Research Infrastructure Investment Program
The Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) is pleased to announce a Request for Proposals to fund research infrastructure. In keeping with its strategic plan, the OVPR is committed to facilitating strong core facilities as the backbone for research excellence. To ensure the viability of critical facilities and research support services, the funding available for this RFP will be directed toward new or existing facilities, service centers or other shared resources. Requests can include funding to :
- Replace, upgrade, enhance or otherwise improve existing equipment;
- Consolidate, facilitate shared usage, or improve coordination among similar facilities or service centers;
- Purchase new equipment to expand services or user base;
- Develop new infrastructure
- Hire specialized staff, for example to train (internal or external) users or to develop self-paced handbooks or user guides or to market the facility to expand the user base;
- Improve the electronic systems that support the administrative aspects of the infrastructure or its use; and/or
- Offer other ideas or innovative approaches that meet the RFP objective of improving research infrastructure services, equipment, or cost effectiveness.
All campuses are eligible and encouraged to participate in this program. Directors are encouraged to partner and share innovative solutions or projects if cost beneficial. If you have any questions about whether or not your idea matches the intent of this RFP, please contact the Research Advancement office via firstname.lastname@example.org or call 612-625-2356 to discuss it, prior to submitting a Letter of Intent.
Definition of Research Infrastructure for the purpose of this RFP
Research infrastructure includes major research services or equipment, and specialized support staff, that constitute direct components of the research and scholarly efforts that further the University’s mission of Research and Discovery and that support interdisciplinary needs.
Some services and equipment are NOT considered research infrastructure. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Building construction
- Transactional systems and support personnel included in cost pools (e.g. EGMS and SPA)
- IT Services unrelated to the support of specialized technology integral to research or scholarly effort
- General, non-specialized library services and collections
- Indirect, non-specialized support services (e.g. facilities/maintenance)
- Infrastructure that primarily supports teaching, learning, clinical care, or outreach (publicly engaged research is encouraged).
ALL of the following criteria must be met to be considered for funding. Proposals must:
- Meet the definition of research infrastructure provided below.
- Be interdisciplinary and intercollegiate. Research infrastructure is deemed intercollegiate if its services are used on a recurring basis by investigators whose departmental home is outside the college that the Facility or Center Director reports to.
- Provide a match of 50% of the TOTAL cost, that is, the match is at least equal to (100%) of the amount requested from OVPR. The match may be shared in any proportion by the collaborating units. Proceeds from the sale of equipment maybe used as a portion of the match, however, if proceeds are not realized, none of the difference will be funded by OVPR.
- 4. Be submitted by the Director of the Infrastructure with the concurrence of the colleges/departments/centers providing matching funds.
FUNDING LIMITS AND CONSTRAINTS
- Proposals will be accepted with a minimum request of $25,000 (i.e., $50,000 with matching funding).
- Funding may NOT be requested or used for building construction.
- Matching funds must be identified at the time the Letter of Intent is submitted to OVPR.
- The budget period should not exceed 12 months from date of award.
- Request for acquisition of used equipment is permissible, if it has significant remaining functional life and has a positive benefit to cost ratio.
- Faculty salaries are not allowed, but compensation and benefits for non-faculty specialized personnel can be included.
MANDATORY LETTER OF INTENT
A letter of intent (see required LOI template) must be submitted to email@example.com using “Infrastructure LOI” in the subject line, on or before March 7, 2016 and must include the following on the prescribed form:
- The Title of the proposal;
- The name, college name, and e-mail address of the corresponding investigator (Director of the infrastructure);
- The college, school, or interdisciplinary center which will receive and manage the award;
- The physical location (building and room) of the facility or center(s);
- Evidence of users outside the college that the Facility or Center Director reports to (e.g., list of key users and the college they report to);
- The estimated amount of funding being requested from OVPR (not including the match);
- The amounts and sources of match funding;
- The total estimated amount of funding (the sum of #6 and #7 above);
- A brief description (not to exceed 200 words) of the nature of the project, including the type of equipment, system, and/or the type of the specialized services;
- The names of 2-4 potential UMN faculty reviewers who are NOT current users.
The Letters of Intent will be reviewed to ensure that all eligibility requirements are met. In addition, the LOIs will be reviewed for any apparent or potential duplication in equipment or overlap of services requested. If there is potential for cooperative use or better coordination, the OVPR will initiate discussion amongst the investigators to explore those opportunities. Any LOI not meeting the criteria will be notified within two weeks. Please note, we will NOT be issuing invitations following the submission of the LOI. Everyone who submits an LOI is invited to submit a full proposal unless you hear from us.
REQUIRED COMPONENTS OF PROPOSAL
The full proposal consists of three parts and is due on April 11, 2016. Proposals must be submitted as a single PDF document, via e-mail and using “Infrastructure 2016 Proposal” in the subject line, to firstname.lastname@example.org. The proposal narrative and the budget justifications should be in 12 point Times New Roman and may be single spaced.
- The cover page (cover page template provided) signed by the corresponding principal investigator and the authorized official of the matching funds;
- The proposal narrative (not to exceed five pages) that describes the infrastructure, the research and researchers it supports or will support, and the benefits to the research and to the University of Minnesota. The narrative portion should include:
- Description of the proposed infrastructure;
- Evidence of need by whom and for what purposes;
- An explanation of how an investment in this infrastructure is important to the future of, and how it will benefit, both research and the University. This explanation does not need to be in financial terms and can include social impact. If the request includes equipment information on how it will be maintained should be included.
- If and when funding was requested from an external source;
- A specific plan to measure the return on the investment.
- The budget and justifications, using the budget template provided
FACULTY PEER REVIEW
The proposals will be reviewed by expert University faculty selected by the OVPR. They will be asked to review the proposals against the following criteria:
- Centrality of the project to the research mission;
- Quality of the proposal;
- Enhancement of research synergies brought about by the collaborative effort;
- Potential for increased productivity and/or impact;
- Uniqueness and comparative research advantage offered, if any;
- Level of demand or need for the infrastructure;
- Quality of fiscal and managerial leadership;
- Length of time since receipt of funds from central (OVPR or AHC) or college;
Final selection will be made by the Vice President for Research after consultation with the President. Questions may be directed to email@example.com
, or call the Research Advancement office at 612-625-2356.