The Research Initiation Grant program (RIG) was established to assist faculty in the developmental stages of major research projects with the expectation that faculty will pursue external funding for the full study.


All faculty (tenure track) of the College of Education at University Park are eligible to apply for Research Initiation Grants.

Application Steps & Deadlines

  • Faculty member schedules a meeting with the Associate Dean for Research to review the proposed project plan.

Pre-proposal meetings must occur prior to: 

  • October 15(fall submission)
  • January 30(spring submission)
  • Following the pre-proposal meeting, the PI will prepare and submit their Research Initiation Grant proposal.

Proposals are due no later than 5:00 p.m. on the following dates:

  • October 30 (fall submission)
  • February 15 (spring submission)

Use of Funds

Grants may be used to support travel to study sites for data collection or analysis, instrument development, meeting with potential sponsor(s), exploratory data analysis, purchase of research materials, and funding for a research assistant. Grants may not be used for course buyouts.


Priority will be given to proposals/requests that demonstrate:

  • Considerable promise for enhancing the national research reputations of faculty and their units through grant proposals, scholarly publications, or presentations.

  • The potential to grow into significant proposals for external funding.

  • A connection to educational equity.

Funding Guidelines

  • Proposed award amounts will be determined in consultation with the Associate Dean for Research at the pre-proposal meeting.

  • The amount funded will be based on the proposed budget, the committees’ recommendation, the department’s contributions, and the amount of funding available through the Associate Dean’s Office.

  • If grant money is to be used to support a research assistant, a cost-sharing agreement must be established with the faculty member’s department/unit and approved by the Associate Dean for Research.

  • Funds cannot be used for travel to conferences or for salary supplement (e.g., summer salary).

  • All proposals/requests will receive feedback from the committee.

  • Awardees are expected to submit a brief report at the end of their project that summarizes the outcomes of project, as well as the potential for future external funding.

Proposal Review

A committee of senior faculty with significant grant experience will be established to review all proposals/requests. The Associate Dean for Research in consultation with the Head of each Academic Department will appoint one member from each Department to the committee.  The Associate Dean will chair the committee.

Promising Proposals

If a proposal is designated by the committee as promising but needing further work, the author(s) will be assigned a research mentor from the college and encouraged to resubmit in the next competition.

Proposal Submission Guidelines

Cover page

  • Name of individual (or unit), and academic rank,

  • Date of submission

  • Department and campus location

  • Title of project/request

  • Amount requested

  • When funds are needed (Date range - e.g., November 1, 2021- June 30, 2022)

  • Abstract, limited to 200 words


(Not to exceed 5 pages; double spaced, 12 point font, one side of page only).

  • The following information should be included in the narrative:

    • a description of the conceptual framework and objectives of the research;

    • a brief description of the research design, methodology, and data analysis procedures to be used to accomplish the objectives of the project (if appropriate);

    • a brief description of pertinent research already conducted;

    • an explanation of the significance of the work;

    • a description of the value of the research for addressing equity issues in education.

  • Include plans for submission of this or related proposals to external funding agencies. Provide name of agency, specific program (if applicable), and anticipated deadline(s) for submission.

  • Include enough specificity to allow substantive review by the Research Committee and outside reviewers (narrative should be accessible to non-specialists).

  • Include proposed dates for expending funds and research/work plan.

References  (Not to exceed 1 page)

  • short list of relevant references.

Supporting Material

  • A letter of support from the department head briefly explaining how this study fits within both the department and degree programs’ research goals must accompany the proposal.

  • Any ancillary material deemed important in establishing the project's significance and quality (e.g., any external funding current or pending, copy of proposed survey instrument).

  • A two-page vita of the submitting faculty member.

Draft Budget Items to Consider

  • The drafted budget should be only one page and itemized as line items. Do not submit in paragraph form.

  • Line items to consider:

    • graduate assistant (list stipend and tuition separately)

    • wages

    • travel (only if necessary to conduct the project)

    • equipment (essential to conduct of project and not available through other means)

    • data collection, instrument development, and any other project-related costs.

  • Short budget justification making clear the need for the listed expenses.


  • A complete application consists of cover page, narrative, draft budget and any supporting materials.  Proposals must be submitted electronically through the InfoReady system. This can be done by visiting and filtering the funding opportunities as “Penn State Seed Grants.”


Revised March 2021