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Research Excellence Program Overview – Storrs


Light Bulb with Seedling

Program Goals

The primary goal of the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) Research Excellence Program (REP) is to provide seed funding to fuel innovative research, scholarship, and creative endeavors with strong potential for:

  • Significant extramural funding from federal and state sponsors, corporations, industry partners, and foundations.
  • Achievements consistent with the highest standards of accomplishment in the discipline.

REP Funding Priorities

The program funds proposals of high scholarly merit, as determined by a peer review process facilitated by the OVPR. Proposals for research or creative projects in all areas and for a wide variety of purposes are encouraged. Prospective PIs should note the following:

  • The overall quality of the proposed scholarly endeavor as judged through a significant peer review process will be the primary criteria for award.
  • No preference will be given to proposals based on academic rank of the PI or Co-PIs.
  • Proposals with a strong likelihood of obtaining external funding and/or generating activities consistent with the highest standards of the discipline will be given the highest priority.
  • Significant consideration will be given to proposals that are aligned with the Academic Plan.
  • Prospective PIs (particularly junior faculty) should take advantage of the OVPR’s grant writing resources to help with the development of competitive proposals.  PIs with less grant writing experience are encouraged to seek the advice and support of colleagues who are successful grant writers.
  • Multi-PI, interdisciplinary projects are encouraged. Faculty are encouraged to use lincus (, a search engine that will assist in identifying specific faculty expertise at all UConn campuses including the Health Center.
  • Proposals addressing opportunities for technology commercialization may be submitted to the REP competition.


Basic REP Parameters

Proposals can be submitted to one of two broad categories with differing levels of funding available. Proposals should be submitted to the category that best represents the project goals and methods rather than the PI’s home department.

Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Social Sciences

  • Single PI awards capped at $25,000
  • Multi-PI, interdisciplinary awards capped at $50,000

Proposals should emphasize how the research will advance knowledge in the Sciences (basic and applied life science, physical sciences, mathematical science, social and behavioral sciences), technology, engineering, or society (applied research, interdisciplinary research).

Fine Arts, Humanities, Business, Law, and Engagement

  • Single PI awards capped at $10,000
  • Multi-PI, interdisciplinary awards capped at $25,000

Proposals should emphasize how the research, project, or scholarship will advance the arts, humanities, business, law, education, creative endeavors, or engaged scholarship (community partnerships, evaluation research, or participatory research).

Multi-PI, interdisciplinary proposals in either category must include PIs across multiple academic units, and must target external funding opportunities as the central reason for a REP award.  Each faculty member serving as a PI must be making a significant contribution to the development and direction of the project.

Each project should only be submitted only once per program year.  PIs may submit multiple applications as long as the projects described within are distinctly different lines of research. Cross-campus teams should decide which program (Storrs or UCH) they want to apply for.   The same project will not be considered multiple times per program year.


Funding Period

Generally, only one award per PI will be granted in a given fiscal year and no more than two awards made during a five year period within a single type of award. In most cases, awards will be made for one year, unless a compelling justification is made by the PI(s) for a longer funding period.

Eligibility to submit as PI

Tenured or Tenure-Track faculty members including: Assistant Professors, Associate Professors, and Full Professors. Clinical and extension faculty are also eligible to apply for REP grants. Non tenure-track “In-Residence” faculty and Research Professors are currently not eligible.  This competition is open to Storrs and Regional campus faculty only. UCH faculty can serve as Co-PIs but cannot submit as PIs. Proposals with cross-campus Co-PIs must choose to part of either the Storrs or UCH competitions unless the proposals are for distinctly different projects.

Faculty that are ineligible to submit as PI may serve as a collaborator (Co-I, consultant) on other PIs teams.


There will only be one REP competition per year.

  • A letter of intent to submit (LOI) is NO LONGER required
  • Full proposals must be submitted by 1/13/2017. Awards to be announced by May 1st during the week of May 15th
    (timeline updated).


Categories of Support

In support of their projects, PIs may request funding for student labor, graduate research assistants, summer fellowships for graduate students and/or PIs, course buyouts, equipment purchases, research-related travel, materials and supplies, and other direct costs.

The following items cannot be requested: clerical or administrative personnel salaries, including personnel whose primary purpose is to explore funding sources and/or prepare grant applications; service/maintenance contracts on equipment; laboratory renovations, or other infrastructure renovations; institutional memberships in professional organizations; travel to professional meetings to present the results of the research; travel to explore extramural funding opportunities; costs associated with the publication of results of the research, including page charges, purchase of reprints, or journal costs.

It is incumbent on the PI to make the strongest case possible for why a particular budget request is essential for the effective delivery of the project. Additional guidelines and instructions regarding REP project budgets are provided in PART 3: Budget Preparation.


Consideration must be given to the reviewers’ comments on your original submission when preparing a resubmission. Whether you agree or not, these comments must be addressed.

Review Process

Proposals will be peer reviewed by review panels created by the OVPR.  Care will be taken to create panels in appropriate numbers and composition to ensure that all proposals received rigorous review by qualified reviewers.  Review panels will consist of UConn faculty but may be supplemented by ad hoc reviewers (non-UConn faculty) when additional expertise is needed. Review panels will use guidelines, procedures, and evaluative criteria that are consistent with competitive extramural funding agencies. While the OVPR provides general feedback to those not funded, the OVPR’s decisions will be final and cannot be appealed.

Note: REP applications that do not follow guidelines will be returned without review.  This includes applications: failing to follow formatting guidelines, that are incomplete/missing required information, or submitted by ineligible PIs.  Multiple submissions of the same project will also not be considered.


Final Report

A two-page final report is required when the project is completed. Submission of the final report will be an important consideration in reviewing future proposals for any internal funding program. Submit final reports at