Research Council – Frequently Asked Questions
This document is a work in progress – it will be updated as questions are asked, you guessed it, frequently.
The Application Process
Q: What is the deadline for applications?
Wednesday, April 7th
Wednesday, April 14th, 2010, 4:00 pm
Q: Where do I turn in the application?
A: A complete application consists of one paper copy (including the approval signatures) and one electronic copy. Both should be delivered to the RC Chair, currently Chad Turner, who can be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at 448-4194, and in person 102C White Hall.
Q: May I include supplemental materials in my application?
A: Yes. We ask your limit your narrative to 10 pages, but in some instances, supplemental materials are quite helpful. A recent example included a music grant in which a CD containing performances was included.
Q: When will the decisions be announced?
A: RC hopes to have the decisions announced by July 1st. However, we do not wish to announce decisions until we have a firm commitment from University administration about funding. As a result, the decisions may be subject to delay associated with the finalization of the budget.
Q: What feedback will I receive if my grant is not funded?
A: The numerical scores of each individual RC member will not be provided. These numerical scores serve as an internal device to initially rank research proposals. Past experience suggests this initial classification serves to select a number of proposals that are deemed high priority to fund and a second group that are deemed unlikely to fund. For those marginal cases, an internal RC discussion ensues and the decision is ultimately made, as a committee. A compilation of the comments that RC evaluators noted in scoring each grant component, however, will be provided.
Q: How much information from my grant will be publicly available?
A: For those receiving funding, RC will post the name of the investigator, the title of the grant, and the amount of money awarded. This information will also be announced at Faculty Institute. In the future, as a service to potential future RC grant writers, RC would also like to post the full text of these grants on the RC website (with the permission of the PI).
Q: If I am awarded a grant, how long do I have to spend my money?
A: As the grants are serviced on the Universities fiscal year, grant monies must be spent by June 1 of the year following the grant award.
Q: Can I carryover unspent money to the following fiscal year?
A: No. Not only can you not carryover this money, RC cannot carryover this money. If you don’t spend the money, it is returned to the University’s general operating fund. RC asks if an unforeseen event results in your being unable to spend all of the money you were awarded that you contact RC as soon as possible.
Q: Will I be asked to provide documentation after the grant cycle is complete?
A: Yes. In the fall following the completion of the grant, you will be contacted to report on the disposition of your grant using the Final Report Form. This report is extremely important for RC.
Q: If I was awarded a grant last year, may I apply again this year?
A: No. As a new policy, RC will not fund the same principal investigator in consecutive years. While we certainly don’t with to punish well-written interesting grant proposals, one of the missions of the RC is to include more people in the grant-writing process.
Q: I applied, but wasn’t awarded a grant last year. May I reapply with the same grant proposal?
A: Yes. Of course a reapplication that responds to the feedback given stands a higher chance of being funded that one that is substantively unchanged.
Q: What is a good description of “duties of personnel”?
A: A description that seems reasonable. One where the investigator seems qualified to carry out the grant they are suggesting. One where, if student labor is being utilized, the duties assigned to the students are appropriate and students are capable of completing these duties. One where the roles of the people involved in the grant are clearly described and reasonable?
Q: Who is eligible to apply?
A: Any Nicholls employee for who research is a portion of their job description. Again, see the website for examples of grants that have been funded.
Q: What is the status of this year’s RC budget?
A: We have been told to go forward and therefore are anticipating a full $25,000 budget. However, as you all know, the budget situation is fluid.
Q: Why do I have to fill out a budget form and a separate budget narrative?
A: These two forms serve two different purposes. The budget narrative is designed so that research council evaluators can understand how the money requested fits with the purpose of the grant. It is here that RC requests you be detailed. Note the budget narrative is part of the overall grant evaluation. Should the grant be funded, the budget form is for university accounting purposes - setting up and monitoring the accounts.
Q: What is the distinction between a supply and equipment?
A: With the exception of software (which is always a supply regardless of the cost), an item that is less than $1000 is always classified as a supply, and an item is $1000 or more is always classified as equipment.
Q: What is the typical size of a grant awarded by RC?
A: It varies. The grants awarded in the last two grant cycles are available on the website. While there is no “rule”, given the RC annually awards $25,000, a grant would have to be very impressive to receive, say $10,000. However, each grant is judged on its own merits.
Q: Can travel to a conference be funded?
A: Yes. So long as the conference is related to the project (e.g. to present research generated as a result of the grant), travel to the conference, lodging at the conference, and registration fees can be awarded.
Q: Can I pay myself or my Co-PI a salary?
A: Unfortunately, no. Nor can you kick back money to research council members.
Q: Should my budget include indirect costs?
Q: Part of my grant involves funding for a survey. May I request funds to offer a reward / gift card?
A: No. All purchases must meet state guidelines on purchasing. Unfortunately, gift cards are not allowed.
Q: May I request funds for promotional materials?
A: No. All purchases must meet state guidelines on purchasing. Promotional materials are not allowed.
Q: Can I pay student workers more than minimum wage?
A: Unfortunately, no.
Q: What is the maximum number of hours a student worker is allowed to work in a week?
Q: Can student workers be employed over Spring (Winter, Summer) break?
A. Yes. However, student labor must be completed no later than May 31st to accommodate fiscal year close out.