Potential applicants should reference previous years’ consultant reports to see the range and types of proposals recommended in any BoRSF program. Reports from numerous competitive cycles are available at https://rsi.laregents.edu/downloads_page/consultant-reports/.
Yes, provided all Co-PIs are eligible per the guidelines in the RFP.
Does the PI of a multidisciplinary proposal have to be from the lead department that will primarily benefit?
The PI of a multidisciplinary proposal does not have to be a member of the lead department, but the proposal should provide a rationale for the choice. Given the departmental focus of the program and the requirement that multidisciplinary projects be rooted in and primarily benefit a discipline eligible in the funding cycle, consultants will very likely have questions about the selection of leadership which should be addressed explicitly.
We noticed last year that the Current and Pending Support template provided in LOGAN for ENH is different than other Support Fund programs. Are we required to follow the ENH template or can we use the RCS template?
I am not sure why the forms are different, but the format is not material. We would advise applicants to use the ENH format just to keep the proposals all looking alike, but the forms are similar enough that it won’t make much difference in communicating the information.
Appendix material is not part of the page limit.
Section IV.D on page 10 of the RFP requires applicants to list all awards received from any Support Fund program during the previous five years. Is this five years from the ENH due date?
You can use the ENH due date as a guideline. Note that BoRSF programs run in annual cycles, and not on an ad hoc schedule, so this really refers to the last five funding cycles.
Does the Current Situation Data requested in IV.C.1 of page 7 of the RFP need to be provided in chart form or can it be included in narrative form?
For the Current Situation data the applicant can use whatever form the team feels is most compelling. The idea of the data is provide a foundation of information that preemptively answers questions about the unit and the project in relationship to the unit. It is there to help the applicants make their case and guide the reviewers in their assessment.
The RFP does not include an Appendix with taxonomy information. Should we follow the taxonomy in the RCS RFP?
You can use the RCS taxonomy as a guideline, or the old Enhancement taxonomy, which was based on a now-eliminated NSF taxonomy (these are the same document). The important part is that, if there is any question of eligibility or what the discipline is, that the applicants make a convincing case that the proposal has been submitted to the appropriate discipline.
If a campus is submitting a multi-disciplinary comprehensive ENH, do we need to submit required information on previous BoRSF awards for each academic unit involved in the proposal or just the lead academic unit submitting the proposal?
It is ok to limit information on previous awards to the lead unit, especially in Comprehensive. The intention was to keep to the spirit of the newly organized Departmental version of Enhancement that emphasizes the department over the PI. But five years for an entire department is enough to sort through for the applicant, and enough for the reviewer to process. However if the applicant feels that listing all the departments’ BoRSF history helps make the case, then feel free to do so.
For Comprehensive ENH, the RFP states that each eligible department/academic unit may also participate with other units in up to one campus-wide proposal submitted under the Multidisciplinary category. Does this mean that LSU as an institution is limited to only one multidisciplinary campus-wide comprehensive ENH proposal or just that each eligible department/academic unit can only participate in one multidisciplinary proposal (i.e. LSU could submit 2, but the Department of Biological Sciences could only participate in one).
The limit is on the department, and not the campus. Per your example, Biological Sciences may participate in one multidisciplinary (as lead or partner) and one department-based comprehensive proposal, but the campus may submit as many multidisciplinary proposals as it deems appropriate. It is important for applicants to note, however, that our funding is extremely limited and we don’t anticipate funding a large number of comprehensive proposals in any given cycle.
What form should the approval of the institutional screening committee take? Where will we include the memorandum from the institutional screening committee? Is this part of the page limit?
The institutional screening committee approval form is not dictated by the Regents, and can take the form that the campus deems appropriate – memorandum/approval form, letter from the committee, certification of approval, etc. LOGAN will have a separate (optional) upload for the screening committee
The Targeted Enhancement proposals require a rank-order list from the screening committee. Do investigators have access to view the rank-order list?
The BoR does not dictate how a campus conducts its internal screening or specify that deliberations/results must be shared with the applicants. That is entirely an internal decision. Bear in mind, however, that proposal contents submitted to the BoR – including data such as internal priorities – become public records, and are subject to release upon request.
Proposals must include previous BOR Support Fund awards received from any Support Fund program during the previous five (5) years by the academic unit with summary information. Does this include the Endowed Chairs , Professorships and Student Scholarships?
Only awards – grants and contracts – should be included. Endowments are matching funds and donor-restricted, so are not considered part of the award list.
Can you help us to understand Targeted Workforce as a discipline? For most four-year institutions, it doesn’t align with any academic discipline.
Targeted workforce refers to any program that terminates in a specific workforce application (e.g., PTEC or construction crafts). It may align with a subject area or discipline, but need not, which is why it is kept separate in the discipline list.
For Comprehensive ENH, would the College and Department within it (e.g., College of Science and the Department of Physics and Astronomy) be considered two separate academic units?
What are the budget guidelines for the Departmental Enhancement Program? Is there a difference in the budget request for the targeted versus comprehensive?
Detailed budget guidelines are set forth in sections V-VII of the RFP. Section II.B sets forth budget limits per project type (Comprehensive: $300,000 in year 1, $200,000 years 2-5; Targeted: $200,000 for one-year projects)
For Targeted ENH, if a department/unit is submitting in two separate disciplines, does the department submit a rank order per discipline or for the whole department?
The rank order should be by department/unit, and not by discipline.
How should the institutional screening committee be organized and department/unit strategic priorities be developed?
Each campus can accomplish these requirements according to its own preferences. In terms of priorities, strategic plans and role, scope, and mission statements are a good place to start. Selection of members for the screening committee is the purview of the campus; Offices of Sponsored Programs are welcome to share best practices or exchange approaches at their discretion.
No, though any equipment requested should be justified in terms of the academic enhancement it provides to the department/unit in terms. Note, too, that personal devices (e.g., iPads, laptops) purchased with Support Fund monies must be tagged and remain the property of the campus. Under no circumstances may they be given to faculty, students, or other individuals as personal property.
We have no way of knowing at this point. At a budget level of approximately $3M for the whole ENH program, we would expect 20+/-. The budget level, however, may change and actual funding recommendations depend on the cost of recommended proposals and expected revenues to the Support Fund.
Is ranking of targeted proposals at the department level only? How is the ranking conveyed to the Regents?
Yes. No institutional ranking is required. Departmental rankings can be included in the body of each affected proposal or uploaded separately in LOGAN.
Yes, provided the institution can make a strong case for the use of short-term Support Funds in this way, as well as outline concrete plans for sustaining the faculty position after limited BoRSF dollars are exhausted.
Would a shared support facility, such as a library or instrumentation lab, be an eligible department/unit in the Departmental Enhancement program?
No. Departmental Enhancement is limited to “academic, research, and agricultural departments and units,” and the unit’s mission must reflect these descriptors. Support facilities are not eligible as applicants, though a proposal from an eligible department may indicate that items purchased will be housed in a shared facility, as a way of broadening the impact of the investment. In addition, an associated academic program (e.g., Library and Information Services) is eligible, but its proposals must reflect the academic mission of the program.
The Multidisciplinary distinction is definitely departmental. The idea is that two different units are both participating in, invested in and being enhanced by the proposal. One of the departments receiving an equal or greater share of the enhancement must from an eligible discipline. Proposals are not multidisciplinary because the academic work touches on themes outside of the PI’s normal discipline. As in, a Business proposal is not also Computer Science because they are working with computers, or also Mathematics because they are doing some high level statistics work. They are only multidisciplinary if they are actually working with a Computer Science Department or Mathematics Department, and those departments are invested in the project and receiving tangible enhancement.
Is a project multidisciplinary if only one unit is involved, but that unit, as interdisciplinary, might fall equally multiple eligible disciplines (e.g., humanities and social sciences)?
In the new Departmental Enhancement format, the Multi distinction is less important. Before there was a separate Multi competition with its own pot of money. Now there is one competition. Before the PI had to make a calculation as to whether the project would be more competitive in a multi competition or a stand-alone discipline-based competition. Now the distinction serves only as a guideline for the reviewers. Multi signifies a broad impact, and that the relationship of the departments needs to be examined by the panel, and that BoRSF needs to carefully consider which experts are assigned to review it. So it is important to understand, but will not affect which pot of money you are competing for.
Is a project multidisciplinary if only one unit is being enhanced, but the project involves faculty from other units to assist in the enhancement of the submitting unit?
The previous Multi competition was designed to give a competitive space to projects that fell in between disciplines because two departments were working together. Business and Computer Science might actually be putting together a shared lab that was a huge boost to each department but fell out of the normal scope of the Business or Computer Sci competitions, and might be dismissed. Now we have designed a review that builds that into a single competition.
Would a proposal need to fall within two disciplines as defined in the RFP eligibility table to be considered multidisciplinary?
For a proposal to be Multi it needs to: a) be submitted by a department that is based in an eligible discipline b) the submitting department must receive equal or greater benefit from the project than the other participating departments and c) at least one other department must benefit, it must present its own mission statement and state its case for why the project fits the priorities described in that statement, and it must have faculty involved that have actual roles. The partnering departments do not have to be based in eligible disciplines.
Would a proposal that is only relevant to Engineering B, but will enhance two separate Engineering departments be multidisciplinary?
For Engineering, if the department submits in Engineering A, to be a multi proposal the partnering department must be outside of Engineering A. If a department under Engineering A partners with a department from Engineering B, then it can be considered Multi. If two Eng A or two Eng B departments submit a proposal together, and they are separate units with separate administrations, then they are welcome to format their proposal the way you would with a Multi proposal. As in, they should probably submit two mission statements that explain how the project addresses priorities in each separate department. But, like I said before, the Multi label is just a guideline, if they write it that way then it will be easy to set up the review for it, but labeling Multi will not change how it competes, because it is a single competition.
How do you complete the Participating departments section if you have three faculty members from three different departments involved in the proposal, but only two of the departments would benefit from the Enhancement? Do we list all three departments or just the departments that benefit from the enhancement?
It does not matter what departments the participating faculty members work in when it comes to labeling the proposal Multi, or choosing a discipline to submit under. The participating departments check off the disciplines they represent. Hundreds of proposals have been submitted since I’ve been here with faculty working across departments on teams, and most of those probably were not Multi. Multi is department based. If more than one department from more than one discipline have vested roles in the project, then it is Multi. Creating the PI teams is a strategic element of the project but does not determine the disciplines the proposal is submitted under. If you are submitting under Humanities, it is a better bet to have a Humanities PI and not a Poli Sci PI, even if the Poli Sci PI did most of the writing. And if you are doing real Sociology work you probably want a Sociology person represented on the team to show the panel you have your bases covered. But none of that has to do with how the project is submitted. The department submits the proposal, the department chooses the discipline to submit under, and if they partner with another department they should look into the process for submitting and the process for formatting a Multi proposal and consider submitting as Multi.
Can the PI of a Multidisciplinary project be from any department/unit participating in the project, or must the PI be from a discipline eligible during the funding cycle?
The PI of a Multidisciplinary project may be from any participating department, but the proposal must be rooted in a discipline eligible in the funding cycle and convincingly argue that project benefits will accrue significantly, and not just incidentally or tangentally, to one or more eligible disciplines. External reviewers will assess and make determinations about the degree to which a proposal demonstrates its eligibility per the criteria set forth in the RFP.