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From the President and the Provost
February 27, 2007, Volume 53, No. 24

Penn’s Global Initiatives Fund Guidelines

The University of Pennsylvania’s Global Initiatives Fund (GIF) is an intramural resource to support faculty initiatives that would enhance our international teaching, research and engagement of an interdisciplinary nature. Proposals could include the creation of collaborative programs, research networks, international conferences, and publications. This fund aims to foster creative cross-disciplinary academic undertakings with potential for substantial and sustainable benefits to the University. As a result, high priority will be given to interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary initiatives that include faculty from more than one school. This fund provides short term, non-renewable financial support for promising projects.


Disciplines. The GIF supports international teaching, research and engagement in all disciplines.

Term. Grants are given for a single year only. Special requests for a grant covering a longer time period will be considered on a case by case basis. Applications for renewal of a previously funded project will not be accepted. Funds should be spent within 12 months of the beginning of the grant unless otherwise approved by review committee. Funds may not be “banked” for future use beyond the scope of the approved project. Unexpended funds must be returned to the GIF. If justified in writing, carryover of unexpended funds may be approved by the Provost. Request for carryover of unexpended funds should be made in writing, at least 2 months prior to the expiration of an award.

Budget. Applications up to $125,000 will be considered.

Eligibility. Eligibility is limited to University faculty, in any track, at any professorial level. Instructors and Research Associates may apply but need to establish (by letter from the Department chair) that the applicant will receive an appointment as an Assistant Professor by the time of the award.

The Application

Applications that fail to meet the guidelines will not be reviewed.

Dates. Applications are accepted once a year, for a March 31 deadline. If the date falls on a weekend or holiday, the deadline is the next working day. Every effort will be made to process applications and notify applicants of the outcome within 10 weeks after the deadlines.

The application. Brevity and clarity will enhance the likelihood of success. Please number all pages at the bottom right hand corner. Use one-inch margins and a 12-point font. Applications should be limited to 10 pages and must include in this order:

•   A completed (with all signatures) Global Initiatives Fund Proposal Cover Sheet. This cover sheet is available to be downloaded from www.upenn.edu/almanac/volumes/v53/n24/pdf_n24/global-form1.pdf.

•   An abstract of no more than 200 words, written for the educated non-specialist.

•   A description of no more than 5 single-spaced pages of the project proposed. Proposals must provide background, work to be undertaken, ability to enhance Penn’s international teaching, research and engagement, and demonstrated interdisciplinary linkages (see Review Process below). NOTE: an application formatted for another sponsoring agency or failing to conform to these guidelines will not be reviewed.

•   A single page biographical sketch for the project leader(s) and all associated faculty members. The biographical sketches do not count against the page limit.

•   A budget, with justification for each item requested. Items that can be requested include costs associated with travel expenses, supplies, and salaries of personnel essential to the project.

•   If conference support is sought, the application should include: a description of the purpose of the meeting; a proposed program agenda; a proposed list of presenters; the number of Penn students and faculty expected to attend; an explanation of the benefit to Penn students and faculty; an explanation of the benefit to scholarly or research programs at Penn; relationship of the meeting to department, institute or center programs; names of faculty who are organizing the meeting; identity and contact information for the business administrator responsible for administration of the funds; evidence of matching funding from institutional or external sources if total budget of projects exceeds GIF maximum; and evidence of institutional support in the form of no cost facilities and AV support. Additional documentation can be provided as an appendix and will not be included within the page count.

•   Assistant Professors in all tracks (including Tenure, Clinician Educator, and Research track) are required to include a letter from their Department Chair indicating their career plans within the department, future commitment of independent space and of department or School resources including all department funding (startup packages, etc.). In addition, the letter should establish that the applicant will be working as a project leader or associated faculty member. Such additional documentation can be provided as an appendix and will not be included within the page count.

•   Regulatory issues. If the project involves human subjects, animals, biohazards, or other regulatory issues, the application should identify those concerns and provide documentation that they will be addressed. Please note that IRB approval may be required for human subject research in all disciplines, including the sociobehavioral sciences and humanities. If IRB, IACUC or Environmental Safety review and approval is required, it may be obtained after the application has been approved, but before funds are provided or the project has been initiated. For advice please consult the Office of Regulatory Affairs.

•   Conflict of interest. The applicant should explicitly make a statement about whether or not the application involves any potential conflict of interest, and any such conflicts should be described. For instance, if the project could forward the interests of a company in which the applicant has a financial interest, this should be disclosed. Conflict of interest documentation (if required) can be provided as an appendix to the body of the application and will not be included in the page count, see www.upenn.edu/research/rcr/conflict.htm.

Submission. An original of the complete proposal with the signed cover sheet should be submitted to the Office of the Vice Provost for Research, 118 College Hall/6303 on or before the deadline date. In addition, please send a PDF version:

•   File name must be the last name of the project leader
•   One PDF document must include the signed cover sheet and budget  sheet and all attachments
•   Send to:  vpr@pobox.upenn.edu
•   Must be received on or before 5 p.m. on the deadline date.

Review Process

Applications are reviewed by a faculty review committee organized by the Vice Provost for Research and advisory to the President and Provost.  Each application is reviewed for a variety of attributes, including:

•   scholarly merit, creativity and innovation
•   feasibility
•   significance of the project and impact on important global issues
•   involvement of multiple disciplines and partners
•   availability of alternate funding sources or matching support
•   career development of researchers at the early stages of their careers

Critiques of applications are not provided for successful or failed applications, since this would place an excessive burden on the faculty who volunteer their time as peer reviewers.

If awarded:

•   Regulatory approvals must be obtained before funds are transferred to the department.
•   The home department must have a 26-digit budget code.
•   A brief (1 to 2 pages) report should be submitted to the Provost within one year of the date of the award.

Questions should be directed to Irene Soroka:
          (215) 898-7236
          Office of the Vice Provost for Research
          118 College Hall/6303

Almanac - February 27, 2007, Volume 53, No. 24