What is a large, complex grant proposal?

In general, large, complex grant proposals involve a combination of two or more of the following:

  • Have large budgets (usually, but not always >$1 million)
  • Involve more than one unit within the College of the Environment
  • Involve more than one college
  • Have a multidisciplinary focus
  • Involve cooperators from other institutions
  • Have a strong outreach and education component

Why the Dean’s Office is willing to invest in them

Large, complex grants provide the opportunity for College researchers to have a disproportionate impact on the science of their discipline. Success with these types of grants provides financial and reputational rewards to the researcher, units, and the College. Since these types of projects are by definition complex and risky, the Dean’s Office is willing to make a strategic investment in a limited number of large, complex grants, taking into account their potential return on investment.

Criteria for support from the Dean’s Office

The Dean’s Office will consider providing support for proposals that involve some combination of the following factors:

  • Transformational research
  • Multidisciplinary research
  • Diversity within the research team (e.g., age, gender, minorities, academic discipline)
  • High risk, high payoff innovative research
  • New research area
  • Involves underrepresented or underserved populations
  • Includes undergraduate or graduate student support
  • Provides mentoring for younger faculty (included as Co-PIs)

Proposals will be evaluated qualitatively. Chances of receiving Dean’s Office support are strongly influenced by:

  • Meeting one or more of the above criteria
  • High potential return on investment
  • Strategic investment in a high risk project
  • Complexity of proposal and size of budget
  • PI experience and perceived need for support

Examples of types of support the dean’s office can provide

The following are some examples of how the Dean’s Office has provided support for large, complex grant proposals in the past. Please note, the Dean’s Office will not provide all of these for each proposal.

  • Small amount of salary buyout (2-4 weeks with unit match)
  • Funding to hire a technical editor
  • Funding to hire a graphic artist
  • Jointly sponsor a site visit (with unit match)
  • Requesting Provost matching funds (<1/3 of total match)
  • Provost generally requires that full indirect cost rate be applied
  • Requesting that the Office of Research return some or all of the indirect costs to the College for use by the project
  • Working with the Office of Research to find space for the project

Large, complex proposals to private foundations: How advancement can help

The College’s Advancement team is well tuned in to the specifics of applying for funding from private foundations. They regularly evaluate new prospects and RFPs, work with faculty and senior staff to coordinate long-term engagement strategies, and assist with developing and editing proposals to private foundations. In the realm of large, complex grant proposals, Advancement can help with the following:

  • Provide background information about funders
  • Identify and articulate strategies and goals
  • Assist with proposal development
  • Make sure proposals clear internal reviews
  • Assist with ongoing stewardship