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Internal Awards FAQs

General FAQs

OVPRI internal awards programs are available to full-time faculty in all schools and disciplines. Broadly speaking, the function of OVPRI Internal Awards is to support faculty as they push their research and creative work to the next level.

Yes, both junior and senior faculty may apply.

Yes, you may apply if you are a full-time faculty member at Vanderbilt University. VUMC faculty are not eligible to apply as PIs but may serve as collaborators with VU faculty.

No, you must have a full-time, VU-faculty appointment to apply. Should it be appropriate for the project, you may partner with a full-time, VU faculty member to serve as the PI. All partners’ roles and duties should be explained in the application.

No, to apply for OVPRI Internal Awards you must have a full-time, VU-faculty appointment to apply.

Applicants with individual or team projects are both welcome to apply.

Yes, but your new proposal should not overlap in activity or expenses with your prior award. In addition, all annual reports for your current award must be completed to be eligible for additional funding.

All applications will be reviewed by members of the Internal Awards Review Committee (IARC). The IARC is composed of peer faculty and divided into four academic subgroups: Science & Medicine, Social Science, Arts & Humanities, and Engineering. The committee is chaired by Vice Provost for Research and Innovation, Padma Raghavan. As a part of your application, you will self-select the best group to which your proposal belongs, and the reviewers will be selected accordingly. As such, you should make your proposal accessible to a general science, general social science, general engineering, or general arts & humanities reader.

Scaling & Seeding Success Grants


This chart is a visual representation of what things Seeding and Scaling Success grants cover. Seeding and Scaling Success have entirely different program purposes and are not interchangeable programs.

Seeding Success Grants support projects in their early stages or projects on a new research topic or shift in direction. Proposed Seeding projects should possess the potential for significant impact and lay the groundwork for future external funding through competitive proposal development.  While we always encourage faculty to begin considering sponsor programs that could support their work early on, applicants for Seeding Success Grants are not required to have documented external sponsor interest in their project.

Scaling Success Grants support projects that represent a significant scale-up from the applicant’s prior work, such as growth from previous projects under a single PI to a project led by multiple PIs or across multiple institutions.  In addition, Scaling projects must have documented external sponsor interest. Before applying, applicants must have identified a funding opportunity and received the sponsor’s encouragement to submit an application. The proposed Scaling project should allow the applicant to be responsive to sponsor feedback, facilitating a proposal with a stronger chance for success. (For example, if the sponsor suggests that more data would make a stronger proposal, the Scaling Success proposal should concentrate on acquiring said data.)

For both types of grants:  Project goals can include, but are not limited to, achieving research and creative work deliverables (e.g., peer-reviewed articles, patents, monographs, art works, exhibitions).

All internal research funds—and any allocations—must be disclosed in the application process; how your funds are currently allocated will be considered when reviewing the application. While having money available to you will not necessarily hurt your chances of receiving the award, reviewers may choose to ensure that funds are distributed based on demonstrated need.

You may apply for both programs, but it is unlikely that both applications will be funded in one fiscal year. It is strongly encouraged that you concentrate on putting forth the best application possible and concentrate upon your most immediate need.

You can only receive one award per year, per program.

Capital equipment that falls within the funding allowance for both Success programs is allowable. For larger infrastructure or capital equipment purchases, given the complexity of managing, housing and operating, faculty should work with their department chairs and dean, who will then work directly with the Provost on these high-dollar purchases.

No, you do not need IRB approval before applying. However, funds are awarded for specific time periods, so consideration should be given to what is feasible to complete when requesting money from an OVPRI Internal Award program.

IRB approval

Our goal is to ensure a fair review for all applications. However, faculty reviewers will not necessarily be experts in your specific research area. IARC reviewers will be selected to fit the disciplinary subfield that you choose in your application. Thus, describe your project for a general, academic audience within that subfield.

 No. It’s to your best advantage to fully answer the questions asked in the application.

All funding must be expensed by Vanderbilt, but VUMC faculty can be approved collaborators.

Wages, stipends, and fees can be covered. Funds cannot be used to cover tuition or financial aid.

Yes—you should apply again! Necessarily we cannot fund every deserving project that applies for internal award programs. Reviewers provide every applicant with feedback so that applicants can improve future applications. We encourage you to take reviewer feedback into consideration when you’re writing your subsequent application.

Student compensation is a school-based standard and varies by student status (undergraduate, professional, or graduate). We recommend consulting with your department administrator or Dean’s office.

Department administrators should be engaged during the student hiring process to ensure all university and department policies are followed. Funds may not be used for the following:

  • graduate student recruiting
  • graduate students’ professional development cost or programs
  • student tuition

No. Scaling and Seeding Success can cover research staff and postdoc salary up to $60,000, but cannot cover PI/faculty salary.

Course buyout may only be requested in Scaling Success proposals in the amount of $35,000. Course buyout must be approved by your dean before applying. Seeding Success does not have the option for course buyout.

Applicants may apply for up to $60,000 in salary and fringe support from OVPRI awards. Any amount over the $60,000 must be covered by the PI. Additionally, the application should cover:

  • The necessity of a postdoc to the project
  • The work the postdoc will be doing on the project
  • Detail plan to sustainably support the postdoc after their internal award period ends

Each program’s application portal has a downloadable template for proposal budgets. Please be as specific as possible in your estimates.

Yes, Faculty may use funds for scientific and technical staff salaries, and for compensation for term-limited consultants, web-programmers, survey developers, etc. However, be sure to explain fully the necessity, role, and duties of the staff to the project.

For Seeding and Scaling Success Programs, after award decisions are made, a unique, centrally-housed Oracle project will be created. We will share the project information and all relevant purchasing details once available. Faculty are required to submit an annual report to OVPRI. For projects with multi-year funding, additional year funding will be released following a review of your report.

Scaling Success Grants

Documented sponsor interest can take several forms and will depend on your relationship with the sponsor. This can include, but is not limited to, feedback on a previously submitted and unfunded application, summaries of conversations with program officers, email exchanges with program officers, etc. If you have any questions about this feedback, please email

If you need help initiating a relationship with a sponsor, please reach out to Research Development & Support at for assistance.

Applications for Scaling Success will be reviewed at the middle of every month, with breaks in December and June. Please see the dates below for the 2022-23 Scaling Success dates.

2022-23 Dates

January 13
February 17
March 17
April 14
May 19
No review in June

Yes! Necessarily we cannot fund every deserving project that applies for internal award programs. Reviewers provide every applicant with feedback so that applicants can improve future applications. We encourage you to take reviewer feedback into consideration when you’re writing your subsequent application.

No, you can only serve as PI on one application per program. You may serve as a co-collaborator/co-PI on other applications.

Applications are entered into review in the middle of every month.

We make every effort to review applications within a month or sooner.

The Scaling Success Grant lasts from 12 months from the date of award. The dates of your award period will be detailed in your award letter.

Yes. At the end of your award period, you will need to submit a report to Reminders will be sent to you in advance. In order to be eligible for future OVPRI internal awards, you must be current on all of your reporting.

Seeding Success Grants

The deadline for the Fall 2023 Seeding Success Grant Program has not yet been announced. Check back soon for more details.

Yes! Necessarily we cannot fund every deserving project that applies for internal award programs. Reviewers provide every applicant with feedback so that applicants can improve future applications. We encourage you to take reviewer feedback into consideration when you’re writing your subsequent application.

No, you can only serve as PI on one application per program. You may serve as a co-collaborator/co-PI on other applications.

We make every effort to review the applications quickly, but thoroughly. Given the volume of applications to this program, it takes the majority of the semester for our reviewers to carefully and thoughtfully review applications

Our goal is to make award notifications in early December for Fall and early May for Spring.

The Seeding Success Award period lasts for up to two years. The official dates of your award will be found on your award letter.

Yes. You must fill out a mid-term and final report for your Seeding Success Grant. Your mid-term report must be completed before the funds are released for Year 2 of your Seeding Success. Award. You must be current on all reporting to be eligible for subsequent OVPRI Internal Awards.

Rapid Advancement Micro-Grant Program Awards (RAMP)

All funds must be used within the fiscal year they are awarded. There is no roll-over allowed for RAMP funds.

Approved travel includes, but is not limited to:

  • meeting with research collaborators or bringing research collaborators to campus
  • visiting an archive
  • or conducting field-specific work

Applications enter review on the last weekday of the month. There will be no review for the months of December and June so please plan as best you are able. It is our goal to have decisions on proposals to RAMP applicants within two weeks of the below dates.

2022-23 Dates

January 31st
February 28th
March 31st
April 28th
May 31st
No review in June

In general, the major criterion is that the proposed project will have a clear and significant impact on the applicant’s research trajectory. Additionally, all budgeted expenses should be reasonable and justified in the application. Projects that are not research based are not eligible for this program (for instance, projects that advance teaching or community goals only).

Yes, though you only have the possibility of being awarded once. You should also consider previous feedback in the development of your resubmission.

RAMP awardees will have funds transferred to their faculty fund accounts or COA/project accounts following their acceptance of the award.

Not at this time—though we love to hear of your successes! Please send us an email at