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Strategic Investment Program Tier 3

Arts, Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences


Tier 3 awards will support projects in the area of arts, humanities, social and behavioral sciences.  Proposals in this tier will require a 25% match from the campus. For those proposals originating in departments in the Arts and Humanities, special consideration for waiving the cost-sharing requirements may be requested, conditional on letters from the department chair and dean explaining the financial strain of the match. For all other proposals, letters from the funding source (i.e. department chair/dean, external commitment) confirming the financial match are required. 

This funding will help faculty:

  • initiate their innovative creative work and research programs
  • provide seed money for preliminary creative work and research leading to external funding from federal agencies, foundations and donors
  • provide support for faculty beginning a new direction of their creative work and research
  • provide resources for excellent scholarship in fields for which external support may be quite limited.

These key factors will be considered in the review of projects:

  • quality of the proposed research or creative activity
  • importance and probable impact the proposed work may have on the field
  • potential of the project to obtain future external funding
  • potential value for enhancing the stature of the university
  • project design and procedures
  • resources and environment available to carry out the project
  • value for development of the applicant's research potential
  • quality, productivity, and current research/creative work of the applicant
  • budget appropriateness in terms of the project and the board's resources, including consideration of need and availability of external support

Projects that would not be possible without Tier 3 funding and which have significant promise for long term impact are of particular interest, since such projects may generate substantial return on investment over the investigator’s career. Proposals from young faculty are encouraged, in part because a modest investment may make a large impact over the course of their career. New initiatives of senior faculty who are expanding beyond their traditional areas of expertise are also encouraged. All funding, regardless of the rank of the applicant, is extremely competitive.

Awards are not renewable. The Strategic Investment Program will not serve as a source of continuing support for specific projects or facilities. Awards normally are for a one-year period, but longer terms (up to a maximum of two years) are permitted if fully justified in the proposal.



Applications must be initiated by faculty to fill a specific need for support. Each proposal must have a primary applicant (or principal investigator) responsible for conducting the project and submitting a final report. Collaborative projects may have one or more co-applicants. PI’s may request up to $75,000 for projects or publication subventions. Proposals may request salaries for personnel who are integrally involved in performing the research or creative activity. These include:

  • graduate research assistants (minimum of $18,000 per year)
  • undergraduate assistants (up to $3,000 per semester)
  • postdoctoral associates
  • visiting scholars
  • research assistants/associates
  • technicians and
  • special assistants

Neither the PI nor the Co-PIs are eligible to receive salary stipends, including summer salary support. Faculty, including non-tenure-track research faculty, on 11/12-month appointment are not eligible for salary support (Postdocs are the exception).

Calculate fringe benefits at the current university rate.

Small equipment, supplies, costs associated with travel to research sites, and other justified research expenses may be requested.

Teaching replacement costs will be considered when there is a strong justification for the applicant to be released from teaching during the academic year. With this support, recipients of any academic rank will be replaced by a teaching assistant or other qualified instructor. The maximum rate accepted is $7,500, including benefits per course. Arrangement for teaching replacement must be with the department chair. Requests are regularly for one semester. Requests exceeding two semesters will not be awarded.


Requests for other types of support will be considered if the request represents a critical research need or offers an important opportunity to promote scholarship and creativity. Some examples include:

  • a special library acquisition might have important implications for a particular faculty research effort
  • a workshop or conference might be needed to discuss an important new technology or to consolidate a substantial faculty group effort
  • travel to visit funding agencies to discuss research concepts

These examples are intended to be illustrative, not all-inclusive. Applicants are encouraged to present and justify only their most critical needs, recognizing that resources are limited in relation to the needs for research support.

Awards are not renewable. This mechanism will not be a source of continuing support for specific projects or facilities. Other types of support that are normally excluded are listed in the box below.

Tier 3 will NOT provide certain types of support. These include:

  • bridge funding 
  • summer salary as PI and Co-PI 
  • academic salaries for faculty on 9 or 11-month appointments (includes ranked, non-tenure track faculty whose title includes the word Professor)
  • student tuition or fees
  • graduate research assistantship appointments for greater than 50 percent time
  • stipends for graduate students not enrolled at the University during the academic year
  • salaries for emeritus professors in excess of $10,000.
  • travel to meetings and symposia, or to principal sabbatical leave destinations
  • book publication subventions for non-refereed or commercial presses
  • computer time or data ports on University computers
  • dissertation preparation costs (copying, typing, binding)
  • construction and remodeling of facilities, equipment maintenance costs
  • professional dues/memberships/subscriptions
  • secretarial support
  • general departmental supplies

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Applications must be initiated by faculty to fill a specific need for support. Each proposal must have a primary applicant (or principal investigator) responsible for conducting the project and submitting a final report. Collaborative projects may have one or more co-applicants.

Tenured, tenure-track, and ranked non-tenure-track faculty members are eligible to apply as primary applicants. In exceptional cases that present advantages for the university, emeritus faculty may be considered for support.

Only one proposal from a primary applicant will be considered in any review cycle.

Only proposals with outcomes that clearly and primarily focus on arts, humanities, or social and behavioral sciences will be considered for review.

Revised Proposals: Proposals revised in response to a previous review will be considered, but repeated submission of the same proposal is discouraged. The maximum number of resubmissions of the same project is limited to two over a five year time period. Revised applications judged to have little or no change may not be sent out for peer review.

Primary applicants who have received a Tier 3 award may apply again no sooner than one year from the official end date of the most recent award. In reports accompanying subsequent applications, primary applicants who have been funded must demonstrate explicitly the impact of previous support on their scholarship and grant seeking activity. 



Tier 3 will provide book publication assistance to faculty in cases where the publisher:

  • is a non-commercial press
  • uses a peer-review mechanism for selecting books to publish, and
  • stipulates that a subvention is necessary for the book to be published, as in the case where the anticipated sale is too small or too slow to permit timely recovery by the publishers of the initial production expense.

Authors should not suggest the possibility of a publication subvention in their communications with publishers.

The Strategic Investment Program’s policy for publication subventions requires that a copy is provided of all peer reviews available and specific terms of the proposed contract between author and publisher, including the subvention required and the terms under which any revenue generated by the sale of the work shall be returned to the author. Scanned copies of the peer reviews and the proposed contract must be appended to the proposal narrative.

The author shall provide a copy of the book for its inspection, which will subsequently be donated to the library on the author's campus.



Recipients of Tier 3 are expected to manage the funds awarded to them. The amount and type of support awarded is outlined in the award notice. Projects should begin within six months of the award notice. PS Chartfields are requested by the appropriate campus representative with the primary applicant as the responsible person. Tier 3 funds may not be used for any other purpose, and no expenditure should be incurred before the start date. All awarded funds should be spent prior to the project end date. Unspent balances in awards will be returned 60 days after the project end date.

Host Requirements

Awardees must secure a host department at another UM campus to present the results or to display the creative work. A letter or email of agreement from the host department must be included in the proposal. The Strategic Investment Program will pay for the travel up to $500; those costs should not be part of the proposal budget. For assistance, please contact your campus Research Office.

Budget Revisions

Rebudgeting of funds into summer salary or teaching replacements funds is not permitted. Most modifications in the use of funds (e.g., purchasing supplies, using equipment funds or substituting equipment items) within the guidelines in this document are permitted without prior approval. However, budget modifications which exceeds the amount approved by more than $1,000 requires prior approval from the designated campus official.

Grant extensions

The designated campus official may authorize a no-cost extension of the grant period for up to one year beyond the original termination date, provided the awardee submits a written justification for such an extension at least 30 days before the termination date. Only in extenuating circumstances will additional time extension beyond the one year be considered.

Reports and Acknowledgments

The financial report is submitted by the campus representative office within 60 days of the project’s termination. At that time, any unspent funds will be returned to the Tier 3 account.

An Award Report (technical report) is also required after one year following the project's end date. Primary applicants agree by accepting the award to submit the required award report. The purpose of the report is to evaluate the Tier 3 program. It will be used to track publications, other relevant works, and external funding from awards.

Tier 3 support shall be acknowledged in all publications, exhibits, and performances that result from support.



Summary and Support Form

  • Proposal Summary: The summary of the proposed project must be kept within the designated space, but should be as descriptive as possible. It is critical to the success of an application. Supply major and specific objectives, the general approach and the significance to the area and to the stature of the university.
  • Support Information: Use "P" for Pending, "A" for Awarded, or "D" for Declined/Rejected to indicate status. Failure to provide the following information in the prescribed format will result in return of the proposal.
    • List other funding for this project and indicate any overlap with other funding in the format requested.
    • List all funding, including start up funds, for your other research and creativity activity in the format requested. If there are none, enter "NA."
    • Previous research board Applications/Support by Primary Applicant and All Co-Applicants
    • List any previous research board applications/support (as primary applicant or co-applicant). If primary applicant, you must include a copy of the award report; if co-applicant, list PI, title of project, and amount of award. Award reports for the past five years should be included in the award report section of the application. Additional accomplishments resulting from the award may be described in this section.
  • Suggested Reviewers: Applicants should list at least three appropriate reviewers. However, past and present collaborators of the applicant(s) and members of their primary department(s) are ineligible to serve as reviewers. External reviewers (non-UM) may be listed as well.

Biographical Sketch Forms

Complete an abbreviated 2-page biographical sketch form for each applicant directly involved on the proposed project (additional forms should be completed for co-applicants). Accomplishments section may not exceed two pages. No additional biographical information shall be submitted unless specifically requested by the board. Biographical information for non-university consultants may also be submitted in this section, but no other biographical information shall be included unless specifically requested by the board. Substitution of any other biographical sketch forms is not allowable.

Budget Section and Justification

A detailed budget and justification must be included on the online Detailed Budget Page after the narrative with descriptive titles and names, if available. Specify salaries, fringe benefits (up to 33.87 percent of benefit eligible employees; 0 percent for students, 8 percent for part time employees), and number of months on this project. All personnel costs including teaching replacement costs are to be placed in the personnel section on the budget form. Indicate each item of equipment with detailed cost breakdown, categorize supplies (e.g., glassware, radioisotopes, canvas, oils), list costs associated with travel (research site only), computer software, etc. Travel costs (travel/meals/lodging) are ONLY allowed for visiting research sites or collaboration on the project. Expenses which are considered "other" could be for lab animals, animal housing, or participant costs, etc.  All budget items should be rounded to the nearest dollar. Proposed budget allocations to co-applicants must be specified. If project is multi campus, budget items must be specified in the budget justification section.


Beginning with page 1, each page must be consecutively numbered. The narrative should be brief, yet consistent with critical peer review. Normally, the narrative will be at least two pages; however, it must not exceed 10 pages excluding the bibliography. The narrative must be double spaced (3 lines per inch); and you may not exceed 15 characters per inch. The narrative should have 1-inch margins. The references may be single spaced. If images/graphics are inserted into your narrative, we suggest that you convert to JPEG files before inserting. The narrative should address the following items:

  • A statement of overall and specific objectives
  • Significance of the project to research or creative activity in the specific field, and its potential value in enhancing the stature of the University
  • Background and rationale
  • Preliminary work/results
  • Project design and procedures proposed to accomplish the objectives
  • Resources and environment (describe relevant support facilities and services, intellectual resources, etc.)
  • Explanation of the reason the research board is asked to support the project (is external support unavailable, insufficient, interrupted, etc.)
  • Plans for future support for this or closely related projects; specifically, state how research board support would increase your potential to obtain extramural funding,
  • If applicable, how does this fit into the NextGen Initiative; and
  • REVISED PROPOSALS FROM RESEARCH BOARD should include your response to previous peer reviews. Your response should be on page one of your narrative and you will be allowed up to one additional page in your narrative for this section. Your rebuttal should explain how the proposal has been changed (or not changed) in response to the previous peer reviews.

Bibliography Section

A maximum of two pages is allowed for a bibliography as it relates to this project. Include full titles and may be single-spaced.

Compliance with Oversight Committees
If your proposal involves human subjects, vertebrate animals, rDNA or biohazards or export controls or select agents, approval must be obtained from the oversight committees on your campus. Verification must be received in the designated campus official's office prior to setting up an account.



Applications must be received no later than 5 p.m. on April 20, 2020. Applications will be reviewed and decisions will be made by June 30, 2020.


Reviewed 2020-04-02