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University Summer Grant (USG)



USG 2024 Program Guidelines

1. Purpose

The University Summer Grant (USG) Program provides support to faculty to be engaged in research, scholarly activities, and creative artistic projects. Overarching goals of the USG program are to foster the intellectual development of faculty and to facilitate faculty efforts to achieve national and international recognition in their scholarly field.

More specifically, the USG Program aims to support:

  • efforts of pre-tenure and tenure-track faculty to build a successful research program;
  • preparation of proposals for external funding in areas where extramural support is available;
  • faculty pursuing research, scholarly, creative, or artistic activities in disciplines where external support is not regularly available, and/or
  • efforts of established faculty to take an existing research program in a new direction.

2. Eligibility

Eligibility for USG awards is limited to full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty. Individuals may receive USG awards no more frequently than every other year. Individuals may not hold USG awards concurrently with Small Research Grant (SRG) or Research Catalyst Grant (RCG) awards. Individuals with projects under consideration for the Research Catalyst Grant 2023 may submit to the USG Program on a provisional basis. If the project is successful in the RCG competition, the application will be automatically withdrawn from USG consideration.

3. Award Amounts and Restrictions

The maximum award amount is $12,500. Allowable expenses include summer salary (up to 1/9 of the faculty member’s academic year salary, capped at $12,500), non-salary monies for research expenses, or a combination of summer salary and non-salary monies not to exceed $12,500.

Faculty may request one month of summer salary (1/9 of the faculty member’s academic year salary, capped at $12,500), three quarters of a month of summer salary (1/12 of the faculty member’s academic year salary, capped at $9375), half a month of summer salary (1/18 of the faculty member’s academic year salary, capped at $6250), or no summer salary. Summer salary is to be paid in June or July of the summer award period and is subject to any limitations that may pertain as outlined in the University's Compensation Policy.

Non-salary monies of up to $4000 may be requested for reasonable research-related expenses (RRRE), including, but not limited to: travel to research sites, libraries and archives; supplies; instrumentation; software; statistical consultation; and translation and transcription services. Funds may also be used to pay students on an hourly wage basis to assist the faculty member in the execution of the proposed research. However, funds may not be used to provide summer stipends for graduate or undergraduate students to work on their own thesis/dissertation research.

The distribution of funding between salary and RRRE will be at the discretion of the faculty member within the guideline that faculty may receive no more than one month of summer salary and no more than $4000 in RRRE.

Collaborative proposals between two faculty members are allowed. For such proposals, each faculty member may request summer salary (subject to the caps indicated above); RRRE for the collaborative effort will be capped at $4000.

Funds may not be used to support travel to conferences. The USG Program does not provide support for course development or textbook preparation.

4. Proposal Preparation

Proposal Preparation Workshop Videos (Recorded Fall 2019):

There is no specified format for proposals. Faculty should structure their proposals in a way that clearly articulates the nature of the activities to be undertaken, with the understanding that proposals will be evaluated based on the four criteria given below in section 6. Proposals should state the anticipated significant outcome that will result from USG support, the nature of which may be specific to a particular discipline, and how this outcome will advance the research of the faculty member, enhance his or her professional stature, and contribute to the national and/or international visibility of Villanova University. 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.

Proposal narratives should not exceed 6 double-spaced pages with 1-inch margins, using no smaller than 12 pt. font. In addition to the narrative, proposals must include separate a cited literature section, and a separate resume/CV (maximum 2 pages). If RRRE funds are requested, a separate RRRE budget must be submitted, indicating how the funds requested would be used. For proposals requesting summer salary, please do not specify faculty summer salary dollar amounts anywhere in the proposal, rather, indicate the portion of summer month requested (e.g. 1 month,  3/4 month, 1/2 month).

5. Proposal Submission 

All applications must be submitted electronically through InfoReady. The USG application will be available mid-fall. 

6. Proposal Evaluation and Review Criteria

Each proposal will be peer reviewed by an internal Evaluation Committee of distinguished Villanova scholars and researchers. Review of proposals will be based on the following criteria (adopted from the American Council of Learned Societies):

  • The potential of the project to advance the field of study in which it is proposed and make an original and significant contribution to knowledge.
  • The quality of the proposal with regard to its clarity, methodology, scope, theoretical framework, and grounding in the relevant scholarly literature.
  • The feasibility of the project and the likelihood that the applicant will execute the work within the proposed timeframe.
  • The scholarly record and career trajectory of the applicant.

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” will require approval from Villanova University’s Institutional Review Board. USG proposals involving human subjects that are recommended for funding will require IRB approval before awards can be made.

Applicants should note that any research activities involving vertebrate animal subjects - will require approval from Villanova University’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. USG proposals involving vertebrate animal subjects that are recommended for funding will require IACUC approval before awards can be made.

7. Critical Dates         

  • Application submission deadline: December 8, 2023 by 5 p.m. 
  • Decision announcement: March 8, 2024

8. Post-award requirements

After receiving an award, and in order to be eligible for future awards, awardees will be required to prepare a Final Report, to be submitted through InfoReady, due by May 1 of the year following your summer award.

9. Questions?

Questions about proposal preparation or review can be addressed to Janice Bially Mattern, PhD, Director, Villanova Institute for Research and Scholarship (VIRS). You also may contact any member of the Evaluation Committee for advice about proposal preparation.

10. Members of the Evaluation Committee

The Evaluation Committee consists of tenured faculty, appointed by the Director of VIRS, striving to achieve a breadth of expertise across the Colleges. In general, Evaluation Committee members will serve three year terms. Members of the Evaluation Committee for 2023-2024 are:

  • Danai Chasaki, PhD, Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Frank Galgano, PhD, Geography and the Environment
  • Jennifer Ross, PhD, RN, CNE, Nursing
  • Jeremy Kees, PhD, Marketing
  • Lisa Sewell, PhD, English
  • Mary Mullen, PhD, English
  • Melissa Hodges, PhD, Sociology and Criminology
  • Mi (Meg) Luo, PhD, Finance
  • Sherry Burrell, PhD, RN, CNE, Nursing
  • Steve Chanenson, JD, Law
  • Troy Shirangi, PhD, Biology
  • Wenqing Xu, PhD, Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Yimin Zhang, PhD, Mathematics and Statistics