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University of Wisconsin–Madison


What is the UW2020 Initiative?

The goal of the UW2020 initiative is to stimulate and support highly innovative and groundbreaking research at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. This initiative seeks to fund research projects that have the potential to fundamentally transform a field of study as well as projects that require significant development prior to the submission of applications for external funding. This initiative seeks to support collaborative, multidisciplinary, multi-investigator research projects that are high-risk, high-impact, and transformative as well as those that require the acquisition of shared instruments or equipment that will open new avenues for innovative and significant research.

What types of projects will be funded?

This initiative funds two types of requests:

  • Highly innovative and potentially groundbreaking research projects that have the potential to fundamentally transform a field of study
  • Projects that require the acquisition of shared instruments or equipment that will open up new avenues for innovative and significant research

How is UW2020 different from the Fall Research Competition?

The goal of UW2020 is to fund high-risk, high-impact, and transformative research projects that require significant development prior to the submission of applications for external funding. The UW2020 program does not provide funding as backup support for an externally submitted proposal or to supplement an existing grant. It is expected that the proposed project will be of sufficient scope to require a substantial investment of resources before it will be competitive for external funds. Also, UW2020 projects typically involve a multidisciplinary team of investigators.

The Fall Research Competition prioritizes the funding of junior faculty and insurance support to senior faculty for external grant submissions. The Fall Research Competition generally funds focused research projects close to or at the point of submission for extramural support.

What are the steps in submitting a UW2020 application?

An abstract for the proposal should be submitted online to ensure that the proposed project aligns with the goals of the UW2020 initiative. The divisional Associate Vice Chancellor for Research will advise the applicant (principal investigator) about the submission of a full-length proposal.

See the application instructions for the materials that need to be included in the full-length proposal.

What is the average size of the award?

The awards range from $100,000 to $500,000.

Is there a matching fund requirement?

No. Matching funds are not required.

Can faculty salary support be requested?

For faculty on 9-month appointments, only summer salary support may be requested. Faculty with 12-month appointments are not eligible for faculty salary support.

How many years of funding may be requested?

Funding will be provided for 1–2 years, depending on the needs and scope of the project.

Can a portion of a UW2020 project be handled through a subaward to another institution?

No, WARF funds can’t be used to fund subawards, pilot projects, mini-grants or other projects at other institutions. However, purchase of services from other institutions is allowable.

Are there any conditions to the award?

A progress report and final report will be required. Periodic updates after the funding ends will be required.

In accepting the award, the principal investigator agrees to seek external funding to continue the project within one year of the end of the VCRGE funding period.

When are UW2020 proposals reviewed?

October 15, 2019, for abstract submission; December 9, 2019, for full proposal submission (award recipients will be notified in April 2020).

What is the review process for UW2020 proposals?

Proposals will be reviewed by a faculty committee with representation from the four divisions. The review committee will be appointed by the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education in consultation with the University Research Council and the divisional Associate Vice Chancellors for Research.

At what stage of my research career should I enter the UW2020 competition?

Proposals from investigators at all career stages are invited. Junior faculty who submit a proposal as a PI are encouraged to include senior UW-Madison researchers as co-PIs.

Will revised versions of UW2020 research proposals be considered resubmissions?

Yes. If you have further questions, contact your divisional Associate Vice Chancellor for Research.

Can I serve as the PI on a new UW2020 research proposal if I received funding in an earlier round?

No.  If you have received a UW2020 research project grant as the lead PI, you are not eligible to apply for another research project grant for three years from the date of the initial funding of the UW2020 proposal. Further, eligibility for an additional award will be contingent in part on the record of accomplishment emanating for the first award (including grant submissions, publications, awards, etc.).

Can I submit an infrastructure proposal if I received funding for an infrastructure proposal in an earlier round?

Yes.   There are no restrictions on how frequently you may apply as the PI for an infrastructure proposal. However, for any round of the UW2020, you may serve as the PI on only one infrastructure proposal.

Can I serve as a co-PI or investigator on a new UW2020 application if I am the PI on a current UW2020 award?


Is it permitted to serve as a PI on an infrastructure proposal while concurrently a PI on a research award?