Strategic Opportunities Fund

Overview

Value Varies depending on the request
Duration Not to exceed 12 months
Application deadline March 1, June 1, September 1, December 1
Notice of decision Within the month of application
Contact Penny Pickles (pickpj@uleth.ca)

PLEASE NOTE – Effective June 1, 2017, applicants to this competition are required to have a current UNIWeb CV. ORIS administers many internal funding competitions that have seen increasing application pressures.  To streamline the adjudication process, we are asking applicants to standardize the CVs attached to internal applications.  Affected competitions are: the University of Lethbridge Research Fund (ULRF), University of Lethbridge SSHRC Explore, the Strategic Opportunities Fund (SOF), and the Community of Research Excellence Development Opportunities (CREDO).   

The Strategic Opportunities Fund (SOF) supports activities that develop, increase, or strengthen research excellence at the University of Lethbridge.  Due to a large number of applications and limited funds, the fund cannot support all requests. Awards are not automatic or guaranteed.

ELIGIBILITY

Full-time University of Lethbridge faculty are eligible to apply.  All members, as defined in the U of L Faculty Association Collective Agreement, who have research duties as part of their appointment may be eligible. Instructors who have research duties as part of their appointment may be considered on a case by case basis.  Applicants may submit only one Strategic Opportunities Fund request per competition and are limited to 1 award per fiscal year (April 1 to March 31), excluding any requests for matching funds.

Please note the following: Departments and Centres/Institutes are limited to 1 award per fiscal year.  Requests must be submitted by the Department Chair or Centre/Institute director, respectively.

Normally, applicants cannot hold more than one award from internal funding sources such as CREDO, SSHRC Explore, Strategic Opportunities Fund, or ULRF at the same time.  Applicants are allowed to hold a University of Lethbridge Travel Fund award concurrently with internal research funding. In instances where the applicant holds internal funds, but is also requesting funds from the Strategic Opportunities Fund, the applicant must outline how the request differs from projects already funded from internal sources.

ELIGIBLE ACTIVITIES

The Strategic Opportunities Fund is a flexible program designed to provide support for a wide range of activities, provided the activities align with the goals outlined in the Strategic Research Plan.  Requests for which other internal funds are available will not be considered. For example, requests for research support should be directed to the University of Lethbridge Research Fund. The exception to this are application enhancement requests where external reviews have recommended additional research to strengthen an application (reviews should be submitted with the application).

Requests should be considered one-time contributions and are non-renewable.

Activities eligible for funding under the Strategic Opportunities Fund are as follows, listed in order of priority:

1. Application Enhancement

Purpose To support researchers that wish to improve and resubmit applications that were unsuccessful in a preceding external funding competition.
Special Considerations
  • Funding will not be provided for an expired internal award.
  • Funding cannot be used to seed projects or keep a researcher afloat while developing applications.
  • Unsuccessful applications whose primary purpose is to host outreach events are not eligible. 
  • Letters of Intent will be considered on a case-by-case basis pending availability of funds.
  • Requests for funds to support research assistants, technicians etc. already employed by the PI will not be considered.
Eligible Expenses All expenses must be essential for the activities being proposed and adhere to the “Use of Grant Funds” guidelines outlined by the Tri-Council (NSERC, SSHRC, CIHR). 
Ineligible Expenses If you are seeking funds to support a research project, please submit an application to the CREDO fund, SSHRC Explore, or University of Lethbridge Research Fund.
Funds Available Although no maximum size of grant is identified, applicants are advised to keep their budgets reasonable. 
Award Conditions
  • Must submit a reapplication to the external agency within the next two grant competition years.
  • Must agree to work with a grant facilitator within the Office of Research and Innovation Services to develop a stronger application.
  • SOF funds are expected to be spent within 12 months. If more time is required, arrangements must be made at the time of award.
Application Requirements
  • SOF coversheet
  • A narrative detailing plans to address the reviewer feedback and strengthen the application
  • Complete unsuccessful external application
  • Feedback from the selection committee/panel

2. Partnership Development

Purpose

To foster or enhance collaborative research and creative partnerships.

Special Considerations
  • Project teams must be led by a U of L research and involve collaborators beyond academia.  
  • Partners in all disciplines and sectors (the public, private, commercial, and not-for-profit) are eligible.
  • All applications must demonstrate potential to attract/increase external funding within 1-2 years.
Eligible Expenses

Grant funds can be used to support the costs of developing or enhancing a research partnership.  Eligible activities may include the following:

  • Activities that enable the team to work together to identify research questions, emerging issues and/or priorities that could form the basis of a grant application;
  • Initial planning and discussion of a research project among potential team members to assess the viablility of the research project and partnership; or
  • Gatherings of reseachers, partners, and end users where the main objective is to facilitate collaboration among individuals/groups from a variety of backgrounds interested in applying to a funding opportunity.
Ineligible Expenses
  • Direct costs of research including student/trainee salaries/scholarships/stipends are ineligible. If you are seeking funds to support a research project, please submit an application to the CREDO fund, SSHRC Explore, or University of Lethbridge Research Fund.
  • If you are seeking funds for a workshop, conference, symposia, etc., please submit the request under the "Outreach and Knowledge Mobilization" stream.
  • If you are seeking funds to offset the travel costs of attending a professional meeting or conference, please submit an application to the University of Lethbridge Travel Fund.
Funds Available Although no maximum size of grant is identified, applicants are advised to keep their budgets reasonable. 
Award Conditions
  • Must submit an application to an external funding agency within 1-2 years.
  • Must agree to work with a grant facilitator within the Office of Research and Innovation Services in the development of the application.
  • SOF funds are expected to be spent within 12 months. If more time is required, arrangements must be made at the time of award.
Application Requirements
  • SOF coversheet
  • A narrative discussing (1) the partnership and the anticipated contribution of each member to the project, (2) details on the targeted funding opportunity and the deadline for applying, (3) an activity plan with a timetable, (4) details on how the funds will be used to achieve the expected outcomes.

3. Matching Funds

Purpose

To provide institutional support for proposals that require matching funds or other contributions to the total project cost.

Special Considerations
  • Applications must be led by U of L researchers.  If the project lead is not at the U of L, requests will be considered only if the application guidelines have a required or expected institutional matching component from all collaborators. 
  • The sponsor must require matching funds as a condition of funding.
  • Matching funds will not be provided for an internal award.
  • If you are preparing an application that requires matching funds, the request should be considered in the early stages of proposal preparation to ensure there is sufficient time to consider the request.
Eligible Expenses All expenses must be essential for the equipment being proposed and adhere to the “Use of Grant Funds” guidelines outlined by the Tri-Council (NSERC, SSHRC, CIHR). 
Ineligible Expenses  
Funds Available Although no maximum size of grant is identified, applicants are advised to keep their budgets reasonable. 
Award Conditions SOF funds are expected to be spent within 12 months. If more time is required, arrangements must be made at the time of award.
Application Requirements
  • SOF coversheet
  • Application details, namely (1) is it led by a U of L researcher? (2) does it include other U of L researchers?
  • Details on the funding program, namely (1) are matching funds required? and if so, (2) what is the required level of matching funds?
  • Details on additional funding secured for the project.

  3. Infrastructure

Purpose

To support the purchase, fabrication, or repair of research equipment.  The term equipment should be broadly interpreted to include databases, collections, laboratory equipment, etc.

Special Considerations  
Eligible Expenses
  • Research equipment
  • Shipping, warranties, and taxes
  • Equipment installation
Ineligible Expenses
  • Operational costs and CFI funded equipment eligible for IOF funding are ineligible.
  • Salaries for research personnel or students
  • Consumables, office supplies, office furniture
  • Subscriptions to databases
  • Maintenance fees
Funds Available Although no maximum size of the grant is identified, applicants are advised to keep their budgets reasonable. 
Award Conditions
  • Requests must include matching funds.
  • SOF funds are expected to be spent within 12 months. If more time is required, arrangements must be made at the time of award.
Application Requirements
  • SOF coversheet 
  • A narrative describing (1) how the equipment will enable new research or enhance existing research programs, (2) anticipated users, (3) how the equipment will contribute to student training, (4) the impact if the request is not supported, and (5) how the ongoing support and maintenance of the equipment will be managed (if applicable).
  • Equipment quote

4. Outreach and Knowledge Mobilization

Purpose

To support research-related activities that stimulate knowledge transfer and exchange, as well as enhance the visibility of U of L research. Funding is available for two types of projects:

  • Events (e.g., visiting scholars/artists, speaker series, conferences, and public lectures)
  • Dissemination (e.g., workshops, symposia, publications, and exhibitions)
Special Considerations

Preference will be given to:

  • applications that are organized by a member of the U of L community;
  • have confirmed contributions from other U of L units;
  • are held on campus or in southern Alberta; and
  • enhance the visibility of the U of L, its researchers, and students.
Eligible Expenses
  • Administrative costs to organize the event (e.g., supplies, materials, salaries for event coordination)
  • Travel for invited scholars to participate in the event,
  • Honoria for external speakers
  • Translation
  • Publication costs
Ineligible Expenses
  • Travel and registration fees for U of L researchers and students
  • Capital equipment
  • Book launches
  • Alcohol
Note: if you are seeking funds to offset the travel costs of attending a professional meeting or conference, please submit an application to the University of Lethbridge Travel Fund.
Funds Available The SOF is not intended to cover the full cost of the activity.  Applicants must demonstrate other revenue sources. Typically, awards do not exceed $1,000.
Award Conditions SOF funds are expected to be spent within 12 months. If more time is required, arrangements must be made at the time of award.
Application Requirements
  • SOF coversheet 
  • A narrative addressing (1) the objectives and expected outcomes of the project, (2) the importance of the project in fostering research synergies and/or increasing the visibility of the U of L, and (3) the target audience and (4) anticipated contribution of U of L faculty and students.

HOW TO APPLY

Interested applicants must complete the Strategic Opportunities Fund application form (link to form is available at the bottom of the page).  Requests for funding must be submitted to the Office of Research and Innovation Services using oris@uleth.ca by March 1, June 1, September 1 or December 1 to be considered. If the deadline falls on a weekend or holiday, the deadline will be the next working day.  Late or incomplete forms will not be considered. Funding will not be provided retroactively.

Applicants may submit only one application per competition and receive one award per calendar year.

CONDITIONS OF AWARD

  • Term. Grants term will be for one year from the date the award is approved. Any funds remaining at the end of the term of the grant will be returned to the source. Extensions will not be granted.
  • Use of Funds. Grant funds may be used only for the project and purposes described in the application, subject to any special conditions such as human subject research or animal welfare approval. Funds will be managed in accordance with the standard terms/conditions for Tri-Council funding. Minor transfer of funds from one budget category within the grant fund to another may be permitted. Major transfers (greater than 10% of the total grant award) or the use of funds for a previously unspecified expenditure requires prior approval by the Office of Vice-President (Research).
  • Reports. A final report on the activity funded by the Strategic Research Fund must be submitted within six months of the termination date. Subsequent applications will be considered only after receipt of a final report for previous or existing grants.
  • Equipment and Library Acquisitions. Equipment or library materials acquired with grant funds remain as property of the University of Lethbridge in accordance with university policy.
  • Personnel. Personnel employed with grant funds are not regular University employees and are not covered by the provisions of the collective agreement with support staff.

EVALUATION PROCESS AND CRITERIA

The adjudication committee is the Vice-President (Research) and Associate Vice-President (Research) with input from staff in the Office of Research and Innovation Services.  

The adjudication committee will review all requests and may decide to provide full, partial or no funding based on considerations to the following questions:

  • Are there other sources of funding available to support the request?
  • Has the applicant secured other sources of funding or attempted to secure additional funds?
  • What are the potential benefits to the advancement of the U of L's Strategic Research Plan?
  • Has the applicant received funding from the Strategic Research Fund previously?
  • What is the overall merit of the request?

Final funding decisions rest with the Vice-President (Research).  Due to limits on funding availability, appeals will not be considered.

 

Agency Name: 
University of Lethbridge
Contact Name: 
Penny Pickles
Grant Amount: 
Varies
Grant Location: 
Internal
Internal Deadline: 
Monday, June 3, 2019
Grant Type: 
Research
Grant Area: 
Health
Natural Science
Social Science
Fine Arts
Humanities
Grant Eligibility: 
Faculty