Request for Proposals

Applications are invited for STEM Catalyst Grants, an inaugural, competitive, research grant program across the sciences, engineering and mathematics, offered through a collaborative effort of the College of Arts and Sciences, Hanley Sustainability Institute, and School of Engineering. The program will provide up to $500,000 of new funds to broadly support research across STEM fields. The award is intended to foster new and expand existing research programs that have the potential to rise to national prominence. Proposals that benefit humanity by addressing significant unmet needs or utilize collaborative teams to address multidisciplinary challenges are particularly encouraged.

Applications for the 2017 STEM Catalyst cycle are now closed.


Proposals for the 2018 STEM Catalyst application cycle will be solicited in the Fall term of 2017.


All faculty (tenured, tenure track and non-tenure track) are eligible to apply.

Funding period

The program will support research for the summers of 2017 and 2018 in two application cycles. Applications received by April 11, 2017 may request summer 2017 or 2018 funding. A second call for summer 2018 awards will be issued with a deadline in spring term 2018.

Proposal Guidelines

Proposals should address pertinent research challenges or applications in STEM fields. The proposal narrative should be written for clarity to a broad audience and describe the significance and expected impact of the work. Funding for the first cycle of awards is expected to cover research conducted during the summer of 2017, although proposals may be written for summer 2018 funding. Under unusual circumstances (e.g. sabbatical leave), funding for Fall 2017 and/or Spring 2018 semesters may be considered. Proposal budgets may be customized by applicants to include faculty salary and benefits, student stipends/assistantships, materials, supplies, and other research expenses. Budgets should be appropriate to the scope of activities. We anticipate funding several proposals of focused scope (<$15,000) and moderate scope or collaboration (<$75,000) in 2017. Up to several bold collaborations (<$150,000) will also be considered in the next application cycle.

Evaluation Criteria

Applications will be reviewed by representatives from the College of Arts and Sciences, Hanley Sustainability Institute and School of Engineering. The application process is expected to be highly competitive. Proposals will be evaluated for clarity in describing the significance of the research, the impact of the Catalyst award on the research program, and a specific vision for the translation of this award to continued external funding.  Proposals will also be evaluated on originality/innovation and appropriateness for the funding period and budget. Only complete applications submitted by the deadline and consistent with the application instructions will be considered.  Late or incomplete proposals will not be reviewed.

Application Instructions

Submit completed applications to by 5:00 p.m. on April 11, 2017. Questions can be directed to Doug Daniels ( or Don Pair (

Applications should contain the following 6 elements, with parts 1-5 compiled as a single PDF.

1. Project Proposal (maximum 6 pages):

  • Project title
  • Project team: Name and UD affiliation of each member
  • Funding period: Summer 2017 or Summer 2018. Other periods will be considered under unusual circumstances.
  • Abstract: maximum 200 words
  • Proposal narrative: Background and significance, methodology and references. For collaborative applications, the role played by each member of the project team should be included, as well as the planned modes of collaboration/interaction among the project team
  • Outcomes: Timeline for the project and expected outcomes (external funding from specific agencies and granting mechanisms, contracts, external partnerships, publications, etc.)

2. Budget Narrative, that includes:

  • Total budget requested
  • Explanation of research expenses
  • Statement articulating how the project would change if project were funded at 50% of request.

3. Disclosures: Current or pending funding (internal or external), conflicts of interest, etc. for each applicant

4. Curriculum Vitae or Biosketch for each applicant

5. A brief letter of support from the department Chair for each applicant (maximum 1 page/individual)

6. Budget Template: A spreadsheet template for budgets is included with this call for proposals. Budgets must be submitted using this template.

Funding Restrictions

Recipients may not receive more than 100% of their 12-month equivalent compensation. Faculty previously committed to 2017 summer teaching assignments may teach up to one course. Projects involving human or animal subjects must receive applicable IRB or IACUC approval prior to receipt of funds.  Funds for the 2017 cycle will be distributed beginning May 16, 2017 and must be exhausted by May 15, 2018.

Acceptance Requirements

For 2017 awards, a final report detailing the outcomes of the award: research outcomes, external funding applied for or received, manuscripts, etc. is due before May 18, 2018 or reapplication to this program. All grantees commit to pursuing external funding for Catalyst-sponsored research within 12-18 months of receipt of funds and to providing copies of submitted applications. Scholarly work arising from this award must acknowledge this granting mechanism. Recipients of the summer 2017 awards are expected to share the results of the supported research internally at a forum designed for this purpose convened in the 2017-18 academic year.

For 2018 awards, a final report detailing the outcomes, external funding applied for or received, manuscripts, etc. will be due by May 18, 2019. Recipients of the summer 2018 awards are expected to share the results of the supported research internally at a form designed for this purpose convened in the 2018-19 academic year.