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Limited Campus Competitions

Throughout the year, the OVCR coordinates numerous Limited Campus Competitions. These competitions are required because many private foundations and federal government agency programs only allow a limited number of nominees from invited institutions, like CU-Boulder.  The review process is conducted by a group of faculty who are invited by the Vice Chancellor for Research to serve on the OVCR Review Board.  Based on their evaluations, nominees are selected to compete for these limited awards. If you have any questions regarding limited campus competitions, please email Ryan Reeves at

Anticipated Opportunities  

Active Internal Competitions

Searle Scholars Program 

NSF Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE)

NEH Summer Stipends

Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists

NSF Major Research Instrumentation Program (MRI)

NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) Program

Searle Scholars Program

Program Summary

The Searle Scholars Program is a limited submission award program which makes grants to selected academic institutions to support the independent research of outstanding early-career scientists who have recently been appointed as assistant professors on a tenure-track appointment. Grants are $300,000 for a three-year term with $100,000 payable each year of the grant, subject to the receipt of acceptable progress reports. Generally, the program makes 15 new grants annually.

Internal Application:


Internal Proposal Deadline: July 28, 2016 at 11:59 pm MST

Searle Deadline: September 30, 2016 at 5:00 pm CDT


Applicants for awards which will be activated on July 1, 2017 will be expected to be pursuing independent research careers in biochemistry, cell biology, genetics, immunology, neuroscience, pharmacology, and related areas in chemistry, medicine, and the biological sciences.

Applicants should have begun their appointment as an independent investigator at the assistant professor level on or after July 1, 2015. The appointment must be their first tenure-track position (or its nearest equivalent) at an invited institution.

Limited Submission Guidelines

2 nominees can submit applications on behalf of the University of Colorado. 

Award Information and Duration

Grants are set at $300,000 for a three-year period with $100,000 payable in the first year and equal sums payable in the second and third years and are subject to the receipt of acceptable progress reports. Generally, fifteen new awards are granted annually and are activated on July 1 of the year of the competition.

Funding Restrictions

Awards are made to institutions for the support of the research programs of the Scholars. Up to 25% of an individual's calendar year salary may be charged to the grant, together with appropriate fringe benefits. Individuals on academic year appointments may charge 25% of the academic year salary and one month of summer salary (at the monthly rate for the academic year) when the academic year is ten months or two months when the academic year is nine months. However, in no case may the total salary plus benefits charged for the Scholar exceed $25,000 in one year. Scholars shall have the maximum discretion in the budgeting and re-budgeting of funds to meet their research needs. However, the following limitations will apply: 

1) Foreign travel requires prior approval of the Scientific Director of the Searle Scholars Program;

2) Total annual expenditures for equipment which exceed the approved budget, submitted at the time of being awarded, by more than $3,000 require prior approval from the Scientific Director of the Searle Scholars Program;

3) Funds provided under this grant may not be used to pay for costs associated with general facilities or administrative overhead, such as costs of providing space, utilities, library facilities, and administrative services.

NSF Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE)

Program Summary 

Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE) is an NSF-wide program that supports international activities across all NSF-supported disciplines. The primary goal of PIRE is to support high quality projects in which advances in research and education could not occur without international collaboration. PIRE seeks to catalyze a higher level of international engagement in the U.S. science and engineering community.

International partnerships are essential to addressing critical science and engineering problems. In the global context, U.S. researchers and educators must be able to operate effectively in teams with partners from different national environments and cultural backgrounds. PIRE promotes excellence in science and engineering through international collaboration and facilitates development of a diverse, globally-engaged, U.S. science and engineering workforce.

This PIRE competition will be open to all areas of science and engineering research which are supported by the NSF.


Internal Deadline and Application: August 4, 2016 at 11:59pm MST

NSF Preliminary Proposal Deadline: September 14, 2016 at 5:00 p.m. MST

NSF Full Proposal Deadline: April 24, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. MST

NEH Summer Stipends

NEH Posting:

Internal Competition Deadline: 11:59 PM on August 10, 2016

Internal Application:

NEH Deadline: 11:59 PM on September 29, 2016

Eligibility: The Summer Stipends program accepts applications only from individual researchers, teachers, and writers.

Funding Source and Duration: Summer Stipends support continuous full-time work on a humanities project for a period of two months. Successful applicants receive a stipend of $6,000

Funding Restrictions: Summer Stipends may not be used for projects that seek to promote a particular political, religious, or ideological point of view; projects that advocate a particular program of social action; specific policy studies; research for doctoral dissertations or theses by students enrolled in a degree program; the preparation or revision of textbooks; curriculum development; the development of teaching methods or theories; educational or technical impact assessments; empirical social science research, unless part of a larger humanities project; inventories of collections; works in the creative and performing arts (for example, painting, writing fiction or poetry, dance performance, etc.); the writing of autobiographies, memoirs, or works of creative nonfiction; or the writing of guide books, how-to books, and self-help books.

Limited Submission Guidelines: Up to two nominations per institution.

Program Summary:

Summer Stipends support individuals pursuing advanced research that is of value to humanities scholars, general audiences, or both. Eligible projects usually result in articles, monographs, books, digital materials and publications, archaeological site reports, translations, editions, or other scholarly resources.

Summer Stipends support continuous full-time work on a humanities project for a period of two consecutive months. Summer Stipends support projects at any stage of development.

Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists

  • Please be advised that only deadlines for the 2017 cycle have been posted. The programmatic information below is from last year and will be updated once the Blavatnik Family Foundation publishes the 2017 guidelines. 

Program Summary 

The Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists recognize the country’s most promising faculty-rank researchers in Life Sciences, Physical Sciences & Engineering, and Chemistry. One Blavatnik Laureate in each disciplinary category will receive $250,000 in unrestricted funds. 

Internal Application and Deadlines

Internal Deadline and Application Link: August 16, 2016 at 11:59 PM MST

Blavatnik Nomination Deadline: November 16, 2016

Blavatnik Letter of Support Deadline: November 30, 2016


The nominee must:

  • Have been born in or after 1974.
  • Hold a doctoral degree (PhD, DPhil, MD, DDS, DVM, etc.).
  • Currently hold a faculty position at an invited institution in the United States.
  • Currently conduct research as a principal investigator in one of the disciplinary categories in Life Sciences, Physical Sciences & Engineering, or Chemistry.

Previously nominated individuals who were not selected as Laureates in past Awards cycles may be nominated again. The Blavatnik Awards welcomes nominations from underrepresented groups in science and engineering.

Limited Submission Guidelines

Candidates for the 2016 Blavatnik National Awards must be nominated by their institutions. Each institution may submit up to three nominations, one in each disciplinary category of Life Sciences, Physical Sciences & Engineering, and Chemistry. Institutional nominations must be submitted by the institution’s President (or equivalent), Provost, or their official designee. Self-nominations are not allowed. Nominees do not submit their own nomination materials and should direct all questions to their institution’s official nominator.

NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) Program 

Program Summary 

The NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) program is designed to encourage the development and implementation of bold, new, and potentially transformative models for STEM graduate education training. The NRT program seeks proposals that ensure that graduate students in research-based master’s and doctoral degree programs develop the skills, knowledge, and competencies needed to pursue a range of STEM careers. The NRT program includes two tracks: the Traineeship Track and the Innovations in Graduate Education (IGE) Track.

The Traineeship Track is dedicated to effective training of STEM graduate students in high priority interdisciplinary research areas, through the use of a comprehensive traineeship model that is innovative, evidence-based, and aligned with changing workforce and research needs. The priority research areas for the FY2017 competition will be (1) UtB, (2) INFEWS, and (3) any other interdisciplinary research theme of national priority. The IGE Track focuses on test-bed projects aimed at piloting, testing, and validating innovative and potentially transformative approaches to graduate education. IGE projects are intended to generate the knowledge required for their customization, implementation, and broader adoption. While the Traineeship Track promotes building on the current knowledge base to develop comprehensive programs to effectively train STEM graduate students, the IGE Track supports testing of novel models or activities with high potential to enrich and extend the knowledge base on effective graduate education approaches. The NRT program addresses both workforce development, emphasizing broad participation, and institutional capacity building needs in graduate education. For both tracks, strategic collaborations with the private sector, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), government agencies, national laboratories, field stations, teaching and learning centers, informal science centers, and academic partners are encouraged.


Internal Deadline and Application: 11:59 PM MST September 15, 2016

NSF Letter of Intent Deadline: December 9, 2016

NSF Full Proposal Deadline: February 7, 2017

NSF Major Research Instrumentation Program (MRI)

Internal Competition Application:

Internal Competition Deadline: 11:59 PM MST, September 29, 2016

NSF Deadline: 5 PM local time, January 11, 2017

Limited Submission Guidelines (based on prior solicitation): NSF limits institutions to three (3) proposals as described below. If three proposals are submitted, at least one of the proposals must be for instrument development (i.e., no more than two proposals may be for instrument acquisition).

To ensure a balanced instrumentation award portfolio at diverse organizations, across varied research topics, and in support of a broadly inclusive science and engineering workforce across the entire Nation, the MRI program requires that an MRI-eligible organization may, as a performing organization, submit or be included as a significantly funded subawardee in no more than three MRI proposals. To promote instrumentation development, the program requires that if an organization submits or is included as a significantly funded subawardee in three MRI proposals, at least one of the three proposals must be for (Track 2) instrument development.

NSF reserves the right to carefully examine development (Track 2) proposals to ensure that they meet the requirements for this proposal type (see Section II). If a proposal submitted as development is deemed to be an acquisition proposal either before or during the review, the proposal is subject to return without review or decline.

An unfunded collaboration does not count against the submission limit. Inclusion as a funded subawardee on a development (Track 2) proposal at a level in excess of 20% of the total budget requested from NSF, or as a funded subawardee on any acquisition (Track 1) proposal, will be counted against an organization's proposal submission limit. Separately submitted linked collaborative proposals of either type (Track 1 or Track 2) count against the submission limit of each of the submitting organizations. However, if a subaward to an organization in a development (Track 2) proposal is 20% or less of the proposal's total budget request from NSF, the subawardee's submission limit will not be affected. For subawards within a linked collaborative proposal, the 20% threshold applies to the budget request from NSF in the proposal containing the subaward(s), not to the combined budget request from NSF for the collaborative project.

Note: The 30% cost-sharing requirement applies to only the portion of the total project cost budgeted to non-exempt organizations, including those participating through subawards. When required, cost-sharing must be precisely 30%. Cost sharing is required for Ph.D.-granting institutions of higher education and for non-degree-granting organizations. Non-Ph.D.-granting institutions of higher education are exempt from cost-sharing and cannot provide it. National Science Board policy is that voluntary committed cost sharing is prohibited. See section V.B. for specific information on cost-sharing calculations and the solicitation text for definitions of organizational types used for the MRI program.

Program Summary (based on prior solicitation): The Major Research Instrumentation Program (MRI) serves to increase access to shared scientific and engineering instruments for research and research training in our Nation's institutions of higher education, not-for-profit museums, science centers and scientific/engineering research organizations. The program provides organizations with opportunities to acquire major instrumentation that supports the research and research training goals of the organization and that may be used by other researchers regionally or nationally.

Each MRI proposal may request support for the acquisition (Track 1) or development (Track 2) of a single research instrument for shared inter- and/or intra-organizational use. Development efforts that leverage the strengths of private sector partners to build instrument development capacity at MRI submission-eligible organizations are encouraged.

The MRI program assists with the acquisition or development of a shared research instrument that is, in general, too costly and/or not appropriate for support through other NSF programs. The program does not fund research projects or provide ongoing support for operating or maintaining facilities or centers.

The instrument acquired or developed is expected to be operational for regular research use by the end of the award period. For the purposes of the MRI program, a proposal must be for either acquisition (Track 1) or development (Track 2) of a single, well-integrated instrument. The MRI program does not support the acquisition or development of a suite of instruments to outfit research laboratories or facilities, or that can be used to conduct independent research activities simultaneously.

Instrument acquisition or development proposals that request funds from NSF in the range $100,000-$4 million may be accepted from any MRI-eligible organization. Proposals that request funds from NSF less than $100,000 may also be accepted from any MRI-eligible organization for the disciplines of mathematics or social, behavioral and economic sciences and from non-Ph.D.-granting institutions of higher education for all NSF-supported disciplines.

Cost-sharing of precisely 30% of the total project cost is required for Ph.D.-granting institutions of higher education and for non-degree-granting organizations. Non-Ph.D.-granting institutions of higher education are exempt from cost-sharing and cannot include it. National Science Board policy is that voluntary committed cost sharing is prohibited.

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