Faculty Research Support Program opportunities coming up

Author: Gene Stowe

Grant size enables multinational projects

The Office of the Vice President for Research Internal Grants Program, established in 2007, opens four competitions for University research support including the Faculty Research Support Program (FRSP) that is currently underway.

The deadline for this year’s Faculty Research Support Initiation Grants and Faculty Support Regular Grants was Oct. 28. In December, two additional opportunities will be announced: the Library Acquisition Grants Program and the Equipment Restoration and Renewal Program, both with a submission deadline of Feb. 3.

Vice President for Research Bob Bernhard divided a former program into the library and equipment programs when he arrived. He maintained the Faculty Research Support Initiation Grant Program and created the Faculty Research Support Regular Grant Program to fill a gap in research funding for creative scholarly activities not suitable for external funding. The Office of the Vice President for Research Internal Grants Program has awarded $7.4 million since 2007, including 20 awards worth $1.4 million last year.

“It opened up the horizons,” Bernhard says. “This new size of grant enabled support for projects that included multinational studies, whereas before they wouldn’t have had the resources to do things in other countries. We’ve seen situations where people might have worked on these projects by themselves and with FRSP support can now hire research assistants, either undergraduate or grad research assistants, and help them explore things they wouldn’t have been able to research otherwise.”

For example, Tim Matovina, who helped develop an international research project during the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, says the FRSP Regular Grant Program was critical to the initiative that recruited 15 scholars to study the council’s effects in different dioceses.

“We never could have done it without that funding,” he says. “It’s not the kind of project that would have gotten outside funding.” Justyna Powell, who received an FRSP Initiation Grant to visit scholars for her project, “Islamic Law and States’ Foreign Policy Behavior,” is now applying for a FRSP Regular Grant to further the research, which will lead to a book.

“This grant gave me money to travel domestically to meet other scholars in the United States,” she says. “Those people put me in touch with scholars that I was able to visit abroad. The grant was amazing. It was very generous, and the people in the Office of the Vice President for Research were very flexible to meet my needs.”

Although the grants awarded often focus on projects within the humanities and arts, they are open to faculty researchers in all colleges and departments across the campus.

“In the past we have funded work for science and engineering that would not line up with their funded research but would be great pieces of work to come from Notre Dame,” Bernhard says, such as an engineering study of how acoustics in worship spaces relates to worship practices. “I want to leave it open to engineers and scientists who might want to do this kind of work that would not typically be funded by external agencies.”

A review of internal programs last year revealed that the opportunity was “insufficiently recognized across the campus,” says Hildegund Muller, a Classics professor who wasn’t aware of the program at first and now spends part of her time as an associate vice president for research to promote it.

“The ideal project is meant to produce a finished product that reflects on the high quality of research and scholarship at Notre Dame,” she says. “This is really very important for our profile as a wellrounded university. We don’t just fund scholarship but creative arts as well.”

Applying for the grants is not as complicated or paperwork-intensive as applying for most external grants, Muller says.

“It’s relatively unbureaucratic,” she says. “It works very much on a personal basis. We are available to advise people properly. The conditions for it in my view are not terribly restrictive. Those two programs sizes—$10,000 for the FRSP Initiation Grant and $100,000 for the FRSP Regular Grant—fit relatively nicely into the types of projects faculty are pursuing. People should just apply.”

For more information about the Internal Programs, please contact Heather Boyd, Research Development Program Director, or Rich Taylor, Associate Vice President for Research, at intprogs@nd.edu.

Originally published in the November 2013 issue of NDWorks.