Partnerships Seed Funding Program

About the fund

The college seeks to fuel innovation through a variety of partnership activities. This program is designed to:

  • Encourage formal and mutually beneficial connections between faculty and industry, between faculty and non-profits, and between faculty and the local community
  • Provide seed funding that will allow faculty to launch and/or formalize an external partnership

Details:

  • Maximum $10,000. Funding is limited and awarded on a competitive basis.
  • Three rounds of awards considered each year with deadline dates of November 15, March 15, and July 15

Final report

At the end of the award period, a 1-3 page report must be submitted no later than four weeks after the end of the funding period. The report will include a copy of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and describe the activities conducted and any outcomes (e.g., publication, products, new grants submitted, etc.). This report is also a requirement to complete the reimbursement of expenses.

Email the report to:

Contents

  • Objective
  • Eligibility
  • Award Size
  • Program Funding
  • Definitions
  • Mechanism and criteria
  • Application
  • Evaluation
  • Final report
  • Specifics for business staff

Fund Details

The College of Arts and Sciences believes that a vibrant faculty engages in a wide portfolio of partnership activities not just limited to activities that promote economic growth and financial advantages but also including activities that promote the public good and the reputation of the university as an agent for the public good. Partnerships with non-academic entities (either public or private) fit firmly within our existing commitments to teaching, research, and service and offer opportunities to address critical societal issues and contribute to the public good. For these reasons, and in keeping with our larger university mission, the College seeks to fuel innovation through a variety of partnership activities. The College Partnership Awards are designed to encourage formal and mutually beneficial connections between faculty and industry, between faculty and non-profits, and between faculty and the local community. This program is designed to provide seed funding that will allow faculty to launch and/or formalize an external partnership.

Eligibility

Any grant-eligible faculty member (e.g. tenured, tenure-track, research, prof. of practice) in the College of Arts and Sciences may apply.

Award Size

Amount requested per application may not exceed $10,000 or a course buyout.

Program Funding

Funding is limited and awarded on a competitive basis. The number of awards given will depend on the size of awards and the quality of the proposals. There are three rounds of awards considered each year with the following deadline dates: November 15; March 15; July 15. Awardees should work with their department business manager to set up a cost object to fund expenses. If requesting a course release, the Department Chair should note approval of the release in the letter of support.

Definitions

Whether they be with collaborators in the for profit or nonprofit sector, partnerships must be bidirectional and mutually beneficial, and they must produce outcomes that are informed by mutual exchange. Partnerships should have clearly articulated goals and well defined methods and should produce clear, significant, and measurable outcomes. Successful partnerships will result in the generation of new knowledge that benefits the faculty member's portfolio as well as the partner's goals. Examples of partnerships that would be eligible for this award include:

  • Data exchanges between faculty and a non-academic entity
  • Research collaboration between faculty and a non-academic entity
  • Development of a product in collaboration with a non-academic entity
  • Social entrepreneurship that leverages faculty expertise and serves a social good
  • Translational science that leverages faculty expertise to address a need
  • Spin off companies formed out of faculty expertise/research
  • Contracts with external entities that fund internal research or teaching activity


Partnerships differ from community service in being explicitly bidirectional in terms of benefit. Community service/outreach primarily benefits the external entity and does not, by design, generate new knowledge. Examples of community service/outreach that are not appropriate for this award include activities such as:

  • Non-Academic presentations, delivery of expertise
  • Consulting
  • Service on advisory boards
  • Volunteering, advocacy
  • Workshops
  • Free clinics
  • Professional memberships
  • Training

Mechanism and criteria

An individual faculty member may submit one application per review cycle, and may not receive more than one award per year. Applicants may also apply for internal funding elsewhere for the same project while awaiting a partnership award decision, but must choose which award to utilize if both are funded. Funding is valid upon notification of the award and available for one year from the notification date.

Examples of allowable expenses include travel to partner sites, specialized equipment, software, database access, course buyouts, grad stipends, and summer salary. The program would not typically pay for activities such as travel to professional meetings or standard operating expenses. These would be expected to be covered through existing resources.

Application

The Partnership award application should be completed in NUGrant by the applicant, endorsed (via a letter of support) and approved by the department chair, and routed to the Associate Dean for Research in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Applicants should be aware that if their proposed partnership involves the use of animals, human subjects, radioactive materials, or activities covered by federal regulations on recombinant DNA technology, appropriate UNL clearance must be obtained before an approved proposal will be funded. Applicable policies and clearance procedures are available from the following offices: Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, Institutional Biosafety Committee and Institutional Review Board.

Please review:

Each Application Should Include

Description of Proposed Activities (up to a maximum of 2 pages). This section should describe the proposed partnership and the projected outcomes in sufficient detail to inform non-specialists. It should include:

  1. A brief description of the proposed activity.
  2. A statement of the significance of the proposed activity to the career development of the applicant and/or how it fits into the applicant's overall career goals.
  3. A timeline for the proposed activities also should be included. It is expected that by the end of the funding period, the project should result in a clear, mutually beneficial outcome.

Itemized Budget. Appropriate budget categories include equipment, supplies, travel (including accommodations, allowable daily costs). All items should be explained in a short budget justification.

Brief description of the external partner/entity (100 words)

A letter of support from the external partner outlining the basic goal of the partnership and the proposed roles of the two partnering entities.

A letter of support from the PI's department chair, that includes reference to how the proposed activity fits within the faculty member's apportionment. i.e. will the activity be considered teaching, research or service related.

Write your proposal in clear, non-technical language. The review committee may or may not have expertise in your specific area so it is essential to craft your proposal for a general audience while including enough detail to judge the merits within your field.

Evaluation

As you craft your application, please be mindful of the evaluation criteria:

Partnership awards will be made upon recommendation of the College of Arts and Sciences Research Advisory Committee (CASRAC). In the case of multiple applications from a department, the department chair may be consulted to assist in ranking the applications.

There is no one size fits all way of approaching or evaluating an external partnership. Benefits to the faculty member and/or to the university may accrue in terms of research support, pedagogical enhancement, student opportunity, university reputation and more. Partnerships may relate to a faculty member's teaching, research, or service, and it is, ultimately, up to faculty and their respective departments to determine where a partnership activity fits within that faculty member's apportionment. Broad evaluation criteria used in reviewing Partnership applications will include

  • Clear articulation of the mutual benefits inherent in the partnership
  • Clear description of the type of impact expected to result from the partnership. (Generation of new knowledge is fundamental but impact might include identification of concrete outcomes such as the development of a product or the improved welfare of constituents.)
  • Clear articulation of the precise roles played by the partners: i.e. how will the faculty member contribute and what will be the role of the partnering entity.
  • Clear description of the new knowledge expected to be generated from the partnership: what will be learned and how will that knowledge contribute to the faculty member's teaching, research, or service mission.
  • Clear description of what could change, be improved, be developed, etc. as a result of the partnership
  • Clear articulation of the scholarly products, if any, that will be produced, or made possible, because of the partnership (i.e. articles, books, conference papers, fact sheets, reports, websites, and creative works).
  • Clear articulation of how the partner will benefit from the collaboration (i.e. improved efficiency, better services, new/improved products, better understanding of constituents, etc.)
  • Clear articulation of the extent to which the expected outcome is relevant to the scholarly community.
  • Clear articulation of the extent to which the expected outcome is relevant to the partner.
  • Clear articulation of the extent to which the expected outcome is relevant to the mission of the university.
  • Support of department chair

Final Report

Once a partnership award has been granted, the faculty member and the partner are encouraged to develop a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). At the end of the award period, a one- to three-page report must be submitted no later than four weeks after the end of the funding period. The report will include a copy of the MOU and describe the activities conducted and any outcomes (e.g., publication, products, new grants submitted, etc.). This report is also a requirement to complete the reimbursement of expenses. The report should be e-mailed to the Associate Dean for Research and the college's financial staff Stephanie Welch (swelch3@unl.edu).

Specifics for Business Staff

Once the report has been submitted by the awardee and approved by the Associate Dean for Research, funds will be transferred from the college to the department. Please contact Stephanie Welch with any questions pertaining to the business aspects of this award.

Apply

  1. Go to NUgrant
  2. Select “Internal Competitions”
  3. Select “Create New Application”
  4. Select "Partnership Award competition"