SEED Awards

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Overview

This is a highly competitive grant designed to fund an investigator over 2 years, for a total of $20,000 ($10,000 each fiscal year), in the conduct of studies aimed at providing preliminary data for an external funding application. In addition, the grant provides funds for the hiring of a Proposal Developer to assist the investigator in identifying target funders, preparing, and submitting the application.

The grant requires the use of the Proposal Developer (though the extent of the services may vary depending on the investigator’s needs) and the submission of the external application within 9 months following the end of the 2 year grant period. Investigators should work with the Developer to set up a timeline that allows the successful submission of the application. Failure to submit the application will result in ineligibility for ACU internal grants for 3 years.

  • Funds for the Developer are $1500/yr for a total of $3000 over the course of the grant. This works out to approximately 40 total hours of work at $75/hr.
  • ACU will contract with a Proposal Developer for the job, unless the PI requests that we contract with a specific individual identified by the PI. The PI will need to justify the alternate developer.

The remaining funds may be used for course release, summer salary, materials/supplies, or participant costs. Investigators should submit a preliminary budget proposal with their application that explains and justifies the proposed costs. Proposed course release should be accompanied by a memo of support from the applicant’s department chair.

  • Course release is at the rate of hiring an adjunct. This rate should be supported in the Chair’s memo.
  • Summer salary is at the rate of one summer course: $3,000 for full professor, $2750 for associate professor, $2500 for assistant professor.
  • Materials/supply costs are limited to essential and necessary materials or support directly connected with the research project. Ineligible expenses include clerical work, office supplies, telephone, computer equipment, and travel, as these support services usually can be obtained from other resources.

The source of external funding must exceed the amount of the internal award (i.e., greater than $20,000) and must allow for the collection of indirect costs at the maximal allowable rate.

Applications for this internal grant will be due the first Monday of October, allowing faculty to use potential Cullen or Math/Science-supported work toward their application. Awards will be announced in November, with sufficient time for those not receiving an award to prepare an application for other internal grant mechanisms in January. The awarded project period will then begin the following fiscal year, June 1.

Selection
Full-time faculty members at the rank of instructor or above are eligible to apply. Funds are awarded to the one proposal each year that demonstrates the greatest potential for success at applying for and obtaining external funding. The Research Council considers the proposals submitted by the faculty and approves the one judged best according to the following criteria:

  • Worth and value to the discipline, researcher, or the university.
  • Clear goals, objectives, and outcomes.
  • Use of sound, clearly explained methodology and procedures.
  • Clear writing that is precise, detailed, and understandable to a lay audience.
  • Likelihood of successful completion during the 2 year project period.
  • Identification of potential external funding sources with a clear plan for how to prepare a submission. External funding applications must be submitted within 9 months following the end of the internal project period, and must be for amounts larger than $20,000 and allow for indirect cost collection.
  • Competitiveness for external award

Outcomes
Projects should be completed during the 2 year project period and must produce an external funding application submission within 9 months following the end of the project period.

An interim report detailing the progress made toward goals is due by the end of the first year, and a final report further detailing the progress made and the application submitted/planned for submission is due at the end of the second year. If the application has not yet been submitted at the time of the final report, a memo should be provided at the time of its submission documenting completion of the grant requirements. The PI is not required to receive the external award, as this is largely out of our control and external funding is highly competitive.

Certifications
Every participant who receives a grant must agree to the ACU Intellectual Property Policy. The applicant agrees to certain rights and claims against copyrights and patents resulting from university support. Funds cannot be released to any grantee without this acknowledgement of the agreement. The Intellectual Property Policy may be found on the ORSP website.

Every grantee is assigned a budget for expenses if any are awarded. Salaries are paid through the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. All budgets must be cleared and accounted for by April 1 of each budget period (year 1 and year 2). Grantees without proper accounting forms are liable for the expenses incurred.

If the project involves research with human or animal subjects, IRB/IACUC approval must be obtained prior to conduct of the research.

New in Reasearch

Dr. Ryan Jessup, Assistant Professor of Marketing

Dr. Jessup is interested in decisions.  What causes people to choose poorly?  How do learning and contextual factors influence choice?  In seeking to answer these questions, his research uses psychological models of motivation to distill the computational properties of decision making.  Computational modeling enhances research by requiring precision in theory formulation and constraining predictions.

One of Dr. Jessup’s primary streams of research concerns the behavioral differences between decisions when options are completely described vs. decisions when options must be learned about via experience.  Prior research found that individuals choose quite differently between the two paradigms but the reasons underlying the difference are poorly understood.  One of Dr. Jessup’s studies demonstrated that the reception of feedback overwhelms descriptive information, driving the behavioral differences between paradigms.  This work has led him and his colleagues (including Dr. John Homer and undergraduate researcher Allison Phillips) to build a new model that merges sophisticated decision making mechanisms with reinforcement learning in order to successfully predict behavior in both paradigms better than existing models. Dr. Jessup has previously received Cullen awards for this work and is currently seeking external funding to continue this fascinating line of research.

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