Provost Multidisciplinary Research Initiatives 2016 Request For Proposals

2015 Funded Proposals
2016 Funded Proposals

Background

George Mason faculty and staff have a long history of driving innovation and entrepreneurship. Given our strategic goals, it is critical that there be a clear, transparent process in place where Mason faculty and staff can pilot their creative ideas and further Mason’s strategic goals. Faculty members, researchers, and interdisciplinary innovators are encouraged to submit proposals that respond to the pressing issues and research challenges – regionally, nationally, and globally – that face us today.

 
Goal

The goal of this RFP is to provide seed grants that will support cutting-edge initiatives put forward by multidisciplinary teams of investigators across academic units. These teams can be comprised of Mason faculty, staff, students, and/or community partners and must be supported by the leadership of involved units. The awarded seed grants will provide catalyst funding to pilot projects that support truly innovative ideas, foster collaboration across colleges and academic units, strengthen undergraduate and graduate student learning experiences, and afford opportunities for external funding in the future. Campus wide research symposia facilitate the formation of multidisciplinary teams and clusters. The seed grants provide a means for these teams to advance their research agenda. Proposals addressing the 2016 symposium topic of security, broadly defined, are strongly encouraged.

 
The Process

Letters of intent are due by noon, March 15, 2016. Proposals must be submitted by 5:00 pm, April 15, 2016. All proposals will undergo a rigorous peer review and notification of final funding decisions will be made in early June 2016.

Proposals should focus on:

  • Building teams necessary to develop large, multi-unit/multi-institutional collaborations and/or industry partnerships
  • Proposing innovative, boundary spanning ideas that have scalability and strong potential for significantly enhancing Mason’s reputation and the student learning experience through engagement in scholarly and research collaborations
  • Fostering collaboration across colleges and academic units
  • Initiating new scholarly and creative collaborations

NOTE: This funding is not intended to support stand-alone projects for which other funding options are readily available, or can be easily identified. The number and final size of grants will depend upon available resources.

 
Proposal Preparation

Show All | Hide All

Type of proposals

Submitted proposals are expected to fit into one of three categories: Tier 1, Tier 2, or Tier 3.

Tier 1 Proposals:

These proposals are expected to support research teams in emerging or sustained areas of major strategic interest for Mason. Funded research teams are expected to pursue large, multidisciplinary Federal funding opportunities. Desired outcomes include generation of prototypes and data, publications, the specific identification of the most appropriate external funding opportunity(-ies), a timeline leading to submission, and a draft proposal, including external partners, when applicable.

Initial funding up to $50,000 for one year is available, with the expectation that a quality large-scale proposal will be generated. These requests must be supported by a very strong justification and evidence of great progress made towards goals in the previous year.

Tier 2 Proposals:

These proposals are expected to address promising early-stage, pilot initiatives that develop new collaborations in all aspects of research, including creativity, entrepreneurship, and outreach. They are particularly intended to encourage faculty members across units to form multidisciplinary teams and pursue novel research directions. Desired outcomes include publications, generation of proof-of-concept, early-stage, research results, and the development of an explicit strategy for securing external funding.

Funding up to $25,000 for one year is available. Based on progress made towards goals in the original proposal, support for additional funding may be requested.

Tier 3 Proposals:

These proposals are expected to address promising preliminary, pilot initiatives that develop new collaborations in all aspects of research, including creativity, entrepreneurship, and outreach. They are particularly intended to encourage faculty members across units to explore multidisciplinary research directions. Desired outcomes include generation of proof-of-concept, early-stage, research results, and the development of an explicit strategy for securing internal or external funding.

Funding up to $5,000 for one year is available. Based on progress made towards goals in the original proposal, support for additional funding may be requested.

Allowable Budget Items (all proposals)
  • Graduate and undergraduate assistantships (salaries and fringe benefits)
  • Partial support for research scientists across units, who will facilitate collaboration
  • Operating budget
  • Staff support
  • Travel required to secure external support
  • Materials needed for pilot work
  • Outreach costs

Funding may not be requested for faculty salary support. Students who will receive support must be named and included in the proposal and should not be first-year students. Lead investigators should not be named as PIs (or co-PIs) in more than two proposals (with a maximum of one Tier 1 proposal). It is recommended that Tier 1 proposals include researchers from at least three academic units and Tier 2 and Tier 3 proposals from at least two academic units. Supplementary or matching financial contributions from the home academic units are particularly encouraged.

Proposal Scoring and Ranking
Proposals will be ranked based upon their overall quality of project narrative and vision, level of innovation and multidisciplinarity, potential for advancing Mason’s strategic goals, optimum use of requested resources, clarity and feasibility of milestones and outcomes, and the strength and productivity of the proposing team.

Additionally, Tier 1 proposals should also

  • include a clear plan to leverage existing areas of excellence,
  • discuss a strategy for maintaining external funding and longer-term sustainability,
  • secure external participants,
  • explain anticipated impact (national and state), and
  • present a plan to engage all major university constituents.

A panel of faculty and academic leaders from across the institution, as well as external constituents (including funding agency officers), will be recruited to review the proposals and provide final rankings and funding recommendations to the Provost.

Post-Award Review
  • Semi-annual internal evaluation to verify attainment of milestones
  • Review at the end of Year 1 to assess viability and successful use of provided support

 
To Apply:

All submissions must use the templates provided for the Letter of Intent and the Proposal.

Letters of intent will be used to set-up review panels and are not binding. It is expected that submitted proposals may evidence adjustments from the original letters of intent. Letters of intent should be submitted electronically to provrfp@gmu.edu by noon March 15, 2016.

Proposals should be submitted electronically to provrfp@gmu.edu by 5:00 pm April 15, 2016. Late or incomplete proposals will not be reviewed.

Notification of funding decisions will be made in early June 2016.