Request for Proposals: University Strategic Initiative Seed Grants

The Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost is making funds available through seed grants to fund pilot projects that support the University’s 2016-2020 Strategic Plan, Our Commitment to Impact. The University’s Strategic Plan Oversight Committee invites the Penn State community to work with the appropriate Steering Committees to develop initiative proposals. Information on the overarching funding philosophy behind Penn State’s strategic initiatives can be found on our Strategic Initiative Funding Philosophy page.

Proposals may be submitted by any current Penn State faculty member, staff member, or student. Proposals should clearly demonstrate how the initiative promotes one or more of the plan’s Thematic Priorities (Advancing the Arts and Humanities, Driving Digital Innovation, Enhancing Health, Stewarding Our Planet’s Resources, and Transforming Education) or Supporting Elements (Constituent Outreach and Engagement, Infrastructure and Support, and Organizational Processes). Proposals should explicitly integrate one or more of the plan’s Foundations (Enabling Access to Education, Engaging Our Students, Fostering and Embracing a Diverse World, Enhancing Global Engagement, Driving Economic Development, and Ensuring a Sustainable Future).

The Role of the Strategic Plan Steering Committees

The Strategic Plan Steering Committees are the bodies charged by the Executive Vice President and Provost with working with constituents to develop strategic initiatives in support of Penn State’s overall plan. It is part of the committees’ role to engage their networks to solicit a broad array of ideas. Those considering preparing a proposal are strongly encouraged to identify the appropriate committee and seek their input to develop and refine the initiative (see strategicplan.psu.edu/steering-committees/).

Proposal Guidelines

  • Proposals will be evaluated on the strength of their alignment with a Strategic Theme or Supporting Element and on the extent to which they integrate the plan’s Foundations.
  • The funding range for individual proposals is $50,000 – $250,000. It is anticipated that approximately 10 proposals will be funded per proposal cycle (see timeline below).
  • Seed grants are not permanent funds, and proposals should include a plan for sustaining the initiatives beyond the grant-supported period.
  • Proposals should include a timeline that allows for documentable progress by the end of this strategic planning cycle in 2020.
  • Collaborations among multiple units will be given preference.
  • Proposals that address multiple components (themes, supporting elements, foundations) of the strategic plan will be given preference.
  • The evaluation form can be downloaded here. Committees may have additional criteria that they use to evaluate proposals.

Submitting a Proposal

  • The online proposal form is currently undergoing testing and we anticipate opening it by mid-December. In the meantime, authors can download the proposal form outline to help prepare their submissions.
  • The submitting author will be the corresponding author. All notifications will go to the corresponding author.
  • While the review process is broken into three cycles, proposals will be accepted throughout the year. We anticipate that each review cycle will identify approximately 10 proposals for funding.
  • Submissions later in the academic year will receive the same level of consideration and have the same potential for funding as submissions early in the academic year.
  • If you have questions, please contact strategicplan@psu.edu.

Proposal Review Process

The Office of Planning and Assessment serves as a central repository for proposals and forwards them to the appropriate committees for regular review. Members of Strategic Plan committees may serve as authors on proposals but must recuse themselves from the evaluation of those proposals during this process. Additional supporting information may be requested of authors during the review process.

  1. First Review: Steering Committee
    • Steering Committees will review proposals.
    • Reviews will include evaluation of the proposed budget and identification of potential ongoing funding sources.
    • Proposals not selected for further consideration will be returned to the author(s) with feedback from the Steering Committee.
  2. Second Review: Executive Committee
    • Executive Committees will review proposals submitted by the Steering Committees.
    • Reviews will include evaluation of the proposed budget and identification of potential ongoing funding sources.
    • Proposals not selected for further consideration will be returned to the author(s) with feedback from the Executive Committee.
  3. Third Review: Oversight Committee
    • Oversight Committees will review proposals submitted by the Executive Committees.
    • The Oversight Committee will present its recommendations to the committee chair, Executive Vice President and Provost Nicholas P. Jones.
  4. Notification
    • Funding recipients will be notified by the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost.
    • The winning proposals will be publicized in Penn State Today.
    • Authors of proposals not selected for funding in the third review will be notified and provided with the Oversight Committee’s feedback by the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost. Proposals may be re-submitted after initial feedback has been addressed.

2017-18 Initiative Proposal Timelines

While there are formal cycles for proposal submissions, reviews, and approvals, initiative proposals are accepted throughout the year. Because grants are awarded on a rolling basis, submissions at any time are encouraged and welcomed.

 

Cycle 1: Fall 2017

Sept. 18 Cycle 1 submission deadline.
Sept. 19 Start of Cycle 1 submission review process.
Sept. 19 –  Oct. 24 Executive Committees work with Steering Committees to review all proposals
Oct. 25 Executive Committees forward selected proposals to Oversight Committee and begin to provide feedback to the authors of proposals that were not forwarded for further review.
Nov. 1 Oversight Committee meeting to review proposals.
Nov. 2 Top proposals forwarded by Oversight Committee to Provost.
Dec. 1 Funded initiative announcement; feedback provided to the authors of proposals not selected.

Cycle 2: Spring 2018 (updated 11/29/17)

Authors are encouraged to reach out to the appropriate Steering Committee by Jan. 15 for feedback on their proposals prior to submission in order to allow time for review and feedback.
Jan. 31 Cycle 2 submission deadline.
Feb. 1 Start of Cycle 2 submission review process.
Apr. 17 Oversight Committee meeting to review proposals
Apr. 18 Top proposals forwarded by the Oversight Committee to the Provost
Mid-May Funded initiative announcement; feedback provided to the authors of proposals not selected.

Cycle 3: Summer 2018 (Tentative)

May 21 Start of Cycle 3 submission review process.  
May 22 Start of Cycle 3 submission review process.
TBD Oversight Committee meeting to review proposals
TBD Top proposals forwarded by the Oversight Committee to the Provost
TBD Funded initiative announcement; feedback provided to the authors of proposals not selected.

 

Please submit questions about this process to the Office of Planning and Assessment at strategicplan@psu.edu or (814) 863-8721.