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Internal Awards FAQs

General FAQs

Are OVPR Internal Awards Programs limited by school or discipline?

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

Are these awards available to faculty at all ranks?

Yes, both junior and senior faculty may apply.

I am non-tenure-track faculty. Can I apply for OVPR Internal Awards?

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.

I have two part-time faculty appointments, or I am a full-time staff member with a part-time faculty appointment. Can I apply for OVPR Internal Awards?

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.

I am a Research Staff member. Can I apply for OVPR Internal Awards?

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

Are these internal award opportunities for individuals or teams? 

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

I have current Internal Award support (Discovery Grant, TIPs, Seeding, or Scaling), am I eligible to apply for Seeding or Scaling?

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.

Who will be reviewing my proposal?

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 of Research 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.

I have more questions that are not answered here. Where can I go to ask these questions? 

Please reach out to ovprfunding@vanderbilt.edu! We are happy to help.

Scaling & Seeding Success Grants

I am torn between applying for Seeding and Scaling. Which program should I apply for?

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).

Why do you ask to see the current research funds available to me? If I have existing unallocated research funds, will this hamper my chances of being awarded funding?

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.

Can I apply for both Seeding Success and Scaling Success?

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.

Will Seeding and Scaling Success Grants allow for purchase of large equipment?

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.

Do proposals need to have IRB approval before being submitted? 

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 OVPR Internal Award program.

What level of expertise should I assume from the reviewers of my applications?

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.

Can I submit a draft of an NEH/NIH/NSF application?

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

What are the parameters regarding teamwork with VUMC faculty? 

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

What support is available for graduate or professional students? 

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

I applied to a previous cycle and my proposal was not funded. Should I apply again, and will it improve or hurt my chances of getting funded in this cycle?

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.

What dollar amount should I consider when requesting to hire a student assistant? 

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.

What guidelines should be followed when hiring student assistants? 

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

Can Scaling and Seeding Success cover faculty salary?

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

Can course buyout be included as part of project funds?

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.

Can Scaling and Seeding cover postdoc salary?

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

What should the budget look like? 

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

Can staff be paid for under these programs? 

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.

I have been awarded a Seeding or Scaling Success Grant. What next? What documentation or paperwork required? 

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 OVPR. For projects with multi-year funding, additional year funding will be released following a review of your report.

Scaling Success Grants

For Scaling Success, it says I need to provide documentation of sponsor interest. What does this mean?

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 ovprfunding@vanderbilt.edu.

I need feedback from a sponsor to apply for Scaling Success. How do I get this?

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

When are the Scaling Success deadlines?

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

September 16
October 14
November 18
No review in December
January 13
February 17
March 17
April 14
May 19
No review in June

Can I reapply for Scaling Success after not being awarded?

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.

Can I submit more than one proposal for this program?

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

When are applications reviewed?

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

When will I learn the results of my application?

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

How long is the Scaling Success Grant award period?

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.

Are there any reporting requirements for the Scaling Success?

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

Seeding Success Grants

When is the deadline?

The fall deadline for Seeding Success Grant Program is September 14, 2022. The Spring deadline is February 8, 2022.

Can I reapply for Seeding Success after not being awarded?

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.

Can I submit more than one proposal for this program?

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

When are applications reviewed?

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

When will I learn the results of my application?

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

How long is the Seeding Success award period?

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

Are there any reporting requirements for the Seeding Success Grant?

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 OVPR Internal Awards.

Rapid Advancement Micro-Grant Program Awards (RAMP)

By what date do funds need to be used for RAMP? 

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

What kind of travel is within the scope of the RAMP program? 

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

When will I find out the results of my proposal?

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

July 29th
August 31st
September 30th
October 31st
November 30th
BREAK, no review until January
January 31st
February 28th
March 31st
April 28th
May 31st
No review in June

My RAMP application was denied—why?

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).

Can I reapply for RAMP funds in the same fiscal year in which I was denied?

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

What is the process after I have been awarded RAMP monies?

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

Are there reporting requirements for RAMP?

Not at this time—though we love to hear of your successes! Please send us an email at ovprfunding@vanderbilt.edu.