The Chancellor’s Discovery, Creativity, Innovation and Collaboration Fund

Purpose

The Chancellor’s Discovery, Creativity, Innovation and Collaboration Fund is aimed at further developing the intellectual and creative environment of the University of Arkansas as well as the institution’s impact as a major research university.  As a key economic engine for the State of Arkansas and the state’s flagship research university, the university must continue to build and strengthen its research and discovery enterprise. The Chancellor’s Discovery, Creativity, Innovation and Collaboration fund aims to provide seed funding to support bold thinking and risk taking that can launch discovery and creativity based initiatives that advance the university’s strategic priorities, particularly as they relate to: enhancing the research and discovery mission; building a collaborative and innovative campus; strengthening campus graduate programs; and promoting innovation in teaching and learning.

The university will invest up to $1 million in this fund annually to support cutting-edge ideas and collaborations and the fund will provide support for a number of new research, discovery, and creative activity opportunities that have not been possible given the dearth of external competitive programs that support “early stage” funding of new projects and collaborations, and financial constraints previously faced at the university. Investments of the fund into faculty initiated projects will not only lead to new academic directions, but will also increase the competitiveness of the university and faculty for external funding and raise the recognition and distinction of the University of Arkansas’ discovery, innovation, creative activities and scholarly programs.

Eligibility

Funding will be awarded to groups of faculty and students who propose projects that bring the academic community together in exciting new and innovative ways in projects, sometimes high risk, that, if successful, will lead to distinctive and sustainable ongoing initiatives. All full time faculty are eligible to serve as a group principal investigator.

Example Projects

Examples of projects that potentially could receive funds include, but are not limited to:

  • Seed grant proposals for research, creative activities, teaching and outreach that promote faculty and student innovation and collaboration. These would be grants that essentially allow investigative or creative teams to collect valuable preliminary data or perhaps demonstrate proof-of-concept for external sources of support;
  • Workshops or lecture series on cutting edge topics of interest to groups on campus that stimulate discussion and future directions of inquiry;
  • Proposals that focus on interdisciplinary discovery areas that are emerging and require a variety of expertise from all over campus. Examples include, but are definitely not limited to, areas such as, data analytics; entrepreneurism; interdisciplinary approaches to design; sustainability; energy and the environment; holistic approaches to improving human health and minimizing health disparities that integrate diverse disciplines from the natural and social science, to the arts, to business, to humanities, etc.; American art; digital humanities; supply chain, retail and transportation; etc.  These investments will be guided strongly by the eight guiding priorities and the strategic plan that will evolve from them.
  • Collaborative research partnerships with business and industry as well as projects that involve faculty collaborators with UAMS and other universities;
  • Projects that encourage and incentivize student intellectual curiosity and their engagement with faculty mentors, particularly those that can develop into initiatives that can attract outside support;
  • Projects that promote collaborative and research-based experiential teaching and learning for undergraduate, graduate and professional students, particularly those that can develop into initiatives that can attract outside support.

Budget and Timeline

  • Projects can be funded once for a period of one to three years. Given that projects are aimed at seeding new initiatives, most funded projects should have a timeline of less than two years.  But, projects up to three years will be considered, if the project period is well justified in the proposal.
  • The maximum total project budget is $150,000.
  • Funds cannot be requested for summer salaries or for course buy-outs for project PIs and co-PIs. Funding requests can include salary support for other project personnel (post docs, graduate students, undergraduates, staff) as well as for equipment, materials and supplies, and research related travel, and travel and other expenses associated with workshops/conferences including travel and honoraria for invited speakers from off campus.

Proposals Should Include

  • A listing of the project team including a short statement of each individual’s role in the project and an up to two-page curriculum vitae of each investigator.
  • A one paragraph project abstract written for a “lay person” that clearly describes, with minimal use of scientific/technical jargon, the overall idea, the nature of and impetus for collaboration, and the potential outcomes of the proposed activity.
  • A project description of no more than three pages that describes: (1) The specific aims of the proposal, how, if successful, these aims will advance one or more of the university guiding priorities, and why seed funding from this fund is needed to launch the idea; (2) A description of the anticipated project activities; and (3) A clear statement of expected outcomes and the metrics that will be used to measure success of the proposed project.
  • A project budget and one-page budget justification.
  • Proposals will need to receive written indication of support from the chairs and deans representing the PI and Co-PIs departments and colleges. Priority will be given to projects that include co-investments by departments and colleges/schools.

Proposal Review and Criteria

  • Proposals will be read and reviewed by an NSF-style review panel led by the Provost that will include the Vice Provost of Research and 6-8 faculty members selected from across the university. The panel will make recommendations to the chancellor.
  • Proposals will be evaluated on: quality and potential transformative nature of the project in advancing a university guiding priority; quality and intensity of the proposed collaboration, and the likelihood that the project, and collaborations, would not have occurred as quickly, fully or at all without this seed funding; the probability that a successful project can leverage future sources of support; and the potential of a successful project might have in raising the recognition and distinction of the university.

The university expects to make 10-15 awards annually.

How to Apply

Proposals will be submitted via online form, available April 1, 2017