Internal Funding Initiatives (IFI)

The Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development (OVPRED) invites applications to its Internal Funding Initiatives (IFI) for FY 2014.  Note we have updated and revised our programs to encourage leading edge interdisciplinary research, scholarship and creative activities, and streamline administrative processes.  

**Note: some of the guidelines and emphasis of the grants have changed since the October 2013 cycle.  Be sure to read the entire set of new guidelines.

Please contact Cheryl Ridgeway ( / 319-384-3332) in the OVPRED with questions.

Program Description Average Grant Amount Maximum Funding Amounts
OVPRED seeks to identify applications that expressly advance collaborations and multidisciplinary projects with an overall emphasis on innovation and impact.
Arts & Humanities Initiative (AHI) Standard Grant Support is available for humanities scholarship and work in the creative, visual, and performing arts that crosses disciplines and engages a broader University community. $7,500 Individual or collaborative grants up to $7,500
Major Project Grant All disciplines are encouraged to submit proposals for funding to conduct preliminary work and/or develop pilot data that represent novel and innovative projects that will develop new collaborations and enable the PI/PD to submit competitive applications for external research grants or leverage substantial unit/departmental/collegiate support. $40,000 Up to $100K
Larger amounts may be available for large interdisciplinary teams
Major Conferences/ Ideation Meetings Supports conferences, symposia, seminars, colloquia or workshops in all disciplines to address novel research issues, explore new research frontiers and/or initiate new interdisciplinary research. $10,000 Up to $30K
Core Facilities/Shared Equipment Limited funding for development or improvement of core research facilities and equipment that will foster collaborative opportunities on campus. $40,000 Up to $100K

Please note the revised comprehensive program replaces the Biological Sciences Funding Program (BSFP), Math & Physical Sciences Funding Program (MPSFP), and the Social Sciences Funding Program (SSFP).  Proposals for digital public arts and humanities projects are encouraged.  Applicants proposing digital projects may seek project development assistance from The Digital Studio for Public Arts & Humanities by contacting the staff at

Book Subventions and Music Recording:  OVPRED provides funding to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for creative and scholarly book subventions and the recording of music. Contact Joe Kearney ( / 319-335-3994), Associate Dean for Research, for more information.


  • Highly innovative, pushing-the-envelope ideas
  • Highly original and creative art projects
  • Multidisciplinary proposals
  • Applications that are considered high risk and not fundable by standard mechanisms
  • Proposals that initiate new collaborations beyond your existing department and current colleagues
  • Applications to build teams that are necessary to seek large, multi-institutional/industry partnerships


  • Typical NIH R01, R21 or similar proposals
  • Standard investigator initiated NSF proposals
  • Incremental grants of existing research
  • Bridging requests
  • Grants previously submitted to federal agencies that were not funded
  • Existing conferences or meetings


Deadlines / Eligibility / Resubmissions / Budgets / Submission / Application Form /
Narrative Guidelines / CV or Biosketch / DEO Endorsement / Review Process /
Notification /
Example Proposals / Current and Previous AwardeesOther Funding



We are pleased to announce that we will accept proposals three times annually under the revised program to respond more rapidly to faculty requests for funding.   The first 2014 calendar year deadline is Tuesday, March 4, 11:59 p.m.  September and December 2014 dates will be announced.


At the time of application, all UI personnel who are tenure-track or tenured faculty, clinical track faculty, research faculty, research scientists, research engineers, associates, lecturers (AHI only), and other staff members for whom research and scholarship are assigned as one of their primary job responsibilities are eligible to apply.  Applicants must have at least a 50% university appointment during the year of the project.  Exceptions may be made for PIs holding SBIR grants.  Please contact Richard Hichwa ( / 335-2106) for more information.

The award is made to only one individual.  Adjunct faculty, visiting faculty, postdoctoral fellows, lecturers (except AHI), medical residents, fellowship trainees, and graduate students are not eligible.

An applicant may appear as PI/PD on only one proposal per application cycle, but may be listed as a collaborator or consultant on other proposals.


 Only one resubmission will be allowed for any application. A one-page “Response to Reviewers” may be included in the revised submission (see Narrative Guidelines below).  The revised proposal will need to be significantly improved over the original submission and address comments from the initial review.  Submissions beyond the permitted single revision will be returned without review.  **Note: some of the guidelines and emphasis of the grants have changed since the October 2013 cycle.  Be sure to read the entire set of new guidelines.


Budget requests are for a 12-month period. Funding commences at the time of the award letter.    Enter budget items, costs and justification in the appropriate areas of the electronic form.  Be as specific as possible, listing each travel site, each piece of equipment, services, supplies, etc.  Explain why the requested item is essential for the proposed work.   Justification for each budget item should answer the question: “Why is this specific person/item necessary for the proposed project?”  Note, that a description of the person/item is not a justification.

To view allowable budget items for all programs, please click here.  Do not submit a budget as part of the narrative PDF.


To begin the submission process, link to and sign in with your Hawk ID and password to access the application form.  Please contact Cheryl Ridgeway ( / 319-384-3332) in the OVPRED with questions. 


The electronic application form consists of 7 major parts or sections:  1) general questions (name, title, amount requested, internal and external collaborators, etc.), 2) upload CVs (internal/external collaborator(s) curriculum vitae or biosketch*), 3) abstract and focused questions in text boxes (limited to 350 words or less for each box), 4) ad hoc reviewers, 5) budget section, 6) PI/PD curriculum vitae or biosketch,* and 7) project narrative.

Text Boxes:  Provide the following information in the appropriate text box:  1) Abstract/Project Summary (Provide a brief overview of the purpose of the proposal, main procedures/activities of the project that are comprehensible to non-specialists and, if successful, the expected impact of the project.); 2) Justification (Describe why the funds are needed.  Elaborate on how existing sources of support will be leveraged to expand, extend or innovate towards a new or novel research, scholarly or creative project.); and 3) Why should the OVPRED invest in your project?  (Describe what distinguishes your project from literally hundreds of others.  Clearly define what is unique and innovative about your project.  Identify new collaborations that extend your project into areas that have not previously been established.  Explain the multidisciplinarity of your proposed project.  Describe how your project advances a big idea or influences your discipline.  Provide details about how your proposed work will respond to departmental, collegiate or institutional strategic challenges.)

* A brief CV or biosketch is required for the PI/PD, and each collaborator (internal or external to the University of Iowa).  See CURRICULUM VITAE or NIH/NSF BIOSKETCH guidelines below.


The required six page narrative (to be uploaded to the electronic application site) must contain sections 1-5 (1-6 for resubmissions) below in the order indicated, with each section clearly identified.  Type font must be 11-point (or larger) Times, Times New Roman or Arial, and margins must be at least .75 inches. One additional page (7 pages in total) is allowed for resubmitted proposals to allow for a one-page “Response to Reviewers.”

Page Limitations:  The narrative may not exceed 6 single spaced pages (7 pages for resubmissions), inclusive of all sections, diagrams, images, graphs, equations, and bibliography.  Narratives that exceed the page limits will be returned without review.

Project Narrative:  Include the following 5-6 sections in the project narrative (not all bulleted points will apply to all grant types but address as many as appropriate):

1.  Project Description

  • Describe the proposed scholarly, research, or creative project.
  • Identify the important elements of originality, creativity, significance and how this project will expand collaborative research on campus.
  • When appropriate, provide a statement of the hypothesis to be tested.
  • Describe how this project builds on your work and that of others.  Include applicable preliminary information or data in support of your project.  If relevant, provide information on how previous funding leverages the proposed application.
  • Describe methods and procedures to accomplish the project.  Include relevant aspects to collect data, analyze information and ultimately produce an important work of scholarship, art, basic research, or build infrastructure within the university.
  • Include pitfalls, difficulties or obstacles that may be encountered, as well as alternative approaches that can overcome stalled or stymied progress.
  • Provide a short list of bibliographical references relevant to the application.

2.  Innovation: 

  • Describe what is novel and/or new about the proposed activity.  Identify the new, big idea of your project.
  • Provide convincing arguments about the originality and creativity of the project. 
  • Identify what differentiates your work from that of others. 
  • Describe how your idea, approach, process, and/or outcome(s) will lead to a new way of thinking.

3.  Collaboration: 

  • Projects are especially encouraged that link cross-disciplinary activities among departments and colleges in order to create new opportunities for funding. 
  • Building new collaborations is essential to advancing the multidisciplinarity of the project.  Describe new collaborations.  How will additional new collaborators become involved in the project?
  • Describe who, why and how the collaboration advances the project. 
  • Identify what each member of the team specifically contributes to the project. (This section is not required for AHI requests for individual awards.)

4.  Feasibility and Timeline:

  • The proposed project should be designed so it can be completed within one year. Provide a clear schedule of milestones or key accomplishments related to each major aspect or specific aim of the project. 
  • Identify any concerns about completion of the project within 12 months. 
  • Comment on the adequacy of the budget to perform all aspects of the project.
  • Describe the qualifications of the PI and collaborators that support their ability to carry out the proposed project.
  • Characterize adequacy of resources to complete the project.
  • Identify any and all resources that collaborators bring to bear on advancing the project.
  • Importantly, identify resources, personnel, space, construction or other aspects of the project that are missing or not yet in place, but necessary to conduct the proposed activity.
  • If the final scholarly or creative product is digital in nature, include a plan that describes: 1) how you will draw visitors to the site, and 2) how you expect it to be maintained and supported beyond the grant period. 

5.  Outcome(s) and Impact: 

  • Clearly and succinctly define what scholarly or research outcomes, products, accomplishments, creative works, performances, publications, or findings are expected from the project.
  • Describe how the project is expected to impact your field, discipline, broader community, and/or the strategic mission of the department, college and institution.  
  • Describe who derives direct or indirect benefit from the project.
  • Characterize who and how the project reaches the wider public, especially as it relates to digital projects.
  • Identify how the project specifically enables future funding and what follow-on research will be targeted.

6.  Response to Reviewers (resubmissions only):  

  • How has the revised proposal been significantly improved over the original submission and how does it address comments from the initial review. 


Narrative Language:  It is essential that applicants write their proposals in a language that is comprehensible to nonspecialists.  All too often the PI/PD writes the proposal in complex technical language with a significant number of abbreviations, formulas and symbols.  The PI/PD is strongly advised to write in straightforward language that emphasizes why the area of investigation is important and how the individual or team will conduct the research or scholarly activity.  To that end, limit the amount of highly discipline-specific jargon used.  Minimize the number of abbreviations used.  Define all abbreviations.  Restrict description of overly technical components of your project.  Remember that most reviewers will not be experts in your field of study.  Your objective is to assist the reviewer in understanding the goals, feasibility and overall impact of your project.  Concentrate your efforts on defining the big idea.  In the past, applications with significant technical jargon have not been well received.

Supplemental Materials: AHI applicants proposing audio-visual or digital projects are permitted to insert a link to web hosted materials within the narrative.  Alternatively, applicants may upload the appropriate file where indicated in the online form related to audio, visual or digital projects.  Since reviewers tend to be most attentive to the narrative, applicants should be sure to develop a narrative that can stand on its own.


A Curriculum Vitae (CV) or biosketch is required for the PI/PD and all collaborators.  The PI/PD’s CV or biosketch is to be combined with the 6 page narrative and uploaded as one pdf attachment where indicated in the electronic submission site.  Collaborator CVs or biosketches are to be uploaded only where indicated in the online application form.

The CV should be no longer than 4 pages.  The following elements are required:

  • Education history;
  • Academic, corporate and other significant positions held;
  • Relevant peer-reviewed publications or creative projects;
  • Funding support (all active internal and external funding support, recently completed funding support (last 3 years), and any pending support.  All support from federal, state, foundation, departmental, and university sources, including all start-up funds, must be included.  Citations of sources of support listed above must contain dates of funding, PI/PD, direct dollar amounts, and a brief but clear description of the work supported by the awards; if none, please so state; and
  • If appropriate, list all previous AHI or seed grant awards held in the past five years.  Under each grant listed, provide the following information:
    • Full citation for publications or performances resulting from the award
    • Full citation for all external grants that directly resulted from the AHI or seed grant award

Applications not following the prescribed formats outlined above may be rejected.  You are encouraged to send an email to or call 319-384-3332, if you have questions about any of these programs.


Once the application is submitted on the Fluid Review web site, the OVPRED will send an automatic email to the PI/PD’s DEO shortly after the deadline with a link to the endorsement form.  Applicants do not need to request a DEO endorsement prior to submission; however, it is strongly suggested to consult with your DEO prior to submission to inform them of your project.  If the DEO is also an applicant, the request will instead be sent to the collegiate associate dean for research.  DEO comments are required and are considered by the reviewer as part of the evaluation process.


All applications will be peer-reviewed by teams composed of faculty and staff.  Recommendations will be made to the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, who will make the final determination of awards.  Applications will be reviewed based on the criteria described below.

Review Criteria:  Grant applications should be responsive to the review criteria.  Not all criteria are relevant to each type of grant; however, applications should attempt to address the majority of the review elements.  Important AHI (AHI) and Core Facilities/Shared Resource (RES) specific criteria are identified below.  Ultimately, OVPRED seeks to identify applications that expressly advance collaborations and multidisciplinary projects with an overall emphasis on innovation and impact.

Significance, Methods and Approach

  • What is the importance of the project being requested from the perspective of discipline or area of focus?  What is the scholarly or artistic originality/creativity/ significance of the project?
  • Is there outreach and engagement to broader communities and disciplines?  How does the discipline or area benefit?
  • Is there a specific institutional, collegiate, or departmental need that is addressed by the project?
  • How is the project connected to the strategic missions of the institution, college and/or department?
  • Is the approach sound and clearly described?  Is there prior work or preliminary data to support the project?  Does the project evolve from your work and the work of others? 
  • Are potential pitfalls discussed and alternative approaches provided?
  • (AHI) If applicable, what are the results from previous AHI Grants? 
  • (AHI) Is a completed work envisioned as a result of AHI funding or is a particular stage in the development of the work the focus of the proposed project?
  • (RES) Is the resource clearly described including all systems/subsystems and related components?
  • (RES) Does the resource already exist and, if so, why should the request be funded?


  • What are the novelty, uniqueness, creativity and originality of the project?
  • What is the innovation of the project and how does it address or promote new ideas, research directions, scholarly capabilities or creative works?


  • Have prior collaborations been established?  Are new key collaborators identified?  Does the project bring together disparate individuals from cross-cutting disciplines?
  • What is the extent of campus, college and/or department involvement in the project?  How are multiple disciplines leveraged?
  • Is there a process to involve additional collaborators in the future?
  • (AHI) If the project stems from a single individual or artist, describe how the proposed work enhances their career and creative practices.

Feasibility and Timeline

  • What is the likelihood that that the project will be completed and produce an important work of research, scholarship or art?
  • Are the qualifications and achievements of the PI and collaborators well suited to carry out the project?
  • Are the essential resources and environment (personnel, space, facilities) described in sufficient detail?  Are the resources appropriate to support the project’s desired outcomes?
  • Is the budget and project scope appropriate?  Is there a need to sustain the project beyond the budgeted period and, if so, is it adequately described?  Is a long term approach for project funding identified? 
  • Is the timeline appropriate to complete the project?
  • Are specific milestones provided to assure progress along the timeline?
  • What is the overall funding need for the proposed project?
  • (AHI) What is the likelihood that the project will attract external funding?
  • (RES) What are the initial costs for the resource?
  • (RES) Are collegiate/departmental leadership clearly supportive and financial assistance identified?
  • (RES) Is a long term sustainable funding model described to operate and maintain the resource?
  • (RES) Is space/personnel/expertise available?
  • (RES) Are all startup/renovation/installation costs identified and covered?
  • (RES) Is there clear access to the resource by all users across the institution?

Outcomes and Impact

  • How does the project affect the field, discipline or broader community? 
  • What is the overall impact of the project?
  • Are appropriate deliverables (creative works, products, findings, publications, accomplishments, and/or achievements) described?
  • Who derives direct or indirect benefit from the project?  Has the project fulfilled an unmet institutional need?
  • Who is the wider public for this proposal?  How does the applicant plan to reach that public? 
  • Does the plan seem reasonable to attract the target audience?
  • What is the potential for follow-on funding from external sources?  Is the project sustainable?
  • What are the next steps for the project once internal funding has been completed?


Reviews for the March 2014 application cycle will be held in April and May 2014.  We anticipate award notifications to be sent the end of May or early June 2014.


The OVPRED has obtained permission to share three awarded proposals from the October 2013 cycle.  To view, sign in with your Hawk ID and password to our SharePoint site.


For a list of current and previous awardees, please click here


ICE Commercialization GAP Fund  Contact Paul Dymerski (, in the University of Iowa Research Foundation, with questions.

The Studio (formerly known as Digital Studio for the Public Humanities --  DSPH) grant program.  Please stay tuned for details of the 2014 grant program.  Click here to link to last year's guidelines.

ICRU Research Fellows Program  Email or call 319-335-8336 for more information.