Achieving Equity Investment Grants 2020

ORSP Investment Grant proposals are sought to conduct a research project focusing on one or more of the following Topics of InterestBias, Discrimination, Inequity, Disparity, Oppression, Anti-oppression, or related themes, in the context of Race, Ethnicity, Color, Religion, Sex (including Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation and Pregnancy), National Origin, Age, Disability, or Genetic Information—or other categories of difference or exclusion.  In order to maximize impact of this important work, consideration should be given to how this internally-funded seed project can lead to larger externally-funded initiatives.

Vision and Impact

The most competitive proposals will position the project in the context of challenges common to both UM and other institutions. Ideally, the knowledge gained from these projects will lead to advancements in community and/or campus climate issues in both the region and nation. ORSP is committed to working with the investigators to seek the level of external funding required to expand these seed projects into highly impactful programs.

Funding and Duration

The Provost’s Office has allocated $50,000 for this competition. Funds will be distributed through internal Investment Grants managed by the ORSP Division of Research Development. No transmittal will be required, nor will facilities and administrative (indirect or overhead) costs apply—all allocated funds are to be used on direct project costs only.

We will consider proposals with project periods of 6 months to 2 years, and with budgets between $1,000 and $20,000.  Within this range, each investigator/team should ask for as much as (and no more than) they need (and can clearly justify) to complete a research project that will lay the groundwork for a larger, possibly externally-sponsored, follow-on project.

Funds can be requested for all of the usual grant categories; however, due to the limited funds available, requests for salaries/wages of faculty/staff-level investigators are not expected or encouraged; where included, such requests should be strongly justified in terms of their necessity for completing the project. We welcome proposed preliminary projects that can be completed entirely within the research portion of investigator/team members’ regular 9-month or 12-month appointments.

Letter of Intent (LOI) Instructions and Format

The LOI will allow us to identify and enlist qualified experts to evaluate your proposal. Please provide the following information, which can be changed in the actual proposal.

Project Title

Keywords:  words or phrases [may be used to help find qualified reviewers]

Principal Investigator: Name, Title, and Depart. of UM individual to lead the project

Collaborators (optional): Name, Title, and Dept. of any additional investigators to play significant roles on the project

Project Overview: Up to 250 words describing the activities you intend to propose for investment grant, including any short-term (1-3 years) outcomes anticipated

External Funding Target (optional): Up to 100 words listing the sponsor(s) and/or funding opportunities to be targeted for follow-on funding (if any)

Estimated Budget: Approximate total budget

Proposal Instructions and Format

Project Title

Keywords:  Up to five words or phrases

Principal Investigator: Name, Title, and Department

Collaborators (optional, 1 page): Name, Title, and Dept of any additional investigators who will play significant roles on the project

Project Summary: NSF-style project summary (1 page)

Project Description: Up to 10 pages describing: the knowledge gap or problem to be addressed (goal); how it fits within the Topics of Interest (relevance); the rationale or unique approach to be taken; the specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound objectives (SMART objectives) to be achieved during the preliminary project period, the activities proposed to meet those objectives, a timeline, the roles of the PI and collaborators (and expertise to perform those roles), an assessment plan (if appropriate); and a summary of the intellectual merit and anticipated broader impacts

Follow-On Project Vision: Up to 5 pages charting a course for how this project should lead to a follow-on project to advance knowledge on a larger scale and have a greater impact. How will the preliminary project set the stage for a successful follow-on project? If the follow-on project requires additional funding, include the plan for obtaining that funding. For example, if an external grant will be pursued, identify the sponsor(s) and/or funding opportunities to be targeted, and give the rationale, plan, and timeline for leveraging the preliminary project into a competitive proposal for that opportunity.

Detailed Budget: Use budget template downloadable from ORSP Web announcement[1].  

Budget Justification: Narrative justification of budget (1 page)

Biographical Sketch(es): For PI and each named collaborator (NSF format)[2]

Collaborators & Other Affiliations Statement(s): PI & named collaborators (NSF format)[3]

References: References cited in proposal (no page limit)

Review Criteria

Relevance: How well does the proposed project fit within the Topics of Interest?

Intellectual Merit: What is the potential of the project to advance knowledge and scholarship within the Topics of Interest, resulting in peer-reviewed publications, presentations at national scholarly conferences, or other scholarly outcomes for the investigator/team?

Impacts: Beyond the creation of scholarship and the advancement of knowledge, how will the preliminary and eventual follow-on projects contribute to the betterment of the University of Mississippi, other universities or communities, the State of Mississippi, the Nation, or the World? Examples may include, but need not be limited to, the broader impacts articulated by the National Science Foundation[4].

External Funding Target: For proposals where an anticipated follow-on project involves an external funding proposal, has the investigator/team identified a credible sponsor/funding opportunity related to this work? Does the application make it clear that the investigator/team has a strong understanding of what is required to be successful in pursuing that opportunity? How appropriate is that funding target for the type of work being proposed? What is the likelihood that funding this project will lead to a competitive proposal in response to one or more of such opportunities?

Soundness of Plan: How well-considered is the plan to conduct the proposed research project? How specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound are the objectives? Have enough specifics been provided to convince the reviewer that there the investigator/team will be able to complete the project and achieve the objectives? Is there a realistic timeline?

Qualifications, Resources, and Environment: How qualified is the investigator/team to conduct the proposed study? Has the team established knowledge of what has been published in this area previously? Does the investigator/team have a history of published scholarship on this topic? How adequate are the available resources to conduct the study?

Review Process

In consultation with the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, ORSP Research Development will enlist internal and external reviewers with expertise in the topics and target funding opportunities to help assess merit of the proposed projects. The confidentiality of the applicants, the reviewers, and the review process will be protected, and all individuals involved in the review process will be required to disclose conflicts of interest and certify their understanding of confidentiality expectations in reviewing these proposals.[5]


09/12/2019     Provost announced intentions to create an investment fund for equity-related research projects
10/08/2019     Research fund created
10/09/2019     ORSP began developing this RFP, in collaboration with the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, and in consultation with the Provost’s Office
11/21/2019     This announcement
01/28/2020     Required Letters of Intent due via InfoReady Review Portal[6]
02/29/2020     Application due via infoReady Review Portal
March 2020    Award decisions announced
April 2020       Grant accounts created and funded
04/01/2020     Earliest anticipated project start date
08/15/2020     Latest Allowable Project Start Date
05/30/2021     Latest due date for did-term project report
05/30/2022     Latest due date for final project report

Resources and Questions

Questions related to proposal preparation, competition/review process, or resources available to support proposal development should be directed to Jason Hale, Director of Research Development:, 662-915-3922.

ORSP maintains a subscription to PIVOT[7] that can be used by any UM faculty, staff, or student to search for funding opportunities or scholarly experts around topics of interest. ORSP maintains a number of curated funding opportunity lists in PIVOT, including at least one list related this opportunity[8].

Research Insight[9] is an additional funding and collaborator search tool that can be accessed by various research administrators and research developers in ORSP and Dean’s Offices on behalf of the faculty/researchers they support.

[5] ORSP Proposal Reviewers Conflicts-of-Interest and Confidentiality Statement:

[6] Ole Miss InfoReady Review Portal:

[8] ORSP-curated, PIVOT-based Funding Opportunities: