My CUSE project is impacted by the changes due to COVID-19. What accommodations are being made for CUSE projects?
CUSE grantees have the ability to request no cost extensions due COVID-19 complications, by emailing Christina Leigh Docteur with a description of the reason for their request. Grantees will still be required to submit an annual report or final report in 2021. This is only applicable for 2019 CUSE Grant awards; 2020 CUSE Grant awards do not need to apply for an extension at this time.
CUSE grantees have the ability to rebudget their grant. Changes in excess of 25% of project costs require an email request with a detailed description of the change.
CUSE Grants can cover unanticipated costs incurred from changes due to COVID-19 restrictions, such as (if documented): Facility rental deposits, catering deposit, travel change fees. However, CUSE grantees will not be provided with supplemental funds. Therefore, any budgetary changes to the grant must be absorbed within the existing budget.
2021 Proposal Submissions
The following are significant changes from the 2020 CUSE Grant cycle:
- The addition of a fifth grant type – the COVID-Relief Grant – to support ongoing research projects impacted by COVID-19.
- An increase in the amount of funding that can be requested for equipment on the I2 and G2G grants, from $5,000 to $10,000.
- A reduction in the number of proposal documents needed for all grant applications, especially for the smaller funding opportunities, to reduce the burden of application completion.
- A reduction in the amount of funding for Seminar Grants from $10,000 to $7,500.
I’m having trouble with the Syracuse University Application Portal. Who can I contact for assistance?
Please contact Jeff Falchi at email@example.com.
Yes, you are eligible to apply as a PI if you were a Co-PI in 2020.
Yes, if your project will be complete by the end of your project period (May 1, 2021 for 2019 CUSE Grants), and you turn in your final project report by May 1, you will be eligible. While you may apply reply, you must thoroughly address the success of your first CUSE grant and provide substantiating evidence of that in the “results from prior CUSE Grant” section. If you have already or will expend your 2019 CUSE Grant funds before May 1, it is highly recommend that you submit your final project report early. The report may be accessed here.
Generally, applicants may not submit multiple proposals as PI for CUSE Grants. Exceptions include following:
- Exception 1: Seminar Grants: A PI may apply for a Seminar Grant in conjunction with any other type of grant.
- Exception 2: COVID-Relief Grants: A PI may apply for a COVID-Relief grant with any other type of grant.
Can I subcontract my CUSE Grant funds to another university to assist in the conduct of my research?
No, the CUSE funds may not be subcontracted out to other institutions, as they are intended to further the research that is conducted by SU personnel. While the CUSE Grants do allow external Co-PIs, they should be unfunded Co-PIs.
Collaboration with external colleagues is permitted, either as individual consultants, or as unpaid collaborators. A distinction is made between hiring an individual consultant (allowable) vs. proposing a formal subcontract to a colleague’s institution (not allowable). Total funding for consultants cannot exceed 25% of the budget costs
It sounds like CUSE Grants are expected to be interdisciplinary. My project is strongly disciplinary and does not lend itself to an interdisciplinary approach. May I still apply for a CUSE Grant?
Yes, you can apply for a research CUSE grant as an individual PI. While the CUSE Grant program promotes interdisciplinary collaboration, applications from disciplinary research areas with great potential to further scholarship, or that may lead to extramural funding opportunities are also encouraged. Individual applicants must demonstrate the potential for success without the need for collaboration.
My proposed project duration is shorter than two years long. Is it allowable to submit a one-year project instead of for two years?
You may submit a project with activities designed to be completed in one year. However, all CUSE Grant awards are made as two-year awards. If you plan activities to occur in one year, but experience changes during the project period, you will be able to use your grant in the second year.
I am writing a research proposal for a CUSE Grant, but not sure I should apply for a Seed Grant or for an Innovative and Interdisciplinary Research Grant. Can you advise?
It is your decision to apply for either a Seed grant or an I2 Grant, but the funding limit is different and the competition may be different within each pool of applicants.
Department procedures are left to the individual departments. You should work with your departmental or college budget administrator when planning your budget to ensure it is correct and appropriate for the project.
There is no prescribed balance for funding distribution between categories. All budget items should have a good explanation of the role of item in the overall project. Funding for consultants should note the necessity of the work for the project and the special expertise a consultant brings to the project.
In prior years, reviewers have not looked kindly at a proposal budget made up exclusively or predominantly of PI salary funding. The predominance of the budget should be for other research expenses or support for students. Faculty salary is allowed and is limited to one month per year, but needs to be well-justified as appropriate and necessary for the scope of the project.
My project will continue work that has already been approved by the IRB. I would request modifications to the protocol because we are making some changes based on this CUSE grant. Do I still check Human Subjects Research?
Yes, any project that includes Human Subjects Research should select that requirement. This is used for internal tracking and information, not as the start to any IRB approvals.
I am proposing activities to start in June 2021. However, if funding decisions are not received until May, I will have trouble having enough time to plan the activities. I believe this will hurt my application as it will be obvious that time will be tight. How should I address this?
Please include a description of additional funding sources that are being sought for the project, and a contingency plan if funds are not received. Awards will not be announced earlier than May, so project planning should be in accordance with the award timeframe
For the Conflict of Interest form, all of my Syracuse University-based co-authors/collaborators over the past 3 years have been on project unrelated to the project I am proposing. Should I still list those collaborators?
Yes, you should still complete the form. If you have no co-authors or collaborators in Syracuse University in last 3 years, you can list “none”. However, if you have had SU co-authors and/or collaborators on different projects unrelated to the proposed project, these should be listed. It is not the nature of the project that determines inclusion, it is the nature of the relationship (co-author, collaborator, former students/mentor).
There are a lot of requirements in the Introduction/Key Personnel section. It seems that I should move the literature review to Section II to help with readability. Is that acceptable?
The section contents are required. However, content can be shifted as long as all the elements are in narrative and are identifiable.
For the COVID-Relief category, I am proposing funds to supplement a federal grant. Would this be seen as voluntary cost-share, which is prohibited?
Co-funding for an existing project does not constitute cost-share on a federal project.
As noted in the CUSE Grant RFP, students may not serve as PI on a CUSE grant. Additionally, PhD students are not eligible for Co-PI or Co-I status.
However, faculty are strongly encouraged to involve both undergraduate and graduate students in their CUSE projects, including allowing for partial student research support as part of the budget. Student CVs are not included as part of the required proposal documents, but may be included in the project description as member of the potential team.
The “Good-to-Great” grant description states that this program funds proposals that received “excellent” or “high funding priority” ratings from an external funding agency but were not funded. I have previously applied to a funding agency which did not provide ratings, just general comments. Can I still apply to the G2G mechanism?
For foundation grants and/or other funders that do not provide concrete ranking scales, applicants should justify their submissions based on their interpretation of “good-to-great” and any type of feedback received from reviewers. Reviews from the funder should reflect a "good" or mid-range rating.
I am looking to apply for a COVID-relief grant for a project for which I currently have external grant funding. Additionally, I would like to apply for an I2 grant to start a new project. That project is on a similar topic as the COVID-relief grant. Would this be discouraged because they are related? (Added February 8, 2021)
Projects should be distinct if you are applying in the COVID-relief category as well as another category.
If you have existing, unexpended funds left on your CUSE Grant, it will not be competitive to apply for COVID-relief funding. As noted in the RFP, the funding request must be justified as proportional to the size and scope of the research project impacted by the pandemic.
Do I need to have received an external grant or CUSE grant to apply for a COVID-relief grant? (Added February 23, 2021)
No. If you have a current research project that was negatively impacted by the pandemic, and that you were spending your own research funds on or other internal funding (such as a seed grant from a research center), you may request a COVID-Relief grant to supplant expenses incurred due to COVID.
Does the 3-page Project Narrative for COVID-relief include the negative impact of the pandemic & justification for the grant? (Added February 8, 2021)
Yes, in the Project Narrative detail how CUSE funding will move the stalled project forward, and what progress will be enabled that would otherwise not be possible without relief funding.
Is it ok to budget for travel on a CUSE grant application even though we are still under University travel restrictions? (Added February 8, 2021)
Yes, you may still plan for travel over the course of the 2-year grant. We would suggest that travel should not be planned for Summer 2021 at this point.
For I2 grants, does the interdisciplinary relationship need to be within Syracuse University or can the collaboration be with a partner outside of the University? (Added February 8, 2021)
CUSE Grants are intended to support Syracuse University faculty and their projects. As such, internal interdisciplinary collaborations are strongly supported. CUSE Grants do allow external collaborators, as Co-PIs and Co-I. However, subcontracts (funding to external collaborator institutions/organizations) are not allowed. External collaborators may receive funding as individual consultants, as long as consulting costs do not exceed 25% of the proposal budget.
Equipment is any item greater than $5,000.
The RFP indicates that this year the amount of funding that can be requested for equipment on the I2 and G2G grants, increased from $5,000 to $10,000. Is there a mechanism for proposing more expensive equipment as there was in previous years? (Added February 23, 2021)
In a prior year, the Office of Research did have a Small Equipment Grant Program, which allowed for more funding specifically for equipment purchases. This program is not active for this year.
For I2 and G2G proposals, the equipment limit is $10,000. The proposal should describe how the proposed project is innovative and/or interdisciplinary in nature, how the PI is competitively positioned for success, and include the information as described in the “Application Types” section of the RFP.
Yes, open access publication costs are an allowable budget item.
Do I need to use the Current and Pending template or can I use the document generated by OSP? (Added February 12, 2021)
Current and Pending documents that have been generated by the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) are allowable as long as proposals and awards not captured in the OSP version - such as internal grants from a school or college - are added by the applicant before submission.
Salary support is allowed on Seed, Seminar, and COVID-relief proposals, in addition to the I2 and G2G proposals noted in the RFP. Those grant mechanisms are not sufficient to provide for a full-time Graduate Research Assistant or post-doc, but are sufficient to support hourly student researchers.
The budget for our proposed project is greater than the funding limits stated in the RFP. Should we note the full cost of the project, but request only the maximum funding amount? (Added February 25, 2021)
Budgets and budget justifications should only indicate the funding limit as noted in the RFP. However, in your proposal narrative you can speak to the full scope of the planning, how you will address additional budget needs, and what you will do if you cannot secure additional funding. Having a stated plan to secure the additional funding (other on-campus grants, research funds, having external participants pay a portion of their costs, etc.) and a contingency plan/scaled back plan if the full funding is not secured will show how you are ensuring success for you project.
For all grant categories, Principal Investigator (PI) eligibility follows the institutional requirements set forth in the University’s Statement of Principal Investigator Eligibility. Visiting Assistant Professors are not eligible to serve as PI or Co-PI, as these are not permanent appointments. Waivers for PI eligibility may be requested by submitting a completed Request to Waive PI Eligibility form to Stuart Taub, Director of Sponsored Programs at firstname.lastname@example.org. Waiver requests must be received by Monday, February 22, 2021.
For the COVID-Relief projects, should there be much emphasis on the scientific merit and technical details of the project, given that it's already been through a peer review process, or should the emphasis be on the negative impacts of COVID-19? (Added February 25, 2021)
For COVID-Relief projects, proposals should explain the project and the relevant sponsored award received briefly, so that the reviewers understand what the project is. More focus should be on the negative impact the pandemic had on the project, and how the CUSE grant will help complete project activities. You can point to your budget justification for what specific activities the CUSE grant will fund (ex. if you are budgeting for student time, how much time and what will the student do on the project). Make sure to justify the proportionality of your request to the financial impact of the pandemic on your award and note how these funds will be leveraged for additional gains (intent to leverage section).
For the budget, do we need to provide salary information for the PI and Co-PIs if we are not requesting any funding for salaries? (Added February 26, 2021)
Only project personnel who are requesting salary as part of their CUSE Budget need to enter their base salary. It is not required for project personnel to be listed on the budget if no salary is being requested.
Letters of support are not allowed as an additional attachment, but you are welcome to include it as the last page of your narrative, as long as you stay within the narrative length.
Yes, the PI can designate a Proxy to start, submit, edit, and/or submit a proposal. The PI must designate that person as a Proxy in the system. Please see detailed instructions here.