Priority Research Fund Application

Priority Research Fund Application
Research Support & International Affairs (RSIA)
Summer 2017

Checklist of needed documents

The height of the letters (font size) in the text of the proposal must not be smaller than 10 point. Figures, charts, tables, figure legends, and footnotes may be smaller in size but must be easily legible. Please number the pages. A complete proposal will include the following.

___ Cover Page (signatures are required)

___  Abstract of the study (description of up to 200 words)

___  Study Proposal (do not exceed 10 single-spaced pages. Lengthy appendices are discouraged).

___  Budget Statement and Budget Justification

___  Multi-year Studies (for ongoing research)

___  General Inventory of Student Research Skills (GISRS)

___  Appendix

Person-loading chart
Expertise of the research team- State what qualified you to do the study if not clear from your c.v. (two pages max)
Institutional Review Board (IRB) and Clerc Center clearance letter, if required

Where to send your materials

The original copy of each Study Proposal including, Cover Page, Abstract, Budget Statement, Budget Justification, Appendix and IRB Approval Letter should be delivered at Research Support and International Affairs, Dawes House, #206.

The Study Proposal, Abstract, Budget Statement, Budget Justification and Appendix should be submitted electronically (.doc) as one file to

Tips for preparing a Priority Research Fund application

a). Cover Page
Submit your proposal and cover sheet to your Department Chair (for faculty) or Supervisor (for staff) and discuss details (especially the release time). If agreeable, Chair or Supervisor will sign the cover sheet before delivering to your Dean for final review and signature. Deans and Department Chairs should be notified that their signature on the cover sheet indicates their approval of the release time request specified in the proposal.

b). Abstract
In 200 words or less, the Abstract should state the explicit purpose or question of the study, explain the significance of that question, and describe the methods and activities that will respond to the research question. Do not include citations.

c). Study Proposal
A suitable proposal has well-defined and feasible objectives, explicit methods of data collection and analysis, and a clear timeline. The level of detail provided in a proposal should accommodate the information needs of specialists in the academic area of the study, as well as scholars who are not specialists.

Proposals are reviewed by skilled researchers and sometimes by persons knowledgeable in the pertinent field of study. If necessary, feedback is given in order to strengthen the chances of funding. Below are five criteria used in evaluation of a proposal. We suggest that you consider these 5 criteria in writing your proposal. Knowing the criteria upon which judgment will be made on your proposal is critical.

Criterion 1: Clearly defined research purposed or question.

Is the research question or purpose that guides the study clear?
Has sufficient and specific information been given as to what the study will test, determine, learn, and/or describe? Is it feasible within the limitations of funding and time?

An effective proposal articulates a specific and narrowed research question or purpose that can be accomplished within the Program funding limits and within the time limit of one year. Careful articulation of the research question or purpose is crucial, because it is the reviewer's primary basis for appraising the effectiveness of the research methods presented in the proposal. The statement of the study's research purpose remains the same throughout the proposal. The proposal presents concepts and defines terminology needed for the reviewer to understand the study's purpose. A proposal that does not respond well to this criterion leaves the reviewer with appreciable uncertainty about the precise focus of the investigation; key terminology may be undefined. An inadequate proposal also may state a purpose or multiple purposes that are beyond the scope of what can be accomplished within the limitations of time and funding.

Criterion 2: Significant research question/purpose.

Has it been clearly stated how the address a gap in theoretical or practical knowledge? Is the potential gain worth the investment?

This section should emphasize the contribution that the study will make to the field. What is the uncertainty or information gap in the academic field that justifies the investigation? An effective proposal makes a persuasive case that the findings from the research will constitute a worthwhile contribution to the field, justifying the investment of effort and/or resources. The significance may be based, for example, on potential contributions to improved professional practice, resolution of an arguable gap or inconsistency in the literature of the field, or the addition of authentic new knowledge to the field, including by extension or replication of existing knowledge. When appropriate, the proposal grounds the study in a larger theoretical context in a manner that is selective given the page limits of the proposal. When the application is by a student, there are indications that the study is likely to foster a productive educational experience. If the study is a pilot study, the proposal makes a case for the need for such preliminary work prior to a more complete future study. An inadequate proposal fails to state a rationale for consuming time and resources in order to address its research question.

Criterion 3: Direct Study of Gallaudet Research Priorities.

Which priorities will the study address? How does the study help shed light on each selected priority?

The university aims to use the Fund to support studies that are determined to be most likely to contribute towards advancement of knowledge and practice in one or more of the priority areas. It is essential that the researcher explain the relevance of the study to the university's research priorities. The Gallaudet Research Priorities can be find in

Criterion 4: Effective research methods.

Are the procedures suitable for the research questions? As the data collection and analytic approach explained in detail?

The proposal should identify, define, and justify the procedures that will be used to accomplish the research purpose or answer the research question of the study. The methods of the study can include such components as site selection, choice of archives, sample characteristics, data collection methods, experimental design, and data analysis. When judging the merit of study methods, proposal reviewers must evaluate whether each component of the methodology addresses the study's stated purpose. Thus, a well-articulated purpose or question is crucial to a determination of whether the study's methods are effective. An inadequate proposal fails to describe the methods with sufficient detail for the reviewer to judge whether they respond effectively to the research question/purpose. A proposal also may be inadequate either because a component of the methodology is inappropriate for responding to the research question, or because a necessary component is missing.

Criterion 5: Sufficient Support and Expertise.

Does it appear that the research team has sufficient expertise to give reasonable prospect of success? Do the researchers have adequate administrative support?

For success, it is essential that a funded study have the necessary expertise within your research team and administrative support from your Department. A complete proposal will satisfy the reviewers on these points, including demonstrated skill and background in the research area and methods. The Fund Officer will meet with your Department Chair to discuss support for the study.

d). Budget Statement and Budget Justification
The budget should have two parts in the budget section: Details of Expenditures and Budget Justification. Following are some tips.

I. Details of Expenditures
Each budget item for which funding is requested should be described in reasonable detail. Please list expenditures under these categories: Salaries and Wages, Travel and Transportation, General Office Expense, Consultants and Advisors, Professional Fees/Contracts, and Equipment-Uninventoried. As these are standard account number classifications used at Gallaudet, your secretary can help you figure out how to classify your budget item if you are uncertain and use the code below.

Budget Code:

code item
5135 students/research assistants 
5136 student benefit
5117 summer pay
5159 faculty benefit
5117 course release
6631 interpreting contractors 
5411 academic consultants
5441 participant/subject payment
5351 general supplies
6431 equipment (depending on the agreement based on the co-sharing with department)
5211 transportation
5211 lodging
5211 per diem

5100 Salaries and Wages

For course releases, summer pay and benefits, and student compensation.

The amount of time to be spent on each task by each person involved in the study will be shown on your person-loading chart (included in the body of your proposal). Then, in the budget, show how much it costs to pay each person for time worked. For example, if the chart shows a student doing transcribing for fifty hours, then show that calculation for their wage on the budget sheet.

Calculate and list the fringe benefits for faculty and staff at 28.5% of the salary amount. For students, if they are working during summer, put down additional 23.5% of their wage amount (per university policy governing employment not during academic year.)

For course releases during the academic year: Indicate if funds are requested to pay an adjunct or a course overload. For each course release for which an instructor will be hired, put down the figure $7,000. This is calculated at full professor rate (currently rate per credit hour) x four credit hours (includes one prep. credit) plus 28.5% benefits. These figures are intentionally set at the highest possible level for planning purposes. In fact, RSIA reimburses your Department only for the actual amount paid to the substitute who is hired to teach the course upon submission of an approved SPAF.

For summer work for faculty members: If justified, we may pay up to four weeks of full-time work on the research study in a given summer. Faculty summer pay is calculated on the basis of current base salary for nine months (one full-time equivalent or FTE). Faculty with 11 month appointment is not eligible for summer pay. Also, summer pay is calculated on a "percent effort" basis, which is also referred to as the fraction of one FTE. Therefore, summer pay requires specifying both the length of research residence, up to four weeks, and the percent effort, in fraction of one FTE. See the example below for calculating summer pay.


Put both the Benefits and Salary figures in the budget.

5117 Summer Pay base salary x 1/9 =$6,111 FTE/mo)
(duration of research work during summer) 1 mos.
Effort on the Study .5 FTE (half time) 
Summer Pay  $3,056 ($6,111 FTE/mo. x 1.mos. x 0.5 FTE)
5159 Benefits of salary figure $871  (28.5% of Benefits of salary figure)
Salary  $3927

Student assistants: If you are planning to use current students to collaborate or assist in the research, use University guidelines to determine their rate of pay. See "Guidelines for Student Pay Rates" provided by the Career Center. Justify the rate of pay for students according to their role in the study and level of expertise in the job. According to GU policy, once students have graduated, they cannot remain as assistants in a study.

If a student works in the summer time, you must include additional 23.5% of their wage to be used for benefits. That is, both wage and benefits must be shown for summer work.

Your department will need to process the payroll (using e-time) for any student you hire.

5200 Travel and Transportation
Travel for data collection is allowable. We do not cover cost of travel to present at meetings; the grantee should request such support from their department or unit.

5300 General Office Expense
Subject payments, supplies, postage and other communications, miscellaneous services.

5400 Consultants and Advisors
Research consultants, honoraria, and interpreting contractors.

5500 Professional Fees and Service Contracts

RSIA has a list of software packages that are well-suited to the needs of researchers and students for their data collection method at Gallaudet University; many of them are available at no cost and unencumbered by proprietary licensing restrictions. The software list is shown at

Not Allowed- Equipment

It is the responsibility of the grantee's department to provide office equipment for faculty and staff, especially computers, and to allow for their use in research study. Therefore, we do not provide funds for buying general equipment for a researcher. You may ask for devices to store your data, such as hard drives, tapes, and such consumables. Please speak with the Fund Officer if you need specialized equipment.
RSIA strives to maintain a collection of equipment that may not typically be owned by a department. If you have a grant, you may request to borrow the equipment if available.

II. Budget Justification

When you have the budget sheet completed, you can write the budget narrative (justification). The justification should not be long, but should convince the reviewers that you have carefully considered each line item. Be sure to track these following items below.
Justification should be given for all personnel expenses, including course releases and summer pay for faculty members, student hires, outside consultants,

Requests for faculty release time or summer work must be clearly described, including a justification that includes the current level of faculty appointment and the rationale for the timing of the work.

Travel needs to be justified.

Use of consultants should be justified. We aim to support teams at Gallaudet where possible.

If there are additional sources of funding planned, such as from another grant or university unit, this fact should be stated in the proposal.

e). Proposals for Multi-Year studies
If you intend to apply for more than one year of funding, this note is for you. The Priority Fund may be used to support a worthwhile study up to a maximum of three years. At the time of initial review by the panel, the committee will determine if a study warrants multi-year funding, and inform the researcher in the award letter. If study is approved for multiple years we can only assure funding for one year, due to federal budgeting constraints. If you are applying for a multi-year grant, please follow these guidelines:

1. Within the initial proposal an applicant should explicitly state their request to be considered for one, two, or three years of funding.

2. Proposals for multi-year studies should clearly outline the goals and objectives of the entire period of time for which funding may be requested (1, 2, or 3 years).

3. A work plan is required only for the first year.

4. A detailed budget is required for the first and second year. We recommend that you also submit a rough budget for the third year. This will induce the researcher to think through the full scope of the study, as well as allow RSIA to estimate its demands on its budget.

5. Approval for a multi-year study is contingent upon successful annual review

In the second year, an internal review will determine if continuing funding is warranted. Submit these documents by June 1st:

(a) letter requesting funds in the upcoming fiscal year;
(b) a progress report for the past period;
(c) a work plan for the upcoming year and;
(d) a budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

In the third year, the review panel will consider requests for continued funding. Submit these documents by June 1st: (a) letter requesting funds in upcoming fiscal year; (b) a progress report for the past period; (c) a work plan for the upcoming year and; (d) a budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

6. RSIA reserves the right to discontinue funding or to adjust budgets depending on progress.

7. Timelines should allow for the completion of the final report and should specify when the final report will be submitted.

f). General Inventory of Student Research Skills (GISRS)
Upon hiring students as research assistants to faculty or staff researchers, the conditions for such approval include our judgment that:

The funds are being used for a distinct research study (not merely supporting an ongoing operation, work relationship or general research agenda);

The researcher has mastery of the field of study and as such offers students a unique opportunity to learn from the researcher;

We have assurances that the student will substantially benefit from the relationship and participation in the research activity;

The inclusion of the student as co-principal investigator or for the student to solely conduct the study by himself or herself is not appropriate.

The learning objectives for the student to be engaged in the study have been specified and the principal investigator agrees to assess the student's progress by the end of the study.

As part of our consideration of a request for student wages, we will require researchers to determine learning objectives for the student research assistant using the "General Inventory of Research Skills" (GIRS). This determination must be done to satisfaction before a grant is awarded. In short, the researcher will specify the tasks that the students will do during the study and to identify what the student will learn about research. The response of the researcher to the task of adapting and applying the rubric on research learning will be used in our decision-making on funding. See: (instruction) (research rubric chart)

g). Appendices

Appendix pages will not count towards the page limit, but avoid great length. Test instruments, non-standard interview protocols are normally appropriate items to be included in an appendix. Lengthy articles, standard instruments and instructional materials are not appropriate. Other materials that should be included in the appendix are:

Person-Loading Chart (see sample below)

Timeline (see sample below)

Clerc Center clearance letter. If you intend to use the elementary or high school on campus in your study. You will need to request permission from the Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center. Contact Program Monitoring Evaluation unit at MSSD.

Institutional Review Board (IRB) clearance. The IRB must approve proposals involving human subjects. Please submit the same version of the proposal to IRB as you are submitting to us. It is in your best interest to include in your proposal more rather than less information about methodological issues and ethical issues. If IRB has provided feedback on specific methodological issues, include this feedback and your response in appendix.

Resumes. Attach a short resume or C.V. for each investigator (two pages max.)

*Sample of Person-Loading Chart
A person loading chart lists the person responsible for each task and the number of days each person will need to complete the task. The value of the person loading chart is that it helps the PI determines how much human support is necessary to complete the project and it also helps in the formulation of the budget.

Principal Investig. Research Asst. Transcbr 1 Transcbr 2
Modify transcription database 5
Train RA and Transcribers 20
Supervise Transcribers 40 50
Recruit longitudinal subjects 10 20
Film longitudinal subject 20 170
Transcribe longitudinal data 30 300 300
Analyze longitudinal data 80 20
Design 1st elicitation experiments 20 10
Total  195 300 300 300

*Sample of Timeline 

A timeline shows the amount of time in hours to be spent on each task by each person involved during the study.

2007-08 2008-09
Fall Spr Sum Fall Spr Sum
Finalize data collection plan and protocols. X
Train research assistant and transcribers X
Film first group X
Transcribe video X X X
Film second group X
Analysis & comparison X X X
Review transcripts and findings with participants X X
Draft tentative findings X
Write-up, submit for conferences, publication. X

What's next?

After receiving the proposal, the Grant Fund Officer will select external reviewers to review your proposal. The Grant Fund Officer will run a campus review panel to assist in evaluating the proposals. Proposals are evaluated using the 5 criteria shown in the application. You will receive a letter with the result of the review within nine weeks.