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University of Wisconsin–Madison

Research office launches Initiative to Foster New Large Research Grant Proposals

Applying for grants and securing funding is an essential part of conducting research. Strong grant proposals take time to develop and there’s fierce competition. Winning large research grants can be especially challenging due to complex application processes and limited resources for preparing proposals.

Recognizing these challenges, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education (OVCRGE) has launched the Initiative to Foster New Large Research Grant Proposals to provide principal investigators (PIs) with seed money for preparing large research grant proposals (at least $10 million over 5 years) in response to specific calls from external funding agencies/organizations.

The OVCRGE oversees more than $1.4 billion in annual research expenditures, a figure that puts UW–Madison among the top 10 in the nation among universities for volume of research.

“We did not get to this prestigious ranking through the efforts of one grantee or one office,” says Cynthia Czajkowki, interim vice chancellor for research and graduate education. “Our faculty and staff work extraordinarily hard to prepare and submit strong proposals, which then go through grueling rounds of assessment with stiff competition. Success rates are often 10% or less”

To support the development of large research grant proposals, up to $150,000 of funding may be requested though this initiative to engage the services of a professional grant writer/consultant/editor/grant coordinator or to compensate a faculty or staff member to devote a portion of their time to proposal preparation (up to 10%).  Applicants should check whether their department, school, or college has writers/coordinators on staff that can be used. UW–Madison does not have to be the lead institution on the grant proposal. However, the direct funding that stays at UW-Madison must reach at least $2 million per year. This seed funding cannot be used for renewals of currently funded large center-type grants or training grants.

A lower grant threshold amount (less than $10 million) will be considered for grant proposals to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), or the Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences (SBE) Directorate at NSF.

Applications for funding through this program may be made at any time during the 2023-24 academic year. Requests will be considered by the OVCRGE on a rolling basis.  OVCRGE will provide up to $1.2 million for this initiative. The initiative is supported by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF).

The online application form and application materials are available at:

Technical questions may be sent to:

For questions about application development, please contact the appropriate associate vice chancellor for research (AVC).

“The OVCRGE is committed to supporting submissions of large research grant proposals,” Czajkowski says. “This initiative is a pilot to assess continuation of the program based on the outcomes of this year’s competition.”

### By Natasha Kassulke,