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 and facilitate faculty recruitment and retention. Successful Center applications will have a compelling plan for increasing representation of under-represented groups in the field and community engagement. For the purposes of this program, the proposed center will be housed and will report to at least one school within UT Dallas. Collaboration between schools is encouraged.

Award Information

  • The SCI grant program is open to all Schools within the University.
  • The maximum allowable budget for a SCI grant is $200,000/year for years 1-3, followed by $100,000 for an optional year 4.
  • The duration of the SCI award will be no more than 48 months.

Submission Deadline: March 31, 2023

Program Guidelines:

A successful SCI grant proposal will demonstrate the following:

  • 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.
  • A clear fiscal plan, negotiated with participating school leadership, for supporting center operations after the duration of the SCI grant award.
  • The endorsement of the deans of Center affiliated faculty and commitment to sustainability of the Center.
  • Commitment to increasing representation of under-represented groups in the field.
  • A strong outreach and engagement with the surrounding community.
  • Faculty serving as PI or co-PI with more than $200,000 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.

Eligibility Guidelines

  • The PI and all co-PIs must have primary, full-time UT Dallas 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 co-PI 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.
  • A faculty member may submit only one SCI grant proposal as a PI or co-PI during each submission period.
  • Faculty participating in the review process are not eligible to apply concurrently for a SCI grant.

Allowable Expenses

  • Supplies, publication costs, facility use and reagents
  • Equipment
  • Graduate student stipend, benefits and tuition
  • Postdoctoral or Research Scientist support and benefits
  • Travel, conference/workshop attendance, or conference/workshop hosting for team-building
  • Administrative, secretarial, or web support

Unallowable Expenses

  • 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

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.
    • Mission, Rationale and Vision. What is the mission of the proposed Center and how does it complement the mission and strategic plan of UT Dallas and associated schools? What are the main intellectual problems and research needs now and in the near future? Identify all other similar centers nationwide including location and differences the proposed Center will offer. How does the Center benefit North Texas and increase its competitiveness? Broader Impacts. What is the plan to promote broader participation of individuals from diverse backgrounds, including those from groups identified as underrepresented in the field, such as women and ethnic/racial minorities in the theme area central to the proposed Center?Community Engagement. What is the plan to engage the community as intellectual contributors to and/or beneficiaries of the SCI mission?Plan and Anticipated Accomplishments. Provide a description of your plan and explain what you plan 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 (faculty recruitment/retention, publications, patents, tech transfer, collaborations outside of UT Dallas, workshops/conferences or other outreach, etc.)?Team and Participating Personnel. 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? Letters of support should be included and do not count against the page limit.Leadership and Management Plan. Provide a description of the leadership plan for the proposed Center including advisory board members. Explain the organizational relationships and reporting structure among the key areas of responsibility. Provide a plan for annual open forum reporting to the school primary (and secondary, etc.) leadership.
    • Space and Equipment. Identify any space and/or equipment needs for the proposed Center.
    • Acronym and Symbol Definitions. Provide a glossary of acronyms and symbols. Does not count against the page limit.
  • External Funding Opportunities. Limited to one page, summarize the (large scale) external funding opportunities for which the SCI grant will enable the pursuit of external funding. 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 two pages, provide a table with each expenditure category and line-item descriptions. The Office of Sponsored Projects budget template may be used.
  • Budget justification. Limited to three pages, provide a justification for all expenditures.
  • 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 the 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.
  • Previous seed grant funding. Limited to one page, if any team member has had previous seed grant funding through a UT Dallas program, detail the distinction between previous funding and the proposed project; and the past success of the seed grant funding.
  • Dean endorsement. Provide a letter of endorsement from the deans of Center affiliated faculty and include a plan for faculty recruitment to the Center. The letter should also state the commitment to continued sustainability of the Center beyond the SCI funding.
  • Community engagement endorsement. Understanding that the SCI may engage the community through multiple different activities/organizations, provide at least one letter from a community collaborator/leader acknowledging how the SCI will engage with that entity.
  • Biosketches. Provide NIH/NSF format biosketches for the faculty Key Personnel. Include a personal statement identifying the role of the individual in the project. Biosketches do not count towards the proposal page limit.
  • Current and Pending. Provide NSF format current and pending support for the faculty Key Personnel. There is no page limit for current and pending support.

Application Review Process and Evaluation Criteria

SCI grant applications will be reviewed by a committee comprised of UT Dallas faculty and administrators with a range of scientific, technical, and research experience. Applicants will receive a brief list of strengths and weaknesses with a numerical rank (10=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.
  • Quality of the recruitment and community engagement plan.
  • 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 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.
  • The extent of difference between previous seed grant funding and the proposed project, if applicable.

Awardee Requirements

Upon award, you must submit the following information to the UT Dallas Office of Research and Innovation:

  • Two weeks prior to the end of each SCI funded year: An annual report must be submitted to the cognizant school leadership and UT Dallas Office of Research and Innovation. The annual report must 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 Seed Grant review panels as requested. 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.

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 unspent funds will be returned to the UT Dallas Office of Research and Innovation.
  • Failure to comply with any of the Awardee Requirements will result in suspension of SCI grant funding and faculty becoming ineligible for future seed grant competitions from the UT Dallas Office of Research and Innovation.
  • 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 and Innovation through the SCI grant program.”

Contact Us

For further information please contact Emily Lacy.