CAS COVID Relief Grants

The College of Arts and Sciences recognizes the unequal and ongoing impact of Covid on research and creative activity. The aims of this program are to jumpstart research substantially hindered during Covid, to address inequities in research capacity from Covid, to remedy the disproportionate impact of Covid on faculty research programs, and to boost the number and quality of CAS proposals for external funding during Covid.

This program is intended for faculty without startup funds or other internal funding and prioritizes supporting pilot projects, necessary travel, or proofs-of-concept for specific, targeted external funding programs.

Covid impact includes continuing disruptions to scholarly activity. The list below is meant to help prompt faculty members to remember the possible impacts on their work. We encourage faculty to document barriers/opportunities and their efforts to respond to these changing conditions. This list is not all-inclusive and is intended to provide examples.

  • Limited access to labs, studios, animals, clinical settings, field settings, specific populations (e.g., the disproportionate impacts on immigrant communities, public school students and teachers, etc.), and such for research.
  • Limitations on travel to conduct research.
  • Restricted access to supplies/disruption in supply chains relevant to research.
  • Impacts on productivity and training opportunities due to enhanced safety protocols in work and laboratory environments.
  • Access to funds to support COVID-19 related research.
  • Cancellation or new formats of professional conferences, closing of performance venues, exhibitions, etc.
  • Delays in editorial decisions related to publications, etc.
  • Adapting to new disruptions involved in remote work (e.g., other people sharing remote work space).
  • Limitations related to home “office” infrastructure (e.g., internet availability, printers, computing, ability to access restricted/secure data).
  • Effects on time for research, due to changing teaching, mentoring, and/or advising demands.
  • Effects on time for research, due to family care demands (e.g., ill relative, child needing home schooling)
  • Impacts on writing time.
  • Challenges and opportunities around collaboration and networking when face-to-face interactions are limited.
  • Responding to stress and anxiety/loneliness/student issues/emails.
  • Additional time involved with understanding new COVID-19 protocols that impact research.
  • Additional time involved with responding to media requests for expert opinions (e.g., on viruses, social unrest, elections).


Any grant-eligible faculty member (i.e., tenured, tenure-track, research, prof. of practice) in the college may apply; preference for early and mid-career faculty; this program is intended for faculty without startup funds or other internal funding.

Award Size

The amount requested should not exceed $7,500.

Program Funding

The number of awards given will depend on the size of awards and the quality of the proposals. There will be two rounds of awards considered each year with the deadline dates of September 30 and January 30. Funding is valid upon notification of the award and will be available for one year from the notification date. Awardees should work with their department business manager to set up a cost object to fund expenses.


The CAS Covid Relief application will open approximately one month before the deadline date and should be completed in NuRamp by the Lead PI, endorsed/approved by the Lead PI’s department chair, and routed to the Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education of the College of Arts and Sciences.

To route a new application:

  1. Access NuRamp
  2. Select "Internal Competitions" from the upper left menu
  3. Select "Applications" and “Add a New Application”
  4. Search for "CAS Covid Relief Grant"

Applicants should be aware that if their proposed research 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.

Each application should include:

  1. PI Name, co-PI name(s) key personnel if appropriate, department/center/institute affiliation, phone, email, and proposal title
  2. Abstract of the proposed project (one paragraph)
  3. Letter of Application (3 page maximum) Faculty should address a. what inequities or impacts from Covid have hindered their research, b. how the requested funding or other support would enable research, such as pilot projects, necessary travel, or proofs-of-concept, c. what specific external funding applications will made on the basis of this research and how the research addresses the identified funding program.
  4. Curriculum Vitae (2 page maximum, current).

Please upload one PDF to NuRamp for items 3 and 4 from above.

The NURamp application will ask for a detailed budget identifying and explaining all anticipated expenditures, including a proposed budget for travel and proposed dates of trip if applicable, and a budget justification. Please provide estimates that are as accurate and reasonable as possible for all individual items in the proposed budget, as the accuracy of this information can impact the evaluation committee’s recommendations.

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


CAS Covid Relief awards will be made upon recommendation of the College of Arts and Sciences Research Advisory Committee (CASRAC). Proposals will be ranked first by the demonstrated need and disruption from Covid, by intellectual merit and potential impact across disciplines, and by likelihood for external funding. Broad evaluation criteria by the CASRAC would include:

  • Overall clarity and soundness
  • The demonstrated impact of Covid
  • The fit with targeted external funding
  • Importance of the activities to obtaining future funding for the project.

Travel Requirements

We follow regular university rules for travel. A pre-trip authorization is required prior to all travel. International travel without an electronic pre-trip authorization will not be reimbursed. Additionally, all international airline reservations must be made through Fox World Travel to be reimbursed. Please refer to the International Travel Registry – Professional (ITRP) process for more information.

Final Report

Funding is valid upon notification of the grant and available for one year from the notification date.

A one-to-three-page final written report is due within four weeks of the program funding end date and must summarize the activities and accomplishments, including as appropriate:

  • specific research activities, accomplishments, findings, and products
  • specific extramural grant/fellowship applications by the college's faculty and team members
  • reporting on the development, accomplishments, and activities of any postdocs, graduate, and undergraduate students

This report is also required for the reimbursement of expenses.

The report should be emailed to the Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education William Thomas ( and the college's Sr. Budget/Financial Analyst Alycia Harden (

Specifics for Business Staff

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

On This Page

  • Eligibility
  • Award Size
  • Program Funding
  • Application
  • Evaluation
  • Travel Requirements
  • Final Report
  • Specifics for Business Staff