Internal Funding

Research & Creative Activity

The focus of the Research and Creative Activity (RCA) program is to provide internal funding for new, innovative, and interdisciplinary research efforts. RCA Funds are intended to address important needs not met by other unit-level support programs and to develop preliminary research that can lead to external funding opportunities.

RCA proposal review has traditionally been conducted by an all campus committee, with representation from each school and college. New Peer Review Process: Beginning in 2020-2021, peer review will be conducted by anonymous internal U-M peer reviewers.  The UM-Flint Office of Research will use the university’s competition space, InfoReady, to solicit online peer reviews.

With more direct subject matter feedback (from experts in the same fields of research) proposals will benefit from substantive feedback and recommendations for improvement (much like the peer review publication process). Applicants may also recommend independent peer reviewers during the application process.

Eligible Applicants
All instructional faculty may apply (including non-tenure track faculty with UM-Flint contractual agreements covering the proposed project period). Junior tenure-track faculty will be given priority. There is a career maximum of $60,000 from the Research and Creative Activity Fund for any one individual as PI.

Co-Investigator: Tenured and tenure-track faculty, non-tenure track faculty and staff members may serve as Co-Investigators. Multiple Co-Investigators may be involved in a project.

Scoring Proposals
A common scoring rubric will be used to evaluate each proposal. The scoring system for anonymous review follows 4 criteria, with space in the online review form for scores and comments in each section. Comments from the reviewers will be shared with the applicants following the review process.

  1. Significance: potential impact or scholarly merit of the project is clear for the field or applicant(s) research potential and progress.
  2. Innovation: potential of project to develop novel concepts, approaches, methodologies or technologies.
  3. Approach: overall strategy, methodology and analytical strategies are appropriate to achieve aims.
  4. Investigators: PI, co-investigators are well suited to carry out the project, with appropriate experience and training

Eligible Project Components
Faculty are encouraged to develop the research or creative activity project that will best meet their specific needs. A research or creative project can include any or all of the following components:

  1. Course Release Time or Spring-Summer Stipends: With approval of Chair and Dean, a faculty member can request compensation up to 1/9 of salary for a course release during the academic year (fall/winter) or a stipend (maximum of $5000) during spring/summer semester.
  2. Research Assistance: Both student and non-student research assistants are eligible.  Whenever possible, however, the RCA encourages the inclusion of UM-Flint students to serve as assistants on research projects supported with RCA funds and the latter will be given priority as per the rubric point system described above. Student assistants must be enrolled at the UM-Flint during the project period.
  3. Fringe Benefits and FICA: Applicants should factor FICA and fringe benefits into their requests. Please view the RCA Submission Guideline for more details.
  4. Materials, supplies and equipment: Itemization and description of expenses is required.
  5. Travel costs associated with conducting off-campus research/creative activity. Travel costs may also be budgeted for dissemination at professional meetings.  Budgeted publications costs must not exceed 10% of total budget and publication costs must be matched 1:1 by the home unit.

The following items are not eligible for inclusion in RCA grants.

  1. Graduate research and dissertation writing for faculty and students;
  2. Computer hardware/software for routine use (in rare cases, funds may be provided for highly specialized computer hardware/software);
  3. Equipment necessary to contain health hazards in a laboratory;
  4. Funds for organizing conferences or colloquia.

Project Budget
Maximum project budget is $20,000. The UM-Flint Office of Research may offer LESS than the amount requested if estimated expenses are judged to be too high. A completed budget form must accompany each grant proposal.

Project Timeline
Proposed projects are usually expected to be completed within a one-year time frame. If special circumstances exist, a no-cost extension request (for up to one year) must be completed in InfoReady and submitted prior to the end of the award for UM-Flint Office of Research approval.  If progress is seen as insufficient during the awarded or extended project performance period, unused funds will be returned to the Office of Research.

Call for Proposals
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, with the expectation that reviews and a funding decision will be forthcoming within 12 weeks. Project start dates should be planned to allow sufficient lead time for feedback and review.

Final Report
Within 60 days after the end of the period of the award, the Principal Investigator will be reminded to provide a brief report to the Office of Research of project outcomes, which will be made available to the RCA Committee. The final report should be completed in InfoReady and include:

  1. The work completed on the project relative to objectives stated in the original proposal;
  2. The relationship between the original timetable and the actual completion of tasks;
  3. A detailed budget summary including a description of any deviation from the original plans;
  4. Any scholarly or creative work, publications and/or presentations that resulted from the work

Please contact research administrators in the Office of Research to request a budget template (in google sheets or Excel format).

Submission Guidelines
Scoring Rubric
Sample Bio Sketches

Dr. Ben F. Bryer Foundation Medical Research Fund

The Ben F. Bryer Foundation Medical Research Fund was established by the family of Ben F. Bryer to encourage and support the medical research endeavors of University of Michigan-Flint faculty. This research fund honors the accomplishments of Ben Bryer, surgeon, scientist, educator, author, and humanist, in his pursuit of medical knowledge. Special gratitude is extended to Dr. Bryer’s sister and foundation trustee, Bess Hurand, and her husband Arthur for making this fund possible.

Dr. Bryer graduated from Flint Central High in 1930 before receiving a medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh. His postgraduate studies were interrupted when Dr. Bryer joined the United States Army as a surgeon during World War II eventually becoming the Lieutenant Colonel M.C. with stations in Texas and China. Upon returning to the United States in 1946, Dr. Bryer continued his study of surgery specializing in abdominal and gastro-intestinal procedures. Although his later appointments were in New York, Dr. Bryer continued to share his knowledge of medicine through fellowships, international medical lectures, and publications including “The Multiple Injury Patient,” which has been distributed to all Medical Schools and Medical Libraries in the United States and abroad. His achievements earned Dr. Bryer several awards including the Gold Achievement Award from the American Society of Abdominal Surgeons and features in Who’s Who in the World and a place in the Wisdom Hall of Fame.

The Dr. Ben F. Bryer Medical Research Fund will be available, on an application basis, to full-time faculty of the University of Michigan-Flint to provide support for medical and biomedical research, with a priority given to research related to cancer.

The selection committee for this award will give careful consideration to each research proposal to determine if the project embodies the level of medical and biomedical research intended by the Ben F. Bryer Foundation. Qualifying projects will involve formal medical and biomedical research that furthers knowledge in disease prevention and control.

Please contact research administrators in the Office of Research to request a budget template (in google sheets or Excel format).

Submission Guidelines
Scoring Rubric
Sample Bio Sketches


The lack of research development time is a significant impediment to UM-Flint faculty seeking external funding with major scientific agencies or professional foundations. This proposal writing program is designed to provide teaching release time to underwrite and incentivize the pursuit of external research funding. Each of the two largest national funding agencies, the NSF and NIH have regular submission cycles that permit some advance planning about funding streams well suited to research agendas at UM-Flint, and many professional Foundations also have regular annual competition cycles.

Pre-Proposal DueDeadlineWriting TimeSponsor Deadline
FallMid-OctoberSpring/SummerNext Year (Sept-Dec)
WinterMid-MarchFall TermNext Year (Jan-Apr)
Spring-SummerMid-AugustWinter TermNext Year (May-Aug)

Faculty are encouraged to work with the UM-Flint Office of Research to learn about the opportunities best suited to their research ideas, explore the upcoming funding opportunities, and seek proposal writing time through the UM-Flint Proposal Academy. PI-eligible faculty (tenure-track or tenured) may apply for a course release for the four month period in advance of a sponsor’s submission deadline, which will be funded by the UM-Flint Office of Research. Applicants are asked to provide a one-page summary or abstract of the proposed project (similar to the document that might be sent to a program officer at a federal agency or a Foundation) prior to a formal submission. The summary and the faculty biosketch or brief CV will then be reviewed for their potential by anonymous reviewers within the three U-M campuses via the InfoReady review competition space.

Faculty selected for the proposal writing academy will receive a course release, and will be expected to participate in proposal writing workgroups, facilitated by the UM-Flint Office of Research, to draft the required sections of research proposal month by month during the academic term in which the release time is funded. Additional workgroup team members will be recruited to work with the Academy awardees based on their research expertise, interest in providing feedback to their colleagues and learning more themselves about the submission and proposal writing process.

To Apply for the Proposal Writing Academy:

  • Applicants must first submit a pre-proposal. Applicants are asked to develop a one-page summary or abstract of their proposed research project. This is a concept document similar to one-page abstract normally shared with a program officer at a federal agency or a foundation to inquire about the relevance and fit of the idea with the sponsor’s current programs. The one-pager should address:
    • Significance: potential impact or scholarly merit is clear
    • Innovation: potential to develop novel concepts, approaches or technology
    • Approach: design, methods and analytical strategies are appropriate to achieve goals
  • Applicants to NIH and NSF competitions must provide a biosketch using the required NIH (3 pages max) and NSF (2 pages max) formats. Foundation applicants must provide an abbreviated CV (3 pages max). Each format focuses on preparation and publications most relevant to the proposed project.
  • Applications will be routed for approval to the department chair or director and the Dean’s Office. Faculty must discuss a potential course release with their unit leadership in order to proceed to a preliminary review.
  • Preliminary review of one-page proposal narratives will be conducted by anonymous reviewers via InfoReady, UM-AA, UM-D, UM-F, U-M Foundation Relations.

In addition to the course release, faculty will receive proposal writing help from the Office of Research, statistical or graphical design assistance (if needed for the proposal writing) and additional feedback (depending on subject matter) from mock study sections like those at MICHR (Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research) or UM’s research development network.

Eligibility: this program is aimed primarily at junior or mid-career faculty members (in years 3 to 10 of a tenure track appointment) for each sponsor track: NIH, NSF or the Foundations Academy.

A 3-credit course buyout for most applicants typically represents a 1/9th replacement cost of the faculty member with a 9 month appointment.

University year (nine month appointed) faculty who seek protected proposal writing time during the spring/summer months are eligible for a salary stipend of up to $8,000, but precluded from teaching during the spring/summer award period.During the academic year (fall and winter), all PI-eligible faculty may request support for a 3-credit course buyout. Twelve month appointed faculty may request a 3-credit course buyout in all three cycles.

The Proposal Writing Academies will be offered in the fall, winter and spring/summer terms. During each application period, and subject to available funding, this program will select 2-3 faculty. Faculty will receive notification of whether they have been selected for this program within eight weeks of the application deadline. Faculty not selected for the program will be encouraged to participate in proposal writing workgroups.

Research Commons

Learn about new funding opportunities by searching in the Research Commons. The portal uses the InfoReady platform to pool internal opportunities, limited submissions, and some external opportunities. Find funding opportunities quicker by using the keyword search, and filtering by campus, school or college, discipline, career stage, funding type, or areas of interest.