Research Support Guide

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The programs listed in the UK Faculty Research Support Guide are available to full-time faculty members — regular, special, research or clinical title series, and to senior research staff who are eligible to serve as a PI on external grants.

All requests for internal support require the approval of and electronic submission through the college administration and department chair or center & institute director.

Requests and proposals are to be submitted to VPR Grants. Indicate program name in subject line.

For questions contact: Office of the Vice President for Research
311 Main Building, 0032
257-5090, fax: 323-2800

Research Support Grants

This internal grant program is designed to enhance UK's research enterprise by assisting investigators in accelerating their research programs.

The program will support the following:

  • Pilot studies to obtain preliminary data to enhance the competitiveness of extramural research grant applications.
  • Activities essential to scholarship advancement in fields where external funding is limited.
  • Studies to obtain preliminary data requested by reviewers of an externally-submitted grant.
  • The use of Research Core Facilities, with preference given to applicants who have not used the requested technology previously.

Awards will generally be from $2,000 to $20,000 and costs should be commensurate with the proposed work. Awards will be for one year only from the date of award.  No more than one application per faculty member will be funded in a three year period from the time of the award.  Investigators who have significant amounts of research funding or start-up funds will be less competitive for these grants.  Up to $5,000 can be requested for use of Research Core Facilities.

Eligibility: Full-time faculty members in the regular, special, research or clinical title series (as long as sufficient time can be devoted to research) and senior research staff who are eligible to serve as a PI on external grants.

Because one of the major goals of this program is to support activities designed to address specific reviewer concerns to make a future submission more competitive for funding, submissions to this program can not be under review in other programs, internally or externally.

This program will not support academic year faculty salaries (up to $7000 may be requested for tenured 9 and 10 month faculty summer salary), graduate assistantships (hourly student research assistant support is allowed), graduate tuition and fees, postdoctoral fellows, travel to meetings (travel associated with the research project is allowed), consultant costs, equipment over $5,000, routine office equipment or laptop computers.


  • October 1 (for funding to begin January 1)
  • March 17 (for funding to begin July 1)

Proposal Format: (Use 12-point Times or 11-point Arial font, single-spaced with 1 inch margins). Please assemble, in this order, into a single PDF document.

I.  Cover sheet

II. Abstract (250 words)

III. Plan of Project – sections A – F are limited to five pages; citations are not included in the page count.

A. Overall goals and objectives or specific aims.

B. Relevant background.

C. Significance of project.

D. Approach/Methods and procedures.

E. Justification – Address how proposed work will advance your research and identify the external funding opportunities for which pilot data will be used, if applicable.

F. Budget and budget justification - Indicate whether funds from other sources will also be used to support this project.

G. Citations.

If you are revising and resubmitting a proposal, please paraphrase the reviewers' criticisms and indicate how you would address the problem or concern.

If you are requesting funds to address external reviewer requests for additional preliminary data, include the grant critique as an appendix.  The grant critique will not count toward the total page limits, and it is the only occasion for which an appendix will be accepted.

IV.   Brief biographical sketch, that includes education, positions and honors, selected peer-reviewed publications or other scholarly works, and all pending, current and completed funding (over the past three years), both internal (including start-up) and external. Do not exceed 5 pages.

Submission Procedure:

  • In order to assure that approval has been obtained from the department chair/school director and college administration or center/institute director, investigators are to email their completed application to their department chair/school director or center/institute director, with their last name and “Research Support Grant” in the subject line. 
  • The department chair/school director will forward it to the college’s associate dean for research (ADR). 
  • The ADR or center/institute director will submit the proposal to
  • In order to provide the vice president for research and the review committee with additional information on which to base a funding decision, department chairs/school directors, center/institute directors and college deans or ADRs are invited to provide comments on the credentials of the applicant, the importance of the research plan to the applicant’s research program and how the proposal fits with their department, school, center, institute or college strategic plan.

Review Procedure: 

  • The review committee will have representation from different areas of expertise. 
  • Ad hoc members will be added to the standing committee, based on the range of the proposals received.   
  • Applicants should keep in mind that the review committee members will represent a variety of disciplines and therefore, proposals should be written without excessive jargon and in a style that is clear to reviewers who are not experts in the specified area.
  • The proposals will be discussed and ranked in a review meeting and applicants will be notified of the decision soon thereafter.
  • When a proposal is reviewed but not funded, it may be revised and resubmitted up to two additional times. After two additional reviews if it is not funded, it is no longer eligible for this program.

The review criteria can be found here.

Previous Funded Research Support Grants: 

Post-award Requirements: 

  • Funding recipients must submit a final report within 90 days of award expiration to
  • Final reports are limited to two pages.
  • Failure to submit a final report will preclude future awards.  
  • Support from this program should be acknowledged in all publications resulting from the funded research (“supported in part by a Research Support Grant from the University of Kentucky Office of the Vice President for Research”).  
  • In addition, this office should be notified if support through this program leads to funding or publications any time in the future.