Internal Funding Opportunities

 

OVERVIEW:

The Pitt Momentum Funds integrate and extend the Central Research Development Fund (CRDF), the Social Science Research Initiative (SSRI), and the Special Initiative to Promote Scholarly Activities in the Humanities (SIPSAH). The Momentum Fund will continue to support high-quality research, scholarship, and creative endeavors, but now at three distinct scales.

Seeding Grants support significant and innovative scholarship by individual or groups of faculty at all ranks at the University of Pittsburgh. In constructing each year’s portfolio of awards, particular attention will be given to supporting early career faculty* and areas where external funding is extremely limited. Awards are made up to $16,000 for 1 year with supplements of $2,000 available to projects integrating undergraduate research experiences.  Awards are made in four tracks:

  • Creative Arts, Performing Arts & Humanities
  • Engineering, Technology, Natural Sciences, and Mathematical Sciences
  • Health & Life Sciences
  • Social Sciences, which includes Business, Policy, Law, Education, Informatics, and Social Work
  • Preventing Sexual Misconduct** (All faculty, including School of Medicine, are eligible to apply to this track)

Teaming Grants support the formation of new multi-disciplinary collaborations to successfully pursue large-scale external funding. Team and community building activities may include, but are not limited to, inviting external speakers, creating a working paper series, or organizing a workshop.  Teams must include faculty from at least three schools as described in the eligibility criteria section below. Awards are made up to $60,000 for 1 year.***

Scaling Grants enable multi-disciplinary teams to competitively scale their research efforts in targeted pursuit of large-scale external funding. Teams must include faculty from at least three schools as described in the eligibility section below. Awards are made up to $400,000 for 2 years.****

The teaming and scaling grants are specifically designed to further the goal of the Plan for Pitt to engage in research of impact by positioning the University to participate in large research collaborations. Pitt Momentum Funds are administered by the Senior Vice Chancellor for Research through the Office of Sponsored Programs, in coordination with and supported by the Office of the Provost. 

*School of Medicine faculty are ineligible to apply for Seeding Grants. They are encouraged to apply to the Competitive Medical Research Fund.

**Pitt Momentum Funds: Preventing Sexual Misconduct grants will support research that has the potential to positively impact efforts at all of the University of Pittsburgh campuses.  Funds in this category are new and enhance the total funding available through the Pitt Momentum Funds. All faculty, including School of Medicine, are eligible to apply to the Preventing Sexual Misconduct track.

***For scholarly communities where $60K is considered a large award, a Teaming Grant may be proposed for a 2-year project timeline.

****There is no requirement for awardees of Teaming Grants to subsequently apply for Scaling Grants and, similarly, there is no requirement for awardees of Scaling Grants to have previously won Teaming Grants.

ELIGIBILITY:

All full-time faculty members with appointments that include research responsibilities may apply. The Lead Investigator may not  be a graduate student, post-doctoral fellow, research associate, or visiting faculty member. Faculty are permitted to join only one Teaming or Scaling grant proposal submission at a time.

Faculty within the School of Medicine are eligible to participate in the Teaming Grants and Scaling Grants; they are ineligible to apply for Seeding Grants but are encouraged to apply to the Competitive Medical Research Fund (CMRF).

Teaming and Scaling Grants. In consideration of the goal of this program to foster cross-disciplinary collaborations, Dietrich School divisions of the Humanities, Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences will be considered as the equivalents of separate schools. However, neither an all-Dietrich team nor a team comprised of faculty solely within the Health Sciences division will be judged as meeting this cross-disciplinary criterion.

To enable research that is responsive to needs of the local Pittsburgh community, collaborators from government agencies or local organizations recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) public charity that have the capacity to join Pitt in large-scale, follow-on funding proposals as co-investigators may participate as co-investigator on Teaming or Scaling proposals. No more than one local community collaborator will be credited towards meeting the three-school requirement.

EXCLUSIONS:

Faculty from outside the University of Pittsburgh are not eligible to participate in Seeding Grants. Faculty from outside the University of Pittsburgh may act as co-investigators on Teaming and Scaling Grants with the expectation that they would participate as co-investigators in any follow-on funding proposals, but they will not be credited towards meeting the three-school requirement. Momentum Funds awards cannot  be used to support or supplement salaries for either Pitt faculty or external co-investigators.

• All Momentum Funds: Awards cannot be used to support or supplement salaries for either Pitt faculty or external co-investigators.
• Seeding Grants: Awards cannot be used for travel to meetings or conferences (although travel for research purposes, such as visits to archives, is permitted); computer equipment is not given priority.
• Teaming and Scaling Grants: Awards are not intended to be used for extending existing, externally funded projects or for projects with sufficient preliminary results for funding by external agencies (e.g., NIH, NSF).  Also, substantially similar teams of investigators cannot propose in subsequent cycles.

PROPOSAL SUBMISSION:

Application materials are available at Competition Space (https://upitt.infoready4.com/). To complete all proposals, use your University login and password. One team member is responsible for submitting the application; the online form is not a shared workspace.

  • Expression of Interest (Recommended - Online Form submission): Applicant names, appointments, and contact information; proposal title; review committee recommendation; optional 300-word abstract. 
  • Full Proposal (Required - Online Form and Document Uploads):  Proposal abstract (300 word), Project narrative (project description, project milestones, existing resources and support, follow-on funding strategy (5-pages) and Teaming Grants and Scaling Grants proposals must include an addition 1-page personnel description; Budget & Justification (1-page); Biosketches or 2-page CVs, including current support; Letter of Support from team lead’s Dean or Department Chair. 

 

EVALUATION CRITERIA:

  • Scholarly Excellence and Potential for Impact: Momentum Fund projects are to be designed so that an award enhances investigators’ research agenda or creative pursuits and also supports their scholarly record. Momentum Fund projects should also create meaningful training opportunities for graduate and professional students whenever possible.
  • Scale: Applicants to Teaming Grants and Scaling Grants must explain how a proposed project is “large” in the context of their scholarly community. For research areas where $60K would be considered a large award, a Teaming Grant may be proposed for a 2-year project timeline.
  • Team Building: Applicants to Teaming Grants and Scaling Grants must explain their team or community building strategy. Project budgets are expected to include funding for travel to host meetings or recruit team members as necessary. 
  • Follow-on funding: Applicants for Teaming and Scaling Grants must explain their follow-on funding strategy, including identifying one or more target agencies or foundations. Project budgets for both of these grant types are expected to include funding for travel to meet with program managers at funding agencies or foundations to further refine that funding strategy. NOTE:  Scaling grants are intended to enable teams to gather proof-of-concept results to improve their chances of winning follow-on funding, so proposals that do not include support for graduate research assistants will not be given priority.
  • Support by Department Chairs or Deans: Credible efforts at building cross-disciplinary teams that can tackle large-scale research efforts require administrative support. Applications for Teaming and Scaling grants must include a letter from the Dean or Department Chair of the team lead offering appropriate in-kind administrative support. 

PROPOSAL REVIEW AND AWARD PROCEDURES:

Momentum Fund Proposals must be the original work of the proposing team and will be subject to peer review. Teams with competitive proposals to the Scaling and Teaming Grants will be invited for 10 min oral presentations and 5 min Q&A with their respective selection committees.

The Senior Vice Chancellor for Research will make the final funding decisions for Seeding Grants. The Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor for Research will jointly make the final funding decisions for Teaming Grants and Scaling Grants.

Funds for Teaming and Scaling Grants will be made available in January of each year.  Funds for the Seeding Grant track for Preventing Sexual Misconduct will be awarded in January 2020 and made available for 1 year.  Funds for Seeding Grants will be made available in July of each year.  Note: Due to the transition of SIPSAH into the Seeding Grant track for Creative Arts, Performing Arts & Humanities track, funds for this track will remain available for 18 months (Jan. 2020  - June 2021) after being awarded.  Commencing in 2021, funds for this track will be made available in July and remain available for 1 year.

PARTICIPATION REQUIREMENTS:

  • Progress reporting. Awardees will report on progress towards meeting their performance milestones 6-months and 1-year from the date when funds are made available. The 6-month progress report for Seeding, Teaming, and Scaling awards will be a 1-page summary. If appropriate, progress reports should identify any unanticipated barriers to progress or requests for modifications to scope, schedule or follow-on funding targets. Scaling projects will be reviewed at the conclusion of the first year of funding for satisfactory progress against milestones. Scaling projects not demonstrating adequate progress attaining scope and schedule milestones will be required to propose remedies before the second tranche of funding is released.
  • Symposium participation. Each year, Momentum Fund awardees will participate in a Spring semester symposium to present their work through posters, demonstrations, brief TED-style talks, or storytelling. Awardees of other internal development funds will be invited to participate.
  • Outcome reporting. Awardees will report to the Office of Sponsored Programs all follow-on funding applications or awards and all scholarly outputs attributable to the Momentum Fund award within a 2-year period after conclusion of the period of performance.
  • Communication. Project leads are expected to communicate in a timely manner any challenges that may impact the successful completion of a project within its awarded timeline.