Request for Proposals

To capitalize on strategic investments and to increase competiveness for large external funding opportunities, the Office of the Vice President for Research & Economic Development (OVPR&ED) has launched a Strategic Research Leadership Program.  The initiative is designed to cultivate the creation of large-scale proposals, both within and across disciplines, and to support proposal development through directed faculty services. The program will include leadership mentoring, assistance with ideation and formation of collaborative teams, intensive engagement with funding agencies, development of research center strategies, construction of draft proposals, internal/external proposal review and assessment, budget development, and commitment of significant institutional resources.

Faculty and senior research staff who have a vision for pursuing major external funding (e.g., NIH U01 Cooperative Agreements, NSF Science and Technology Centers (STC), NSF Engineering Research Centers (ERC), NEH Challenge Grants, DOE Energy Frontier Research Centers, major foundation awards) are invited to participate in the program.  Competitive projects will be multidisciplinary, multi-collegiate, innovative, and highly collaborative. They must also articulate a clear objective and pathway to compete effectively for specific, high-end external grant support.  Self-nominations are accepted as well as those from Deans, DEOs and Directors.



March 28, 2016          Issue Request for Proposals
April 30, 2016             Phase I one-page concept papers due to OVPR&ED
May 15, 2016              OVPR&ED selects teams for Phase II cultivation


Phase I:  Application Process

Those seeking to participate in the Strategic Research Leadership Program should submit a one-page, single-spaced proposal to by April 30, 2016 that:

  • describes the proposed project, including a clear statement of how it advances a research area of national or international strategic importance;
  • explains how the UI is positioned or can be positioned to capitalize on the opportunity;
  • identifies a specific, major grant opportunity the team will pursue;
  • designates UI faculty leadership for the project and indicates the percent effort the project director will devote to the project;
  • summarizes what preliminary work (if any) might be required to position the UI and the team as nationally competitive; and
  • outlines a timeline that covers at least one year for preparing the proposal in accordance with internal and external deadlines.

These one-page, first-step proposals do not require a statement of support from DEOs and Deans.  However, potential project leaders are strongly encouraged to discuss their proposals with DEOs and Deans, given the institutional commitments that will likely be required.


Phase II:  Team Cultivation

No later than May 15, 2016, the OVPR&ED will invite a selected subset of the applicants to participate in Phase II of the leadership program.  Phase II is specifically designed to 1) evaluate ideas leading the project from conception to a well-shaped plan, 2) build a collaborative team, and 3) (if necessary) design appropriate feasibility studies.  Project members will be supported by the OVPR&ED with a range of enhanced proposal development functions:

  • Ideation and team building, both within UI and with external partners
  • Facilitation of industry partnerships and collaboration
  • Analysis of successful proposals from UI and other institutions
  • Funding announcement analysis and federal agency engagement
  • Federal agency engagement and support
  • (If appropriate) Teaching buyout for project director(s)
  • Collaborator workshop or mini-conference
  • Pre-award travel

Phase II participants will be asked to develop a working budget for a 12-18 month period not to exceed $40,000.  OVPR&ED will evaluate progress of Phase II project development quarterly. At the completion of Phase II, a detailed Summary Report is required that clearly outlines the strategy to submit a major grant application on behalf of the institution.


Phase III:  Final Proposal Development and Submission

In consultation with the President, Provost and the Deans, the OVPR&ED will award those Phase II project(s) (no more than 2) with demonstrated promise additional seed funding up to $80,000 to position the selected project(s) for competitive external grant submission.  Phase III is designed to 1) continue to advance collaborations both nationally and internationally, 2) perform rapid feasibility projects, 3) draft a formal grant application, and 4) receive external evaluation of the proposal prior to submission.  Phase III projects receive significant administrative and financial support including: 

  • Proposal management (establishing timelines, convening working group meetings, etc.)
  • Document collection and organization
  • Budget development
  • Professional grant writing and editing support
  • External review of proposals
  • Advisory and management group creation
  • Pre-award travel
  • Pre- and post-award administrative support and overall project management
  • Teaching buyout for project director(s)

Projects will be evaluated quarterly over the 12-24 month Phase III support period to assess progress and determine continued support.



Dan Reed, Vice President for Research & Economic Development

Richard Hichwa, Senior Associate Vice President for Research