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2018 Community Engaged Research Seed Program


The Office of Research and Engagement is announcing a call for proposals for the new Community Engaged Research Seed Program. Proposals are due by December 13, 2017. This grant program offers internal funds intended to initiate and grow community engaged research projects for University of Tennessee, Knoxville and UT Space Institute faculty.

The ideal project would apply for external funding and begin to generate manuscripts for publication no later than four months after the seed project ends. The goals of the program are to further UT’s engagement with the local, state, or global community, stimulate new collaborations, and build a foundation for more stable and sustainable research funding. Key considerations include the likelihood that the community relationship can be sustained, which will often require obtaining new externally funding.

ORE seeks to support projects to encourage faculty members to identify and seek new funding targets. Both single Principal Investigators (PI’s) and/or multiple investigators (multi-PI) are encouraged to apply.

Type of Award

Funding to initiate or develop a community engaged research project. The maximum budget of $15,000 must include a 20% cost share from the college or department. The period of performance for this award is for one year.


Proposals are invited from all UT and UTSI tenured and tenure-track faculty or with special permission from the Associate Vice Chancellor for Research Development. Although external collaborations are an essential aspect of these projects, funding may not be used to support outside institutions (e.g. fund a researcher from another institution). A faculty member may participate in multiple proposals but should serve as lead Principal Investigator on no more than one. PIs are required to identify at least one source of funds that will sustain the collaboration. An awardee may not apply for a new grant until they have submitted a proposal for external funding based on the previous award or is actively pursuing an alternative sustainability model.

Use of Funds

Funds may be used for any activity directly related to the conduct of the research: salaries and benefits for students, postdocs, or research scientists, some travel, research supplies, equipment/facility recharge, etc. Travel to community partners, corporate and foundation funding sources, and federal agencies are likely an important element for success; it is expected and should be included in the submitted budget.  Funds will be available almost immediately after awards are announced and will be provided to awardees on a cost reimbursable basis.  Reimbursement requests may be submitted to ORE periodically as significant amounts are expended. Funds may not be used for faculty summer salaries, course buyouts, administrative staff, seminar speakers, consultants, or conferences. All funds must be expended by the end of the project period unless an extension is approved by the AVCRD and the contributing College/Department.


The internal proposal submittal deadline is December 13, 2017.  Estimated date for notice of award is March 1, 2018.

Application Format

Online submission will include completion of the form as well submitting the following documents:  Community Engagement Research Plan, Quad Chart, Sustainability Plan, Budget, CVs, Current and Pending Support, and Letter(s) of Commitment

  1. Online Application Form (see embedded form below)
  2. Community Engaged Research Plan – No more than three pages, single-spaced, 12 point font with one-inch margins. Note: References are not included in the 3-page limit. [Word or Acrobat Format]
    Proposals should include the following sections:
    1. Research Objectives. What are you trying to do?
    2. Community impact and partnerships. With whom are you working? What community or population are you targeting? How will this work positively impact the community? Is this a new collaboration? If not new, how will this project grow your collaboration?
    3. Current State-of-the-Art. Point out scientific challenges and limitations; quantify whenever possible; start broad but most importantly, get down to the root cause of the challenge you are trying to overcome – detail is helpful.
    4. Innovation/Differentiator. Highlight the innovative nature of your proposal by differentiating it from the current state-of-the-art.  Point out how and why your research should overcome the challenges and limitations you stated in (b) State-of-the-Art. Be specific and quantify when possible. What’s new about your approach? Is it a first? What specifically differentiates your proposed research from your peers’ research at other institutions?  How might it revolutionize research and advance your field? Why hasn’t it been done before and what leads you to believe that now is the optimal time (ex. an observation, a recent discovery, or a breakthrough in your lab)?
  1. Quad chart – One page (see example quad chart template) [PowerPoint Format].
  2. Sustainability Plan – No more than three pages: PI(s) must describe a clear sustainability plan. Although community relationships evolve and grow over time, too often community collaboration come to an abrupt halt when funding ends. How will you sustain the community collaboration? If additional funding is needed, what specific sources will you pursue? Projects that can be leveraged to obtain external funding will be prioritized. [Word or Acrobat Format]
  3. Budget with breakdown of cost categories [Excel Format].
  4. CVs – No more than two pages per individual investigator [Word or Acrobat Format].
  5. Current and Pending Support for PI and senior personnel (see PI Current and Pending Support List template) [Excel Format]
  6. Letter(s) of Commitment to participate in the project from community partner(s) [Word or Acrobat Format].

Review Process

Proposals will be reviewed by UT faculty and staff. Deans and/or department heads of the PI and co-PI’s may also be asked for input on the importance of the project for their college or department.

Evaluations will be based on four major criteria (listed in order of importance):

  1. Merit
  2. Community engagement
  3. Sustainability plan
  4. The feasibility of completing the project.

Office of Research and Engagement Programming Requirements

Awardees are required to work with a staff member from the AVCRD’s office to review and formalize their sustainability plan.  Awardees are required to also take part in one of the AVCRD workshops or training sessions during the period of performance unless they have completed one within the last 12 months.

Progress Tracking and Reporting

It is expected awardees will submit at least one external proposal based on the research.  Awardees are required to submit both a brief interim report and a final project report within 60 days after the award period end.  The final project report should include the results of the research, and plans or efforts underway to sustain the community collaboration. Lack of timely reporting may result in exclusion from future award opportunities. PI’s are responsible for tracking expenses associated with award.

For more information or questions, please contact

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