University Research Foundation

The University Research Foundation (URF), an internal funding program, is now accepting applications for the Fall 2018 Cycle. Submissions will be accepted through Friday, October 19th at 5:00pm. The URF will offer the following grant opportunities: Research Grants, Conference Support, Impact Seminar Grants, and Research Opportunity Development Grants, Phase 1and Phase 2. There will be a fall and spring solicitation for these grant applications each year.

Fall 2018 Applications Are Closed

Applications for the Fall 2018 URF grant opened on September 4th.  The deadline was October 19, 2018 at 5pm.

Research Grant

The research support program will provide awards up to $50K to help faculty secure external sources of funding.

Conference Support Grant

The conference support program will provide awards up to $3K for meetings to enhance existing and scholarly programs, particularly in disciplines where external funding is difficult to obtain.

Impact Seminar Grant

Impact Seminar Grants provide awards up to $20K for large scale, cross school, cross disciplinary events over one to two days and open to the entire University community.

Research Opportunity Development Grant (RODG)

Phase 1

Phase 1: With an identified new research area in mind, Phase I grants provide up to $10,000 to enable a team to articulate a research focus, map Penn’s intellectual assets in the new area and coalesce the appropriate group of scholars.

Research Opportunity Development Grant (RODG)

Phase 2

Phase 2: Offers extensive support ($50,000- $200,000) over 2 years to enable specific outcomes in support of a multi-investigator proposal to an external funding organization in an emerging research topic.

See the Frequently Asked Questions for more general information.

Disciplinary areas:

  • For all funding mechanisms, faculty members are invited to submit their research applications to one of four disciplinary areas: Biomedical Sciences, Humanities, Natural Sciences and Engineering, and Social Science and Management.
  • Reviews are conducted by established faculty members in the appropriate disciplines.

Eligibility:

  • Eligibility is limited to Penn assistant, associate, and full professors in any track.
  • Instructors and Research Associates must provide a letter from their Department Chair establishing that the applicant will receive an appointment as an Assistant Professor by the time of the award.
  • Adjunct and Emeritus Faculty are not eligible to apply.
  • CHOP based faculty are eligible to apply however awards must be expended on Penn facilities, equipment and/or associated University technical staff, postdocs and undergraduate students.

Evaluation criteria:
Reviewers will evaluate the proposals based on the following criteria:

  • Scholarly merit, creativity, impact, and innovation
  • Feasibility
  • Significance of the research
  • Prospects for future extramural funding
  • Matching support from other sources
  • Career development at early stages of career
  • Advancement of school or institutional objectives, such as interdisciplinary research
  • Overall impact to investigator’s research program
  • Undergraduate participation (see more details below)
  • A major consideration for the Opportunity Development Grants will be alignment with the specific goals of the grant program [refer to RODG Guidelines]

In addition: please note the following with regard to URF funding:

  • Research proposals from Investigators that have received funding in the past three cycles will be less competitive
  • Conference proposals that have been funded for three successive years will not be considered
  • Faculty are eligible to apply for more than one funding opportunity however it is unlikely that more than one award per faculty member will be made in each cycle.

Undergraduate Participation:
As part of the University’s commitment to providing research opportunities to scholars across our campus community, URF applicants are encouraged to include undergraduate student participants within the framework of their proposals. URF Review Panels will take undergraduate participation under strong consideration when evaluating and scoring proposals. Should applicants require assistance in identifying interested and qualified undergraduates, the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships (CURF) will be glad to provide support: curf@upenn.edu.

Note to BAs:

Only PIs can submit proposals. For BAs who develop budgets on behalf of the PI, below are links to the budget forms for the five URF funding opportunities. BAs should download the budget form using the link provided within the instructions for the applicable funding opportunity. When the budget is complete please forward it to the PI for inclusion in the proposal submission (PI will need to upload the budget as pdf file).

In addition, for BA’s who complete the PI support pages, below are links to the Support template.

The PI can download a complete or incomplete proposal at any time and send it to the BA for review. At the top right of their application is a “Download Grant Application” button.

URF Grant Guidelines

Research Grant
Conference Support
Impact Seminar
RODG Phase 1
RODG Phase 2

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Research Grant

Program Description: The objectives of these programs are to:

  1. Help junior faculty undertake pilot projects that will enable them to successfully apply for extramural sources of funding and aid in establishing their careers as independent investigators;
  2. Help established faculty perform novel, pioneering research to determine project feasibility and develop preliminary data to support extramural grant applications;
  3. Provide support in disciplines where extramural support is difficult to obtain and where significant research can be facilitated with internal funding; and
  4. Provide limited institutional matching funds that are required as part of a successful external peer-reviewed application.

Additional Notes on Eligibility: 

  • Research proposals from faculty that have received URF awards in the past three cycles will be less competitive.
  • Proposals from new investigators with unspent start-up/research funds will be less competitive

Budget:

  • Applications up to $50,000 will be considered.
  • Salary support for faculty is not allowable.
  • Travel expenses are not allowable for applications being reviewed by the Biomedical committee.

Grant Term:

  • 1 year only
  • Unexpended funds must be returned.
  • A no cost extension must be approved by the Vice Provost for Research.
  • Requests for a no cost extension should be made prior to the expiration of an award.  No cost extensions will only be granted for extenuating circumstances. Extensions will not be made for longer than 6 months.  A progress-to-date report including a revised budget will be required.  The extension form is available on the website or by emailing vprgrant@upenn.edu

Proposal Guidelines:  Please use 12 pt. font, Times New Roman, 1 inch margins

  • Applicant Information – All fields and all certifications are required (complete online).  Based on the disciplinary review committee you select, the appropriate Sponsored Support upload task will be added to your application task list for you to complete.
  • Abstract – 200 word limit, Complete online. Write in simple language a description of the proposed work. State the objectives. The description should explain the compelling reason for the proposal.  Do not include your PI name or proposal title. 
  • Research Proposal – Upload
    • 3 page limit
    • Include background, hypothesis/purpose, methods used, work to be undertaken, and outlook for future (continued research and external funding). Please be mindful of the interdisciplinary backgrounds of the reviewers and make the proposals accessible to the readers.
    • References are not included in the page limit and should be included in this section.
  • PI Biosketch – Upload a single PDF document that is no longer than 3 pages. Please use a biosketch that is discipline appropriate.
  • PI Research support – Complete the online form.  Include all current and pending support. Include any previous URF’s, start-up funds (past 3 years) and other support (such as Chairmanship). Failure to provide an accurate description of other support available to the PI will disqualify this application from URF funding.  * Please note, the Research Support task will not be visible until you indicate which disciplinary committee should review your application (e.g. Biomed, Social Sciences, etc.) in the Applicant Info form. Based on this information, the appropriate Sponsored Support upload task will be added to your application task list for you to complete. *
  • Undergraduate research mentorship description- Optional and encouraged, 2 page limit, upload
  • Budget –Download the budget template. Complete the information and upload.
  • Appendix: Uploads.
    • Additional materials such as co-PI biosketches, letters of support and collaboration, and collaborator biosketches should be added as appendices. Note: Both a letter of collaboration and one-page biosketch are required for each collaborator. Letters of collaboration should include the willingness of the collaborator to perform his/her role, exactly what his/her role will be, how long he/she is prepared to participate, and the resources available to support the project. Letters that are merely endorsements of the project should not be included.

Submissions:

  • Completed application must be received on or before 5:00 pm on due date.
  • Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.
  • Home department must have a 26-digit budget code

Renewals:  Applications for renewal of a previously funded project may be submitted but receive low priority.

Resubmissions:  Applications not previously funded must be revised. Changes should be clearly indicated.

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Conference Support

Program Description: The conference support program is designed for scholarly meetings that will be convened on Penn’s campus, thereby providing enrichment opportunities to interested faculty, students, and staff, most frequently in the format of a 1-2 day colloquium. The intent is to support meetings that are designed to enhance existing research and scholarly programs, particularly in disciplines where external funding is difficult to obtain. It should highlight the scholarship of Penn faculty and bring distinguished scholars to Penn’s campus. Please describe what you expect to accomplish with this conference/workshop for the relevant field of study.

Proposals must include faculty from your department and/or school. Funding for this award can be used to augment an already scheduled University event. The event should include the participation of Penn graduate or undergraduate students in both organization and delivery. A final report must be submitted that outlines the accomplishments of the event, which could include new collaborative endeavors, the outreach, publications, and grants.

Budget: Applications can request up to $3K. Funds are to be used for speakers, travel and accommodations. Funds are not to be used for meals and entertainment.  Applications are required to have documented additional financial support.

Grant Term:

  • 1 year only
  • Unexpended funds must be returned.
  • A no cost extension must be approved by the Vice Provost for Research.
  • Requests for a no cost extension should be made prior to the expiration of an award.
  • No cost extensions will only be granted for extenuating circumstances. Extensions will not be made for longer than 6 months.

Additional Note on Eligibility: 

  • URF will not consider applications for annual conference events that have already been funded for three successive years

Conference Proposal Guidelines – Please use one inch margins and 12pt font, single spacing and Times New Roman

  • Applicant Information– Complete online. Based on the disciplinary review committee you select, the appropriate Sponsored Support upload task will be added to your application task list for you to complete. 
  • Abstract: Event Summary– 200 word limit. Complete online. Description should include, event topic, scholarly discipline, purpose of event and expected outcome. Please indicate if the conference is an annual event.  Do not include your PI name or proposal title. 
  • Project proposal (up to 2 pages)- Upload
    • Purpose of event, intellectual area, benefits of scholarly research, expected outcomes, student involvement, proposed timeline, target audience, topic timeliness, and the relationship of the meeting to department, institute or center programs. Describe what you expect to accomplish with this conference/workshop for the relevant field of study.
    • If this is an annual event and if the conference has been previously funded by the URF please include that information in the proposal.
    • Note: Documented financial support from institutional or external resources is required. No cost facilities and AV support is not considered part of financial support.
    • References are not included in the page limit and should be included in this section.
  • Undergraduate research mentorship description- Optional but encouraged, 2 page limit, upload
  • Total budget: Download the budget template. Complete the information and upload.
  • PI Biosketch – Upload a single PDF document that is no longer than 3 pages. Please use a biosketch that is discipline appropriate.
  • PI Research support –  Complete the online form.  Include all current and pending support. Include any previous URF’s, start-up funds (past 3 years) and other support (such as Chairmanship). Failure to provide an accurate description of other support available to the PI will disqualify this application from URF funding. * Please note, the Research Support task will not be visible until you indicate which disciplinary committee should review your application (e.g. Biomed, Social Sciences, etc.) in the Applicant Info form. Based on this information, the appropriate Sponsored Support upload task will be added to your application task list for you to complete. *
  • Appendix: (uploads)
    • Event Agenda
    • Letters of support for event
    • Letter(s) of funding support from other sources. Letter(s) can be in the form of an email or can be paper, but they must detail the amount of support.
    • Faculty Participant and Invited Speaker Bios

Submission:

  • Application must be received on or before 5:00 pm on due date.
  • Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.
  • Home department must have a 26-digit budget code

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Impact Seminar

Program Description: Impact Seminar Grants provide support for a cross-School, cross-disciplinary event to be held on Penn’s campus within a year of the award. The large scale event – which can be a symposium, forum, or conference – should occur over one to two days and be open to the entire University community and should garner broad interest beyond the Penn community.

It should highlight the scholarship of Penn faculty and bring distinguished scholars to Penn’s campus, with a particular focus on the University’s distinguishing strength in integrating knowledge.  Proposals should be focused on a topic of research that draws on faculty expertise across disciplines.  Proposals must include faculty from multiple departments and/or schools. Funding for this award can be used to augment an already scheduled University event. Priority will be given to new unscheduled events that are in the planning stage. Documented matching support from institutional and/or external sources is required.  The event should include the participation of Penn graduate or undergraduate students in both organization and delivery. A final report must be submitted that outlines the accomplishments of the event, which could include new collaborative endeavors, outreach, publications, and grants.

Budget: Applications can request up to $20K. The budget may be dedicated to facilities, honoraria, travel, marketing materials, and other directly associated expenses, including the support of graduate and undergraduate students. Note, staffing expense is not an allowable expense. Documented matching support is required.

Grant Term:

  • 1 year only
  • Impact Seminar Events must acknowledge funding from the University Research Foundation
  • Unexpended funds must be returned.
  • A no cost extension must be approved by the Vice Provost for Research.
    • Requests for a no cost extension should be made prior to the expiration of an award.
    • No cost extensions will only be granted for extenuating circumstances.
    • Extensions will not be made for longer than 6 months.
  • The extension form is available on the website or by emailing vprgrant@upenn.edu

Proposal Guidelines: Please use one inch margins and 12pt font, single spacing and Times New Roman. Please include the following in this order in your application

  • Applicant Information- All fields and all certifications are required. Complete online.  Based on the disciplinary review committee you select, the appropriate Sponsored Support upload task will be added to your application task list for you to complete. 
  • Abstract: Event Summary – 200 word limit. Complete online.  Description should include the title, event topic, purpose of event, why it qualifies as high impact, intellectual area and expected outcome.  Do not include your PI name or proposal title.
  • Event Details – Complete online
  • Project proposal (up to 3 pages). Upload. Include:
    • Purpose of event
    • Organizing committee
    • How event qualifies as “high impact”,
    • Target audience, proposed timeline, topic timeliness
    • Intellectual area, emphasis on integrating knowledge, development of new scholarly linkages, how meeting will advance knowledge
    • Expected outcomes
    • Conference benefit to scholarly or research programs at Penn.
    • References are not included in the page limit and should be included in this section.
  • PI Biosketch – Upload a single PDF document that is no longer than 3 pages. Please use a biosketch that is discipline appropriate.
  • PI Research support – Complete the online form.  Include all current and pending support. Include any previous URF’s, start-up funds (past 3 years) and other support (such as Chairmanship). Failure to provide an accurate description of other support available to the PI will disqualify this application from URF funding. * Please note, the Research Support task will not be visible until you indicate which disciplinary committee should review your application (e.g. Biomed, Social Sciences, etc.) in the Applicant Info form. Based on this information, the appropriate Sponsored Support upload task will be added to your application task list for you to complete. *
  • Undergraduate research mentorship description- Optional and encouraged, 2 page limit, upload.
  • Total budget- Download the budget template. Complete the information and upload
  • Appendix: Uploads
    • Event Agenda
    • Letters of matching financial support are required and must be included
    • Faculty Participant and Invited Speaker Bios

Submission:          

  • Application must be received on or before 5:00 pm on due date.
  •  Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.
  • Home department must have a 26-digit budget code

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RODG Phase 1

Program Description: The Research Opportunity Grant program was designed to facilitate the intersection of the forward trajectory of Penn’s research frontiers with the trajectory of the national and global research priorities. RODG applications must include faculty from 2 or more schools and should explicitly consider emerging research areas with new opportunities for support.

With an identified new research area in mind, Phase I grants provide up to $10,000 to enable a team to articulate a research focus, map Penn’s intellectual assets in the new area, coalesce the appropriate group of scholars, identify Penn’s potential contributions in the area in the context of national and international research initiatives and identify a funding target.

Budget: Applications up to $10,000 will be considered. Salary support for faculty is not allowable.

Grant Term:

  • 1 year only
  • Unexpended funds must be returned.
  • A no cost extension must be approved by the Vice Provost for Research.
  • Requests for a no cost extension should be made prior to the expiration of an award.
  • No cost extensions will only be granted for extenuating circumstances.
  • Extensions will not be made for longer than 6 months.
  • A progress-to-date report including a revised budget will be required.
  • The extension form is available on the website or by emailing vprgrant@upenn.edu.

Proposal Guidelines:  Please use 12 pt. font, Times New Roman, 1 inch margins

  • Applicant info– All fields and all certifications are required. Complete online. Based on the disciplinary review committee you select, the appropriate Sponsored Support upload task will be added to your application task list for you to complete. 
  • Abstract – 200 word limit. Complete online. Write in simple language a description of the proposed work. State the objectives. The description should explain the compelling reason for the proposal.  Do not include your PI name or proposal title. 
  • Research Proposal: 3 page limit- Upload
    • Include: proposal title, how this is an emerging topic,
    • Potential team members and how their combined strengths can catalyze a new approach to the research
    • The work/studies to be undertaken,
    • The structured planning activities e.g. workshops, task force meetings, asset mapping, benchmarking studies, travel)
    • Expected outcomes
    • Potential funding opportunity targets
    • References are not included in the page limit and should be included in this section.
  • PI Biosketch – Upload a single PDF document that is no longer than 3 pages. Please use a biosketch that is discipline appropriate.
  • PI Research support – Complete the online form.  Include all current and pending support. Include any previous URF’s, start-up funds (past 3 years) and other support (such as Chairmanship). Failure to provide an accurate description of other support available to the PI will disqualify this application from URF funding. * Please note, the Research Support task will not be visible until you indicate which disciplinary committee should review your application (e.g. Biomed, Social Sciences, etc.) in the Applicant Info form. Based on this information, the appropriate Sponsored Support upload task will be added to your application task list for you to complete. *
  • Undergraduate research mentorship description– Optional and encouraged, 2 page limit, upload
  • Budget – download the budget template. Complete the information and upload
  • Appendix– Upload
    • Additional materials such as co-PI biosketches, references, and letters of collaboration. Both a letter of collaboration and one-page biosketch are required for each collaborator.

Submission:  

  • Applications must be received on or before 5:00 pm on due date.
  • Incomplete applications will be returned.
  • Home department must have a 26-digit budget code

Renewals: Applications for renewal of a previously funded project may be submitted but receive low priority.
Resubmissions: Applications not previously funded must be revised. Changes should be clearly indicated.

Print/PDF

RODG Phase 2

Program Description:
The Research Opportunity Grant Phase 2 offers extensive support over 2 years. The program was designed to enable specific outcomes in support of a multi investigator proposal in an emerging research topic in the context of national or international research initiatives or grand challenges from external sponsors including federal and private foundations in which Penn can stake out a leadership position.

RODG applications must include faculty from 2 or more schools and should explicitly consider emerging research areas with new opportunities for support.  In addition, applications should identify their future funding opportunity targets in both the abstract and research proposal.

In addition, applications should identify their future funding opportunity targets in both the abstract and research proposal.

Activities include research workshops, preliminary studies with data, networking in the relevant research community, asset mapping, etc. Specific outcomes are expected. Funding for the 2nd year of the award is dependent on meeting the goals described in the original proposal. A progress report describing activities and accomplishments is due at the end of the first year of the award. An expenditure report at the end of year 1 is also required. Funding for the second year is dependent on meeting the goals of the first year.

Note that Phase II grants are not intended to support the development of proposals that respond to regular solicitations such as those for NIH RO1 grants or NSF Division programs. Applications must identify their future funding opportunity targets.

Budget:

  • $50,000-$200,000 over 2 years
  • Provide budget for year 1 and year 2. Use the budget form template.
  • Cost sharing will be viewed favorably.

Grant Term:

  • 2 years
  • A progress-to-date report including an expenditure report will be required after year one. Funding for year 2 is dependent on meeting the goals for year 1.
  • At the end of the award unexpended funds must be returned.
  • A no cost extension must be approved by the Vice Provost for Research.  Requests for a no cost extension should be made prior to the expiration of an award.
  • No cost extensions will only be granted for extenuating circumstances. Extensions will not be made for longer than 6 months.
  • The extension form is available on the website or can be requested by emailing vprgrant@upenn.edu.

Proposal Guidelines: 

  • Applicant Page – All fields and all certifications are required. Complete online. Based on the disciplinary review committee you select, the appropriate Sponsored Support upload task will be added to your application task list for you to complete. 
  • Abstract – 200 word limit. Complete online. Write in simple language a description of the proposed work. State the objectives. The description should explain the compelling reason for the proposal.  Additionally, identify your funding target of opportunity. Do not include your PI name or proposal title.
  • Research Proposal: Upload
    • 5 page limit, 12 pt. font, Times New Roman, 1 inch margins
    • Goal:  To enable specific outcomes in support of a multi investigator proposal in an emerging research topic in the context of national or international research initiatives or grand challenges from external sponsors in which Penn can stake out a leadership position. To evaluate your proposal in pursuit of this goal, please provide all of the following: (Please be mindful that reviewers of this proposal will come from diverse backgrounds):
      • Description of the research topic to be pursued, including placing it in the context of the fields of science to be linked; also indicate the multiple disciplinary perspectives that will be focused on the problem;
      • Indication of how this topic and research maps onto the current and projected goals of potential funding organizations;
      • Outline the specific research goals to be accomplished with the preliminary funding requested (including any cost sharing departmental or school funds)
      • Describe deliverables such as joint publications, conference presentations, preliminary data justifying further work, documented outreach achievements, etc.  Should include both a description of how these results would support a coherent initiative for new broad-based funding as well as a time-line for the proposed work; (no more than 3 pages for this section);
      • Identify the members of the team that would perform the research, emphasizing the connection to Penn’s mission and strengths; for proposals involving multiple institutions, identify leadership roles for Penn faculty.
      • References are not included in the page limit and should be included in this section.
  • PI Biosketch – Upload a single PDF document that is no longer than 3 pages. Please use a biosketch that is discipline appropriate.
  • PI Research support –  Complete the online form.  Include all current and pending support. Include any previous URF’s, start-up funds (past 3 years) and other support (such as Chairmanship). Failure to provide an accurate description of other support available to the PI will disqualify this application from URF funding.  * Please note, the Research Support task will not be visible until you indicate which disciplinary committee should review your application (e.g. Biomed, Social Sciences, etc.) in the Applicant Info form. Based on this information, the appropriate Sponsored Support upload task will be added to your application task list for you to complete. *
  • Undergraduate research mentorship description – Optional and encouraged, 2 page limit, upload
  • Budget – Provide budget for year 1 and year 2. Download the budget template.
    • If there is support from other sources, please include. Complete the information and upload
  • Appendix: Uploads
    • Letters of support including cost sharing commitments
    • Both a letter of collaboration and one-page biosketch are required for each collaborator. Current and Pending funding must be included for all collaborators.

Submission:

  • Application must be received on or before 5:00 pm on due date.  Incomplete applications will be returned.
  • Home department must have a 26-digit budget code

Renewals:  Applications for renewal of a previously funded project may be submitted but receive low priority.
Resubmissions:  Applications not previously funded must be revised. Changes should be clearly indicated.