Research Internal Seed Funding Program
Eligibility is open to the Corps of Instruction, as defined by the Board of Regents: Full-time professors, associate professors, assistant professors, instructors, lecturers and teaching personnel with such other titles as may be approved by the Board, shall be the Corps of Instruction. Full-time research and extension personnel and duly certified librarians will be included in the Corps of Instruction on the basis of comparable training. Persons holding adjunct appointments or other honorary titles shall not be considered to be members of the faculty (Board of Regents Policy Manual 188.8.131.52).
- Members of the Faculty Research Committee are not eligible to apply for funding nor write letters of support for applicants.
- Research proposals for projects leading toward an academic degree are not eligible.
- Students, temporary faculty, adjunct faculty, emeritus and honorary faculty are not eligible.
- Faculty receiving Start-Up funding will not be eligible to receive Faculty Research Committee Seed funding in the same fiscal year without a complete justification for why the funds requested are distinct from start-up eligible expenses and why they are needed to supplement the Start-up funding.
- Faculty who have received funding in the past 5 years and did not complete the contract commitment are not eligible. (A researcher who was unable to fulfill the terms of the award and followed the termination process outlined in the FRC award notice of agreement will maintain eligibility.)
- Faculty who have been funded in past competitions but not completed a funding close out project report (July of the funded year) AND a return on investment report (July of the following year) are not eligible to apply.
- Faculty working on projects of a continuing nature, or who have received Faculty Research awards during the past five years, are encouraged to seek outside support. Researchers applying for funding that have been funded in the past 5 years must show evidence of efforts toward external funding in the application.
- Faculty who sever their employment at Georgia Southern University at any time during the funding period will forfeit the remainder of support and are ineligible for stipend funds.
- Receipt of a Internal Funding Award does not affect eligibility for an Award for Excellence in Research and/or Creative Scholarly Activity.
- Each faculty member may submit only one proposal (either as Principal Investigator or as a Co-Investigator) during each funding cycle for either the Seed or Scholarly Pursuit funding mechanism.
- Anyone receiving money in the previous year’s competition is ineligible in the current year. (E.g., an individual who received funding in FY20 will be eligible to compete for funding in FY22.)
- Proposed projects must be directed toward research/scholarly/creative activities and should result in a proposal for external funding.
- Projects may not be directed toward preparation of courses.
- Early career faculty are encouraged to apply.
- Joint proposals are encouraged. If a joint proposal is submitted with someone who does not meet the eligibility requirements, the specific tasks to be undertaken by each member of the research team must be described in detail.
- Funds may only be used toward the eligible faculty expenses.
- The Committee will not support a single project on a continuing basis. Applicants submitting a proposal closely related to a previous committee-funded project must demonstrate that the new application is substantially different.
- Individuals who are funded must agree to use the awarded funding in accordance with the approved budget.
- Research stipends are paid in the academic year as a contract extension and do not impact summer salary caps or reflect in summer spreadsheet calculations.
- Proposals that are incomplete or not in compliance with the guidelines will be eliminated from the competition without review.
- A written assurance that application to the Institutional Review Board (IRB), Institutional Animal Care and Use (IACUC) or Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) (as appropriate) will be made prior to July 1 if funded and work will not begin until approval is obtained is required for any project that gathers data from human subjects (IRB), utilizes vertebrate animals (IACUC) or utilizes biological materials or recombinant DNA (IBC). (See coverpage)
The forms that must be completed and submitted as part of the Faculty Research Internal Funding Application are:
- Funding Application:
- Proposal Cover Sheet (with complete signatures)
- Biographical Sketch Form(s) for the Principal Investigator and any Co-Investigators
- Proposal Abstract Form
- Proposal Narrative – complete with time table
- Itemized Budget Form
- Detailed Budget Justification
The Application Checklist – included in the Kit. It is intended for the applicants’ use only. It is not required to be submitted with the proposal.
The Committee strongly recommends that applications be submitted on forms applicable to the current year’s funding cycle. All submitted documents should be written to be read by an individual who is not familiar with the applicant’s discipline.
Applications not written for a lay reader will be rejected. Use of appropriate grammar and adherence to guidelines will have material weight in funding decisions.
Note that this form includes a section on “Prior Faculty Research Funding for internal funds and stipends received as either the Principal Investigator or as a Co-Investigator during the past five years.” The Committee’s evaluation of each proposal will include a consideration of the results/product/services/outcomes associated with previous awards to that applicant.
External current and pending projects are also required.
The sketch is limited to two single-spaced pages. Please include only the requested information.
The abstract should be 200 words in length and follow the same type and font guidelines given for the proposal narrative (see below). This is a key element in all proposals and should include statements concerning:
- project purpose,
- how the project enhances efforts toward sponsored activity proposal submission
- synopsis of methodology
- and project’s intended results or funding opportunity targeted
In short, the abstract should give reviewers a clear overview of the entire project in straightforward language.
Proposal Discipline Support
The discipline support section was added to give you a space to tell the committee how your research is normative within your discipline. Because the committee members come from a wide variety of disciplines, it is helpful to know what constitutes quality research from the perspective of your discipline to allow fair evaluation of projects. E.g., some disciplines value single authorship while others value collaborative publication. Some disciplines generate a quantity of journal articles while others produce a smaller number or even a single book and are viewed as highly productive. Some disciplines have performance types of projects that are viewed as research – like master classes in music or exhibitions in art or community involved evaluations in public health.
Proposal Narrative – Instructions
The narrative must meet the following guidelines:
- The total narrative must be limited to a maximum of the equivalent of six (6) double-spaced pages. The type size must be clear and readily legible, in standard size – i.e., 10 to 12 points. The proportion of text assigned to each section of the application is left to the discretion of the applicant.
- Attachments in the form of appendices may include a list of references cited (no more than three pages) and other materials which help clarify your proposal’s content (e.g., a copy of a questionnaire, a letter of agreement for you to use a library collection critical to the research, data tables and/or other illustrations of preliminary results from your research, photographs or other reproductions of prior or preliminary creative or scholarly works). In order to increase the odds that the Faculty Research Committee will have time to review your key attachments, it is to your benefit to be brief. Please do not include a resume or vita.
- The proposed research should be explained in a manner understandable to persons not expert in the field. As much as possible, use terms and concepts accessible to a Faculty Research Committee that has no background in your proposal’s subject area. It is helpful to have a colleague from an unrelated discipline read your proposal before submission to assure your reviewers will have a clear understanding of your proposal.
This section should answer the question, “What do you intend to do?” You should begin with a concise statement of the general purpose or major objectives and goals of the proposed project. This statement, often in combination with the limited objectives or specific aims, should describe the research/scholarly/artistic issue or problem to be addressed, product to be developed, work to be created, external funding opportunity, etc. (If a hypothesis is appropriate for your proposed project, it should be presented as part of this discussion.) The committee will review your proposal to determine the extent to which you have chosen your purpose and goals carefully and logically, and stated them clearly and concisely. Be specific about the results, products, or consequences of your project’s purpose or objectives.
This section should address the broad importance of the project in the field and its potential to generate external funding. For example, will the project address a gap in your field or discipline, make a contribution to an important or noteworthy scholarly or aesthetic issue, advance the understanding of your area of work, have immediate or eventual practical value (e.g., enhance opportunities for students, provide a stepping stone for your interest area, or lead to proposal for outside funding or public exhibit), produce new data and concepts, or test existing hypotheses and assumptions? How will this project enhance your ability to compete for external funding? Will the projects develop a pool of pilot data relevant to an identified funding source or contact base? Specify likely outlets for dissemination of your results beyond sponsored activity submission (e.g., journals or other publications, conferences, associations, exhibits, museums, societies, or potential user groups). This section should convince the Committee of the overall merit of your project and the direct applicability to potential for external funding.
Procedures/Process/Work Plan/Methodology/Methods of Analysis
This section should describe project activities in detail; describe the sequence, flow, and interrelationship of activities; and present a reasonable scope of activities. (If appropriate, a schedule or timetable may be incorporated within the six-page narrative or included as a separate attachment.) The case should be made in this section that the methods and procedures are familiar to the applicant and are appropriate for the purpose or objectives already described. If established methods or procedures cannot serve the project, describe how modifications will enable you to overcome shortcomings in existing approaches.
Methods of analysis should be clearly explained.
For the entire project, demonstrate an understanding of the linkages between your process or methodology, the activities to be undertaken, the project aims, the limitations on what can be produced or concluded, and the plan for evaluating whether the project has been accomplished.
Indicate what evidence will be collected and reported to describe the project outcomes.
Describe how you will determine if the project objectives have been met.
Provide an description of external funding opportunities that will become accessible or the strategic advantage to the university gained based upon completion this project.
This section should answer the question, “Are you being realistic about what you propose to accomplish in the time frame you outline?” Have you described how you propose to use the research semester(s)? Approximately how long should each task or activity take? Have you included your institutional approval in the timeline? At what point in the process do you expect to test which hypotheses, accomplish which objectives, produce which results, etc. (If appropriate, a timetable or task/activity chart may be included as a separate attachment.)
Keep the award limitations in mind when constructing your time table. Funds will not be available until July 1 and must be encumbered or expensed by May 1 of the following year. All expenditures must be complete by May 30 of the awarded fiscal year. The timeline end point should include a reference to action toward external funding.
Sponsored Activity Funding Opportunity or Source Plan
This section should describe or point to a specific sponsor, program or opportunity that your intend to apply for using the outcome of this project. The application for external funding does not have to be completed within the budgeted time period but the target sponsored activity submission should be within a defined timeframe. The funding opportunity targeted should be specific and concrete. The funding application should occur within the 2 year reporting period for the project.
Budget and Budget Justification Explanation
The maximum request for a seed award is $10,000. The itemized budget form must include all proposed expenditures. Please note that faculty stipends not to exceed $3000 per application and student support are eligible costs. Academic year salary is not an eligible cost.
Please note: budget justifications should be detailed to include the need for personnel support. Well sourced budget justifications will be given a higher priority in funding decisions including partial awards.
- The itemized budget form must include all proposed expenditures.
- The budget form must be followed by a Budget Justification page, which supports the need for each budget item (or group of items if related) in order to attain the project’s objective and reflect current reasonable costs.
- Research stipends are an allowable expense, with a maximum value of $3000 per application.
- Fringe benefit amounts must be calculated on top of the stipend amount and included on a separate line. (Auto-calculated on the budget template)
- The stipend amount may be split between co-investigators but may not exceed the maximum of $3000.
- All stipends awarded will be paid in September of the award year. Stipends awarded but declined will be transferred to the FRC publication fund.
- An appropriate entry should be made in the budget justification for the stipend request.
- Explain research assistant duties/responsibilities.
- Research proposals for projects leading toward an academic degree are not eligible. Research assistants must work directly for the funded faculty member’s project. The PI must be responsible for the project outcome.
- Requests should include the number of hours and intended pay rate. The rate of pay should be consistent with the GS HR student wage scale. A justification if rate of pay exceeds federal minimum wage or GS wage scale. (Note: Student wages should reflect realistic usage. Student wages will not normally be re-budgeted.)
- Describe how requested programmers, consultants, translators, research assistants, etc. are essential to the project. Requests should include the number of hours and intended pay rate.
Supplies and Materials
- A separate justification is not necessary for individual items. (E.g., disposable supplies, multiple chemical purchases)
- Travel is supported only when it is clearly essential to the project and will be funded at the lowest possible rate.
- Applicants requesting funding for travel outside of the United States are urged to investigate the available charters or other low-cost fare options. Applicants must document available rates.
- Applicants are encouraged to identify electronic means to meet the need prior to requesting travel funds. A statement should be included to address the need to travel where electronic means of communication or collaboration are available.
- Travel to conferences or workshops – even to present results, cultivate collaborators or get feedback relating to research – is not an allowable expense under this competition.
- Only equipment that is specific to the project or unusual for the applicants department will be considered for funding.
- Applicants must justify the need for equipment in reaching the objective/goals of this project and how it is essential in meeting the long-term research agenda.
- Equipment purchased under the grant remains the property of the University following completion of the project. Applicants may wish to consider leasing equipment as an alternative to purchasing it.
- Books, periodicals, databases, and other library materials are not eligible for licensing or purchase under this funding unless a purchase request has first been declined by the Georgia Southern University Libraries. For more information about submitting purchase requests for library materials, contact the GS Libraries.
- If declined for licensing/purchase by the GS Libraries:
- Justification for the requested books, periodicals, databases, or other library materials must be specific to the funded project.
- Requests must be for specific titles.
- Documentation of the Libraries’ denial should be supplied in an appendix to the application.
- Funded books, periodicals, databases, or other library materials will be the property of the GS Libraries to be made accessible to the funded faculty member unless ownership is declined by the Libraries. If ownership is declined by the Libraries, ownership will revert to the funded faculty member’s home department.
- Basic computer equipment or software will not be considered for funding. Any computer components requested must be justified to include the reason it is unique to the project.
The Committee uses cross-disciplinary criteria to evaluate proposals and to establish funding priorities. You are strongly encouraged, therefore, to keep these criteria in mind as you prepare your proposal. Careful editing and proofreading are essential. As appropriate, you are expected to incorporate references to pertinent literature throughout your narrative.
Intrinsic Merit of the Project
This criterion considers the likelihood that the project will lead to discoveries or advances within its field or discipline, or have substantial impact on progress in that field or discipline and lead to significant sources of external funding. The evaluators will look to see that the project is soundly conceived in terms of current work in the field, existing literature on the subject, and appropriateness of procedures for the task. (The term “project” as used in this and the following contexts refers to the central concern of the proposed activity – for example, this may be a current or emerging issue in a discipline such as chemistry or economics, a question of interpretation of an artistic creation or historical event, the technical or procedural choices in the production of an artistic or other creative work, or an assessment of current or alternative social policies or programs.)
Relevance of the Project
This criterion relates to the likelihood that the project can contribute to the achievement of a goal that is external to that of the project’s field or discipline itself: for example, by serving as the basis for new or improved techniques, by assisting in the amelioration of community or societal issues, by helping to enhance aesthetic or cultural development, or by enhancing public knowledge, understanding, or appreciation of the project’s area of concern.
Proposer’s ability to carry out the project
This criterion considers the capability of the applicant in terms of his/her past training, publication activity, and other scholarly or creative accomplishments. The adequacy of the resources available including ability to complete the work within the award period (July 1 – May 30) is also considered. As appropriate, the applicant should include details on recent research/scholarly/creative projects. Beginning researchers may include their student work.
Potential to lead to submission for external funding
This criterion considers how effectively the applicant has identified a reasonable source from which to seek external funding and developed a plausible justification to support the fundability of the potential sponsored activity application using the outcomes of the project described in this application.
Evaluation Summaries and Funding Decisions
Committee members will provide an initial evaluation summary for each proposal, using the following categories:
- OUTSTANDING: Vitally important project undertaken by a qualified investigator who can be expected to make substantial progress and has potential for external funding. This rating should be reserved for truly excellent proposals, but should be used when warranted. Top priority for funding. Point value: 5
- EXCELLENT: Proposal considered superior, both for the intrinsic merit of the project and the ability of the investigator. Should be supported. Point value: 4
- VERY GOOD: Proposal considered superior, both for the intrinsic merit of the project and the ability of the investigator. Should be fully or partially supported with recommendation for scope or budgetary adjustment. Point value: 3
- GOOD: Worthwhile project by a competent investigator, but routine in nature. May be supported if funds are available. Proposal considered superior, both for the intrinsic merit of the project and the ability of the investigator. Should be supported. Point value: 2
- FAIR: Proposal has serious deficiencies that decrease the probability of successful completion. Might merit consideration if resubmitted with major changes in future competition. Point value: 1
- POOR: Clearly not deserving of support or is written in language that prohibits adequate merit evaluation by reviewers. Point value: 0
- UNRESPONSIVE: Proposal is incomplete or not in compliance with the guidelines. Point value: 0
The committee will meet to discuss each proposal, using the initial evaluation summaries as the basis for discussions and ranking. Following these discussions, the committee may recommend full funding, partial funding, or no funding. In the event of a partial award, the awardee may wish to alter the scope of the proposed research or may even choose to decline the award and reapply at another time. Partial funding removes the awardee from the following year’s competition.
Last updated: 6/3/2020