University Summer Grant Program Guidelines
New for 2022: Supplemental funding for USG Program is being made available through the University’s Strategic Initiative for Climate, Justice, and Sustainability. See section 4 below for details.
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-tenured 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.
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.
3. Award Amounts and Restrictions
Faculty may request one month of summer salary (1/9 of the faculty member’s academic year salary, capped at $10,000), half a month of summer salary (1/18 of the faculty member’s academic year salary, capped at $5,000) 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.
Proposals also may request support for reasonable research-related expenses (RRRE), including, but not limited to: travel to research sites, libraries, and archives; supplies; instrumentation; software; and statistical consultation. Funds may 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.
Total award amounts (faculty summer salary plus RRRE) for single faculty principal investigators will be capped at $12,500, with no more than $4,000 of this amount applied toward RRRE and no more than $10,000 applied toward salary. The distribution of funding between salary and RRRE will be at the discretion of the faculty member and within the guideline that faculty may receive no more than one month of summer salary.
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 $4,000.
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):
- Part a (15 min) - Intro to USG program, knowing the genre and your audience
- Part b (22 min) - Tips to prepare a competitive proposal
- Part c (23 min) - Discussion of successful prior submissions and Q&A
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 salary dollar amounts anywhere in the proposal.
Additional funding to support University Summer Research Grants is being provided this year by the University's Strategic Initiative for Climate, Justice and Sustainability (SICJS). In order to qualify for funding from this initiative, please clearly indicate you wish to be considered for SICJS support and include in your proposal narrative a specific statement pointing to how your research proposal addresses one or more of the following: environmental studies, climate science and policy, environmental justice, environmental engineering, or sustainability in any discipline. Because of its highly interdisciplinary nature, proposals sponsored by the SICJS will require two PIs from distinct departments (and preferably Colleges), and the research narrative should speak to the interdisciplinary elements that will enrich the proposed research. Other faculty research contributors can be named in the proposal, but the funding will only cover two formal PIs. Proposals will be assessed using the same criteria described in Section 6 below.
5. Proposal Submission
If you are new to this application process, please sign up by entering your email address and password (your Villanova email address or any other email address – your choice). You will then be taken to the application form. If you have already created an application, please log in to review/edit your application or to fill in other requested information. Please note that all automatically generated email communications will be sent to the email address that you choose to use when you initially sign up. Please note, proposals that do not adhere to guidelines (including page limits) will be returned without review.
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
- Proposal submission deadline: First Friday in December, by 5 p.m. (EST)
- Announcement of Awards: First Friday in March
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 the WizeHive platform, due by May 1 of the year following your summer award.
Questions about proposal preparation or review can be addressed to Amanda Grannas, PhD, Vice Provost for Research and Chief Research Officer. 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 Associate Vice Provost for Research, striving to achieve a breadth of expertise across the Colleges. At least one member of the Evaluation Committee will be selected in consultation with the Faculty Congress(*). In general, Evaluation Committee members will serve three year terms. Members of the Evaluation Committee for 2021-2022 are:
- Jeremy Kees, PhD, Marketing
- Frank Klassner, PhD, Computing Science
- Whitney Martinko, PhD, History
- Jill McCorkel, PhD, Sociology and Criminology
- BingBing Qi, PhD, RN, Nursing
- Jennifer Yost, PhD, RN, Nursing
- Robert Caverly, PhD, Electrical and Computer Engineering*
- Ryan Jorn, PhD, Chemistry*
- Scott Dressler, PhD, Economics*