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Research & Innovation Office (RIO) Funding

  • Seed Grant Program: Designed to catalyze new areas of research and creative work, the Seed Grant Program awards nearly $1 million annually to Boulder faculty across all disciplines. Recent winners included faculty from the Departments of Geological Sciences, Linguistics, Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, and Sociology.
  • Faculty Conference Awards: These awards provide partial support for planning and hosting conferences at CU Boulder that promote and encourage the scholarship, research and creative work of the Boulder campus faculty.
  • RIO Travel Grants: Designed to facilitate faculty-funder relationships, travel grants provide funding up to $1,500 for faculty to visit extramural sponsors.

CU Boulder Campus Funding

CU System Funding

  • Chase Faculty Community Service Award: The award provides $10,000 to a full-time University of Colorado faculty member who, in addition to his or her university responsibilities, has, pro bono, provided exceptional educational, humanitarian, civic or other service in the community.
  • Diversity & Inclusive Excellence Grant: Diversity & Inclusive Excellence Grants fund innovative projects that promote diversity and inclusive excellence throughout the University of Colorado. Proposals are funded based on the recommendations of the system-wide committee. Projects selected for funding are restricted to a maximum award of $3,000.
  • President’s Diversity Award: This annual award recognizes significant achievements of faculty, staff, students, and academic or administrative units in developing a culturally and intellectually diverse university community reflective of inclusive excellence. As many as four awards of $2,000 each are given.
  • Thomas Jefferson Award: The University of Colorado Thomas Jefferson Award honors students, staff, and faculty members who advance the ideals of Thomas Jefferson. Eligible nominees’ achievements reflect superior performance in their normal work or scholarship and notable participation in humanitarian activities. The award includes an engraved plaque and a $2,000 honorarium for each recipient.

Select Federal Funding Opportunities

Department of Defense

National Institutes of Health

National Science Foundation

Department of Education

United States Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences

Select Private Funding Opportunities

Russell Sage Foundation

American Political Science Association

American Psychological Foundation

American Sociological Association

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Institute for New Economic Thinking

Lumina Foundation

Open Society Foundation

Social Science Research Council

Wenner-Gren Foundation (Anthropology)

William T. Grant Foundation

RIO Recognition

  • PI Academy: This program orients early career, tenure-track faculty to CU Boulder’s research community and resources. Through the PI Academy, presenters and facilitators actively engage faculty on a number of “core” research development topics to ensure early investigators are well-positioned to apply for and secure external funding for their research, scholarly and creative endeavors.
  • Distinguished Research Lectureship: This lectureship, among the university’s highest honors, recognizes a tenured faculty member for a distinguished body of academic or creative achievement and prominence, as well as contributions to the educational and service missions of CU Boulder. Past recipients include faculty from the departments of Music, History and Fine Arts.

Online Resources

  • SPIN: SPIN is a web-based, searchable funding opportunities database available to all CU Boulder faculty, staff, and students.
  • Foundation Directory Online (FDO): FDO includes more than 140,000 foundations, corporate giving programs and grantmaking public charities in the U.S.; a database of more than 4,000 sponsoring companies, offering a quick pathway to corporate funders; and much more.
  • Dimensions: Dimensions is an innovative grants and funder database providing insights into research activities from multiple perspectives allowing CU Boulder stakeholders to analyze and understand the funding landscape across the U.S. and around the globe.
  • RIO SharePoint Site—Featuring the Research Development and Grant Writing Newsletter: Log in with your CU credentials and access “Documents” for university subscribed research funding newsletters and guides.
  • Philanthropy News Digest (PND): PND publishes RFPs and notices of awards as a free service for grant-making organizations and nonprofits. Sign up for free email alerts for funding opportunities in your academic area. 

Faculty Consultations

The Research & Innovation Office has a part-time Proposal Editor and Writing Coach, Donna Axel. In addition to proposal development support, Donna is our resident expert on funding opportunity databases, including SPIN, Dimensions, and the Foundation Directory Online. She is available for individual faculty consultations to help identify relevant opportunities and can also customize trainings for groups of researchers. Please contact her directly to schedule a meeting specific to your interests.


Do you have suggestions about how RIO can better support your research and creative work? We welcome your feedback and suggestions. Email us: rio@colorado.edu