Faculty Research and Creative Activity

Committee Guidelines

Evaluation of Proposals

What to Look For

Format Specifications -

Abstract - Preceding the proposal, limited to 250 words, double-spaced

Length of proposal - Limited to five (5) double spaced pages (excludes application, checklist, abstract, biographical sketch, IRB, budget page and supporting materials.)

Font characteristics - Font size = 10 point or 12 point; figures, charts, tables, figures legends, and footnotes may be smaller in size but must be readily legible.

Spacing and Margins - Proposal must be double-spaced with 1 inch margins in all directions.

Page numbering - Page numbers must be used on the proposal pages, centered at bottom of page.

The complete submission package should contain:

1. Completed Application Page, including all required signatures.

2. Abstract should be written for a lay audience.

3. Proposal narrative - Clearly-labeled subsections in the narrative to address each of the following required elements:

• I ntroduction

Aim/Background/Significance: Should include the objectives and the significance of the proposal research or creative activity; with a brief review of the literature to provide a context for the project's significance to current scholarship/research in applicant's field; should describe the contribution the project will make to the field; discuss the hypothesis to be tested or the specific thesis of the project.

Research Design/Methodology or Creative Medium: Description of the methodology for the project, including data collection, sampling, or other procedures that will be used. Should provide evidence of the efficacy of the methodology, and describe any survey instruments that will be used and should provide copies of those instruments in the attachments. Include a detailed description of the activity to be carried out in the realization of the project. For example, discuss the specific methods of production or performance including details of construction, composition, editing, etc., using media appendices as examples where appropriate.

Timeline: Outline of schedule for completion of each of the major components of the project, from beginning to completion.

Resources/Budget: Description of the resources necessary to carry out the project, including those already available and those requested in the budget. See Budget Guidelines.

Other Funding: Indicate any attempts to determine whether there are additional or alternative sources of funding for the project and describe the results and any strategies they have for seeking external funding for the project. The Committee is particularly interested to know how a grant from the FRCAC can serve as seed funding for a project that will later be competitive for external funding.

Dissemination: How the results of the project will be disseminated (e.g., the publication of a book, a chapter, a journal article, a public performance, an art exhibition, or a production).

4. Biographical Sketch (must include final reports from all previous FRCAC funding. See Final Report Questionnaire.)

5. Budget Form

6. Budget Justification

7. Statement on the Use of Human Subjects and/or Animals in Research: Research that involves human subjects or animals must secure the appropriate approvals. If approval is required for the project, it should be indicated where you are in the process of obtaining written approval from the Institutional Review Board (IRB) for use of human subjects and /or the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) for use of animals or the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC). The Committee will review proposals for which the required approvals are still pending, but funding will not be released until the approvals are complete.

8. Other supporting attachments, as applicable:

• References Cited in the proposal, limited to one page.

• Written approval from the IRB, and/or IACUC if that approval has been secured, or indication of application for same.

Travel Authorizations, signed and approved, when the budget includes travel

• Proposed Survey instruments that will be used in the research.

• Collaborative Agreement documentation with external entities

• Letter of publisher interest for book proposals

Applications will be assessed and ranked according to the following criteria:

Specific Aims, Background & Significance (this is the core issue):

1. Are the objective(s) and goal(s) of the proposed research clearly stated?

2. Is the background leading to the current application clearly summarized?

3. Has the existing knowledge in the field been clearly evaluated?

4. Is the importance of the project clearly explained?

5. How will scientific knowledge or creative pursuits be advanced if the Specific Aims are achieved?

Research Design/Methodology or Creative Medium:

1. Is the research design and/or conceptual framework described in terms understandable by educated peers not familiar with the area?

2. Have any potentially novel concepts, approaches, tools, or technologies been described?

3. Are preliminary studies presented that support the feasibility of the approach?

4. Is the plan for data collection, analysis, and interpretation clearly defined and have copies of all survey instruments been included?

5. Have any potential problems or limitations in the proposed approach been delineated?

6. Is a tentative sequence or timetable provided for completion of the project?

All other considerations being equal, the committee will give preference to:

• untenured faculty - faculty at the rank of Assistant or Associate Professor;

• new activity versus continuing activity;

• faculty members who have not received an award for two years or more;

• faculty members who have been granted an award previously and completed their activity and submitted the final questionnaire to the committee within 3 months of completion;

Resources and Budget Justification:

1. Are the resources (space, equipment, etc.) needed to complete the project adequately described and has permission to use resources been obtained if necessary?

2. Has documentation been provided for any collaborative agreements with entities outside of MTSU?

3. Will requested equipment purchases replicate currently available equipment?

4. Is the budget sufficiently justified?


What is the Likelihood of dissemination of the results and is the projected mode of dissemination appropriate (presentation, journal article, review article, book chapter or book, monograph, production, audio or video recording, etc.)?

Other funding opportunities:

1. Are there any alternative funding sources available or is FRCAC the only likely source?

2. Is achievement of the Specific Aims likely to lead to pursuit of external funding?


1. Is the investigator qualified (education and/or experience) to successfully complete the project as proposed?

2. Does the investigator have a record of research and/or creative accomplishments during the past five years?

3. If the investigator previously received FRCAC funding, is the currently proposed project new or continuing?

Quality of Proposal:

1. Does the proposal comply with all stated format specifications and guidelines?

2. Is the submission package complete with all supporting attachments, as applicable?

To answer the question, "Should we fund this?";, please see Budget Guidelines (under applicant instructions)

For New Members
Evaluation of Proposals
Types of Grants

List of FRCAC Committee Members

Ingram Building, Room 120
Coordinator: Kellile Hilker
Phone: 615-494-8918
Fax: 615-898-5028
Email: Kellie.Hilker@mtsu.edu