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Faculty Development Opportunities

Tufts Springboard - Call for Proposals - Due September 16, 2020

For more information about the Tufts Springboard visit the Office of the Provost for Research website.


A new intramural grant program sponsored by the Office of the Provost and the Office of the Vice Provost for Research (OVPR), Tufts Springboard is the next generation of the popular Tufts Collaborates and Tufts  Innovates programs. While both Tufts Collaborates and Innovates encouraged the essential first steps in interdisciplinary collaboration by underwriting new pilot projects, the goal of Tufts Springboard is to stimulate high impact research, scholarship and educational initiatives that have an explicit plan leading to extramural funding or other outcomes that influence research, scholarship, pedagogical outcomes, and/or policy.  Moreover, the Tufts Springboard program aims to further the priorities of the University and its schools and to fortify Tufts’ status as a R1, very-high research activity university.

Applications will be reviewed two times each year—in March and September.

Projects should be built on the applicant’s prior work and lead to a long-term research or scholarship endeavor. The program is not intended for one-off research projects or educational projects.

In addition to providing funding, members of the OVPR will work with awardees prior to the project start date to develop a funding support strategy that best suits the project and individual(s).


Any Tufts faculty or research staff that is actively contributing to scholarship, research, and/or creative work is eligible to apply. All applicants must hold a primary appointment at a Tufts’ School or unit. While Tufts faculty members with a primary appointment at Tufts Medical Center are encouraged to serve as collaborators, they are not eligible to serve as the lead principal investigator.

Full disclosure of current and pending extramural and intramural funding must be included at the time of application. Work associated with the RSSP Priority Area Research Groups will not be funded.

Amount and Duration

The duration of the award is one year. For applications submitted in March, projects will start on July 1, 2020 and will end on June 30, 2021. For applications submitted in September, projects will start on January 1, 2021 and will end on December 31, 2021. All expenditures must be made by the project end date and any unused funds must be returned. No-cost extensions will not be permitted except under special circumstances. The feasibility of completing the proposed work and submission for extramural funding opportunity in one year are key review criteria.

There are three funding tiers.

Tier 1

Funding up to $50,000 may be requested to support large collaborative efforts.  Successful applications will identify center or multidisciplinary grants that will bring $1M directly to Tufts.   Examples of opportunities that are strongly encouraged for tier 1 funding include: MacArthur 100M & Change; NSF S-STEM, ERC/STC/MRSEC, NRT; NIH (and other federal government) Center of Excellence or SPORE grants (e.g. P50); and NIH program project and training grants (P01; T32).

Additional activities that could be supported by TIER 1 awards include:

  • Proposal development consulting (proposal coordinator, technical editor, graphic designer, production manager, site visit preparation)
  • External workshops and external red team reviews
  • Freelance grant-writer
  • Technical writer
  • Graphics support
  • Travel for participating organizations’ researchers
  • Collaborator travel to site visit

Tier 2

Funding up to $25,000 may be requested to support field-defining and ambitious research projects that will amplify long-term research, scholarship, and educational endeavors. These distinct projects should give rise to activities and events such as major symposia or other events that draw international attention to Tufts as a leader in the field and strongly position investigators to secure extramural funding.

Tier 3

Funding up to $10,000 may be requested to support a range of research, scholarly, and/or pedagogical activities—from developing a new project or curriculum calibrated to a specific program or sponsor, to expanding pilot data to respond to grant application review critiques, or small workshops to developing further research and scholarship.  Applications must be accompanied by evidence of potential success (e.g., relevant grant pink sheet scores, or other supporting material that suggests likelihood of next stage success).

Review Criteria

  1. Does the proposal position Tufts to secure funding and other vital support? For Tier 1: Is it responding to or targeting a specific RFA?
  2. Does the proposal provide opportunities for cross- or multi-disciplinary, collaborative, and/or translational research, scholarship, and/or educational programming inside and/or outside Tufts?
  3. Does the proposal have potential for field-advancing innovation and societal impact?
  4. Will the proposal maintain or enhance Tufts’ impact, reputation and standing as a R1 research and scholarship institution?
  5. Does the proposal align with Tufts’ T10 strategic priorities and complement School and Center strategic priorities?
  6. Does the proposal build on existing strengths?
  7. Can the activities outlined in the proposal be completed within one year?
  8. Are the resources requested appropriate?
  9. Is the post-completion plan to ensure enduring impact (and sustained financial support) of the work practical and credible?

Review Process

Research and Scholarship Review Process: Tufts Springboard will utilize a Distributed Peer Review process in which the applicants serve as the reviewers. This process was successfully trialed in the final cycle of Tufts Collaborates and was also used successfully at the NSF and USDA. Each PI must review the proposals submitted by 5-8 of their peers and you will have your application reviewed by the same number of your peers. You will have 30 days to complete the reviews. Failure to submit reviews may result in disqualification.

Educational/Pedagogical Review Process: Funding decisions will be made through a peer review process including faculty and administrative staff and based on several criteria, including degree of educational innovation, potential impact on learning by Tufts students, likelihood for sustainability, and viability within departmental, school, and/or programmatic frameworks.

Award Conditions

The PI or designate (admin) will be responsible for financially managing the award. Funds will be disbursed to the School/unit where the lead PI is primarily affiliated based on the approved budget. The budget should follow the policies of the University and the applicable School(s). Expenses will be periodically reviewed to ensure allowability of funds and that the project is progressing in a timely manner.

Funds can only be used for the activities or experiments described in the proposal. Re-budgeting can be requested if there are line item reallocations that are necessary to complete the project or will provide a superior result. All funds must be utilized within the project period, any unused funds must be returned. No-cost extensions will not be permitted unless there is strong justification and must be requested 90 days before the project end date. Re-budget and no-cost extension request should be submitted to

Reasonable requests to cover faculty and non-faculty researcher salaries may be made to ensure that investigators can dedicate sufficient time to the project.

Expenditures for course releases are permitted according to School policies and appropriate approvals.  Fringe benefits charges for personnel must be included in preparing the project’s budget based on the University’s established rates. Post-doc, technician, and student salaries are allowable expenses.

If core services are required (e.g. sequencing or imaging), preference must be given to Tufts core facilities if those capabilities exist. If funding for outside cores is requested, a justification is required. For a full list of Tufts core facilities please see:

Funds can be requested for equipment if the equipment will be primarily used by Tufts faculty, students, and staff for the proposed activities or experiments described in the proposal. Equipment purchased is property of the Office of the Provost and the Office of the Vice Provost for Research; transfer of property ownership will be considered at the end of the grant period. Reasonable requests for travel will be permitted.

Generally, the budget may not be used to pay for:

  • Indirect costs and overhead
  • Tuition costs
  • Refreshment costs or meals
  • Laptops/Computers
  • Student Health Insurance
  • Salary for collaborators outside of Tufts

The proposal review committee retains the right to veto any budget item it deems unallowable. The receipt of an award may be conditioned on budget modifications.

Awards involving human research participants, biohazards, use of animals, hazardous materials, and radiation sources must be approved through the respective regulatory office in the OVPR.

All awards are subject to the Tufts IP Policy.

NB: Tier 1 and Tier 2 awardees must commit to participating in 3 consultations with the OVPR team during the life of the award in addition to a final report and presentation:

  1. Pre-award planning meeting to tailor a support strategy (June / December)
  2. Launch meeting (July / January)
  3. Half-way check-in (Jan / June)
  4. Final report and presentation (Sept / March)

Application Submission

All applications must be submitted electronically via RAS by 5 pm on the submission due date.  Submit by March 16, 2020, for funding available July 1, 2020; or on September 16, 2020 for funding available January 1, 2021. Please work with your local research administrator to prepare and submit your proposal in RAS.

In addition to completing the proposal demographic data (PI, collaborators, etc.) and budget document in RAS, applicants must prepare and upload a single PDF attachment to the proposal in RAS with the following components:

  1. Tufts Springboard Proposal Template. All sections must be completed.
  2. Project Description (no more than four single-spaced pages). Address each of the review criteria in detail.
    1. Return on investment as measured by:
      1. An explicit plan for targeting extramural funding is required including timeline (list specific agencies and FOAs (or source of information for upcoming FOAs)).
      2. Identify publications, presentations, intellectual property or other outcomes that will result from this work. Describe the timeframe for these outcomes.
      3. Describe any previous intramural funding to the researchers and the outcomes of that work.
      4. Describe the trajectory of the work and how it fits into your long-term research and scholarship agenda.
      5. Response to a specific RFA.
    2. Opportunities for cross- or multi-disciplinary, collaborative, and/or translational research, scholarship, and/or educational programing inside and/or outside Tufts.
    3. Potential for field-advancing innovation and societal impact.
    4. Maintain or enhance Tufts’ impact, reputation and standing as a R1 research and scholarship institution.
    5. Alignment with Tufts’ T10 strategic priorities and complement School or unit strategic priorities.
    6. Build on existing strengths.
    7. Timeline: Give a detailed description of the timeline for the proposed activities. Please include milestones and deliverables.
    8. Practical and credible post-completion plan to ensure enduring impact (and sustained financial support) of the work.
    9. Feasibility of completing the work within the School or unit environment (timeline, space, equipment and other resources available).
    10. Is there cost-share available at the school or unit level?
  3. Budget Justification:
    1. Details explaining the necessity of each budget item.
    2. Description of each person’s role in the project, percentage of effort, and estimated costs.
    3. List of any in-kind (no cost to the grant) contributions from Tufts central services and any other school or department (e.g. salaries and supplies).
    4. Justify use of non-Tufts service of cores when similar resources are available at Tufts.
  4. Abbreviated CV or NSF/NIH-style Biosketch (no more than five single-spaced pages per collaborator). Include an abbreviated two-page maximum CV or NSF/NIH-style Biosketch for each collaborator.
  5. Letters Committing Support of Collaborators and Service Providers
  6. References/Bibliography. A list of references relevant to the project may be included but is not required.

For your convenience, please use the Tufts Springboard Proposal Template to prepare the above components. Use an Arial, Helvetica, Palatino Linotype, or Georgia typeface, a black font color, and a font size of 11 points or larger. Use standard paper size (8 ½” x 11).

Inquiries may be directed to