University Research Foundation: October 19

The University Research Foundation (URF) is now accepting applications for its October 19 deadline.

The URF is an intramural program that provides three funding mechanisms: Research and Conference Support, Impact Seminar Grants and Research Opportunity Development Grants.

URF Research Grants and Conference Support provides up to $50,000 in project support and up to $3,000 for conference support. Its objectives are to:

  • help junior faculty undertake pilot projects that will enable them to successfully apply for extramural sources of funding and aid in establishing their careers as independent investigators;
  • help established faculty perform novel, pioneering research to determine project feasibility and develop preliminary data to support extramural grant applications;
  • provide support in disciplines where extramural support is difficult to obtain and where significant research can be facilitated with internal funding; and
  • provide limited institutional matching funds that are required as part of a successful external peer-reviewed application.

URF Impact Seminar Grants will make awards up to $20,000 for support for a cross-school, cross-disciplinary large-scale event to be held on Penn’s campus within a year of the award. Funding for this award can be used to augment an already scheduled University event. The event—which can be a symposium, forum or conference—should occur over one to two days and be open to the entire Penn community. It should highlight the scholarship of Penn faculty and bring distinguished scholars to Penn’s campus, with a particular focus on the University’s distinguishing strength in integrating knowledge. Documented school and/or department matching funds are required.

URF Research Opportunity Development Grants (RODG)

The Research Opportunity Grant program (Phase 1 and Phase 2) is designed to facilitate the intersection of the forward trajectory of Penn’s research frontiers with the trajectory of the national and global research priorities. RODG Applications should map on to emerging research areas with new opportunities for support. Awards from these programs should be used to develop preliminary information and data for new applications in these emerging research areas. The two programs are described at right.

Research Opportunity Development Grants: Phase 1

With an identified new research area in mind, Phase 1 grants enable a team to articulate the research focus, map Penn’s intellectual assets in the new area, coalesce the appropriate group of scholars,  identify Penn’s potential contributions in the area  in the context of national and international research initiatives and identify a funding target. Typically a Phase 1 proposal would lead to a Phase 2 application. In addition, special attention will be paid to project proposals that include mentorship of Penn undergraduates. Applications up to $10,000 will be considered.

Research Opportunity Development Grants: Phase 2

Phase 2 grants offer extensive support for up to two years to enable specific outcomes in support of a center or group proposal to an external funding organization. Activities include research workshops, preliminary studies, networking in the relevant research community, etc. Specific outcomes are expected. Documented matching department and/or school funds will be considered positively. In addition, special attention will be paid to project proposals that include mentorship of Penn undergraduates. Applications with requests between $50,000 to $200,000 will be considered.

Note that Phase 2 grants are not intended to support the development of proposals that respond to regular solicitations such as those for NIH RO1 grants or NSF Division programs. Applicants must identify a target of opportunity.

Disciplines for all award programs: Biomedical Sciences, Humanities, Natural Sciences and Engineering, Social Science and Management.

Undergraduate Participation: As part of the University’s commitment to providing research opportunities to scholars across our campus community, URF applicants are encouraged to include undergraduate student participants within the framework of their proposals.

Budget: Each URF program has separate budget requirements.

Eligibility for all award programs: Eligibility is limited to Penn assistant, associate and full professors, in any track. Instructors and research associates must provide a letter from their department chair establishing that the applicant will receive an appointment as an assistant professor by the time of the award. Adjunct faculty are not eligible to apply. Awards must be expended on University of Pennsylvania facilities, equipment and/or associated University technical staff and undergraduate students.

Detailed information, including application materials, can be found at