Special Research Grants

Overview of the COR special research grant, its purpose and guidelines on how to prepare an application

A. Purpose

COR Special Research Grants (SRGs) competitively fund special research projects at a level higher than is possible through the FRG program. Special research is high-quality research in any field with great potential for significant impact: impact on the discipline and/or potential for leveraging external funding. Among the goals of the program are to provide more significant funding in areas where external funding is scarce or non-existent, to support junior faculty research and to encourage interdisciplinary research.

B. Eligibility

All full-time members of the Academic Senate, including emeritus professors, faculty on sabbatical and other forms of leave, and lecturer SOE are eligible to apply. Persons appointed for two quarters or less are not eligible. Graduate students are not eligible. Assistant professors and newly-appointed faculty are particularly encouraged to apply.

C. Awards

The maximum award for individual faculty applications is $8,000 (for both single PI and collaborative proposals). In some cases, proposed research is only partially funded, especially when budgeted items are not carefully justified. SRG awards are for a single fiscal year (July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020); award notification will be sent out in April 2019.

D. Applications

SRG applications are prepared and submitted online. Faculty will receive an e-mail message early December containing the Call for COR Grant Applications and information on submitting electronic applications.

E. Policy and Guidelines

Successful proposals for funding must be complete, including project objectives, a narrative portion explaining how these objectives will be achieved, and a detailed justification of all budget items. The SRG program is competitive, and successful proposals will be written in non-expert language and will compellingly justify all expenses.

In evaluating proposals, COR is guided by the following considerations:

  1. The goals, rationale, and intellectual thrust of the proposal must be clear to the broad-based, interdisciplinary group of COR faculty. COR recommends that applicants ask a colleague from a different discipline to review a submission and ensure it is readily understandable and compelling to a non-expert.

  2. COR funds have been reduced significantly over the last several years. Due to limited resources, only the most compelling applications will receive funding.

  3. The proposal must describe all COR grants received during the last three years, including the date, amount funded, title of the grant, the progress that was made, and a list of publications/exhibits/performances over the same period. These items must be provided for a proposal to be considered. COR will support ongoing projects if the PI well justifies further support and if progress is clearly described (e.g. a 5-year book project with milestones indicated). The committee is not obligated to maintain projects indefinitely and applicants are expected to seek extramural support for continuing projects.

  4. Allowable Expenses

    1. Assistance:
      1. Funds may be used to hire undergraduate assistants on an hourly basis in conformance with appointment rules and regulations of the University. Undergraduate assistant pay rate ranges from $9-25. Proposals requesting support for undergraduate assistants must contain a statement of their specific duties, number of hours, and justification for pay rate. Assistants should aid in, but not substitute for, the scholarly work of the faculty member. Assistants should not be independent investigators.

      2. Proposals requesting support for graduate assistants must indicate how the rest of the GSR will be paid. Go to UC Salary scales and find GSR rates on page 31.
        • Preference will be given to on-campus assistants when available. Information about work-study students and GSRs can be obtained by calling the divisional personnel assistant.
        • COR grants are designed to assist the PI's research. The application must describe how student research activities facilitate the research in the proposal.

    2. Supplies and Equipment: Funds may be used to purchase research equipment and expendable supplies. The research-related nature of these items must be itemized and well justified. In an attempt to create awareness around shared labs with specific research equipment, COR has begun creating an inventory of equipment on the UCSC campus.  Applicant should be clear why the requested equipment is not available currently on campus, or make COR aware of restrictions on that equipment if it does already exist on campus.  All purchasing of supplies and equipment is subject to standard university policy. Policies governing purchasing of supplies and equipment can be found online by clicking here. COR encourages the use of shared research equipment and funds should be used to recharge equipment or services.

    3. Computer-Related Expenses: Computer equipment is an allowable expense provided that it is an essential component of the research project and is well justified in the application. Upgrades to basic computers, or specific programs that are essential for the applicant’s research are an allowable expense. All inventorial equipment must be ordered through the PI's divisional business office (see the link above for university policy).

    4. Field Research Travel: Use of research funds for field and travel expenses incurred by the faculty researcher may be allowed when appropriate, as in the collection of research data or inspection of materials that cannot be procured online or through e-mails, loans, microfilms or photostats. These expenses may include domestic or foreign travel to museums, archives, libraries, as well as field trips to collect research data. Appropriate categories are the most economical transportation and lodging, and these must be justified in the application.

    5. Developing Knowledge: Occasionally, acquisition of new research skills or knowledge area can only be reasonably accomplished through participation in a seminar or course of instruction, or apprenticeship with an expert. Requests for such funding must be well justified and closely related to the described research project.

    6. Research Involving Human Subjects: All research involving the use of human subjects must first be approved by the Human Subject Research (HSR) Review Committee before funds will be distributed by COR. The required forms can be found by clicking here. Both the forms and the FRG research proposal should be sent to the Office of Sponsored Projects. HSR review can require several weeks or more, so PIs are encouraged to begin this process now.

    7. Animal Subjects: Proposed research involving the use of animal subjects must be approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). Click here for information.

  5. Non-allowable Expenses
    1. Summer salary
    2. Course relief
    3. Food and meals (unless part of international travel)
    4. Expenses related to the basic infrastructure of teaching or research units
    5. Editing journals or conference proceedings
    6. Curricular, administrative or teaching-aid studies
    7. Book subventions or costs associated with copying and distributing products of scholarly work
    8. For research that is not culminating in publishing, but rather exhibition or performance, parallel guidelines are now in place to restrict expenses related to those activities.  Framing expenses, performer payment fees for public presentation, space rental, event marketing, etc. are not allowable. Please inquire directly to COR if you have questions about this restriction
    9. Support for ongoing lab or studio space
    10. Scholarly Meeting Travel, conference registration fees or society membership registration

F. Budgetary Information

  1. Questions concerning accounting procedures, including current balances, should be directed to the appropriate division business office.
  2. All funds must be expended in accordance with normal university procedures for the acquisition of supplies and equipment, travel and the hiring of personnel. In particular, inventoried equipment should be purchased through divisional business offices. It is especially important that grantees arrange for the employment of assistants through their divisional business office. This aspect is essential because payment for services rendered may b e prohibited prior to the signing of the State oath.
  3. SRG funds expire on June 30th, the end of the fiscal year. Unless there are specific liens already established, any balance remaining in the grant will be returned to COR and used to fund future grants. Because year-end deadlines run much earlier, grantees are urged to expend their funds by June 1st of each fiscal year. Equipment purchases must be made before May 15th, and earlier if they are above the threshold to require sole source justification.
  4. The committee supports specific research projects. The grantee must request COR's permission prior to any change in use for which the funds were originally allocated.
  5. As a result of cuts to the COR budget, COR will not be granting extensions of SRG funds.

G. Criteria

Successful SRG applications must satisfy requirements intended to ensure that COR's limited funds will have the greatest positive impact on the campus research enterprise. Proposals from faculty who received an SRG grant in the previous year may be given lower priority. These grants are competitive. COR will evaluate SRG proposals and make funding decisions according to the following criteria:

  • Quality and innovative character of the proposed research.
  • Potential for impact on the discipline/field of the applicant.
  • Potential to improve the research portfolio of UCSC and UC overall.
  • Evidence of recent research activity in the form of major publications, exhibitions and performances.
  • Compelling justification of expenses (for example, potential to leverage external funding)

If you have further questions, please contact the COR Analyst, Chad M. Silva, csilva67@ucsc.edu, 459-3810

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