Skip to main content

Research Catalyst Grant Program

In Fall 2022, VIRS will pilot its Research Catalyst Grant (RCG) with a limited number of awards of up to $35,000. This pilot serves as a basis for refining the RCG as a permanent program.


The RCG serves as a catalyst to advancing the quality and influence of Villanova’s research enterprise. The program aims to support new, interdisciplinary, collaborative projects that have the potential to grow into high impact endeavors and which can become self-sustaining through new external funding. RCG awards are intended for project initiation activities and pilots to test a proof of concept.

Eligibility and Requirements

All full-time tenured, tenure track, and continuing non-tenure track faculty are eligible to apply. This grant is specifically for early stage, collaborative, interdisciplinary projects. Projects at advanced stages are not appropriate for this opportunity. Each proposal must include at least two eligible faculty members not appointed in the same department to serve as Project Leads. Proposals submitted by an individual will not be considered for funding. Applicants are expected to exhaust college-level funding opportunities before applying for the RCG.

All applicants must submit the Dean Support Form, completed and signed by the College Dean of each Project Lead. The function of this form is: a) to record the Dean’s support for the project’s activities and b) to confirm that college-level funds are not available to support this proposal, and/or that available support has been exhausted at time of submission. Applicants are responsible for ensuring that Deans complete this form. (A link to the form will be available after August 1).

Award Amounts, Uses, and Restrictions

Funding is available for a limited number of $35,000 awards (or awards of a lesser amount based on proposed budget) during the Fall 2022 RCG funding cycle. RCG award funds can be expended over a maximum of 24 months. The requested award period should be clearly stated in the application and will be confirmed in the award letter.

Proposals may request funding in the following categories:

Faculty summer salary, offered in the amount of $12,500. This flat rate applies regardless of faculty members’ base salary. Summer salary is to be paid in June or July during the award period and is subject to any limitations that may pertain as outlined in the University's Compensation Policy.

Graduate and undergraduate student salary. Funds may be used to pay students on an hourly wage basis to assist faculty members in the execution of the proposed research. Funds may not be used for graduate or undergraduate students to work on their own thesis/dissertation research unless it is integral to the proposed research.

Reasonable research-related expenses. Some examples of allowable expenses include, but are not limited to, travel to research-related sites, equipment, supplies and books, data sets, software, transcription services, and other reasonable needs.

Research conferences/workshops hosted at Villanova University or elsewhere that bring together project participants for the dedicated purpose of collaborative work on the research project.

Excluded expenses, among others, are childcare, professional society fees, travel and expenses for most conferences (see above), and student stipends. For questions about allowable expenses, please contact VIRS. The merits of a project will not be discussed.

Studies involving human subjects or animals must demonstrate that they have appropriate approvals in place before funds can be disbursed.

Application Guidelines

Applications must include the following materials

  1. Application cover sheet: information as requested in the submission form (available after August 1).
  2. Proposal narrative: detailed instructions below.
  3. Cited literature: a list of references used in the proposal narrative.
  4. CVs for each Project Lead: maximum 2-pages each.
  5. Completed, signed Dean Support Form for each Project Lead (available after August 1)

Please note, applications that do not adhere to guidelines (including proposal word limit) will be returned without review.

Proposal Narrative

Proposal narratives should be organized into the following sections and may not exceed 2000 words.

Project/Issue and Goals: Describe the project/issue your proposal will address, and briefly describe the goals/objectives of the project.

Research Methods/Creative Activities: Identify the partners (departments, programs, and/or individuals) in the collaboration. Describe the research methods/creative activities that the collaborating members will undertake.

Significance of Intended Outcomes: Describe the basis for the evaluation of results and/or conclusions and the importance or significance of the contribution of your project to its targeted field(s) and/or audience.

Anticipated External Funding: Describe how the initial collaboration will result in a new and unique program of research or creativity that will lead to external funding. List anticipated outside funding sources to support follow-up activity, including specific grant programs and the goals of those programs.

Budget: Detail the amount requested and the proposed expenditure of funds; provide a brief justification for the allocation of the funds.

Schedule/timeline. Indicate the time period during which each of the major project activities will begin and end. Include anticipated timeframe for budgeted expenses, publications, and/or performance plans. If appropriate, briefly describe the related research and/or creative activities that will take place before and after the grant period.

Proposals will be evaluated on the criteria specified in the ‘Evaluation and Review Criteria’ section below.

Note that proposals are reviewed by a committee composed of faculty from several disciplines and therefore must be written to be understood by members of multi-disciplinary review committees rather than by specialists in your field. Proposals should avoid discipline-specific terminology or jargon and/or provide definitions of discipline-specific terminology when jargon cannot be avoided.

Evaluation and Review Criteria

Each proposal will be peer reviewed and evaluated by an internal Evaluation Committee of distinguished Villanova scholars and researchers. Proposal evaluation criteria include:

  1. The potential of the project to launch a highly impactful, collaborative, interdisciplinary endeavor.
  2. The potential for the project to become self-sustaining by garnering new external funding.
  3. The quality of the proposal regarding clarity of the project’s purpose and goals, grounding in relevant scholarly literature, theoretical/conceptual framework, methodology/approach, and scope and nature of interdisciplinary collaboration.
  4. The feasibility of the project and the likelihood that the applicants will execute the work within the proposed timeframe.

Critical Dates

Application submission deadline: September 15 by 5pm
Announcement of awards: before Christmas

Application Submission

Instructions for submitting applications will be posted after August 1

Post-award requirements

After receiving an award and completing the proposed work, and in order to be eligible for future awards, awardees must submit a Final Report to VIRS. Final Reports are due one month after the award period ends. Instructions will be provided with award letters.


Questions about proposal preparation or review can be addressed to Janice Bially Mattern, PhD, Director, Villanova Institute for Research and Scholarship.