How to Apply

How to Apply

Current Request for Proposals: 

(Now closed)

Prominence-to-Preeminence (P2PE) STEM Targeted Initiatives Fund

One of the key initiatives in the 2030 Plan is Pathways to Research Preeminence. The overarching goal of this initiative is not preeminence for its own sake, but to contribute knowledge that will address major societal challenges and opportunities.

In order to move this key initiative forward, we are investing $15M in the Prominence-to-Preeminence (P2PE) STEM Targeted Initiatives Fund and inviting proposals. In the coming months and years, we will be pursuing different ways of advancing our research ambitions; this is one of many steps we expect to take to support our research and scholarship in these priority areas.

The goal of the initiative is to contribute knowledge that will address major societal challenges and opportunities and to advance research initiatives that will move UVA from prominence to preeminence in the five research focus areas identified in the strategic plan: Democracy, Environmental Resilience and Sustainability, Precision Medicine, the Brain and Neuroscience, and Digital Technology and Society.

Total funds available: $15M

Number of awards anticipated: 2-5

Anticipated duration of support: 3-5 years

Maximum Award: $10M

Initial LOI deadline: June 1, 2021 at 5pm

Final deadline (to submit proposal with letter of academic leadership support): June 30, 2021 by Noon

Request for Proposals 

Watch a webinar about the Prominence-to-Preeminence (P2PE) STEM Targeted Initiatives Fund and see the PPT presentation for more information.

Contact Cheryl Wagner ([email protected]) if you have specific questions and want to schedule a zoom meeting with vp for research Melur "Ram" Ramasubramanian.

P2PE 2021 Projects

Immunology, Imaging and Informatics for Precision ImmunoMedicine (iPRIME) in Cardiovascular Disease - Colleen McNamera, School of Medicine

In collaboration with the Schools of Medicine, Engineering and Applied Science, Nursing, and Data Science, the goal of implement Precision ImmunoMedicine (iPRIME) is to designate UVA as the premier location for targeting the immune-system for research, diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease (CVD) using cutting edge technology, advanced clinical imaging, and innovative, sophisticated artificial intelligence. The team has collected substantial data from patient subjects and has the systems in place to recruit and obtain high dimensional immune system and imaging data and clinical outcomes on another 1000 CVD subjects over the next five years. The team has successfully used bioinformatics and machine learning in cohorts to develop algorithms to assist clinical decision making as a proof of concept. Melding all of these data and topics together will lead to fully realizing the potential preeminence for UVA in precision immunomedicine in CVD.

PREPARE: An Integrative Science Program in Pandemic Science and Response - Lauren Coble and Chris Barrett, Biocomplexity Institute and Initiative (BII)

Researchers from the Biocomplexity Institute and Initiative plan to partner with the UVA Health System, School of Arts and Sciences, School of Data Science, School of Engineering and Applied Science, School of Law, School of Medicine to establish an integrative science program in pandemic science and response program named PREPARE (Pandemic Research in Emergence, Planning, and Response). The goal of the program is to reduce the global burden of infectious diseases by combining novel foundations, engineering principles, and technologies. The focus is on pandemic planning and response as a “big science” problem. Ideas, concepts, and methodologies developed under this proposal will lead to new general theories for understanding large scale networked complex systems that can be translated to other disciplines like cybersecurity, ecology, and social sciences. Success will be defined in terms of the dedicated scientists who will continue this research beyond the initial five year period, and thereby extend the impact of this program well beyond SARS-CoV2.

BIG Steps Forward - Tajie Harris, Brain Immunology Glia (BIG) Center

The overarching research theme of BIG Steps Foward is advancing the understanding of neuroinflammation in Alzheimer’s Disease. Neuroinflammation research at the University of Virginia is a nationally- and internationally-recognized interdisciplinary research strength. Researchers within the center for Brain Immunology and Glia (BIG) are uniquely poised to address how the immune system impacts the development and progression of Alzheimer’s disease. The overarching goal of BIG Steps Forward is to accelerate the development of research in this area by providing key resources that will generate applications from UVA BIG more competitive for prestigious external funding. There is a dire need for new therapies to treat Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, and the UVA BIG center will rise to preeminence as we tackle this complex and devastating disease.

Climate Science: Bridging Global and Community Scales - Karen McGlathery, Environmental Resilience Institute (ERI)

Researchers in the Environmental Resilience Institute (ERI) have partnered with the College of Arts & Sciences, the School of Data Science, and the School of Engineering and Applied Science on an initiative bridging global-scale climate dynamics with regional/local processes and systems to guide decision-making for equitable climate resilience and sustainability outcomes. This is a critical knowledge gap in creating actionable solutions to climate change, and one in which UVA is uniquely poised to become a preeminent leader. The initiative’s research objectives are organized around three overarching themes: utilizing downscaling and model-data fusion to make advances in climate science more actionable and equitable at the local scale; leveraging cyber-physical systems (CPS) to advance our ability to monitor energy and water flows within communities, reduce energy consumption at the building scale, and mitigate global climate change impacts to infrastructure systems; and exploring how engineering and nature-based approaches to decarbonization be realistically integrated at the regional scale to cut emissions in line with global climate goals.

Go to to learn more about the five strategic research areas.


Is this RFA intended for an specific school or are multi-school proposals encouraged?

For projects of this size it is very likely that you should have multiple units involved.

Do I need my dean’s approval to apply?

It is the intent that you work with your deans office (all schools involved in your proposal) to make sure the thematic area is one that is aligned with the schools priorities. It is not the intent for them to down select which projects, but rather endorse the growth of the area you suggesting for investment.

Is this fund intended to establish new centers?

The size and scale of a proposed theme consisting of a plurality of key questions to be addressed should be at the level of a typical center-scale activity, collectively. It is not a proposal for establishing a center. This is a proposal for an initiative and the intent is to help youy be become nationally competitive to grow into a center with substantial extramural funding. The seed funding component is intended to support some projects in the proposal to collect preliminary data or validate the viability of a hypothesis so that a proposal for extramural support on the topic will be competitive. Funding agencies often decline a center-scale proposal because the reviewers believe that a core competence on a specific topic or topics is missing in the team; or a needed infrastructure is lacking; or the team has not gelled together: or the team has no record of working together at all; and casting of doubt on the hypothesis itself by an “expert” reviewer as there is no preliminary data.

Can funding be used for new faculty hires?

If the request is for an identified gap is specific talent (faculty hire), the groups should discuss with the dean(s) office on hiring as soon as possible and get their input in shaping the budget to make the hiring feasible.  That will invariably result in some cost share. For instance, the grant funds may provide the startup package for the hire, and the dean’s office may pay for the salary; a sliding scale of salary for the hire may be included in the grant and some startup, and the dean’s office may provide some startup and later absorb the faculty into the school after the grant.  Please work with the dean’s offices collaboratively when preparing your budget. The support letter should identify these details so that the support plan and the level of cost share is clear to all. The final budget will be a collaborative exercise with the dean’s office. For infrastructure, a cost share is relatively simpler to define the level and describe in the letter.

Will the investments be made only on Grounds, or can they be global / in other countries?

The funds must be spent on Grounds and at UVA facilities, if off-Grounds.  Forming and including collaborations and partnerships with non-UVA partners is strongly encouraged. These funds can only fund the UVA component in the partnership.

If a proposal included partnering with an outside entity at their own expense (could be various from another university to a company) is something you would encourage?

We would strongly encourage outside collaborations with other universities, companies or foundations, however the funding needs to be kept at UVA.

Is the emphasis entirely on research activities or can we also include educational initiatives and certifications which will enhance undergraduate experiences in these strategic areas ?

The primary focus of this solicitation is on building research. The research strength may be used subsequently for building educational initiatives.

Would you accept proposals that leverage additional support from external sources (e.g. donors, philanthropic organizations)?

Proposals that leverage existing resources, both internal and external is encouraged.

Is this a one-time opportunity or will there be other calls for applications at later time points (if yes to the latter, when about will there be other calls)?

While we are looking at multiple ways to invest in research and there might be other opportunities, this specific request for proposals is not expected to be repeated.

How can we coordinate with the Dean in the School of Medicine? We are just in the process of having a new one.

We recommend reaching out to the dean of research (Dr. Duska). Perhaps Dr. Kent, working with Dr. Duska and relevant chairs, could buy in until the new Dean is named.

Can you say more about UVAs strategic areas that this initiative will be aligned with? 

With the goal of implementing the 2030 strategic plan and for research specifically, this initiative will build strength in the five thematic areas. for more details on each of the five themes click each topic area to see details

Can you clarify how this differs from prior SIF grants?

In the past faculty proposed ideas and projects of interest and the deans and senior leadership approved or declined them. This is an attempt at a more collaborative approach with faculty teams collaborating with their dean’s office to align the growth of a strategic area by building cluster hires and infrastructure to take that area from prominence to preeminence at UVA.

What expenditures in resources, infrastructure and talent are allowed in the budget? What expenditures are not?

Anything *could* be allowed — talent, infrastructure. This is NOT intended to be a substitute for an NIH or NSF grant in the direct funding of research. In other words, project specific funding is not allowable beyond a seed-funding scale at a proof-of-concept scale. 

Would you or others be available to discuss potential projects in the near future to determine whether they are appropriate for this call?

Yes. Contact Cheryl Wagner ([email protected]) if you have specific questions and want to schedule a zoom meeting with vp for research Melur "Ram" Ramasubramanian.

Is there a specific application process/form for the initial/final submission?

Yes, the LOI and final proposals will be submitted through our website:

If a proposal involves multiple Schools and Deans, will the initial selection come from a single school? When should the collaborative budgeting start?

You can start now, we would encourage you to write a short paragraph description describing : Which strategic area, your area of research, key question or focus of your proposal, any team members you hope to include and idea of the budget scale. This would enable Ram or a Dean to have a productive conversation with you. Note we are not down selecting from LOI process, all applicants can submit full proposal.

Given the nature of the call and possible large-scale collaboratory proposals, is there a limit on the number of proposals we can participate?

No limit.