The Faculty Committee on Research Awards has tried in these pages to set out clear procedures, but if you have questions please contact Lauren Banfield.Background
Deadlines and Grant Periods
Change in Amherst College Status
Research Support Funds Spending Policy
Guidelines for Application
The board of trustees and the administration of Amherst College recognize the importance of encouraging research activities of all regular full- and part-time, tenured and tenure-track Amherst College faculty members. It is the intention of the board of trustees and the administration that this program be undertaken and continued with the understanding that all awards are dependent upon funds being made available to the program. The Faculty Committee on Research Awards is responsible for the administration of application and award procedures. Normally, there are three members of the committee, one each from the three traditional divisions of the faculty; they are selected by the Faculty Executive Commitee and serve two-year terms. The provost and dean of the faculty is an ex officio member of the committee. Since 2000, the Faculty Research Award Program has been endowed by the H. Axel Schupf '57 Fund for Intellectual Life.
Applications may be made by all full- and part-time members of the Amherst College faculty, either tenured or tenure-track. Such faculty members are eligible to apply whether or not they are on sabbatical leave or leaves of absence for research reasons. However, faculty with start-up funds remaining are ineligible to apply; start-up funds must be exhausted before an application will be considered. Visiting faculty and those on term contracts are ineligible to apply. Members of the Faculty Committee on Research Awards may not apply for awards during their term of service, but do retain their entitlement to funds previously awarded. Applications from colleagues in the performing and creative arts are encouraged and will be treated commensurably with applications from other, more conventionally "academic" disciplines. An individual may not submit more than one application at a time. Requests for project renewals will be considered, but new applications will receive first priority. Priority will also be given to applicants who have not recently been funded under this program. Priority will be accorded to funding research expenses rather than to publication costs.
The range of activities eligible for funding include those in the performing and creative arts, as well as projects in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. Joint and interdisciplinary projects are encouraged. Funding is available to support bringing small groups of scholars to Amherst for short periods (two to three days) to share research findings, to criticize one another's work, and to otherwise stimulate a faculty member's research, writing, artistic, or performance development. Where appropriate, these visitors may lecture in a course or give a public lecture or performance in which case lecture funds may be combined with FRAP money. As a standard, visitor honorariums should not exceed $500. Faculty members seeking funding in excess of the annual $3,000 professional travel and research funds allocated should apply to FRAP.Research on curriculum development and the improvement of teaching is not eligible for funding through this program.
To be eligible, proposals must involve original research or creative activities by the principal investigator, rather than solely providing support for the creation or maintenance of institutional facilities or research materials. Grants will not be awarded to support research to be performed in connection with fulfillment of the applicant's degree requirements.
There will be two rounds of applications during each academic year. Applications for a FRAP award must be received by the Office of the Provost and Dean of the Faculty by October 1, for the first round, and by February 2, for the second. Extensions of these deadlines will be approved for emergencies only. Awards will be announced for the first round in late December and for the second, in April. It is the responsibility of the applicant to see that this office receives the application and all supporting material by the deadline. For those projects receiving awards, the size of the award may differ from the amount requested in light of other demands on available funds and the project's requirements, as evaluated in the review process. The sums awarded are subject to modification in light of other funding received for the project.
The grant period for FRAP Research Awards is eighteen months, that is, funds must be expended during the eighteen months following the award. Grant funds cannot be used to reimburse commitments of expenditures made before the beginning of the grant period. An extension may be granted upon application, if additional time is needed to complete the project.
FRAP has a "small grant" program and a "large grant" program. An award of $10,000 or less is considered a small grant. An award of more than $10,000 and up to $50,000 is considered a large grant. It is preferable that there be a gap of eighteen months between FRAP proposals for small grants. If it is anticipated that a project will extend over a number of years and that it will require funding beyond the small grant maximum of $10,000, it is best to apply for a large grant, rather than a series of small ones.
Small grants: Small grants will be judged on scholarly merit and on the reasonableness of the budget. Small grants are subject to expedited review and normally will be judged without outside peer review.
Large grants: Large grants should include the names of two outside reviewers. The Committee may itself select one or more additional specialists from outside the College. Research applications will be judged on the scholarly merit of the proposed research and on the ability of the applicant to perform the proposed research successfully. The College encourages proposals for new projects, as well as for continuing ones. Some of the factors that will be considered are: 1) significance of the proposed work in relation to its contribution to the field; 2) the extent to which the proposal reflects a well-conceived design with reasonable promise of successful execution; 3) evidence of scholarly promise and productivity; 4) demonstrated familiarity with the literature in the field and; 5) sufficiency of other funding received by the applicant. When considering previous research accomplishments, the Committee will take into the account the fact that assistant professors are often unable to present an extensive record of publication.
Applications in the creative and performing arts will be judged on the basis of merit and in accordance with criteria appropriate for those areas.
When determining which proposals will be funded and at what amounts, the FRAP Committee will take into account funding already granted by the College, including the applicant's start-up and other research funding, history of support for previous FRAP projects, general quality of the proposal, as well as the overall level of requests submitted in relation to the funds available.
An online application is available here. Please complete all required fields, which are indicated with a *.
Upload required documents for both Small and Large Grants:
1. Proposal Description, including Bibliography
2. Curriculum vitae
In addition, for Large Grant Proposals, please complete the section requesting two suggested external reviewers. Be sure to click the Submit button once you've completed your application. You will receive a confirmation message when the application has been successfully submitted. Contact Lauren Banfield with questions.
Small grant proposals will contain your personal contact information; a proposed budget and justification; a statement of other funding; a detailed description of the proposal, not to exceed 1,000 words; and a curriculum vitae. The proposal should highlight major points of inquiry and the specifics of your research.
Large grant proposals will contain your personal contact information; a proposed budget and justification; a statement of other funding; a detailed description of the proposal, not to exceed 2,500 words; name, address and email of two suggested external reviewers; and a curriculum vitae. The title should describe directly and broadly the subject. Applications will be evaluated by scholars and other knowledgeable people of various fields, some of whom may not have a specialized knowledge of an applicant's area of study. The proposal, therefore, should be addressed to persons who will be interested in the project not only as an immediate contribution to learning in a particular field, but also as a contribution to the advancement of knowledge more generally, and to the applicant's development as a scholar.
The description should be narrative in form and be focused and organized. It should cover the following matters:
1. Conception and definition of the project
Applicants should describe the specific program of study or research planned for the time period requested, explaining the basic ideas or questions to be explored and illustrating their approach or line of thought to the extent that these have been developed.
In addition, applicants should explain the relationship of the proposed projects to their immediate and long-range study or research objectives. They should also explain the relationship of their projects to the work of other scholars in the same general area.
Applicants who plan to submit proposals for revising dissertations should provide an updated bibliography or other information indicating what preliminary revision is already under way.
2. Significance of the project
Applicants should clearly indicate the significance of the proposed work and the contribution it will make to the humanities, natural sciences, or social sciences.
3. Plan of work and methodology
Applicants should outline the plan of work, methodology, and schedule for the award period. The following questions may be pertinent:
- What is the present state of the proposed study?
- What work has been done for the project thus far?
- What remains to be done?
- Where will the study be conducted?
- Will the applicant have access to the archives, collections, laboratories, institutions, or persons essential for carrying out the project?
- Does the applicant have competence in the foreign languages or the computer techniques needed for both the primary and secondary materials that will be used in carrying out the project?
4. The mode in which the results of the research will be published
Bibliography: Applicants should provide a short list of primary materials and publications by other scholars that may have the greatest relevance to the proposed study.
Curriculum Vitae: The curriculum vitae should be in common outline and should include the following: 1) a record of the applicant's education, including the title of any recent thesis or dissertation; 2) a list of academic honors or awards received; 3) a record of employment; 4) a list of publications and; 5) a list of source, length of time period, dollar amount and nature of any fellowship or grants held in the past, including all Amherst College support of more than $1,000. In general, reprints, articles, books or similar materials are not considered in the review process. Transcripts and collected letters of recommendation are not required.
Names of External Reviewers: The names and mailing addresses of two suggested external reviewers are required. Applicants should provide the names of two specialists in their field who are not affiliated with the college. One reviewer should be a person with whom the applicant has no acquaintance or has had little personal contact. The other should, as much as possible, be thoroughly familiar with the applicant's professional capabilities and accomplishments. Recent degree recipients are advised to include the name of the dissertation advisor.
The proposer should know that the budget is an important part of the application, and will be reviewed as carefully as the project description itself.The budget justification should specify the reasons for the funds requested. Special circumstances should be fully described. When requesting items of equipment costing $1,000 or more, the applicant must indicate the manufacturer and model number. The need for the particular model should be clearly explained. Particular attention should be given to the detailed justification of any travel expenses including transportation and per diem expenses. Please see the Employee Travel, Meals and Entertainment Reimbursement Policy for guidance.
Grants up to $10,000 may be requested under the small grant program; grants of more than $10,000 and up to $50,000 may be requested under the large grant program, inclusive of all support staff salaries/wages and fringe benefits.
Salaries and Wages
All salaries must be individually itemized by position title with the names of personnel listed, when known.
Funds provided for research may not be used to reimburse faculty salaries (i.e., in the provision of sabbatical release time or for summer salary). Honorariums for scholarly visits will be limited to $500 per visitor. Consultants may not be paid from award funds.
Research and Clerical Assistance
When research assistance is requested, it is preferred that Amherst College students be employed if at all possible. Salaries of undergraduate research assistants should follow the usual guidelines for such work as outlined by the Human Resources Office. Only clerical assistance that is directly required for the work of the project should be requested in the proposed budget. The Human Resources Office will have the appropriate academic year and summer minimum hourly rate schedule for research and clerical assistance.
Travel and Living Expenses
Any proposed travel must be essential to the project. In the budget justification, such travel should be described fully, including itinerary, duration at each location, time of year traveling, cost of transportation and other expenses. Lowest cost carriers should be used for travel insofar as possible. Since the airlines offer a number of different rates, the applicant is expected to use the lowest practical fare appropriate to the length of time traveling as well as the time of year and, if necessary, to give some explanation. Such a low/lowest rate base will be the basis for Committee approval.
The applicant needs to provide a full and convincing justification of anticipated living expenses and should indicate in the budget the number of days for which an allowance is requested, as well as the dollar amount per day. Note that the allowance covers both meals and lodging, and such costs will have to be documented by receipt. The amount requested should be based on the applicant's best estimate of the anticipated costs.
The Faculty Committee on Research Awards will consider funding equipment, within reasonable limits, if such equipment is deemed central to the research project. Since equipment funded by FRAP is retained by the successful applicant after the duration of the grant, the committee will look with special care at equipment requests. In cases where the overall budget is insufficient to fund all approved projects, the Committee will use its discretion in limiting allowances for certain equipment.
Equipment requests should be directly related to the applicant's research project, not for the laboratories of his or her department, and should be fully justified in the proposal and itemized in the budget. An applicant requesting funding for purchase of an item of general purpose equipment, such as a laptop computer or camera lense, should be aware that such a request will be reviewed in light of an assessment of the centrality of the equipment for the conduct of the proposed project. In addition, the Committee will consider both the availability of College resources and pertinent campus policies; specialized equipment already available for use on campus will not ordinarily be funded. Equipment purchased on a FRAP grant is considered the property of the College. If the grantee leaves Amherst, however, the departing individual may propose to purchase said equipment from the College. Normally, equipment bought on a FRAP grant will not be supported or maintained by the staff of the College. Items costing $1,000 or more must be identified by the manufacturer and model number. Justification must be provided for the use of a particular model. The Director of Information Technology should be consulted on all computer purchases.
Give details of the supplies specifically required for the project. Note that funds may be requested for books, publications, or conference proceedings specifically relevant to the funded research. Such books should not be available in libraries or should be required for longer periods than short-term loan libraries can provide. These purchases must be carefully justified, giving as much detail as possible including specific titles. Upon completion of the research project, such purchases must be turned over to the College Library for general use by the Faculty.
Amherst College in general provides computer time and facilities to faculty members without charge. If an applicant is unable to use the Amherst College computer facility, an explanation of the circumstances is necessary.
Limited funds will be allowed for photocopies and microfilms of materials not easily obtainable or readily available.
The Faculty Committee on Research Awards Committee expects publication to result from the research undertaken. Individual award budgets should include an allocation for publication costs. The Committee on Research Awards will consider requests in this category up to a total of $750 for page charges for periodicals and for the purchase of up to 100 reprints of each article resulting from an award. These funds must be used within a four- year period, starting with the effective date of the award. Subventions for the publication of monographs in specialized areas may also be requested. The accepted manuscript should be submitted, along with a justification from the publisher that support will provide the least expensive access to the work's intended audience. Two readers' reports, one solicited by the author (or publisher), and another by the Faculty Research Award Program Committee, will form part of the proposal. In no case will more than $6,000 be awarded for subventions.
Funds may be requested to pay for the preparation of manuscripts resulting from an Amherst College research award, including costs of typing, technical drawings, photographs, etc. All award recipients whose work results in published material may request funds up to a total of $750 for preparation of manuscripts.
Authors who receive remuneration for manuscript preparation costs from their publishers or from journals must reimburse this fund.
Once you have submitted your application online, please notify Lauren Banfield in the Provost and Dean of the Faculty's office.
After awards are made, all applicants will receive information concerning administrative procedures.
If your research activity involves human research subjects or the use of animals, please make sure to fill out the proper forms to request review and approval from either the Institutional Review Board (IRB) which reviews procedures that involve human subjects or the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) which reviews research procedures involving the use of animals.
At the end of the grant period, award recipients are required to submit a report to the Committee on Research Awards summarizing the results of the project. A copy of each publication resulting from the project must also be submitted. Publications should contain the following acknowledgement of support: "This research was supported (in part) by a grant from the Amherst College Faculty Research Award Program, as funded by The H. Axel Schupf '57 Fund for Intellectual Life." Recipients of previous awards must submit a detailed progress report as part of an application for renewed support. Applications for new projects by former award recipients will not be considered if a report on past research awards has not been received. View previous reports here.
An awardee should promptly notify the Faculty Committee on Research Awards of any change in his or her status as a member of the Amherst College instructional staff. Awardees on leave of absence for research purposes during the award period must also advise the Committee and give assurance that they will return to Amherst at the end of their leave period.