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ORU FY16 Funding Summary

Contact Information
Office of Research and Engagement

1534 White Ave.
Knoxville, TN 37996-1529
Phone: (865) 974-0437
Fax: (865) 974-7400
E-mail: AVCRD@utk.edu

The Office of Research and Engagement (ORE) began providing Organized Research Unit (ORU) funding in FY09, and this has since been one of many internal investment components to promote the research enterprise at the University of Tennessee. ORU funding is one component of the ORE Strategic and Transformative Investments in Research (STIR) program. The STIR funding is to be inclusive of broader strategic research opportunities that emphasize the intended transformative nature of the investment. The STIR ORU investment continues to provide support for new and continuing ORUs, with a focus on multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary research. The primary purpose of ORU funding is to help interdisciplinary groups organize to pursue a substantial net increase in external funding to become self-sufficient, usually within a three-year time period, or to help sustain ORUs with a large return on investment. The anticipation is that these internal investment funds will become unneeded as ORUs grow to a self-supporting position via higher levels of external funding.

A peer review committee (including subject matter experts as well a individuals with broad portfolio perspectives) evaluated this year’s ORU applications and made recommendations to the associate vice chancellor for research development (AVCRD). Reviewers were selected from suggestions provided by the associate deans for research, the Research Council and other members of the Faculty Senate, faculty members at large, and the Office of Research and Engagement. The review criteria for FY16 ORU proposals included: 1) significance, 2) feasibility and impact, 3) likelihood to establish new internal collaborations, 4) alignment with strategic areas of focus for UT, 5) quality of business model, and 6) sustainability plan. Additional review criteria for renewal application included: 1) deliverables during the previous funding period, 2) impact of advancements, 3) compelling argument for continued investment, and 4) evidence of moving toward sustainability.

Fourteen previously funded ORUs and five previously unfunded ORUs submitted requests for FY16 funding (total requested $2,202,326). Based on the review committee evaluation of the proposals, past performance, future potential, and other sources of support, thirteen previously funded ORUs and three new ORUs have been selected to receive funding in FY16, for a total of $1,186,370.

All ORU awards are one-time, one-year funding. Allocations are to fund the production and growth of high quality and meaningful research output, including a net increase in external funding for the faculty involved. ORUs will generally be eligible to compete for future funding for up to three years to become self-sustaining. Future funding is strongly dependent on performance, particularly in regard to grant applications and awards. ORUs will not be eligible to apply for more than three years of funding unless there is a convincing case to sustain an ORU with significant return on investment to the campus.

New for FY16

  • A brief meeting with the AVCRD (verbal progress report) will be required in January 2016 for each ORU director to discuss the current status of the ORU activities, any challenges and concerns, requested budget or direction in scope changes, any pending external funding opportunities, and potential ways for ORE to assist the ORU to be successful.
  • A final two-page report on the outcome of the ORU is required and should be submitted by the awardee to ORE by September 30, 2016.

For details of FY16 allocations, please download the ORU FY16 Funding Summary.

New FY16 ORU Proposals Submitted
(Click to view proposals.)

Center for Environmental Biotechology

Center for Information & Communication Studies

Center for Information Technology Research

Center for Sport, Peace, & Society

Center for Wildlife Health

Green Economy Initiative

Health Information Technology and Simulation Lab

Initiative for Understanding the Microscopic Physics of Electron-Lattice Coupling

Institute for Nuclear Security

Institute for Sustainable Mobility

Neuroscience Network of East Tennessee

Neutron Spectroscopy at the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams

Nnbar Experiment at ESS

Soft Materials Research in Tennessee

Sustainable Energy and Education Research Center