The UT Dallas Sustainability Research Institute (SRI) grant program is an internal funding mechanism designed to seed a new interdisciplinary Institute that addresses at least one challenge in sustainability. A successful SRI application will have a compelling plan for increasing representation of under-represented groups in the field. The envisioned SRI will have one or more research themes aligning with the UN Sustainability Development Goals (SDG) implemented in concert with the UT Dallas Sustainability effort led by the Office of Facilities and Economic Development.  For the purposes of this program, the proposed Institute will be initially housed in the Office of Research and Innovation but will report to at least one school within UT Dallas. Collaboration between schools is encouraged.

Award Information

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

Submission Deadline:  March 31, 2023

Program Guidelines:

A successful SRI grant proposal will demonstrate the following:

  • Compelling evidence that the core UN Sustainability Development Goals that are the focus of the SRI, leverage UTD strengths and can foster one or more external funding opportunities for affiliated faculty, staff, and students and will lead to potential long-term sources of sustainable support for center affiliated faculty, staff, and students.
  • Evidence that the proposed SRI can translate academic research to implementation in order to advance progress on identified SDGs
  • A clear fiscal plan, negotiated and endorsed by participating school leadership, for supporting center operations after the duration of the SRI grant award.
  • 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 Research Enhancement and Chair cost center discretionary funds are expected to contribute at least $50,000 for the first year’s operating costs.

Eligibility Guidelines

  • Adjunct faculty, affiliate faculty, visiting researchers, and postdocs are not eligible to serve as PI or co-PI but may participate in the proposed SRI.
  • Focused and dedicated leadership is necessary for the SRI 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 SRI grant proposal as a PI or co-PI.
  • Faculty participating in the review process are not eligible to apply concurrently for a SRI grant.

Allowable Expenses

  • Supplies, publication costs, facility use and reagents
  • Equipment
  • Graduate student stipend, tuition 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

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 SRI, 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 SRI 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/institutes nationwide including location and differences the proposed SRI will offer. How does the SRI benefit North Texas as a resource?
    • Broader Impact. 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 ? How will the SRI encourage faculty recruitment/retention of these groups?
    • Coordination plan with UT Dallas Office of Sustainability. Identify the core UN Sustainability Development Goals targeted and the plan for addressing them. How will the broader community be involved?
    • Plan and Anticipated Accomplishments. Provide a description of your plan and explain what you will accomplish during the SRI grant award period with a timeline. How many faculty and students do you envision for the Institute? What kinds of accomplishments will be the basis of evaluating success (faculty recruitment, 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 SRI. List participating faculty members, research staff/scientists, post-doctoral fellows, providing an explanation of each participant’s role in the proposed SRI. If the proposal involves unfunded contributions from outside UT Dallas, describe the source(s) of support for those contributions. 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 SRI 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 Institute.
    • 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 SRI 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 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. Co-funding from within or outside UT Dallas is neither required nor considered for priority in funding. However, if the Institute 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 SRI. A letter of support from the academic unit authority should accompany the application expressing commitment to provide the funds during the 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.
  • Dean endorsement. Provide a letter of endorsement from the deans of Institute affiliated faculty.
  • 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

SRI 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 SRI theme area(s), relevance to the SDG(s) and interdisciplinarity of proposed research.
  • Capacity for UT Dallas to become a nationally recognized leader in the SRI’s theme area and ability to translate research to implementation to affect SRI theme areas.
  • Quality of the broader impact, engagement  with the UT Dallas Office of Sustainability and level of community involvement.
  • Relevance of goals and plans for Institute 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 Institute operation following the completion of SRI grant support and (if necessary) addressing any deficit in faculty expertise through recruitment.
  • The extent to which the SRI 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:

  • 2 weeks prior to the end of each SRI 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 or sustainability symposium, or other event to highlight the SRI 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 SRI grant funding and faculty becoming ineligible for future seed grant competitions from the UT Dallas Office of Research and Innovation.
  • The SRI 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 SRI grant program.”

Contact Us

For further information please contact Emily Lacy.