Call For Proposals 2017-2018

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 2016 UVA created the Brain Institute as second in an on-going effort to identify and support Pan-University strengths. In 2017 UVA created two new Institutes the Global Infectious Diseases Institute and the Environmental Resilience Institute. The Provost now invites cross-Grounds faculty groups to submit proposals for a Explore-to-Build round to help emerging groups to enhance their efforts and improve their readiness to become a new institute.

The timeline for 2017-218 is as follows:

Date Event
September 6, 2017 Town Hall Launch event & "LOI Call"
November 13, 2017 Letters of Intent due
December 11, 2017 Announcement of Funded Initiatives
January-August, 2018 Initiatives funded, Ad Hoc Consulting
September 2018 Town Hall Launch event for 2018-2019 round


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. A key goal of the Pan-University Institutes is taking the initiative from “prominence to preeminence”. The Explore-to-Build funds are designed to stimulate creative explorations of collaborations across disciplines at a large scale, and enable them to be more competitive for the next Pan-University Institute search in 2018-19. We additionally hope the Explore-to-Build can be beneficial in its own right in creating collaborations and encouraging creative new ideas.

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 13, 2017, please submit a Letter of Intent for the Explore-to-Build round of the  Pan-University Institutes program identifying the proposed initiative and focusing on how the proposal meets the criteria stated above. The Letter of Intent [3 pages maximum] must include:         

  • Proposed Name of the Initiative (and future Institute)
  • Mission and Objectives for the Proposed Initiative 
  • Map your proposed initiative to a national grand challenge area  
  • Planned Activities and Outcomes
  • Why is your team best qualified to do this effort?
  • Brief summary of credentials for lead participants. What funded or unfunded work have they done in this area?
  • What funding agencies would you expect to apply to in the future? Why?
  • Budget Outline ($80/1 year)
  • Other Potential Sources of Support
  • Names 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 and contact info at the end of document will not count as part of the limit. No CVs needed as this time.
  • A separate section, not included in page limit for submission, describe your broader vision for this initiative explaining how you would grow it into an institute. Name this section “Institute Vision” about one paragraph (approx./not more than 500 words.)

Initiatives will be notified by December 11, 2017.  The five selected initiatives will be given $80,000 in funding and ad hoc consulting to help the teams advance their initiative with the idea they would compete in the 2018-2019 Institutes search.

Please submit a single PDF file(NameOfInitiative.LastNameLeadPI.PDF), in the order listed that contains:

  • Proposal (with budget)
  • Institute Vision
  • Appendix A. List of currently collaborating faculty. Potential future collaborators should be listed separately.
  • 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 5PM November 13, 2017.
  • Browse for your file, submit.
  • After uploading, you may make any proposal updates until the 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