Support of significant research that contributes to the advancement of science and to the professional and scholarly development of faculty at undergraduate institutions along with their students
Applications will be accepted from faculty members at public and private institutions of higher education in the United States. The applicant’s home department must offer at least the baccalaureate, but not doctoral, degrees in the applicant’s discipline. The institutional commitment to research is an important consideration in evaluating the potential of the proposal.
The principal investigator must have a faculty appointment in a department of astronomy, chemistry or physics, or, if from another department, propose research that significantly overlaps with research in one of these three disciplines. Faculty who have had a previous CCSA award, or whose appointment is in a department or school of engineering or medicine, are not eligible. At the time of application the applicant must be within the first three years of his/her first tenure-track appointment, and within 12 years of receiving his/her doctoral degree. Applicants cannot have a pending MI-CCSA submission or an active MI-CCSA award at the time of application for an SI-CCSA.
While the program is intended primarily to assist early career faculty often seeking their first external funding, applicants may hold other grants when multiple sources of support are clearly needed for full effectiveness. There will, however, be cases in which funds sufficient for the research are received during the evaluation period. In such cases, a CCSA proposal to RCSA should be withdrawn. Such cases should always be discussed with a Program Officer.
The total funding requested from RCSA is $35,000. An institutional matching contribution to the project of $10,000 is required for all applicants. SI-CCSAs provide for only those direct expenses necessary for the conduct of the proposed research and within the five budgetary categories described below. While these awards are designed to provide primarily summer support, continuation of the research throughout the academic year is expected. Budgets should be tailored to individual circumstances. Awards are approved for two years with a single, one-year extension possible to expend remaining funds.
The institutional portion of FICA and Medicare on faculty and student stipends (up to 7.65 percent) may be included in the budget.
What is Not Funded: Any items other than those that are specifically included in the five budget categories listed above, for example:
An institutional matching contribution to the project of $10,000 is required for all applicants. The matching funds may be provided in any combination of the five allowed budget categories (equipment, supplies, student stipends, faculty stipends, travel to conduct research) that are allowed for RCSA funds. Start-up funds may not be used as matching funds nor may funds from other grants or awards to applicant. Institutional support in other categories (i.e., academic year time release, equipment maintenance, student housing, etc.) is not accepted as part of the institutional match but may be listed on the budget page under “Additional Support.”
The application process is initiated by completion of the online eligibility quiz. If the applicant and institution meet the program requirements, the applicant is directed to a webpage that contains an application packet and instructions for online submission.
Multiple proposals from a single investigator will not be accepted, nor are multi-investigator applications accepted in the SI-CCSA program. There is however, no limit on the number of proposals submitted from the same institution.
Both applicant and institution should ensure that a proposal conforms to program guidelines, and that applications are submitted on the recently issued and unmodified forms provided by RCSA.
The prime criterion in evaluation is the potential of a proposed chemistry, physics or astronomy research project to add to fundamental scientific knowledge in the three core disciplines, or in research areas with a significant overlap with the core disciplines. While a project may include a substantial equipment-building phase, involve the generation of large amounts of data or suggest development of new research technology, it will be evaluated primarily on scientific significance, originality and feasibility. The potential for developing the research project into a viable program capable of attracting future support from other agencies is also very important. The commitment of the college to support faculty research and the overall environment for research at that institution will be considered in reaching a decision. Other factors that will be considered include the extent of student participation and the contribution of the research toward strengthening the college's science programs.
Applications that conform to guidelines are reviewed by Foundation staff and by external reviewers expert in the field of the proposed research, selected in part from names submitted by the applicant. The proposal, including reviewer letters and staff comments, is evaluated by the Foundation's Science Advisory Committee, which makes the recommendations on funding. After favorable action on committee recommendations by RCSA’s Board of Directors, successful applicants and their institutions are notified of awards.
Since the awards are based upon developing both faculty and institutional capacity for research, funds that cannot be used by the principal investigator in a manner consistent with the proposed plan of research must be returned to the Foundation.
The Cottrell College Science Award program may be revised at any time.
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