only be used by a specific department?
  • Training of Users
    • Identify who will train the equipment users.
    • Identify how they will be trained.
  • Use Fee Structure
  • Maintenance Plan
    • Describe how will you cover maintenance over the years.
    • Identify who will perform up-keep and maintenance of the equipment.
    • Identify how this will be executed.
    • Estimate the cost maintenance.

Proposal Submission Requirement

  • Submit one pdf file of your complete proposal package, which follows the order on the Required Elements Checklist, to
  • Submit one copy of final proposal to the appropriate Dean for review; the Dean will submit their letter of support directly to Amy Spahn at If you are submitting as the Dean, submit one copy of the final proposal to the Provost for review. The Provost will submit their letter of support directly to the Amy Spahn at

Department, College, Center/Institute Sponsorship

To be eligible, the PI's must have a designation/sponsorship from a department, college, or center/institute. Each department, college or center/institute can designate one PI. This requires the respective department chair, college dean, or center/institute director to include with the letter of support a responsibility statement which outlines their long-range support for ensuring equipment maintenance and shared access to appropriate research faculty and staff.

Dean Requirement

If faculty members from the same college submit multiple proposals, the Dean needs to prioritize the proposals from the college based on need and benefit. The Dean will send their letter of support directly to Amy Spahn at aspahn@mtu.eduLetters are due within seven calendar days of the proposal deadline. 

If Awarded an REF Grant

If you are awarded an PHF-REF-IE grant, you then must finalize your budget information with the Sponsored Programs Office and complete a transmittal form within seven days of the award notification.

Budget Information

Budgets, budget justifications, quotes, and a completed Cost Share/Matching Support Authorization Form (if applicable) must be submitted to the Sponsored Programs Office, at, within five days of the award notification. Budgets must be approved by the Sponsored Programs Office within seven days of them receiving the submitted materials. 

  • Budgets will be reviewed on a first come, first served basis.
  • Proposed budgets should be clear and detailed, and must fully justify all expenditures.
  • If you are requesting equipment that is more than $5,000, quotes must be provided.
  • The F&A rate on all REF budgets is 0%.
  • Please use this provided budget spreadsheet to complete your budget.

Unallowable Expenditures

  • External and sponsored research as cost share. 
  • Faculty salary (including summer salary and academic release time).
  • Graduate student support (stipend, tuition, hourly, etc). Hourly graduate student support is ONLY allowed during the summer semester.

Student Support Limitations

  • Undergraduate support is allowable and needs to be clearly justified in the proposal.
  • Hourly graduate student support is ONLY allowable during the summer semester.

Cost Share

All cost share is to be disclosed in the budget justification and shown on the budget worksheet. External or sponsored research as cost share are not allowed. You must also submit a completed Cost Share Authorization form (which is located on the Banner Self Service Site).

Transmittal Form

Complete and obtain all of the necessary signatures on the Michigan Tech Transmittal Form.

Transmittal Form and Budget Submission

Once the transmittal is complete and the budget is finalized, submit as separate pdfs to

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 via email to 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.