Section Menu

Office of Grants & Sponsored Research

Proposal Improvement and Research Incentive Fund (PIRI)

The goal of the Proposal Improvement and Research Incentive (PIRI) fund is to further faculty research and scholarship by providing grants of up to $2,000 to help faculty make their external grant proposals and applications more competitive and fundable. It is expected that faculty who receive PIRI funding will apply for an external grant or fellowship from a major funding agency within one year of receiving their grant.

Eligibility and Requirements:  Full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty are eligible to apply for a Proposal Improvement and Research Incentive (PIRI) grant.

Individual faculty members have unique needs regarding the kinds of investments and professional development that will help them become better positioned to apply (or reapply) for and receive external grants and fellowships. In order to ensure that faculty are requesting the best possible form of funding for their individual needs, faculty are strongly encouraged to discuss with the Director of Grants and Sponsored Research activities for which they plan to seek support. Below is a list of possible activities for which faculty can seek PIRI funding:

  • Travel support to meet with possible grant collaborators.
  • Travel and registration support to attend well-regarded grant-writing workshops, ideally sponsored by funders. A list of recommended workshops/webinars is available.
  • Funds to hire an expert to review and critique a proposal prior to submission.
  • Funding to engage an evaluation expert to help develop a proposal’s formative and summative evaluation plan and assessment tools.
  • Funding to attend writing workshops or retreats to prepare manuscripts for submission and thereby improve one’s publication record.
  • Research supplies, materials, or equipment to help generate preliminary research data or pilot studies.
  • Support for an undergraduate research assistant to assist with generating preliminary data or other preliminary research.
  • With Provost approval, faculty proposal development stipends for large, collaborative proposals that are highly transformative and institutional in scope. 

Upon successful submission of a faculty member’s grant proposal to a major funding agency, the individual will receive $1,000 as additional research or scholarly development incentive funds ($3,000 total). For the purposes of this program, a major funding agency is defined as a federal, private, or corporate grant-maker that is national or international in scope and uses a peer review process to review proposals and make awards over $50,000. 

Application Materials:  To be considered for a Proposal Improvement and Research Incentive grant, the following materials should be emailed to Devon Massot, Director of Grants and Sponsored Research at

(1) A summary (2,000 words or less) of (a) your research or scholarly project; (b) the proposed proposal development or improvement activity, timeline, and associated costs, and; (c) how this grant will enhance your professional development and promote future grant activity.

(2) A brief description of the external grant or fellowship program for which you plan to develop a proposal, its deadline, and your estimated budget amount.

(3) A one sentence statement of willingness to share what you learn with other faculty members.

(4) A copy of your current CV.

Deadline:  Proposals will be accepted and awards will be made on an ongoing basis throughout the year, contingent upon availability of funds. PIRI funds are made available through a portion of recovered indirect costs on federal grants received by the College. Continued support is contingent upon receipt of additional awards with indirect-costs.

Evaluation and Selection Process:  Funding will be determined through a competitive process conducted by a three-person committee consisting of the Director of Grants and Sponsored Research, a representative from the Office of the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, and a representative of the Office of the Provost. In addition, the Provost’s Office reserves the right to make expeditious decisions when needed. Proposals will be judged on the completeness of the application, the quality of the research or scholarly project and perceived value of the work, the likelihood that the applicant will complete and submit an external proposal in the timeline provided, and the faculty member’s record of scholarship.