RED Extramural Fund Opportunities
OASIS Internal Funding Award (OASIS-IFA)
Earlier this year, UCR's Office of Research and Economic Development (RED) announced the first call for the Opportunities to Advance Sustainability, Innovation, and Social Inclusion (OASIS) Internal Funding Awards. The purpose of the program is to enable UCR faculty to initiate, continue, or expand research, scholarly, and creative activities in areas under the OASIS umbrella and increase their competitiveness for extramural funding in those areas. Faculty from all disciplines and methodological approaches from all schools, colleges, departments, and programs were encouraged to participate. We intend to continue this internal competition on an annual or biannual cycle based on its initial outcomes, applicants' and awardees' feedback, and funds availability. Final selections have been made, totaling over $1.7M in internal seed funding (one of UCR's largest competitive internal seed funding efforts ever).
OASIS is a partnership with public and private stakeholders led by UCR to promote regional economic development in the Inland Empire through solutions-driven research, entrepreneurship, and workforce development focusing on sustainability, innovation, and social inclusion. OASIS addresses the climate, environmental, energy, health, and socio-economic challenges of our region and promotes further engagement of UCR with the community, government organizations, philanthropic foundations, and the private sector. The objective is to transform the Inland Empire producing original, creative, and scalable solutions applicable also at the national and global level. UCR is uniquely position for this task by taking advantage of its stablished record as the only R1 university in the Inland Empire, and the commitment to social mobility, inclusion, and equity, which are hallmark features of the higher education institutions in the region. UCR can also capitalize on the diverse population it serves as well as the diverse geography and natural resources of inland Southern California.
The OASIS project consists of physical infrastructures and programmatic activities. The funding in this internal competition is intended to support a first set of programmatic activities. Such activities complement the infrastructure developments of the OASIS Clean Tech Park for which UCR has already received both state ($15.0M) and federal ($1.5M) funding. The Park will anchor diverse stakeholders that leverage strengths in agriculture, environment, and community health; incubate start-up companies; provide entrepreneurial training, strengthen partnerships with workforce initiatives; and welcome, and inspire the next generation of diverse research and business leaders. Through the attraction of companies, the Park will also provide internships and jobs opportunities for students and alumni and integrate economic development efforts of the Cities, Counties, Chambers of Commerce, and other stakeholders in the region.
In terms of programmatic activities, OASIS is supported by six pillars in broad areas of transportation, energy, agricultural, natural resources, health, and human development, which are weaved across by the horizontal OASIS goals of Sustainability, Innovation, and Social Inclusion and the university mission in Education and Workforce Development, as represented in the matrix below.
The following is a non-exhaustive list of topics included in OASIS pillars.
Sustainable Transportation & Infrastructure: Intelligent transportation systems, vehicle computing and sensing technology, smart cities, sustainable freight and logistics, greenhouse emissions monitoring and controls, vehicle-to-grid (V2G) systems.
Renewable Energy and Fuels: Zero emission vehicles; sustainable fuels (e.g., hydrogen); energy storage, batteries manufacturing and characterization; lithium extraction, purification, and recycling; new materials; renewable energy infrastructure (e.g., geothermal, smart grids, wind energy, solar energy, hydrogen); industrial decarbonization; electrical systems models.
Agriculture Technology and Food Security: Urban agriculture, controlled environment agriculture, remote sensing, food production, plant breeding and propagation, new plant varieties, plant disease control and cures, pest control, wildfire and forest resilience, pollination programs.
Natural Resource Management: Pollution, air quality, air monitoring, water resources, irrigation, ecology, climate change, conservation science, the Salton Sea, drought resilience, water conservation programs, extreme heat resilience, healthy soil programs.
Community Health and Health Disparity: health disparity across different populations, community engagement, community health training and education, disease monitoring, pandemic readiness and mitigation, health policies.
Human Development: Sustainability, human impact on the planet, earth stewardship, social justice, inequality effect of climate change and climate change mitigation, human migrations and displacement, circular economy, environmental policies, economic growth and wealth distribution vs equitable human development, food security, other climate change and social justice initiatives focused on the humanities and the arts. The programmatic activities envisioned include the development and/or implementation of research and creative activities, proof of concept funds, living laboratories, pilot and demonstration programs, innovation and entrepreneurial projects, outreach and community engagement, policy and decision making based on new knowledge and research, workforce development, and internship initiatives under the pillars of OASIS.
Regarding the horizontals goals broad (also non-exhaustive) definitions are provided by the following examples.
Sustainability (from https://www.mcgill.ca/sustainability/files/sustainability/what-is-sustainability.pdf): "Sustainability means meeting our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In addition to natural resources, we also need social and economic resources. Sustainability is not just environmentalism. Embedded in most definitions of sustainability we also find concerns for social equity and economic development."
Innovation (from Drucker, Peter F. Innovative and Entrepreneurship Practice and Principles. Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc. 1985. See also https://www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm/wholefarm/pdf/c5-10.pdf): "Innovation involves finding a new and better way of doing something. Much of our modern society is based on innovations that have occurred in the past that provide us with the standard of living we enjoy today. Entrepreneurship and innovation are companion terms."
Social Inclusion (World Bank Definition, https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/social-inclusion#1): Social inclusion is the process of improving the terms on which individuals and groups take part in society�"improving the ability, opportunity, and dignity of those disadvantaged on the basis of their identity."
Education and Workforce Development (from Lyn E. Haralson (2010), "What is Workforce Development?" Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, https://www.stlouisfed.org/publications/bridges/spring-2010/what-is-workforce-development): "Workforce development is defined as training programs that provide existing and potential workers with the skills to complete tasks needed by employers to let the organizations stay competitive in a global marketplace."
TYPES OF AWARDS
There are two tracks for this program but in each of them the proposals need to identify the main pillar to which they will contribute.
- Large Awards (total budget $1,200,000): Six awards of up to $200,000, one in each of the pillars, will be awarded. Each proposal requires the participation of at least two Colleges/Schools/Other Units (for example it could include one College/School and another administrative unit such University Extension, Graduate Division, etc.). Proposal only involving various departments in the same College/School will not qualify.
- Small Awards (total budget $500.000): Proposal with one or more PIs with budgets in the range from $5,000 to $25,000 will be awarded. Co-participation of PIs from different units is encouraged but not required for the small awards.
Proposals are invited from all UCR individuals eligible to serve as a Principal Investigator. (For additional information on PI eligibility see Policy #527-3). Additional personnel may include students and staff.
USE OF FUNDS
The use of funds for this solicitation is intended to be very flexible. Funds may be used for any activity directly related to the conduct of the research, scholarly, creative, or outreach activity, e.g., salaries and benefits for any participant, faculty, staff, undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, or similar position; software or supplies; small pieces of equipment (less than $5,000); facility recharge; travel to meet with funding agencies, attend proposer workshops, coordinate with collaborators, and conduct field work; or other research expenses required to facilitate preparation of the proposal. Funds may not be used for cost-share in external funding opportunities, seminar speakers, or travel to regular conferences. Use of funds for consultants and other participants external to UCR will be particularly scrutinized and only a few well-justified exceptions may be approved. All funds must be expended by the end of the project period. To focus on projects that can make rapid progress, no extensions of the award will be approved, and unexpended funds will be recovered. No cost-share or matching funds from other units are required and such contributions will not be considered in the selection process.
SELECTION CRITERIA AND REVIEW PROCESS
The selection criteria will include the following
- Proposal clarity and specificity in its objectives
- Project feasibility
- Matching to this solicitation in terms of the OASIS verticals pillars
- Potential impact of the project in one or several of the horizontal OASIS goals (not all goals need to be addressed)
- Budget commensurable with activities proposed
- Strength and background of the multidisciplinary team
In addition, for the Large Awards
- Need for interdisciplinary collaboration in the proposed activities and the substantial involvement of more than one unit.
The applications for the Large Awards will be reviewed and the selections will be made by a committee of RED and Deans. For the Small Awards, the applications will be reviewed and recommendation will be made by a committee of RED and Faculty. Because of the large number of proposals anticipated and the focus on disbursing funds speedily, no detailed review feedback will be provided. However, recipients may be asked to reformulate part of the proposal or modify their proposed budgets.
The internal proposal deadline for both tracks is June 1st, 2022.
PROGRESS TRACKING AND REPORTING
Awardees will be required to submit a two-page final project report within 60 days of the end of the award period. The final project report should include the results of the research, a financial statement, information about external funding opportunity submission or efforts underway to obtain external funding if any. Lack of timely reporting may result in exclusion from future award opportunities. RED will use the reporting information to evaluate the efficacy of the program and its sustainable continuation.
Bearing in mind that not all reviewers will have an extensive knowledge of their field of inquiry, faculty should use proposal language accessible to reviewers with different backgrounds. Both tracks of the program use the same application format:
1. Application Form (pdf)
2. Research Plan - No more than 8 pages narrative for the Large Awards and no more than 3 pages for the Small Awards, single-spaced, 12-point font with at least one-inch margins all around. Proposals not complying with these space and page limitation requirements will not be reviewed.
3. Typical proposals should include in their narrative: a brief introduction and objectives, specific aims, and anticipated results (if applicable).
4. Proposals should also contain a separate section, within the total allocated pages for the narrative, addressing the contributions of the proposed activities to one of more of the OASIS horizontal goals (Sustainability, Innovation, Social Inclusion, Education and Workforce Development).
5. List of publications or creative works cited in the narrative, if any (no page limitations for this list).
6. Budget with breakdown of broad cost categories and brief justification (no more than 2 pages for budget and justification).
7. CVs (no more than 2 pages for each investigator).
8. Results of prior UCR internal seed grant(s) in the last two years if applicable (1 page max.).
Applications should be submitted through the "EasyChair" system at https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=oasisifa2022.
Questions about the EasyChair application system should be directed to Marisela Martinez at VCREDadmin@ucr.edu.