Thompson Center Research Grants are funded through a GPR appropriation under fund 116.
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1) Are these grants open to academic staff, or do we need a faculty PI?
Tenured or tenure-track faculty across the UW System are eligible to apply as a Principal Investigator (PI) on a proposal assuming they retain PI status on their campus. UW System employees (e.g., academic staff) who do not hold faculty status must submit a letter from their institution confirming they would be approved to serve as a Principal Investigator for the project with their proposal. Any non-faculty employee serving as a PI on the project would need a letter; the Thompson Center does not make a distinction on lead vs. co-PI. Applications from research teams are allowed.
2) Can one unit submit multiple proposals?
Multiple proposals by entities are allowed. Applicants are encouraged to put forth their strongest application, so that the Faculty Advisory Board (or its designated subcommittee) can focus on well-thought out, well-written applications which speak clearly to the relevance, importance, and expected impact of the research. Applicants are advised to avoid throwing some less than fully developed proposals out there in an effort to see what sticks.
3) Given the deadline to expend funds, can the grants be used to fund pieces of larger projects?
Awards can be used to fund pieces of larger projects, as long as the work is done in the period required and so long as there are clear objectives, benchmarks, and findings specified for the section of the project funded under this grant opportunity.
4) Could a faculty member hire a graduate student PA (project assistant) for the following academic year with these funds?
The UW cannot pre-pay a PA position for the next fiscal year. Awarded funds can only be used for the award’s period. The work needs to be completed within the granted fiscal year, and all granted funds must be fully expended by the end of the fiscal year.
5) Is there a format to be followed in submitting the application?
Formatting requirements necessitate that the applications be no longer than four pages, include page numbers centered at the bottom of the page, as well as being single-spaced, using a 12 point font, and maintaining 1 inch margins. The application must include a proposed budget that addresses how applicants will expend funds by the end of the fiscal year. Applicants are encouraged to follow a format which lends itself well to the best presentation of their proposed project.
6) Do all funds need to be expended by the end of the fiscal year? Does all of the work (outreach events, collected survey data, etc) on the project need to be fully completed by the end of the fiscal year?
Due to the Center’s budget being on a fiscal year, recipient(s) must present a plan for and expend all funds by the end of the fiscal year.
7) Can you provide feedback on a paragraph summarizing our project?
The Thompson Center is unable to provide advance feedback on proposal ideas, fit with the Request for Proposal (RFP), or layout before submission. However, we are happy to address questions on the application process.
8) Are Clinical Health Sciences Track faculty eligible to apply?
9) Will the Center be soliciting future rounds of grant applications?
10) Will “winners” of this first round be dissuaded from reapplication in the next round?
There’s no prohibition on applications in different rounds. Past recipients will not be dissuaded (discouraged/barred/looked on unfavorably) from reapplication in the next round.
11) How much money will be available for grants?
The total amount the Thompson Center is making available for grants will be a function of the budget along with the quality of proposals submitted for the fiscal year’s funding cycle.
12) Can funds be used for equipment?
Approval for equipment would require both a clear and compelling need and an explicit connection between the purposes of the grant and the equipment to be purchased.
13) What types of grants have been funded in the past?
Please see Grant Awards on the Thompson Center website.
14) Would the following items comprise allowable expenses?
- Summer salary support for myself as the PI (end of contract in May-June 30th);
- % of time for myself and other researcher;
- Graduate project assistant for 3 months (April, May and June);
- Cost for statistical and other consultation;
- Costs to support travel across state to meet with stakeholder groups and/or to hold focus groups;
- Costs to host the summit (location venue, planning costs, food, AV, etc…);
- Cost to develop printed report and graphics;
- Advertising costs for summit (website, brochures)
The Thompson Center is unable to provide advance feedback on proposal budgets, but it is able to confirm that with regard to allowable expenses, the standard UW rules apply regarding percentages of time that can be paid to existing faculty and researchers. The review panel has recommended that the maximum salary allowed for each P.I. not to exceed the equivalent of two summer months salary. Summer salary is an allowable expense as is hiring of project assistants, so long as all funds are expended by June 30 of the awards corresponding fiscal year. Reasonable costs to implement a project or program are allowed so long as they do not interfere with restrictions on percentages of time by existing UW employees. Applicants with complex budget questions are encouraged to work with their budget team to ensure that their proposed budget is fully in accordance with UW spending rules and regulations, especially in regards to staffing.
15) When you issue a call for proposals in the next fiscal year, will funding levels be about the same?
16) May I budget for faculty at another university?
Funds cannot be spent to fund faculty at institutions outside the University of Wisconsin System. Restrictions on the funds require that they be spent to support research undertaken directly by UW System faculty and researchers.
17) What costs are allowed for this funding opportunity?
In addition to covering summer salary through June 30 for UW System faculty and researchers, recipients are able to hire UW System students and to budget for reasonable non-staff costs in implementing their projects.
18) Can funding be used for researcher salary during any of the project months?
19) Where can I find UW budgeting rules to refer to when putting together my grant budget?
As you work on your proposal budget, these links may be of help:
Accounting services policy and procedure index: https://businessservices.wisc.edu/policies-and-procedures/
L&S Knowledge Base documents: The KBs can be found using the “see documents” link and/or a word search: https://kb.wisc.edu/ls/topics.php?c=1380&l=3&a=d
20) How are funding decisions made?
The Thompson Center will work with the Faculty Advisory Committee to recommend projects to award. Recommendations will then be reviewed by the Public Leadership Board and then awardees will be notified.
21) Can I host a meeting?
Recipients are able to budget for reasonable non-staff costs in implementing their projects, such as meeting costs.
22) Can student assistants include any type of student employees – RA’s/PA’s, hourlies, etc.?
Recipients are able to hire UW System students as RAs, PAs, or hourly workers and to budget for reasonable non-staff costs in implementing their projects.
23) Can Ph.D. candidates apply for funding?
Tenured or tenure-track faculty across the UW System are eligible to apply as a Principal Investigator (PI) on a proposal assuming they retain PI status on their campus. UW System employees (e.g., academic staff) who do not hold faculty status must submit a letter from their institution confirming they would be approved to serve as a Principal Investigator for the project with their proposal. PIs who receive a grant are able to hire Ph.D. candidates to assist with their projects as research assistants, project assistants, or student hourly workers.
24) Does a cover page or references/works cited count towards the 4 page application limit?
A cover page does not count towards the limit. Bibliographies/references cited are allowable and do not have to fit within the 4-page limit on the application narrative.
25) Do we need to include indirect costs in our budget, such as UW overhead?
Because this is not a federal grant, indirect costs cannot and should not be included in the budget for your project. Relevant fringe costs must be included.
26) When would we expect to hear back on our applications?
Around June, the Public Leadership Board will meet to review application funding recommendations made by the Faculty Advisory Committee. Selected recipients will be notified in the following weeks.
27) Will letters of support from collaborating third parties be accepted?
Letters of support from collaborating third parties will be accepted in the application. Letters of support do not have to fit within the 4-page limit, but should be brief.
28) Our application lists a target city/region/county. Is this permissible in the blind review process?
Providing the target city/region/county is permissible. The application should not state that the university/researchers are in the same city/region/county (if this is the case).
If the application must state that the university/researchers are in the same city/region/county, it could be helpful to generically describe the locale (e.g., x number of people, other descriptors) without naming outright.