Main navigation | Main content
Administered through the Office of the Vice President for Research, Grant-in-Aid Program (GIA) funds are awarded in the belief that the quality of faculty research or artistic endeavors is a major determinant of the overall vitality of the institution. Note that these funds are used to support independent research. In most cases grants are not meant to provide sole support for research activities, but instead to act as seed money for developing projects to the point of attracting more complete, external funding.
Click on the titles below to open/close the topic.
Application routed to approvers by: Monday, September 21, 2015
Applications routed to the OVPR by: Thursday, September 24, 2015
We are pleased to announce the Fall 2015 Grant-in-Aid Program administered by the Office of the Vice President for Research. This program represents an important means by which this office is able to promote the scholarly and artistic activities of the faculty and their graduate students and to foster academic excellence within the University. Guidelines have been established to ensure that the available funds are distributed fairly, are effective in sustaining the vitality and quality of research at the University, and as seed money, help to stimulate the development of funding from external sources. See program summary below.
Faculty members whose needs fall into one of the fundable categories and do not currently hold a Grant-in-Aid are encouraged to submit applications. Application will be reviewed by either the Biomedical Research Advisory Committee or the General Research Advisory Committee according to the area of the research. Applicants are encouraged to consult the evaluation criteria used by the review committees prior to writing their proposal.
While there is no rigid maximum amount, funds are limited and we hope to support as many worthy projects as possible. In FY15, 111 grants were awarded with an average award of $28,685 and a median of $30,000.
The grant period for proposals awarded in the Fall begins January 1, 2016 and ends June 30, 2017. Guidelines prohibit a faculty member from holding more than one Grant-in-Aid during a grant period (with the exception of shared equipment awards) whether or not funding has been fully expended. Therefore, the next grant period for which January 1, 2016 awardees could seek additional Grant-in-Aid funding is that beginning July 1, 2017 (submission deadline in February 2016).
Interim support necessary to maintain ongoing research efforts during a temporary lapse in external funding which is beyond the control of the faculty member. It is expected that faculty members who are supported will vigorously seek renewed funding in timely ways so as to avoid further lapses. This category applies only to projects that have previously been supported by an external agency not to new, previously unsupported projects. This category is inappropriate for support to complete a project that has not been submitted to an external agency for renewal or to augment an external award—even if the external award amount was inadequate to complete the project. Proposals in this category are accepted three times a year; fall (September deadline), spring (February deadline) and summer (June deadline). See Bridge Funding Special Instructions.
Support for faculty members in fields where there is little external funding available. It is expected that possibilities of external funding will be pursued in these fields also, with the advice of department chairs and heads, college research development officers, and the University's Office of Sponsored Projects Administration. These efforts should be documented in the proposal. This category does not include fields where there is significant external funding available, albeit this funding may be difficult to obtain because of the level of competition. This category would be inappropriate for a multidisciplinary project where any of the disciplines involved had the opportunity for significant external funding.
Funding of new members of the faculty who need assistance in establishing research, scholarly, or artistic programs. This category is restricted to Assistant Professors* in the first four years of their appointment at the University. Junior faculty holding an appointment for longer than four years may be considered if they present convincing, well-justified reasons for consideration beyond their first four years. This category is given the highest priority, but should not be considered a substitute for departmental and college funding owed to such new faculty. It is expected that only one award in the New Assistant Professors category would be awarded per faculty member unless there is an exceptional need. New assistant professors are strongly encouraged to obtain feedback from a senior colleague before submitting a proposal to the Grant-in-Aid Program.
*Senior faculty are not eligible to apply under this category.
Support for faculty members moving into significantly different areas of research or scholarship. This could also include new multidisciplinary directions. Proposals in this category must include a cover letter with specific language explaining how this project is indeed a new direction and is not an extension of current research. This category does not provide support for faculty applying new techniques to ongoing research, but rather to those faculty proposing a very different set of research questions that will likely lead to new sources of external funding. See additional information on cover letters under the Applying for GIA tab.
Support or partial support for major capital equipment that is not currently available, that will be shared by several faculty members, and that will increase the likelihood of external funding. Note that proposals funded in this category must include 30-50% cost sharing and must include a quote for the specific instrument. See Shared Equipment instructions.
This category is only being offered on a temporary experimental basis and is given the lowest priority.
Funding for established investigators (Assoc. Professor & Professor) to obtain pilot data for projects involving a new research team, a new research direction or a unique extension of existing work and that has promise to lead to substantial future external funding. A new research team would include faculty members who have not worked together before. Although there might be some history of collaboration between individual faculty members in the new research group, the group itself should not have worked together for more than approximately one year. A new research direction would involve a set of research questions not previously addressed by the investigators. See additional information on cover letters under the Applying for GIA tab.
1. Intrinsic scientific, scholarly, or artistic merit of the project as judged by its a) importance to the field; b) coherence and clarity of purpose; c) apparent potential for success; and d) degree of imagination and innovation in concept and approach.
2. Need of the applicant as judged by a) availability of alternative internal and external sources of funds; b) current resources of the applicant for all funded activities; c) evidence of ongoing attempts by the applicant to obtain other funds; and d) previous support to the faculty member from this or other internal sources, especially in areas where outside funds are potentially available.
FORMAT FOR REVIEWS: Committee Guidelines
DESCRIPTION: Only a few sentences, if possible, to convey the substance of the project or basis of request.
CRITIQUE: Strengths and weaknesses that relate to timeliness, feasibility of approach, best scenario outcome, creativity
INVESTIGATOR: Indicate competence and independence.
BUDGET: Is it justified?
1 - 5 for scholarly merit.
A-C for financial need.
Need refers to the total picture of support already available to the applicant (relative to the discipline), including start-up funds. The need score should also reflect the applicant’s effort to secure support elsewhere. The reviewer should analyze the Need Justification stated in the proposal, and previous support from the Grant-in-Aid program or other internal sources. Proposal budgets should not be included when considering need. Concerns about the adequacy of the proposal budget should be addressed in the reviews not in the need scores.
Applicants will not be penalized for having simultaneously submitted the same proposal to other sources of funding, as long as a funding decision is still pending.
Applications are accepted from U of MN faculty (Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor) conducting independent research and who hold (or will hold during the 2014-2015 academic year) full time (100%) tenured or tenure-track appointments (Employee Class FAR). New faculty must begin their appointment by the start date of the grant.
U of MN faculty (Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor) holding full-time (100%) salaried multiple year contract, annual renewable contract or fixed term contract appointments (Employee Class FAC, FTD, or ACP) and who are annually evaluated like tenured and tenure-track faculty (in terms of their research accomplishments, independence and ability to secure external funding), are also eligible for Grant-in-Aid support.
A faculty member may be principal investigator on only one application at a time or one awarded Grant-in-Aid during a given grant period. Exception is made, however, for investigators applying under shared equipment.
Consideration will not be given to:
By approving the Application, the department chair guarantees a commitment for salary and space for the term of the grant.
Specific projects are generally supported only once. Should faculty wish to apply for a second term of support, a new proposal must be submitted that addresses the following issues: a) there must be a strong indication that the potential for useful results and/or outside funding would be markedly improved by the additional term of support; b) the first term must show appropriate progress; and c) concrete efforts should have been made (whether successful or not) to obtain external funds. Note: new projects will have priority for funding, other factors being equal. Support for a specific project beyond the second term is granted only in exceptional circumstances.
General Operations & Maintenance (1000) and Restricted State Special (1801) support the Grant-in-Aid program. The fund will be assigned by the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR).
The DeptID is a 5 digit code that identifies the department which is most closely linked to the GIA project. If the Primary Investigator (PI) is linked to multiple DeptIDs please see the accountant who would be responsible for monitoring the budget for the project.
20562 – Program value assigned to the Grant-in-Aid of Research, Artistry and Scholarship. This is the ONLY program value that can be used.
As financial activity must be tracked, the Employee ID of the Grant-in-Aid award recipient is required as part of the EFS string.
The EFS string is established by the budget officer in the faculty member's tenure department. The departmental budget officer receives all financial reports for the Grant-in-Aid and is responsible for grant monitoring and accounting. Expense documents must be signed with an authorized departmental signature; OVPR signature is not required. All document preparation, accounting, and reporting occurs within the department.
Expense Budget Lines
The departmental budget officer establishes all approved Account Values, including Revenue Transfer In Value 600202 (used to award funds) and Transfer Out Value 610202 (used to revert unexpended funds at the end of the grant period).
When all required documentation has been received (see HOLDS section, below), the OVPR budget officer transfers funds to the faculty member’s DeptID via Journal Entry. FUND TRANSFERS INTO OR OUT OF GRANT-IN-AID AWARDS BY ANYONE OTHER THAN THE OVPR BUDGET OFFICER IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED.
HOLDS: Human/Animal Subjects, Hazardous Biological Agents, or Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Training:
The OVPR transfers funds for Grant-in-Aid awards pending approval for the use of human, animal subjects or potentially hazardous biological agents if applicable. In addition, funding will be held if the PI has not completed all required RCR Training. Funds will not be transferred until:
Therefore, expenses may not be incurred until all approvals are on file at the Office of the Vice President for Research. All compliance issues must be satisfied within six months of the start date of the grant or award will be rescinded. If applicable, an addendum regarding incomplete requirements is included with the Grant-in-Aid award letter.
An approved budget is enclosed with each Grant-in-Aid award letter. The faculty member and his/her budget officer are responsible for expending the award as approved. OVPR oversight of these funds is retrospective; the OVPR monitors grant activity quarterly to ensure that expenses incurred are reasonably consistent with the approved budget. The faculty member and his/her area budget officer are responsible for the removal of any over-expenditures or unauthorized expenditures.
Grant-in-Aid projects must be completed within the one and one-half year grant period. Current grant periods are January 1, 2016- June 30, 2017 (for Fall 2015 awards) and July 1, 2016-January 15, 2018 (for Spring 2016 awards). Funding is effective on the start date of the award and expenditures must be charged within the dates of the grant period.
Requests for no-cost extensions must be submitted at least 15 days prior to the end date of the grant. The request must include:
PLEASE NOTE that extending the term of an award may affect future eligibility. Send requests to: firstname.lastname@example.org, attention Frances Lawrenz, Associate VP for Research. Typically, requests are reviewed and a decision distributed via e-mail within a week.
If personnel supported by a Grant-in-Aid are not supported by sponsored funds, effort certification is not required. If, however, personnel supported by a Grant-in-Aid are also supported by sponsored funds, effort on the Grant-in-Aid must be reported.
Research Assistant (RA) Salary and Fringe
Students may be employed on Grant-in-Aid accounts as undergraduate or graduate research assistants. Other student classifications (lab assistant, etc.) and non-academic short term employment (temp casual) appointments are typically not appropriate unless specifically justified in the proposal and included in the approved budget. Contact Human Resources or your departmental HR officer for procedures on hiring research assistants. The faculty member may allocate the total amount to different RAs at different percentages of time and term, as necessary. Departmental policies regarding RA pay rates should be followed.
Please note that the Office of the Vice President for Research provides no augmentations for annual salary or fringe increases. If the amount awarded for salary and fringe is not sufficient to support students at the pay level desired, the grant must be supplemented by other funding sources or the term of support shortened to provide sufficient funds.
The Grant-in-Aid award does not cover fringe benefit charges for Social Security and Medicare. Salary and fringe rates should not include the Social Security and Medicare fringe components (totaling 7.65% of gross salary) charged for graduate research assistants who do not meet minimum credit hour requirements (i.e., are registered for fewer than three credits, or less than one credit for advanced master’s and Ph.D. candidates). Should the graduate research assistant fall into this category, another source of funding must provide the additional 7.65% fringe charge or the term of support must be reduced. See the Graduate Assistant Employment Services website for a thorough description of graduate student assistant information.
Salary and fringe expenses may be transferred to the GIA EFS String using a Direct Retro (formerly called an HSA) provided the original expense is within the grant period and the salary charges posted in the current Fiscal Year. Salary expenses crossing Fiscal Years cannot be moved to the grant.
If necessitated by the nature of the project, an investigator is allowed to reallocate up to 25% of the amount originally awarded for a given expense category (Account Value) to another approved category (for instance, from equipment to supplies, from supplies to travel, etc.) without obtaining permission from the OVPR. Reallocation between Account Values in excess of this allowance requires advance approval from the OVPR.
Re-budgeting (See Expenditures Allowed)
Should the faculty member find it necessary to re-budget the grant beyond the 25% reallocation allowance, a written or e-mail request must be submitted to the OVPR at email@example.com. The following must be included:
Typically, these requests are reviewed and decisions distributed via e-mail within two weeks. Exception: If a faculty member wishes to substitute an undergraduate Research Assistant for a graduate Research Assistant or vice versa, no re-budgeting permission is required.
Additional Account Values, if required, must be authorized by the OVPR , and if approved, established by the departmental budget officer. This requirement ensures that expenses are consistent with the overall goals and objectives of the proposed research project as reviewed and approved by the faculty peer review committee.
The total allotment in travel may be reallocated within the expense line without obtaining re-budgeting permission. Similarly, if multiple trips are approved, the total travel allotment can be reallocated among the trips as necessary. The approved per diem for foreign travel is based on the U.S. State Department per diem allowances, or the faculty member’s lower estimate at the time the proposal was submitted. Per diem and other travel information can be found at http://travel.umn.edu
Approved supplies, services, equipment, are purchased following the department's standard purchasing procedures and policies. Travel expenses and reimbursements are also processed by department's budget office. Please do not send copies of these documents to the OVPR. Expenses may be transferred to the Grant-in-Aid using transfer/expense redistribution journal entry, provided the original expense was incurred within the grant period.
The funding period of a Grant-in-Aid always crosses one fiscal year-end (June 30,) and awards beginning on January 1 also end on June 30 (one and one-half years later.)
In the event that a faculty member leaves the U of M during the award period, remaining GIA funds will revert to the Office of the Vice President for Research.
Grants-in-Aid awarded on July 1 end on January 15, one and one-half years from the start date. Grants-in-Aid awarded on January 1 end on June 30, one and one-half years from the start date. No further expenses should be charged after the end date of the grant; although grants remain active through the end of the next month so outstanding invoices can be paid. All encumbrances must be cleared by either June 30 or January 31, depending on the grant period.
The OVPR reverts unexpended funds. If the account is in deficit, expenses must be transferred to another source of funding via expense transfer/redistribution journal entry. Note that journal entry fund transfers by departmental budget officers are strictly prohibited on these grants and cannot be used to remove positive balances or cover deficits at year-end.
Read about GIA application instructions, required attachments, and approver routing.
Preferred Internet Browsers:
Internet Explorer version 8.0 or higher or FireFox version 13.0 or higher.
Required attachments must be saved as PDF.
Cover letter if Bridge Funding, New Research Direction, Resubmission, or Special Request For Established Faculty Pilot Data.
Vita and publications (ONE page maximum)
Abstract (150 word maximum-Exception: Shared Equipment category)
Proposal (2000 word maximum for items #2 & #3 listed under Required Componants)
Past, Present, Potential Funding (Use Funding Template provided on application)
Budget (Use Budget Template provided on application)
PLEASE NOTE that fax, e-mail and paper copy applications will not be accepted.
REQUIRED ATTACHMENTS: When naming your attachments, please include your name with a one-word descriptor, e.g. JDoe_Abstract.pdf
Cover letters are required for the categories listed below (two page maximum). If cover letter does not answer the specific questions listed under each of the separate categories included below, the proposal may not be reviewed.
Limit to one page and include the following information:
Be careful to write both the methodology & content in terms that can be understood by other university scholars (humanists, scientists and engineers, social scientists, etc.), not only by specialists.
It is strongly recommended that proposals be read and critiqued by colleagues both in and outside of your field prior to submission to ensure ultimate clarity to review panel members who are not experts in the particular field. This is particularly important for proposals in creative and performing arts. See special instructions for creative and performing arts.
Provide a record of your research funding for the past five years and applications submitted but not funded within the past two years on the Funding Template provided on the application. This information is important in reflecting the efforts of the applicant to obtain other funds, especially in the case of renewal applications.
Include in the Need Justification section of your proposal, an explanation of any real or apparent overlap (monetary or subject) of other funded projects with this proposal, or why uncommitted money cannot be used to finance the proposed project.
See Expenditures Allowed
Provide an itemized budget using EFS account values. Consult with your departmental budget officer/accountant to identify the most appropriate six digit account values. Items MUST be justified in the designated section.
The following Approval(s) are required to ensure that appropriate administrators are aware of the proposal and that the objectives are in keeping with departmental and collegiate goals.
• Division or Department Head/Chair (except when your Department/Division/School/College does not have a head/chair)
• Dean or Chancellor or Provost (Approver List)
It is strongly recommended that you check with your respective departmental division/college/school offices to confirm the identity of your approvers, and to check their availability for approvals by their deadline of 6/18/2015. Applications will NOT automatically route to an alternate approver.
Routing to Approvers
Questions regarding the application process may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org, 612-625-2356 or 612-625-7585
1. Can I submit the proposal electronically?
Yes! All proposals must be submitted electronically.
2. Do I have to use the Funding and Budget templates provided in the electronic form?
Yes. Detail regarding budgets can be included in the "Budget Justification" section of the budget template.
3. Will I need matching funds for equipment even if it is NOT a Shared Equipment request?
Non-Shared Equipment requests that include the purchase of a piece of equipment that is equal to or greater than $5,000 should include matching funds, typically 30-50%. Please attach copies of commitment letter(s) under "Other Documentation".
4. Is there flexibility with the 2000 word limit?
It should be possible to limit to 2000 words as requested; however, some flexibility will be allowed for resubmission and Shared Equipment proposals. Illustrations and graphs may be incorporated into the proposal body. Note that one additional page may be added for figures, digital images(1200 to 1500 pixels not to exceed 2MB per image) or letters of collaboration, which are not included in the 2000-word limit.
5. Is there a particular time on the deadline day that the application is due?
No, you hve the full day until midnight.
6. If I still have more than $50K in start up, does that mean I'm not eligible?
No, but you need to include a very thorough justification in the "need justification" section of your proposal for how those funds will be used and why they cant be used for this project. If you still have over $100K, we often suggest you wait a year or two and spend some of those funds before applying here.
7. Why wont my file upload?
The file size limit is 4MB, make sure your file is smaller than that.
8. Do I have to submit both the combined pdf and separate documents?
Yes, we require both for administrative purposes.
9. What is HRPP approval? Do I need it?
HRPP stands for “Human Research Protection Program.” The HRPP office oversees the Institutional Review Board (IRB) for the review and approval of research involving human subjects, and the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) for the review and approval of research that involves recombinant DNA, infectious agents or biologically derived toxins. If your research involves animal subjects, approval is required from the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) in the Office of Animial Welfare. Any Grant-in-Aid funds awarded are not released until the required approvals are obtained. If you do not have approval at the time of submission, please check “Pending” in the compliance section of the on-line form. Once approval(s) are received, documentation must be submitted to our office via e-mail to email@example.com.
10. Do I need to include a Proposal Routing Form (PRF)?
No. The "Compliance" section of the on-line application along with the required on-line approvals serve this purpose.
11. Do Co-PIs and their Department Chairs and Deans need to review and approve this proposal?
No. Starting in the fall competition, 2008, Co-PIs and their Chairs and Deans will no longer be required to review and approve Grant-in-Aid proposals.
12. Is there a standard allotment for Grad RA salaries and fringe?
No. As of Fall 2011, departmental policies regarding Grad RA pay rates should be followed.
13. When will I find out if I have been awarded the Grant-in-Aid?
Typically the first week of December for the fall competition: the first week of May for the spring competition.
14. When are Grant-in-Aid proposals due?
Typically deadlines are fall - the third Monday in September, and spring - the first Monday in February. Bridge Funding requests (Interim Support) may also be submitted the second Monday in June.
15. I have indicated who my PI Support Person is, but they cannot access the proposal - how do I give them access?
Scroll to the bottom of the application page and click "Send to PI Support".
16. Where do I find the Account values for the Budget page?
Please contact your departmental budget officer/accountant to help you identify the correct six digit account values.
17. I can't fill in the Funding template. What's wrong?
You may be using an older version on Adobe Reader. We recommend that you update your Reader to the most recent version. Click on "Adobe Reader" in the application instructions to upload the latest version. It is also recommended that you use IE or Firefox.
18. How will I know if my proposal has been approved by my designated approvers?
You will receive e-mails when each of your approvers have reviewed and approved (or not approved) your proposal. You can also check the status of your proposal through the electronic system. See "Check Application Status" in the application instructions.
PI to Approvers:
Monday, September 21, 2015
Approvers to OVPR:
Thursday, September 24, 2015
PI to Approvers:
Monday, February 1, 2016
Approvers to OVPR:
Thursday, February 4, 2016
View via UMconnect
Click here to learn more about the latest GIA awards.
Click here to see a sampling of exemplary proposals from previous years.
Click here to see a listing of GIA awarded equipment on campus.
Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 612-625-2356 with any questions.