Faculty Research Fund

Proposal Deadline for Spring FRF Cycle: May 6, 2024, at midnight

Proposals will now be submitted via Qualtrics:


Information & Proposal Guidelines for FRF Applicants

Read below to learn the purpose of the Faculty Research Fund (FRF), the kinds of activities that are and are not supported, and the principal criteria and priorities used in making funding decisions. This program is different from the PROF fund in that it targets smaller projects with grants of up to $3000 for actual costs incurred. Funding decisions will be made by the Academic Planning Committee of the Faculty Senate (APC) in collaboration with the Senior Vice Provost for Research and Graduate Education.


FRF grants aim to stimulate research, scholarship, and creative activity by DU faculty. 


All appointed faculty are eligible for FRF grants (adjunct faculty are not eligible for this grant). All eligible faculty are encouraged to apply; however, in allocating funding, higher priority will be given to:

  • Assistant Professors 
  • Applicants from the Teaching and Professional Faculty and Library series 
  • Applicants who have not received a grant from this fund within the past three years 
  • Applicants who have not received other internal funding within the past two years 
  • Applicants who have not received external funding for the proposed project
  • Development of scholarly and creative products (e.g., research or fabrication) versus only dissemination (e.g., publication or exhibition) 

*Please note that there is a limit of one application—with a funding request for only one project—per faculty member per funding cycle. 

Use of the Funds

FRF funds are intended to cover faculty expenses beyond normal departmental support. They are not intended to relieve departmental budgets. Most expenses for research and creative activity are eligible. For example, funds can be used to cover materials, specialized equipment, research assistants, copying from archives and special collections, transcribing interviews, coding data, duplicating and mailing questionnaires, and publication page charges. Funds can also be used to cover necessary travel (e.g., transportation, housing, and meals). 

A small number of expenses, however, are explicitly excluded from FRF support. No funds will be provided for: 

  • Faculty salary 
  • Course release 
  • Student research (i.e., for the student's own project) 
  • Conference attendance  
  • Curriculum development 
  • Routine office expenses 

Ordinarily, grants are made only for expenses that have not yet been incurred. However, if a time-sensitive opportunity presents itself in the period between FRF application deadlines—for example, an interview subject becomes unexpectedly available, or while working in an archive in city A, one becomes aware of material in city B—a request for retroactive funding may be submitted at the next application deadline. Explain the timing and nature of the opportunity that required the expense before the FRF proposal cycle. Such requests will be evaluated solely based on the established criteria, without consideration of the timing of the expense. 

Funds ordinarily must be spent within 24 months of the grant award date. However, if you know of a research opportunity a year in advance, you need not wait until the closest deadline to request FRF support. 

If in doubt about whether your activity meets the guidelines for funding, please contact the Vice Provost for Research (corinne.lengfeld@du.edu) or the Chair of the Faculty Senate Academic Planning Committee (jennifer.campbell@du.edu).  

Selection Criteria

Evaluation of proposals will be based on the following: 

  • Clear conceptual development of the research issue 
  • Clear rationale for the project and a discussion of why it is important 
  • Appropriateness of budget—each funded expense must be eligible for support and explicitly justified 
  • Importance of the proposed work to the faculty member's professional development 
  • Potential for enhancing the reputation of the faculty member, the academic unit, and the University of Denver as seen in the likelihood of eventual publication, exhibit, or performance 
  • Likelihood of successful completion of the project within the timeline and budget 
  • Eligibility criteria 

Instruction for Formatting & Submitting Your Proposal

Please email your proposal as a single PDF file and your completed Excel budget template to FRFSubmissions@du.edu. (Include your last name and "F23 FRF” in the file title for each). 

For your proposal, please use single-spacing, 12-point font, and 1-inch page margins, and please include the following five sections (numbered 1-5): 

  • 1. Contact Info

    Name, department/unit and School, rank/appointment, and contact email

  • 2. Title & Abstract

    Please provide a project title plus an abstract of no more than 100 words describing your project in a manner understandable by a general audience. (If you are awarded an FRF grant, your abstract may be posted on DU web pages).

  • 3. Current Funding Profile

    Please provide information about grants or funding awards you have received over the past 3 years, or any grants or funding awards with which you are currently working; specify the name of the award and/or source of funding and the project for which the funding was received. Please note that when comparing two equally excellent proposals, unfunded or under-funded applicants will be prioritized. 

  • 4. Narrative

    Taking great care to write in a way that is understandable to members of the APC (who are from many different disciplines) and keeping to a 1000-word limit, please provide a brief narrative describing your project and HOW YOU PROPOSE TO USE FRF funds. Your narrative will be judged by the following six criteria, which you should address clearly in their respective text boxes and within the word limits:

    • Concept: Describe the purpose of your research, your methodology, and how you will use or disseminate the completed work. Remember that you are writing for non-expert colleagues who may not be familiar with field-specific practices and technical jargon, so include definitions or context required to understand the project. (600 words max)
    • Rationale: Explain the significance and impact of your project. What new knowledge or creative expression will be generated and how will it contribute to the ongoing conversation or innovation in your field? (200 words)
    • Professional Development: Explain how progress on or completion of this project supports your professional development, including if the project is significant for your reappointment, promotion, or post-tenure review. (100 words )
    • Reputation: Explain how you expect the project will enhance your academic reputation, your department's reputation, and the University's reputation. (100 words)
    • Completion: Provide a timeline for the project's completion and explain how securing FRF funds will help you complete the project within this timeline. (100 words)

    Please use these subheadings so that the APC can easily tell where you address each of these six criteria. And remember, the APC is made up of your colleagues from across campus who may not be knowledgeable about your field; please make sure that your narrative is clear, concise, and non-technical.

  • 5. Budget & Budget Justification

    The 7th criterion used to evaluate your application is your Budget Justification. Provide a clear list of expenses for which you are requesting funding. For each expense, indicate the purpose, location/vendor, amount, and a brief statement of how the travel, materials, etc. contribute to the completion of the project. Please indicate if expenses are needed for the development of your scholarly and creative product (e.g., research or fabrication) or dissemination (e.g., publication or exhibition). If justification for an item is not specific, the APC may deduct the item from the amount awarded.

    (You no longer need to submit a separate budget template.)

    Here are some useful tips: 

    • If you want the FRF to pay for a research assistant, specify: How much are you paying the person per hour? What is the justification for this pay rate based on university scales and/or professional field scales? How did you determine how many total hours the research assistant would need for a given activity? 
    • University pay rates for student labor range from about $19-$26 per hour, depending on the type of student support and their level of experience and specialization. See more guidance on pay rates and position classifications.
    • If you want the FRF to pay for airfare or other transportation, specify: How did you arrive at the dollar amount you are seeking? 
    • If you want the FRF to pay for meals, specify: What is the U.S. government's per diem for meals for the city in which you will be staying? 
    • If you want the FRF to pay for lodging, specify: What is the U.S. government's per diem for lodging for the city in which you will be staying? 
    • If you want the FRF to pay for a budget item that might on the surface appear to some APC members to be ineligible for FRF funding—e.g., faculty salaries, course releases, student projects, conference attendance, curriculum development, or routine office expenses—specify: Why should the APC view the item as eligible? For example, why should the APC view the item as something other than a routine office expense? 

Final Report

A brief (one page) written report must be submitted electronically to the Office of the Senior Provost for Research (corinne.lengsfeld@du.edu) as soon as possible after the close of the project period, and no later than six months after the funds from the grant have been spent. The report should compare the project's outcome or progress against what was laid out in the proposal, and it is required before the applicant is eligible for future funding from the DU Faculty Research Fund.