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High Priority Area Large Equipment Grants DOR/PROVOST FACULTY RESEARCH INVIGORATION PROGRAMS HIGH PRIORITY AREA RESEARCH SEED GRANTS

2017-2018 GUIDELINES

Overview

The Provost and the Vice President for Research have initiated a program to invigorate the university research enterprise through targeted investment of Large Equipment Grants in high priority areas (see details in the figure below). The purpose of the program is to support research labs and groups with funds that would permit submission of competitive external research proposals. The Large Equipment Grant Program is closely tied with the four institutional thrusts that the Vice President for Research and the Provost have developed in consultation with College Deans, and which have been endorsed by the Chancellor. Each of the thrusts is described here and in the figure below, which provides the general area of emphasis and some examples.

  1. Cyber and Physical Security
  2. Drug Discovery and Development
  3. Sustainable Communities and Infrastructure
  4. Accessible Healthcare 

thrusts

Programs under the DoR/Provost Faculty Research Invigoration Program will have (i) clear focus on the institutional thrusts, (ii) heightened accountability during the project budget period and for 2 years after it (in terms of brief reports on progress), and (ii) impact during and after the project in a final report.

Funding Level:

An allocation of $1,000,000 is available in the current fiscal year for one round of competition. The total allocation is intended to fund eight to ten awards at $100,000-$125,000 each.

Requests are anticipated to exceed available funds. Successful Large Equipment Grant proposals must demonstrate efficiency and ensure that investments are used to generate the highest possible return to the laboratory and the institution.

Reporting Requirements: 

The Large Equipment Grants Program is intended to increase the technical capabilities of a laboratory leading to highly competitive proposals for extramural funding. As such, the PI is expected to complete the following activities and reporting during the 3-year project period.

  1. An external grant proposal must be submitted in one of the high priority research areas in Year 1 of the project period. If the applicant intends to apply for a competition that does not fit this timeline, an exception should be noted in the proposed timeline. An exception can be granted by petition provided this extension delays the grant submission for no more than 3 months.
  2. A resubmission is expected in the next submission cycle following the receipt of reviewer comments until funding is secured or a new application can be submitted while awaiting the outcome of the previous submission. In Year 2, the PI is expected to submit either a second proposal or resubmit the proposal from Year 1.
  3. A final report that captures the research output and funding garnered using this equipment will be due at the end of the Year 3.
  4. Should any reporting and submission requirements fail to be met, the case will be reviewed by the Research and Scholarship Committee (RSC) of the Faculty Senate.

Eligibility Criteria: 

Large Equipment Grant proposals are eligible for funding when they:

  • Request a critical piece of equipment to facilitate grant submission
  • Are located on a University of Houston campus and run by faculty or staff employed by the University 

Any full-time University of Houston faculty member (tenured, tenure-track, or research faculty) may apply as PI or Co-PI to this program. Each faculty member may submit 1 proposal per fiscal year as the PI. Each proposal should have 1 PI and no more than 2 Co-PIs.

Proposal Preparation and Submission:

The proposal must be based on a plan to submit a research grant proposal in one of the four priority thrust areas identified in the Overview section of this program. The application to this program must be prepared following the requirements outlined below and submitted as a single PDF file via email to: Largeequipmentgrant@share.uh.edu by the PI’s affiliated pre-award research administrator in the College or the DoR.

Formatting Requirements

All documents should be prepared on the US Letter size paper (8.5”x11”) with 1-inch margins on all sides, Arial font size 11 pt or larger. The proposal narrative must have exactly 1.5 line spacing; all other documents may be single-spaced. An Arial font size of at least 8 pt must be used for the captions to graphics and tables and may be single-spaced. The text in the captions must be legible.

Proposal Documents

  1. Cover Page (1 page)
    The cover page must identify the proposal title, PI and Co-PI names and affiliations, and applicable thrust area(s).
  2. Proposal Narrative (Up to 3 pages, includes graphics, tables, equations, and formulas)
    The rationale for the proposed large equipment should be described and must contain:
    1.  An overview of the strategic research area relative to one of the four priority thrust areas and how the investment will enhance the applicant’s ability to submit competitive proposals in one of the four priority thrust areas.
    2.  A brief history of the applicant’s expertise in the priority thrust area.
    3. The availability on the University of Houston campus of such instrumentation/services of similar function/use and capabilities. If such instrumentation/service is already available for shared use, why is the new instrumentation/service needed?
    4. The potential research outcomes (e.g., funding, publications, faculty hiring) of having this instrumentation/service? Identify any obstacles.
    5. Brief plans for its management and maintenance, including what type of continued investment might be required to maintain the instrument and its productivity.
    6. Plan and timeline for grant submission in the selected priority thrust area.
    7. References Cited are in addition to the 3-page Proposal Narrative.
  3. Biosketch(es) (2 pages per investigator)
    Provide a two-page biosketch for each PI and Co-PI. NSF style is preferred.
  4. Current & Pending Support
    Provide a list of current & pending support for each PI and Co-PI. Identify the activities closely related to the proposed acquisition.
  5. Funding (Up to 1 page per investigator)
    Based on the activities identified in the “Current & Pending Support” as closely related to the proposed acquisition, describe:
    1. How will the equipment support existing externally funded research?
    2. What external funding opportunities are available for the PI and Co-PIs and how will the acquisition enhance competitiveness?
  6. Budget (1 page)
    The budget must be constructed and presented using the standard UH budget template (http://www.uh.edu/research/resources/dor-forms/proposal-processing-forms/). Please work with your affiliated pre-award personnel to generate the budget.
    Allowable costs include: equipment and related accessories, set-up/installation costs, service agreements. Unallowable costs include: personnel, travel, computer hardware not connected to the proposed equipment, lab renovation, and other items ancillary to the specific equipment.
    Budgets will be critically reviewed. Vendor quotes are required for the submission, and must be made available to the reviewing committee. When awarded, the purchase must follow the University policies and guidelines.
  7. Budget Justification and Fiscal Accountability (1 page)
    The budget justification should address the following topics:
    1. Describe the impact of funding on the improvement of resources or services within the unit.
    2. Describe how funds will contribute to the success and sustainability of the unit.
    3. Describe how these funds will benefit internal users within the unit.
    4. Will the equipment be available to other laboratories to maximize the utilization of the equipment between projects?
    5. Is there a plan for covering long-term maintenance costs?
    6. If the PI leaves or the equipment is under-utilized, is there a plan to reallocate the equipment to another laboratory unit or core facility?
  8. Commitments
    Cost sharing or matching is allowed by this program. Any financial or tangible commitments must be formally documented. Written commitments signed by the sponsoring unit authorities (i.e., Dean, Center Director, and/or Department Chair) must be submitted when cost sharing or matching is proposed.
  9. Space
    Space availability and requirements should be identified.
    1. Location of the laboratory unit.
    2. What facilities, renovations, and technology needs are anticipated?
      It is the investigators’ responsibility to prepare the facility for installation and housing of the proposed instrumentation. No funds from this program will be used for renovations.
  10. User Groups (Up to 2 pages)
    Provide a list of the users, including PI and Co-PIs, and include their departmental and institutional (if not UH) affiliation.
    1. Who are the primary expected users of the facility, including PI and Co-PIs, whose research program will benefit?
    2. What is the anticipated usage?
    3. How will users gain access to the facility/instrumentation/services?

 Review Process:

All applications will initially be checked against the eligibility criteria and formatting requirements outlined above. Only eligible and compliant applications will be forwarded to the RSC for evaluation.

Each accepted proposal will be competitively reviewed and acted upon by a subcommittee of the RSC that will include non-RSC members who have content area expertise from the campus. The RSC will make recommendations to the VC/VP for Research, who will be responsible for awarding and administering the grant.

The proposals should be clear, concise, and explicit about the benefits of the activities to be undertaken and must provide clear justification for expenses. Proposals should be written to be understandable to reviewers who are from a range of disciplinary fields. Reviewers will be internal to UH and some might not be disciplinary experts.

Criteria for Award:

Each proposal must supply convincing evidence that the following criteria have been met or will be met:

  1. The proposed activities must represent high-quality research of significant benefit to the University and society, and which directly address at least one of the four institutional thrusts.
  2. A grant must be submitted in one of the high priority research areas during Year 1 of the project period.
  3. The PI must demonstrate the potential to compete in the designated priority area by virtue of publication record and prior funding in one of the four priority areas or the potential to be competitive by virtue of other completed research.
  4. The review committee will rank each proposal in five domains on a 1 (highest) to 5 (lowest) scale:
    1. Impact and innovation of proposed research in one of the four priority areas;
    2. Plan for external grant submission, including the timeline;
    3. Need for the equipment and plan for maintenance;
    4. Investigator expertise, track record or potential;
    5. Long-term prospects for substantive contributions to priority research area.

Program Dates:

  • Application deadline: February 15, 2018 
    Applications shall be submitted to Largeequipmentgrant@share.uh.edu by the PI’s affiliated pre-award research administrator in the College or DoR and received before 5:00 PM on the deadline day.
  • Review deadline: March 23, 2018
  • Announcement of successful applications: March 30, 2018
  • Funding available/Project start date: April 16, 2018
  • Funding expiration: October 15, 2019
  • Progress reports due dates: October 15, 2018, April 15, 2019, October 15, 2019, with final report April 15, 2021

For Questions

To ensure fairness and transparency, all questions related to this program should be submitted to by January 24, 2018. A FAQ document will be posted on January 25, 2018. Please contact Dr. Jack Fletcher at 832-842-2004, jack.fletcher@times.uh.edu in the Division of Research for additional clarification.