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Significant Impact Research Grant Program



Significant Impact Research Grant Program

Applications: rolling submission, reissued August 9, 2023 for teaching buyouts in Spring 2024 or Fall 2024

Program Overview

The Office of the Vice President for Research and Partnerships (OVPRP) is inviting applications for a research stimulus program that is intended to incentivize and support lead Principal Investigators (PIs) in their efforts to prepare and submit significant impact, often large-scale, grant applications to a broad array of extramural funding agencies. In the context of this program, "significant impact" is defined as a complex innovative collaborative research or creative activities proposal focused on tackling the most challenging problems at a national scale, e.g., a center or institute type of proposal that helps builds capacity and reputation for the university. The long-term benefits of successfully competing for such an external large-scale grant funding opportunity are expected to significantly advance OU's national reputation in one or more research or creative activity areas that align with the university's Lead On strategic plan.

To incentivize lead PIs to step forward and spearhead such efforts, the OVPRP will provide funds to cover a teaching release for the lead PI for one course in the semester of (or leading up to) the grant submission deadline. It is expected that release from teaching will allow the lead PI to devote the necessary time and effort in advance of the deadline to prepare a strong and highly competitive grant application. The OVPRP in conjunction with the Center for Faculty Excellence will work closely with the selected awardees in providing additional grant preparation and writing support. 

Eligibility and Award Limitations

All regular, ranked renewable term, and research faculty on the OU Norman and Tulsa (Norman Campus programs) campuses are eligible. It is anticipated that the PI will lead the team's effort in preparing and submitting a significant impact/large-scale external grant proposal, and the course release would occur in the Spring or Fall semester preceding the grant deadline. The proposed teaching release must be approved by the unit chair/director and college dean. 

Application Requirements

The application packet should be prepared and submitted as a single PDF (11-point font or greater, 1-inch margins) and should include:

  • Cover page with the name of the lead PI, institutional affiliations and contact information as well as a list of co-PI(s) or other collaborators with institutional affiliations. Provide complete information related to the targeted significant impact grant opportunity: funding agency, program, proposed project title, anticipated budget, and submission deadline.
  • A brief project description (two pages maximum) that includes the nature of the funding opportunity and expected outcomes of the proposed project. How will this grant proposal, if funded, advance the research and creative activity field and the national reputation of OU, in particular?
  • The proposed lead PI's biosketch (a two-page vita is preferred but any federal/state funding agency format is also acceptable).
  • Current and pending grant support. List agency, program, project title, award amount or requested amount, award period, submission date, and status. 
  • A letter of endorsement from lead PI's whom co-signed by the unit/department chair and college dean regarding the proposed one-course teaching release should this application be funded by the OVPRP. The letter should include the specific semester/year for the course release and the budgetary amount required for the teaching buyout (salary and fringe benefits).

Submit an Application

Submit application as a single PDF to Ann West via email at

Evaluation Criteria and Recommended Timeline

Applications will be evaluated by a team of selected internal faculty with experience administering a significant impact/large-scale grant program and representing the broad research and creative activity areas at OU. Evaluation will be based on the PI's track record of success in obtaining external sponsored research funds and/or leading a collaborative research and creative activity effort, anticipated outcomes of the proposed project, and the potential impact of the grant in advancing OU's national reputation in research and creative activity.

  • For the Spring 2024 semester teaching release, we recommend submitting an application no later than Oct. 31, 2023.
  • For the Fall 2024 semester teaching release, we recommend submitting an application no later than June 14, 2024.
  • Applicants will be notified of a decision within a few weeks after submission.

We anticipate this will be a recurring program in which the OVPRP will fund up to five (5) applications per year for a one-semester teaching buyout (subject to funding availability).

If you have additional questions about this opportunity or would like to consult with Lewis-Burke Associates on significant impact/large-scale federal grant opportunities, contact Associate VPRP Ann West (