A: The only time an external collaborator can receive seed grants funds is if that person is the mentor on a GEM project (in which case, he/she can receive up to $1,000).
For RC and SPARC projects, if the external collaborator(s) will be written into the final external grant proposal, they will be expected to donate their time on the seed grant. If the external collaborator(s) will not be written into the external proposal, a strong justification for any funding provided is required.
Providing funding to another institution to conduct research as part of a seed grant is not allowed.
A: The benefits memo from the Controller’s Office (most recent version can be found at http://rgs.usu.edu/spo/htm/proposal-prep-resources/benefit-rates) includes actual rates and the rates used for grant proposal preparation. For seed grant budgets, the grant proposal benefit rates should be used.
A: Any deviations from an approved seed grant budget must be authorized in advance by the RGS Office. Contact Jerilyn Hansen for assistance.
A: No. Target RFPs can be from a variety of funding agencies (Federal, state, private, foundation). The target RFP does need to be up-to-date and documentation needs to be provided of an upcoming competition round either by supplying the link to the current solicitation or correspondence with the program officer about an upcoming deadline that fits within the seed grant timeline.
A: The external proposal submission resulting from a seed grant project must have USU as the lead institution. It is possible to be a co-I on the external proposal if it makes sense or will increase competitiveness to have a more senior or experienced research collaborator as lead PI. However, whoever the lead PI is on the external proposal, that person must be from USU, which guarantees USU is the lead institution on a project. Otherwise, USU would be a subcontractor on the external proposal and that will not meet the requirements of a seed grant.
A: If the RFP selected as the external proposal target is a limited submission program or a program that requires pre-proposal, white paper, or letter of intent approval before a full submission invitation, the seed grant applicant must include a second RFP target.
A: The $1 million minimum budget amount for the external proposal resulting from a SPARC project includes direct and indirect costs (e.g., total project costs).
If the external proposal submission includes a subcontract to a collaborating institution, USU’s portion of the budget can be less than $1 million as long as the total project budget is at least $1 million.
To satisfy the requirements of a SPARC grant, one proposal must be submitted with a project budget of at least $1 million. This requirement cannot be satisfied via several separate proposals.
A: Seed grant applications are reviewed by an internal committee made up of primarily the Associate Deans for Research. Each committee member is assigned a certain number of applications to read as primary, secondary, and tertiary reviewer.
Applications are discussed and scored on key evaluation criterion (e.g., scholarly merit and relevance to targeted external program announcement; strength of project investigator with relation to targeted external grant program; effectiveness of research and management plans; likelihood project will attract external funding; overall strength of project).
After the review committee meeting, scores for each application are tallied and averaged. At this point, the funding cutoff line is applied. All seed grant applicants receive reviewer comments to assist with revision and improvement.
A: On average, approximately 76% of GEM applications, 57% of RC applications, and 56% of SPARC applications are funded. Individual cycle percentages vary with the number and quality of applications received and internal budget considerations.
A: This is discouraged. Applicants are encouraged to pick their best idea and focus on it. An applicant will never be awarded more than one seed grant per cycle.
A: No. The seed grant program is designed for projects of 1-year duration. Projects that obviously are more ambitious and will take longer to successfully complete will be questioned by the review committee and potentially not funded. Applicants are advised to carefully consider the work proposed to make sure it is feasible for a 1-year grant.
A: End date extensions are possible and requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Contact Jerilyn Hansen for assistance.
A: Yes, but only if the researcher is not the lead PI on both projects (can be lead PI on one seed grant and co-I on a second). It is important to remember the researcher cannot be lead PI on a second seed grant until he/she has met the external proposal submission requirement on the first seed grant.
A: For RC and SPARC projects, an applicant is not eligible to compete for another RC or SPARC grant for 3 years from the awarded project’s start date. For example, an RC grant is awarded with a start date of January 1, 2014. A subsequent RC grant award could not begin before January 1, 2017 (i.e., application in the October 2016 cycle).
This requirement only applies if an applicant is proposing the same type of seed grant that was previously awarded (e.g., a second RC after receiving a first).
A: No. The review committee considers each seed grant application individually. A previous record of successful seed grant applications does not increase or decrease the likelihood of being awarded another seed grant. The only stipulation is that each seed grant application must be for a project that is substantively different from a previously seeded project (this is verified by the review committee).
A: Yes. SPARC projects require collaboration from multiple areas (departments, colleges) and this extends to other institutions as well. RC projects can also include collaborators from outside USU. However, it should be noted that seed grant funding cannot be provided to non-USU individuals to conduct research, and the external proposal resulting from the seed grant must be submitted with USU as the lead institution.
A: SPARC projects are collaborative in nature and require the involvement of a scholarly research team of faculty in more than one department, college, or institution. For example, if there are 3 investigators on a project, at least one needs to be from a different department, college, or institution. There are no restrictions on department/college affiliation for individuals from other institutions.