The Villanova University Summer Research Fellowship (SRF) Program is a competitive internal grant program intended to foster and support research, scholarly activities, and creative artistic projects, collectively referred to as research for the purposes of the SRF program. An overarching goal of the SRF program is to encourage and assist faculty members to achieve nationally and internationally recognized excellence in their scholarly field.
The Research Support Grant (RSG) program provides small grants (up to $2500) that may be used exclusively for non-salary expenses to support research. Research Support Grants can be requested simultaneously with the SRF grant application in order to augment SRF awards or they can be requested separately as a standalone grant. However, RSG applications that are designed to augment SRF awards will be competitive with stand-alone RSG applications, and therefore judged on their own individual merit. It is entirely possible to receive an SRF award but be denied the accompanying RSG request.
The SRF/RSG Program specifically aims to support:
- pretenured tenure-track faculty striving to build a successful research program
- efforts to identify potential external research sponsors and to prepare proposals for external funding
- established faculty proposing to take an existing research program in a new direction and, in areas where extramural support is available, to prepare proposals for external funding
- faculty pursuing research, scholarly, creative, or artistic activities in disciplines where external support is not regularly available.
- Eligibility for SRF and RSG awards is limited to full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Villanova School of Business, College of Engineering, and the College of Nursing.
- Recipients of a previous SRF award are not eligible to receive a new award for three years. For example, if an SRF award was received in the AY 2013-14 competition (for funding starting in the summer of 2014), the recipient is not eligible to apply for a new award until the AY 2016-17 competition (for an award that would start in summer 2017).
- Recipients of a previous RSG award are not eligible to receive a new award for two years. For example, if an SRF award was received in the AY 2013-14 competition (for funding starting in the summer of 2014), the recipient is not eligible to apply for a new award until the AY 2015-16 competition (for an award that would start in summer 2016).
Post-award requirements – SRF and RSG
After receiving an award, and in order to be eligible for future awards, the recipient will be required to submit a report describing activities, accomplishments, and significant outcomes related to the SRF. Reports should be submitted to the Office of Research and Graduate Programs (firstname.lastname@example.org) by the last day of April in the academic year in which the award was made. Significant outcomes may include:
- Preparation and submission of a proposal for an external grant directly related to the research supported by the SRF
- Scholarly publication in a high impact peer-reviewed professional journal or comparable activity in disciplines where scholarly publication is not the typical form of dissemination or scholarly, creative, or artistic work
- Other significant and unique scholarly outcomes that have enhanced the stature and visibility of the faculty member
3. Review Criteria
Review of proposals will be based on the following criteria:
- Introduction and Background: The SRF and/or RSG proposal must clearly demonstrate the importance of the research activity by providing sufficient background about the academic discipline to provide adequate context and to inform the essential objectives, hypotheses, or questions that guide the proposed research.
- Objectives, Hypotheses, Questions: The SRF and/or RSG proposal must clearly state the key objectives, hypotheses, or questions upon which the proposed research is founded. For examples, proposals may seek to uncover new findings in a previously unexplored area, test specific and novel hypotheses, detail a plan for acquiring or interpreting data that are missing from the literature, pursue preliminary investigation or inquiry into the subject of a potential monograph or book, and/or develop new interpretations of existing knowledge.
- Approach: The SRF and/or RSG proposal must clearly show the scholarly approach or plan to be used in meeting the research objectives/hypotheses/questions as a demonstration that a methodical and feasible research plan has been developed. Proposals are strongly encouraged to provide detailed methods, a description of how data will be analyzed if pertinent, and a timetable for completion of the components of the project.
- Anticipated Significant Outcomes: The SRF and/or RSG proposal should clearly state the anticipated significant outcome, as described above. If an anticipated significant outcome is to be an external grant proposal, the potential sponsor(s) and/or name of the funding program(s), the expected submission date(s), and the names of collaborating principal investigators and their institutions should be provided.
- Integration with PI’s Research Plan: The SRF and/or RSG proposal should discuss how the proposed efforts are integrated into the PI’s overall strategic research plan at Villanova, keeping in mind the specific aims of the SRF/RSG program and the nature of the anticipated significant outcomes.
- Prior SRF/RSG Grant Stewardship (if applicable): Activities, accomplishments, and significant outcomes from a prior Villanova Summer Research Fellowship will be considered in the proposal review process.
- Department Chair Evaluation (supplemental criterion): Append to the SRF and/or RSG proposal a letter of evaluation from the faculty member’s Department Chair that should specifically address the faculty member’s accomplishments to date and the importance of the SRF/RSG to obtaining the proposal’s specific goals and the longer-term development of the faculty member. Chair’s letters are not to rank order applicants and ought to be understood as aiding the evaluation committee in its understanding of the importance of a research project for a field and candidate.
4. Proposal Evaluation
Applications submitted for the SRF and/or RSG awards will be reviewed according to the criteria discussed in the previous section using the following approach and information:
- The proposal will be peer reviewed by an internal Evaluation Committee of distinguished Villanova scholars and researchers.
- The Vita will provide evidence of the proposer’s qualifications.
- A letter of support from the proposer’s Department Head will be used as supplementary information by the Evaluation Committee in making final determinations.
Applicants should note that any research activities involving human subjects “whether such research is undertaken on a large or small scale, whether it is preliminary or fully designed, whether it is student or faculty research, whether it is funded or non-funded, and whether it involves minimal risk or more than minimal risk” (http://www1.villanova.edu/villanova/vpaa/orgp/research/ora/compliance/board.html) may require approval from Villanova University’s Institutional Review Board. SRF/RSG proposals involving human subjects that are recommended for funding will require IRB approval before awards can be made.
5. Award Amounts and Restrictions
SRF awardees will receive the equivalent of 15% of the recipient’s nine-month contract salary, not to exceed $10,000, to be paid in June and July of the summer award period. Salary money may be received only in the summer for which it is allocated. Receipt of an SRF has the implicit expectation that the faculty member will spend the equivalent of one full summer month working on the proposed research. Faculty members may not be engaged in summer teaching and may not receive salary from other internal or external grants during the period of SRF support. SRF awards are for faculty salary only.
RSG funds (up to $2500) may be used to support travel, supplies, instrumentation, etc. but cannot be used for faculty salary. RSG funds may be spent in the summer or over the entire fiscal year.
The SRF/RSG Program does not provide support for course development, textbook preparation, or the payment of staff or graduate/undergraduate research assistants.
The administration of SRF and RSF awards will be carried out by the Office of Research Administration.
6. Collaborative Projects
Applications involving more than one faculty member must check one of the following blanks on the cover sheet of the application:
___We are requesting 15% of academic year salary or $10,000 (whichever is less) for each participant. We understand that funding is contingent on both an excellent rating of the proposal and a strong justification for the necessity of the participation of all collaborators at a full-time level for one summer month each.
___We are requesting partial funding for each participant (to a maximum of 15% of academic year salary of the participants, or $10,000, whichever is less). Successful proposals must strongly justify the necessity for participation of all collaborators, but not necessarily at a one summer month per participant level.
7. Proposal Preparation
Proposers should be cognizant that review committee members may not have expertise in the specific topic of every proposal. Proposals would benefit from minimizing discipline-specific terminology or jargon, and/or defining discipline-specific terminology when it cannot be avoided.
7.1 Summer Research Fellowships
- Main Proposal (12 pages maximum): Do not exceed 12 double-spaced pages using no smaller than 12 pt. font. The Proposal should be organized according to the following mandatory sections:
- Introduction and Background
- Objectives, Hypotheses, Questions
- Anticipated Significant Outcomes
- Integration with PI’s Research Plan
- Prior SRF/RSG Grant Stewardship
- Bibliography (6 pages maximum): Does not count towards 12 page limit
- Vita (2 pages maximum): Required from applicants and co-applicants
- Letter of Support from Department Chair (2 pages)
7.2 Research Support Grants
- Main Proposal (4 pages maximum): Proposal narrative may not exceed 4 double-spaced pages using no smaller than 12 pt. font or type face
- A budget for the monies requested
- Bibliography (2 pages maximum): Does not count towards the 4 page narrative limit.
- Vita (2 pages maximum): Required from applicants and co-applicants
7.3 Combined SRF and RSG
The main proposal for a combined SRF and RSG proposal may not exceed 16 double-spaced pages using no smaller than 12 pt. font or type face. Follow the requirements outlined in sections 7.1 and 7.2. Only one copy of the bibliography and Vita are required on a combined SRF/RSG proposal.
8. Proposal Checklist
The proposal package must contain the following:
- Cover Sheet
- Proposal with all the elements described in Section 7.
9. Proposal Submission
Submit a SINGLE PDF file containing all combined documents to email@example.com. The subject heading should include the faculty member’s last name and SRF, e.g., Smith SRF. Proposers will receive confirmation of receipt. Hard copies will not be accepted.
10. Critical Dates
- Proposal submission deadline: First Friday in December, 5:00 pm EST
- Announcement of Awards: Third Friday in February
Questions about proposal preparation or review can be addressed to Dr. R. Kelman Wieder, Assistant Vice President for Research and Strategic Initiatives (firstname.lastname@example.org; 101 Tolentine Hall). You may contact any member of the Evaluation Committee for advice about proposal preparation.
Please DO NOT send inquiries to email@example.com. This address is to be used only for submission of proposals and is not monitored.
12. Members of the Evaluation Committee
The Evaluation Committee will be consist of tenured faculty, appointed by the Office of Research and Graduate Programs, striving to achieve a breadth of expertise across the Colleges. Evaluation Committee members will serve three year terms, replacing three Evaluation Committee members per year. A 10th member of the Evaluation Committee will be selected in consultation with the Faculty Congress. Members of the Evaluation Committee for FY 2014 were:
- Dr. Aaron Bauer, Department of Biology, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
- Dr. Pamela Blewitt, Department of Psychology, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
- Dr. Walter Brogan, Department of Philosophy, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
- Dr. Heather Hicks, Department of English, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
- Dr. Scott Dressler, Department of Economics, School of Business
- Dr. C. “Nat” Nataraj, Department of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering
- Dr. Scott Newbert, Department of Management, School of Business
- Dr. Suzanne Smeltzer, College of Nursing
- Dr. Andrew Woldar, Department of Mathematics & Statistics, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences