Research Excellence Fund (REF)—Procedures and Reporting

Review Criteria and Procedures

The evaluation criteria are given for each REF category. The reviewers and 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 award make recommendations to the Associate Vice President for Research Development. All funding decisions are final.

Award Procedure

REF awards are dependent upon fiscal year funds. Spring awards begin July 1 of the award year and will end on June 30 of the following year. Fall awards begin January 1 of the award year and will end on December 31 of the following year. Project funds will be put in a restricted account with the Principal Investigator as the account manger.

All unexpended REF funds will revert back into the REF pool at the project end date; extensions will be granted under exceptional circumstances only.

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. To ensure the deadlines is not missed, start working with the Sponsored Programs Office early.
  • Proposed budgets should be clear and detailed, and must fully justify all expenditures.
  • All proposers must identify and discuss sources of external funds for conducting research and creative activities in their field, even if access to such funds is limited or unusual.
  • If you are requested 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 compete your budget.

Unallowable Expenditures

  • External or 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.
  • Improvements in classroom instruction or efforts to improve skills to expand teaching capability, since these activities are supported by the Center for Teaching and Learning.
  • Organization of symposia.
  • Additions to personal professional libraries, office, computer purchases, research apparatus, or similar items.

Student Support Limitations

  • Undergraduate students may be hired as hourly research assistants in cases where such assistance is necessary and justified. The level of support must be proportional to the work required.
  • 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 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.

Post Award Information

When a proposal is approved, a University account will be established that identifies the faculty member as account manager. Disbursement of the grant money will be subject to the rules and regulations that apply to University accounts. Requesting transfers of committed cost share on REF awards is the responsibility of the Principle Investigator.


Successful applicants must submit a final report summarizing their accomplishments within 60 days of the end of the project. Faculty members who fail to submit a final report will be ineligible for future awards.

Please submit your 1–3 page report to The report should explain the activities undertaken and identify publications, presentations, and other scholarly or creative products that have resulted from the award.

  • For Seed Grants, reports should include a description of proposals submitted to external funding agencies based on the work supported by the Seed Grant. 

Recipients of awards should update their reports if publications appear at a later date.