Faculty Enhancement Grants
This program has become extremely competitive. Fewer than 35% of all applicants were funded in 2013. Please keep this in mind as you prepare your proposals.
We received a substantial number of applications in 2013 (106) with total funding requests in excess of $1.3 million. With only $500,000 to allocate, fewer than 35% of all applications received funding. Still, the committee was able to review and provide final decisions in less than one month.
Congratulations to Recipients of the 2013-14 Faculty Enhancement Grants
If you currently have an enhancement grant in process and need to file an extension request, please fill out our extension request form linked here.
All grant recipients are required to submit an activity report at the end of their project. Reports should be submitted via the online submission system linked here.
During spring term 2013 the FDC sent a survey to all eligible program participants in an effort to gauge satisfaction with the enhancement grant and travel award programs, and vet newly proposed policies. Please find the survey results here, and the complete report here.
The 2014 Faculty Enhancement Grant call for proposals will be available soon. Please find 2014 submission due date and 2013 information below.
Proposals for the 2014 Enhancement Grants will be due by 5pm on Friday, January 10, 2014. Award notification will take place the week of March 3, 2014.
The Request for Proposals for the 2013 PSU Faculty Enhancement Grants is now available. Awards up to $15,000 are available for professional development projects. Department chairs and faculty, tenure-related and fixed term, and academic professionals who are AAUP bargaining unit members and whose appointment continues through the 2013-2014 academic year are eligible to apply.
All applications must be submitted through our convenient online submission system. For your convenience please find a budget template here. If you are unable to access the online submission form and required an alternate submission process, please contact Charles Burck in the office of Academic Affairs.
Due to the new AAUP contract terms, the guidelines and award amounts have changed.
Proposals are due by 5pm on Fri, Jan 11, 2013.
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Frequently Asked Questions:
The slides from our recent informational session contain additional details about review criteria and historical funding statistics. You may access slides from that presentation here, and a video here.
Q: Can I submit two proposals as PI, or one as PI and one as co-PI?
A:Yes, one person can submit two grants. However, the committee would strongly discourage it because the PIs would be in competition with themselves. It's better to write one strong proposal.
Q: I didn't get a chance to finish the online application, but I just got an email saying my application was received. What happened?
A: The online system automatically sends an email whenever an application is submitted, and unfinished applications are automatically submitted after 7 days. Don't worry; you can re-submit using the same online form. We will accept the most recent and/or complete submission from you. You may need to clean your computer's cache or "cookies" before you can access a new online application, though.
Q: Are there any proposals from previous years available as examples?
A: The guidelines and requirements have significantly changed with the new 2012 AAUP contract. Proposals from previous years would be of very limited utility.
Q: Can I ask for a course release?
A: Yes, you can. Make sure to include specific and strong justification about why you need a course release, and why you need a course release right now. Generic justifications, such as "I need time to do research," don't generally convince the reviewers. We all need time to do research, which is part of most of our job descriptions.
Q: What are fundable expenses?
A: See the CFP for a list of non-fundable expenses. In principle, the committee is able and willing to fund anything that falls under PSU guidelines and is justified by a compelling argument. Keep in mind that extraordinary items typically need extraordinary justification.
Q: Can I send students to conferences?
A: The committee has not seen a convincing case so far where students sent to conferences benefit the PI's career more than the student's career. We discourage that kind of expense.
Q: Can I pay consultants or external researchers to do certain parts of my work?
A: While this is an allowable expense, keep in mind that FE proposals are about your professional development and enhancement. If you require a certain expertise to complete your project, you could make a strong case for your own professional development by acquiring that very skill yourself (e.g., instead of paying an expert to do a data analysis with a software package you don't know, propose to buy the software for yourself and to learn how to use it).
Q: I want to include a budget item for course buy-out, graduate assistant stipend, etc... but what are the fixed rates for these items?
A:In prior years, the committee recommended a fixed rate for course buyout, graduate stipends, etc. but this year they have left the amount open to the discretion of each individual department. They were aware that actual costs to fill a course/hire assistants vary widely between departments, so a fixed rate didn't seem fair. They would like each faculty member to discuss the proposal with their chair to determine an appropriate amount.
Q: I've heard that tenured and senior faculty are at a disadvantage in the review process. Is that true?
A: That's nothing more than a false rumor. We love to fund every good proposal that impacts the PI's career positively, no matter what rank. However, for senior faculty, the committee rarely gets excited about proposals that look like you're continuing to do the same research you've been doing for years. To make a stronger case for your professional development, consider proposing a new line of research, for example.
Q: Are multi-PI proposals better than single-PI proposals?
A: No, but if you do submit multi-PI proposals, make sure to explain very clearly how this proposal contributes to each of the PI's professional development goals.
Q: The application asks for CV summaries for all participants. Does that refer to PIs and co-PIs only, or also collaborators from other institutions?
A: The committee would like to see CVs for PIs and co-PIs listed on the application. We do not need to see CVs for others who are affiliated with the larger project, but are not applicants listed on the grant.
Q: I didn't get a chance to finish my research during the second year of my award. May I ask for an extension?
A: While some extensions have been granted in the past, it is no longer possible to maintain fairness and integrity of the program by awarding 3rd year extensions. Enhancement grants are intended to support short-term research activity for specific projects in a given time frame. They cannot be used as long-term research support funding. You may still re-apply for a new enhancement grant to support any research that you were unable to finish during the previous award period. However, any funds that are not used within 24 months of the award date will revert to the University.