The University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability's (SEAS) Sustainability Themes address global challenges at the nexus of environment and society:
- Cities + Mobility + Built Environment
- Climate + Energy
- Conservation + Restoration
- Food Systems
The themes are designed to serve as rallying points for collaborations around research, teaching, and civic engagement. The work across campus in these key areas is phenomenal, and the themes provide a framework for faculty from different units to be involved in a wide range of interdisciplinary activities in partnership with SEAS.
SEAS Themes Funds: Request for Proposals, due date 1/31/22
The UM Provost and Vice President for Research are interested in catalyzing research, scholarship, and engagement across UM schools and colleges to address complex societal problems and issues, including sustainability. The Provost’s Office provides internal funds to SEAS to use to build capacity to work across UM schools and colleges on the sustainability themes that were developed by a cross-campus process a few years ago. These five themes are: Cities, mobility & built environment, Climate & energy, Conservation & restoration, Food systems, and Water.
This RFP requests group proposals led by SEAS faculty[i] to use these funds. Group proposals ranging from $10k to $80k are welcome (although lesser and somewhat larger amounts will be considered). We anticipate awarding up to $400k in this round. Specific priorities are listed below, followed by instructions to apply.
- A primary goal is to build capacity for research and scholarship with collaborators across campus on the five sustainability themes. In the proposal, please describe how the proposed activity contributes to theme development across UM units, including SEAS. Another goal is to facilitate work across specializations within SEAS. Each proposal must have a faculty co-PI in at least one other UM unit; proposals that include multiple faculty from other schools and colleges as well as SEAS faculty across specializations will be given priority.
- A goal is to build the groundwork, relationships, databases, data analyses or other approaches to strengthen external grant proposals (particularly those with full IDC) across UM units. In the proposal, please describe how the work will contribute to this goal. Some funds may be budgeted to spend in other units where it contributes to this goal.
- External engagement with partners outside of academia is encouraged for relationship-building and capacity building. For example, funds might be used to develop an engagement activity that could strengthen the broader impacts portion of a future external grant proposal. The budget for these themes funds may include payments to external partners, such as NGOs, community groups, or nonprofits, for their participation.
- Alignments with aspects of SEAS’ mission and with other initiatives, either in SEAS or across campus, are encouraged and could be addressed in the proposal.
- Each proposal must have a lead PI who is a faculty member in SEAS. Each faculty member can be lead PI on only one funded proposal per fiscal year, but may be a co-PI or participant on others.
- The budget may not include summer salary for faculty or salary for research scientists. Salaries for postdocs and research staff may be included. Support for Masters students hourly or through GSRAs is allowed (budgeted GSRA support must include the full cost of tuition and benefits). Support for PhD students is allowed, but since these are school funds this would be viewed as part of the school’s contribution to the fully-funded PhD program.
- Because the funds are for capacity building, new initiatives will be prioritized over the use of funds for the continuation of prior initiatives. Groups of faculty new to the themes funds will be prioritized slightly over faculty who have had themes funding in previous years, and group proposals with new faculty PIs will be prioritized over those with PIs who have received themes funds in previous years. Some consideration will also be given to which SEAS faculty PI’s research programs would benefit the most from this seed funding.
- The start date can be as soon as March 1, 2022. The end date should be 6/30/23 or earlier and activities should be planned so that all funds are spent by that date.
- A cover page with the title, lead PI, and list of all faculty co-PIs and their UM affiliations. External partners (if any) and their affiliations should also be listed.
- A project description up to 3 pages (but shorter is OK too). A list of references cited can be included on additional pages if needed.
- A simple budget listed as a table (Excel screen-shot is OK) on a separate page, with enough information provided in the caption for a reviewer to understand the budget. The budget should include zero indirect cost (IDC). (Although normally we ask faculty to work with their Research Admin to request low-IDC waivers, that is not needed in this case; approved projects will automatically receive IDC waivers.)
Please email any questions to Bill Currie (firstname.lastname@example.org)
[i] Faculty can include tenure-track, research faculty and scientists, and professor of practice faculty.