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Equipment and Infrastructure Fund

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville Office of Research and Engagement (ORE) has opened proposals for the FY20 Scholarly Activity and Research Incentive Fund (SARIF) Equipment and Infrastructure Fund. Cost sharing is required for this award opportunity.

Program Objective

This Fund aims to enhance UT’s research mission by providing support for the acquisition, repair, replacement, or upgrade of critical infrastructure equipment and/or the purchase of new equipment that provides a new capability for advancing the research, scholarship and creative activity at the university.

Review Criteria

A subcommittee of the Research Council will review the proposals using the following set of criteria.

Scholarly Merit and Creative Activity: Proposals will be evaluated based on the importance of the equipment to the research program, novelness of the equipment and its capabilities, and the expected impact of the outcomes of the results from the equipment for the research program, scholarship or creative activity.   The potential to support existing and new research, scholarship, and creative activity will be important to identify/discuss in the proposal narrative.  This evaluation will also include how the requested resource will support the education, mentorship, and training of undergraduate and/or graduate students.

Research Agenda: Reviewers will evaluate the overall research agenda of the proposer(s), as articulated in the proposal and based on available information about prior success.  Evaluation will be based, in part, on the potential to advance research, scholarship or creative activity of proposer(s) nationally and internationally.  The narrative should also discuss anticipated publication, performance and/or exhibition goals for users of the requested equipment.

Impact: Reviewers will evaluate the impact of proposals based on: (1) the broad interest or cross-cutting use for the proposed equipment; and (2) the critical need of the request to the research program of the proposer(s).  Proposals for equipment or infrastructure that support smaller groups or individual PIs will be considered, however proposals that effect larger groups and multiple units will be evaluated favorably for this factor.  The committee will base evaluation, in part, on the sharing/access or management plan, if applicable.

Cost Sharing:  Reviewers will evaluate the level of support provided by non-ORE sources.  As a requirement, proposals must demonstrate at least a one-to-one cost share from the department, college, or co-PIs. Proposals with a two-to-one cost-share [e.g., (PI and department):(E&I Fund)] will be reviewed favorably during the evaluation process.

Eligibility

Be UT/UTIA/UTSI faculty, including tenured, tenure-track, and non-tenure-track research scientists.

Award Terms

Prior awards have ranged from $570 to $81,000. All equipment must be purchased after award notification by June 30, 2020.  Carryover requests will only be considered for truly extenuating circumstances beyond the control of the awardee(s).  SARIF support will be transferred to the department or research center after payment documentation is provided to the Office of Research and Engagement. Funding is based on actual expenses up to the amount approved. When the expended funds to purchase the equipment is less than the awarded amount, the remaining funds are retained by the Office of Research and Engagement.

Application Guidelines

Proposals are restricted to five pages in length, excluding letters of support and cost share commitments. Proposals exceeding five pages will be returned without review.

Instructions for Submittal: To apply to this research seed, please fill out InfoReady form, UT’s new internal competition software, by noon on October 9.

If you have any questions about the application process or the seed program, please contact avcrd@utk.edu.

Proposals must include the following documents:

  • Online application form: Complete InfoReady form and attached associated documents as listed below.
  • Abstract: A brief (250 words or less) abstract describing the request and research to be enabled.
  • Proposal (5-page limit):
    • Introduction and Overview: The introductory section should clearly describe the equipment that is being requested and provide an explanation of need in language that is understandable by non-experts. Proposals should describe the research agenda(s) that the equipment will support and outcomes that are expected to occur such as support for external funding proposals and/or publications, performances and/or exhibitions. This section should also include a description of any teaching, mentorship, or outreach opportunities that will capitalize on the proposed investment.

Requests for new equipment should also explain how this acquisition advances the capabilities of the university. Requests to repair, replace or enhance equipment should emphasize how the request addresses a vital and continuing infrastructure need for the proposer(s).  Given this difference in proposal expectations, the review criteria for proposals about new equipment that provide new research capabilities differ from those for infrastructure equipment requests.

  • Impact: Proposers should indicate the expected impact of the investment through a description of the most likely number of faculty and research projects that will be affected preferably from more than one department or research center. Requests for resources that will be available to the larger research community should briefly describe the equipment sharing and management plan. Please indicate if the equipment will be part of an existing or planned UT Core Facility or departmental recharge center.
  • Budget: A budget summary identifying costs, agreed upon cost share from each source, and amount requested from ORE.
  • Cost share Support: Signed cost share memos from each source. (Does not count toward five-page limit)

Submission and Review Process

  • Deadline: Proposals should be submitted online using the InfoReady system by October 9, 2019, 12:00 Noon.  Note: During the application process, applicants will be required to obtain approval from both Department Head and Associate Dean for Research at the college level.
  • Evaluation: A subcommittee of the Research Council will evaluate the proposals and make recommendations to the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research Development.
  • Selection Results: Award notifications will be announced by November 13.

For more information or questions, please contact AVCRD@utk.edu.