Strategic Center Investment Program
The UT Dallas Strategic Center Investment (SCI) Grant Program is an internal funding mechanism designed to seed innovative centers that aggregate collaborative faculty to address problems of significance. For the purposes of this program, the proposed center will be housed and report to at least one school within UT Dallas. Cooperation between schools with secondary and perhaps tertiary participation is encouraged.
- This program is open to all Schools within the University.
- The duration of the award will be no more than 4 years, where the maximum funding levels are $200,000/year for years 1-3, followed by $100,000 for option year 4.
- This program will be offered annually pending the availability of resources.
- Unsuccessful SCI Grant proposals may be resubmitted the following year.
Submission Deadline: February 28th
- The PI, co-PI, and founding faculty must have tenured/tenure-track appointments and will constitute a multidisciplinary team contributing their knowledge and abilities towards a common mission.
- Adjunct faculty, affiliate faculty, visiting researchers, and postdocs are not eligible to serve as PI or founding faculty but may participate in the proposed center.
- Focused and dedicated leadership is necessary for the Centers to be successful. Therefore, neither department heads, program heads, deans, nor administrators are eligible to serve as PIs.
- Faculty serving as PI or co-PI with more than $250,000 in discretionary funds (e.g. Research Enhancement and Chair cost centers) are expected to contribute at least $50,000 for the first year’s operating costs.
- A faculty member may submit only one SCI Grant proposal as a PI or co-PI during each submission opportunity.
- Faculty participating in the review process are not eligible to apply concurrently for a SCI Grant.
Program Guidelines: A successful SCI Grant proposal will demonstrate the following:
- The endorsement of the deans of center affiliated faculty.
- A clear fiscal plan, negotiated with participating school leadership, for supporting center operations after the duration of the SCI Grant award.
- Compelling evidence that one or more external funding opportunities exist that are potential long-term sources of sustainable support for center affiliated faculty, staff, and students.
- Engagement of the community.
Required Submission Materials
Proposal documents should have 1-inch margins and use 12-point font. Upload one combined document (preferably in PDF format).
- Summary. In 300 words or less describe the proposed Center, the potential impact, and the collaboration for a general audience.
- Proposal. Limited to five pages with the following section headings in sequence. The bibliography does not count against the page limit.
- Rationale and Vision. Explain the mission of the Center. What are the main intellectual problems and research needs now and in the near future? Address the degree that the proposed Center theme is unique in Texas and the nation. How does the Center benefit North Texas and increase its competitiveness?
- Mission. What is the mission of the proposed Center and how does it complement the mission and strategic plan of UT Dallas and associated schools?
- Plan and Anticipated Accomplishments. Provide a description of your plan and explain what you need to accomplish during the SCI Grant award period with a timeline. How many faculty and students do you envision for the Center? What kinds of accomplishments will be the basis of evaluating success (publications, patents, tech transfer, collaborations outside of UT Dallas, workshops/conferences or other outreach, etc.)?
- Leadership and Reporting. Provide a description of the leadership plan for the proposed Center including advisory board members. Provide a plan for annual open forum reporting to the school primary (and secondary, etc.) leadership.
- Team. Explain why the PI and founding faculty team has the background and abilities to form the Center. List participating faculty members, research staff/scientists, post-doctoral fellows, providing an explanation of each participant’s role in the proposed Center. If the proposal involves unfunded contributions from outside UT Dallas, describe the source(s) of support for those contributions. Identify expertise that is lacking for a comprehensive and competitive Center. Are there commitments from school leadership to pursue faculty recruitment in the deficit areas?
- Space and Equipment. Identify any space and/or equipment needs for the proposed Center.
- External Funding Opportunities. Limited to one page, summarize the (large scale) external funding opportunities for which the SCI Grant will enable. Include a timeline with milestones for development of one or more external proposals, names of potential sponsoring agencies and solicitations and relevant deadlines for those agencies.
- Budget. Limited to one page, provide a table with each expenditure category and line item descriptions.
- Budget justification. Limited to two pages, provide a justification for the expenditures relative to personnel, materials, supplies, equipment, travel, etc.
- Co-funding. For the duration of this award, co-funding from within or outside UT Dallas is neither required nor considered for priority in funding. However, if the Center, during this award phase, requires funds exceeding the stated limit, an academic unit may provide co-funding. If so, provide a description of the source and planned use of the funds to support Center. A letter of support from the academic unit leadership should accompany the application expressing commitment to provide the funds during the SCI Grant award period.
- Bio-sketches. Provide NIH/NSF format bio-sketches (including page limitations) for the faculty Key Personnel and founding faculty.
- Dean endorsement. Provide a letter of endorsement from the deans of center affiliated faculty.
Application Review Process and Evaluation Criteria
SCI Grant applications will be reviewed by a committee of UT Dallas faculty and administrators with appropriate experience. Applicants will receive a brief list of strengths and weaknesses with a numerical rank (5=highly meritorious and recommended for funding, 1=low priority for application consideration). Awards will be announced following the completion of the reviews and funding will be available soon after. Evaluation criteria include:
- Importance of the Center theme area.
- Capacity for UT Dallas to become a nationally recognized leader in the Center’s theme area.
- Relevance of goals and plans for Center activities to build a sustaining entity.
- The skills and abilities of the PI and faculty team to successfully pursue external funding.
- The targeted funding program(s), associated funding level(s), and timeline for pursuit.
- The degree of commitment of school leadership in sustaining aspects of Center operation following the completion of SCI Grant support and (if necessary) addressing any deficit in faculty expertise through recruitment.
- The extent to which the SCI Grant funding will enhance the competitiveness in securing external funding.
Upon award, you must submit the following information:
- Within 1 month of award: one page text with graphic representation of the Center and team members. The document must be suitable for presentation on the Office of Research website.
- An annual report must be submitted to the cognizant school leadership and Office of Research 2 weeks prior to the release of any follow-on funding. The annual report to include research outcomes, other outcomes (manuscripts submitted/presented, conferences, etc.), and progress toward securing external funding.
- Upon request, provide a brief presentation within UT Dallas during a research symposium or other event to highlight the SCI Grant impact.
- Recipients will serve on a Seed Grant review panel for the following review cycle; this means recipients cannot be PIs or collaborators on proposals submitted the cycle following the cycle in which they were awarded. By accepting an award, recipients agree to score and provide written comments on assigned proposals before the review deadline and participate in in-person review meetings.
- Supplies, publication costs, and reagents
- Graduate student stipend and benefits
- Postdoctoral or Research Scientist support and benefits
- Travel, conference/workshop attendance, or conference/workshop hosting for team-building
- Administrative, secretarial, or web support
- Faculty salary and/or benefits (neither academic year nor summer support permitted)
- Transfer of funds to institutions or individuals outside of UT Dallas
- Indirect costs
Other Terms and Conditions
- Funds will not be released until all necessary compliance related approvals and/or training are acquired, such as IRB, IACUC, IBC, RCR and COI.
- No more than 10% of any year’s award amount can be carried over to the following year, and any funds unspent after the 4th year will be returned to the Office of Research.
- Failure to comply with items 1 and 2 of the Awardee Requirements will result in faculty becoming ineligible for future seed grant competitions from the Office of Research and suspension of further financial support.
- The SCI Grant award must be acknowledged in any resulting publications, exhibitions, or events including press releases, using the following language: “This project was funded (or partially funded) by The University of Texas at Dallas Office of Research through the SCI Grant Program.”