Pan-University Selection Process

A Call For Proposals 2016-2017

Background and Call:

The first strategy of Pillar 2 of the Cornerstone Plan states "The University will leverage current talent and new faculty hiring opportunities to focus research on those intellectual and social challenges where it can have the most impact. As part of this effort, the University will develop several cross-Grounds institutes that address key issues and provide valuable educational opportunities."

The first institute, the Data Science Institute, has successfully engaged faculty and students from multiple schools across the university in its multi-disciplinary research and educational programs. DSI has successfully garnered $15 million in new outside resources to support and leverage activities. In May of this year UVA created the Brain Institute as second in an on-going effort to identify and support Pan-University strengths. The Provost now invites cross-Grounds faculty groups to submit proposals for additional institutes. The selection timeline will extend through the spring term with a defined process of internal and external reviews.

Calendar dates are as follows:

  • September 7, 2016 Town Hall Launch event & "LOI Call"
  • November 14, 2016 Letters of Intent due
  • December 12, 2016 Announcement of Finalists
  • March 20, 2017 Full Proposals Due
  • May 15, 2017 Announcement of next Pan-University Institute.

View 2016 - 2017 timeline.


We seek proposals that take cross-disciplinary, innovative, and comprehensive approaches to major issues facing the world in the 21st century; that build on the strengths of our current faculty and resources, yet will attract new faculty and additional resources; and that have the potential for global impact. Competitive proposals will build upon existing research strengths that are distinguishing, incorporate additional strengths and points of view, and have high potential for follow-on external funding.

Review Criteria:

  • What is the potential for the proposed activity to:
  • Advance knowledge and understanding within its own field or across different fields (Intellectual Merit);
  • Build upon existing strengths as exhibited by existing research and scholarly activities, creating cross-Grounds perspectives and collaborations to enable the proposed institute to be more than the "sum of the parts"; and
  • Benefit society or advance desired societal outcomes (Broader Impacts)?
  • To what extent do the proposed activities suggest and explore creative, original, or potentially transformative concepts?
  • Is the plan for carrying out the proposed activities well-reasoned, well-organized, and based on a sound rationale? Does the plan incorporate a mechanism to assess success?
  • How well qualified is the individual, team, or organization to conduct the proposed activities?
  • Are there adequate resources available to the PI (either at the home organization or through collaborations) to carry out the proposed activities?
  • Potential for future funding?


On or before November 14, 2016, please submit a Letter of Intent for the next Pan-University Institute identifying the proposed institute and focusing on how the proposal meets the criteria stated above. The Letter of Intent [3 pages maximum + signature pages for LOI participants] must include:

  • Proposed Name of the Institute
  • Mission and Objectives for the Proposed Institute
  • Planned Activity
  • Outcomes
  • Rough Budget Outline (1 – 3 years)
  • Other Potential Sources of Support
  • Names, signatures and contact information of faculty, any outside faculty affiliations, and other strategic partners, such as Deans and Department Chairs, who agree to support and be a part of this effort.
  • Names, signatures and contact info at the end of document will not count as part of the limit. No CVs needed at this time.

Finalists will be notified by December 12, 2016. The finalists will be asked to submit a more detailed full proposal on or before March 20, 2017 and provide an in-person presentation on May 3, 2017 (Proposal instructions to be available to finalists on December 14, 2016).

Final selection of the next Pan-University Institute will be announced on May 15, 2017.

Please submit a single PDF file, in the order listed that contains:

  1. Proposal
  2. Appendix A (required). List of currently collaborating faculty, with signatures. Potential future collaborators should be listed separately.
  3. Margins must be one inch and font size not less than 12.

Please upload your submission here.

Select Proposal Type: "Pan-University Institutes" from the drop down menu, no later than 5:00 PM November 14, 2016. Browse for your file, submit. After uploading, you may make any proposal updates until the March 20 deadline. Simply repeat the steps, it will automatically replace the old file with the new one. No changes will be allowed beyond the deadline.

Direct any questions to Cheryl Wagner at 434-243-1100 or email