Eligibility and Process Requirements

Discovery Grants

Program Overview

The Discovery Grant program is one of the primary ways Vanderbilt invests in advancing core disciplines, thereby strengthening the scholarly profile of the university. The program is designed to serve as a catalyst for significant external funding sources - supporting new ideas, cutting-edge research and the development of infrastructure. The Discovery Grant program provides a springboard to make possible external grants that will be more attractive to large federal funding agencies such as the NSF, NIH, DoD, etc. All full-time, VU-employed (Provost-reporting) faculty are eligible.

Eligibility and Guidelines

  1. All full-time, VU-employed (Provost-reporting) faculty are eligible.
  2. Must demonstrate an ability to attract future external funding.
  3. VUMC-employed faculty may collaborate but funds will only be distributed to the VU lead faculty.
  4. Proposals that advance research in areas related to race, diversity and inclusivity are invited.
  5. Proposals that include support for research involving graduate students are encouraged.
  6. Post-doctoral support is allowed.
  7. Funds may not be used to support faculty salary.
  8. Research staff salary, based on proposal justification, is subject to committee approval. Discovery Grant funds are not intended to be permanent sources of support.
  9. A given faculty member's participation is limited to two proposal efforts, only one of those as principal investigator.
  10. Faculty currently serving as lead faculty or participating as a collaborator on one or more active Discovery Grant awards are not eligible to submit (as lead faculty or collaborator) another Discovery Grant proposal until their current DG award(s) have been completed and all reporting requirements have been met.
  11. For complete funding guidelines, click here.


  • Awards are based partly on need. As a result, each participating faculty member must disclose both existing external funding sources (for the most recent five years) and institutional resources available in the form of start-up funds or other discretionary research funds. All institutional research-support funds must be noted, including endowed-chair funds, annual allocations, fixed-price contract surpluses and other such sources.
  • Progress and final reports are required for all awards. Year 2 funding is contingent on submission of the Year 1 progress report.

Application Process

All proposals must be submitted online using InfoReady Review, Vanderbilt's online submissions portal.

Award results are announced in the spring - the date may vary depending on the number of proposals submitted. Funds will be available July 1.

Questions about this program may be directed to Schyler Turrin (615-875-1027  ,  schyler.b.turrin@vanderbilt.edu).

Information to include in your application:

  1. Project Title (up to 9 words).
  2. Category of support.
  3. Project Summary (up to 150 words).
  4. Lead faculty name and VUnetID.
  5. Faculty collaborator names (up to 10) and VUnetID.
  6. Proposal and detailed description (up to 2,000 words, written for colleagues from a wide range of fields and disciplines).
  7. Significance of the research/scholarship and its impact on the field, the university and/or the faculty involved (up to 300 words).
  8. Measures of Success - Provide a general overview of how success will be measured or gauged for the project (up to 500 words).
  9. Inclusive Excellence - If applicable, provide detail on how the proposed project will advance and embrace inclusive excellence (up to 300 words). Advancing Inclusive Excellence includes explicit focus on research related to issues of difference, equity, status, power. Additionally, inclusive excellence involves investigations of voices, histories, experiences or stories of individuals or groups previously untold or limited in exposure. Advancing Inclusive Excellence includes collaborations that leverage diverse experiences and perspectives of individuals or involve a diverse array of students and collaborators.
  10. Budget overview - include anticipated total funding, number of years, funding amount per year, expense categories and justification/explanation.
  11. Disclosure of lead faculty's current external funding sources.
  12. Disclosure of lead faculty's current internal funding sources.
  13. Lead faculty must include citations for their five most recent publications.
  14. Lead faculty must include all grant support for the last five years, including the following information:
    1. Project Title
    2. Funding Agency
    3. Grant Type
    4. Investigator Role
    5. Dates of Funding
    6. Total Direct Costs

Infrastructure Program proposals must also include facts and/or figures on:

  • The proposed facility and its importance.
  • Plans for implementation and day to day management of the facility.
  • Communities benefiting from its development.
  • Plans for its continuation after the expiration of the Discovery Grant award.