The College of Natural Sciences celebrates the scholarly excellence of its existing faculty and seeks to support their unmet potential to innovate and to continue to lead their disciplines through new investment.   The CNS Bridge and Seed Funding Program will provide timely funding for CNS faculty, who are (i) seeking the renewal of sponsored research projects and are recently in a funding gap, (ii) seeking funding to launch initial research directed in a particularly promising new area with strong funding potential, or (iii) seeking funding to expand basic research toward a translational application to access new funding mechanisms, including the Manning Innovators Program. In all cases, the proposal must demonstrate need, provide a compelling plan for carrying out the research successfully, and identify a clear pathway for securing external funding in the near term. This funding is available for projects/initiatives that cannot be supported by other campus bridge and/or seed funding mechanisms.

Eligibility:

Tenured or tenure-track faculty with a primary appointment in CNS departments and with an established track record of external funding may submit proposals for these funds.

Use and Restrictions of Funds:

Funds may be used for research costs, including student or staff salaries and supplies.  Faculty salary is not an allowable expense.  Purchase of equipment or use of funds for travel or other needs will require more compelling justification.  Allocated funds must be spent within one year of the start date of the award, or they will revert back to the CNS Dean’s Office. If an external grant, directly related to the original request, is funded during the bridge period, unspent funds will immediately revert to the CNS Dean’s Office.

Requirements – Bridge Funding:

For PI with less than $10,000 in RTF and/or start-up funds.

Individual faculty requesting bridge funding, which may seek to continue a project, seed a new project, or move a research program in a translational direction, must commit to apply for substantial external funding within one year of the award. It is expected that 50% of the bridge funding grant will be repaid to the college on a scheduled plan through the PI’s RTF if the PI is successful in obtaining external funding. 

Requirements – Seed Funding:

For individual PIs or faculty teams with more than $10,000 in RTF and/or start-up funds.

a. Individual Awards. Individual faculty requesting seed funding must commit an initial 25% RTF match to the project and must commit to apply for substantial external funding within one year of the award. It is expected that 50% of the bridge funding grant will be repaid to the college on a scheduled plan through the PI’s RTF if the PI is successful in obtaining external funding.

b. Team Awards. A faculty team requesting seed funding must commit an initial 25% RTF match to the project and must commit to apply for substantial external funding within one year of the award. It is expected that 50% of the bridge funding grant will be repaid to the college on a scheduled plan through the team’s RTF if the team is successful in obtaining external funding.

 

Proposal Due Date:

December 23, 2019 by email to Amanda Leigh-Hawkins aleigh@cns.umass.edu CNS Associate Dean’s Assistant. Questions can be directed to Mark Tuominen tuominen@cns.umass.edu CNS Associate Dean of Research and Innovation.

Review Process and Anticipated Timeline:

Proposals will be evaluated by the CNS Research Review Council and the Dean’s Office with funds to be allocated for use by mid-January 2020. It is anticipated that the call for proposals in the future will occur once per semester.

Proposal Requirements:

All proposals must demonstrate a need for support and a plan for sustainability.

The following materials should be submitted in support of this goal:

  1. A summary (one page or less) of the request, including a justification of how the proposed work will help secure new or renewed funding.
  2. A budget for the requested funds, not to exceed $40,000.
  3. A statement of commitment to submit an application for external funding related to this request within one year from the allocation of funds, including the agency(s) and due date for this submission.
  4. An endorsement letter from the department head or chair with a commitment to provide a 10% match to the request and to convene a committee to review the application for external funding.
  5. A summary statement from a prior grant application submitted within the past year on a project related to this request (if applicable).
  6. For seed funds, specific aims of currently funded projects and a statement of overlap with proposed work.

To aid the funding decision, the following materials must be provided:

  1. Current Funding Status with all anticipated encumbrances
  2. Current Research Personnel
  3. 10-year External Funding History
  4. 5-year Grant Application History, Associated Summary Statements, and the PI's responses (if applicable) to the critiques
  5. 10-year Publication History

Anticipated Funds:

The total annual funding level will be dependent on availability of funds and the quantity and quality of the submissions; however, we anticipate that the annual awards would total at least $300,000.

Assistance and Coaching:

Faculty who receive bridge or seed funds are expected to use the research development resources available through the CNS Dean’s Office and the VCRE’s Office to assist in building a strong proposal for subsequent external support.