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Professional and Scholarly Development Awards (PSDA)

The Office of Research and Engagement (ORE) is now accepting proposals for Professional and Scholarly Development Awards (PSDA) in the Visual and Performing Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences for the 2017-18 academic year. These grants are intended to enable scholarship that leads to research opportunities, collaborations, book contracts, juried competitions, foundation grants, faculty annual awards, or journal papers in direct alignment with our Vol Vision 2020 goals. ORE anticipates being able to make up to 20 awards annually.

This is a new funding program in which grants of up to $5,000 will be awarded to tenured or tenure-track faculty at the rank of assistant professor or above in the visual and performing arts, humanities and social sciences (including law, architecture and business). PSDA funds may be used to cover such costs as research supplies, travel to collaborate or to work in laboratories, libraries, or archives, or in other ways, as long as the outcome will be the professional development of the faculty member. These funds are not intended to support travel to meetings or for purposes of scholarly presentation or for faculty or graduate student salaries.

STEM faculty are not eligible for PSDA funds. Other forms of ORE support for professional development of faculty in the STEM disciplines, international travel, and conference support can be found here (see

Deadlines and submission procedures

Applicants should prepare and submit the proposal as a single PDF document to their department head no later than Monday, March 27, 2017. The department head will review the proposal and forward it, along with their letter of endorsement, to the dean no later than Monday, April 3, 2017. The complete application, including letters of endorsement from both the department head and either the dean or associate dean, must be emailed to no later than Monday, April 10, 2017. Awards will be announced by May 1, 2017.

A committee, convened by ORE, will evaluate the proposals based on the following review criteria:

  • The proposal’s scholarly impact potential (25%)
  • The proposal’s potential for tangible outcomes, like specific research opportunities, collaborations, book contracts, juried competitions, foundation grants, faculty annual awards, or journal papers (25%)
  • The applicant’s scholarly record (25%)
  • Support letters (25%)

Final funding decisions will be made by ORE based upon the recommendations of the committee.

Proposal Instructions:

Each proposal must include the following elements:

  1. Cover Sheet
  2. A narrative of no more than 1,500 words describing the proposed professional development activities should be written for an educated, non-specialist audience and must include a clear explanation of methodology and expected outcomes.
  3. An itemized budget for the amount requested as well as a projected timeline for use of the funds. Estimated expenses for lodging, meals, and travel should be based on UT travel reimbursement rates and CONUS rates published at

Note: Faculty proposing to use funds to pay human research participants should consider incentives other than gift cards, since fiscal policy requires that names be reported when gift cards are distributed.

  1. Any documentation of an invitation or host institution support.
  2. If your proposal describes a preliminary study for a larger project, please describe any plans for seeking additional funding, including a projected timeline for application.
  3. Vita of the applicant (limit to five pages or fewer.)
  4. Endorsement letters from both department head and dean (or associate dean).

If you have questions concerning this solicitation, please email Soren Sorensen at or call 865-974-0437.

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