OVPR Pandemic Relief Program

COVID-19 has highly impacted research, scholarship, and creative practice activities across U-M over the last two years. Following weeks of focus groups, listening sessions, surveys of the research community, and meetings with leadership, there is clarity on a need to provide faculty with a range of additional research support. While research, scholarship, and creative practice have returned to pre-pandemic levels in some areas, many other areas continue to be highly impacted in a number of ways. To that end, the Office of the Vice President for Research is launching a Pandemic Relief Program, which includes:

    • A funding program to provide faculty at the assistant and associate ranks whose research activities continue to be significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic with flexible funds for a variety of uses
          • Early Mid Career Faculty OVPR Award: $15,000 (Tenure Track Associate Professor/Research Associate Professor/Clinical Track Associate Professor/Associate Research Scientist across all campuses – less than 4 years in rank, with external funding record as PI in the past 3 years)
          • Assistant Professor Faculty OVPR Award: $3,000 (Research Assistant Professor, Clinical Assistant Professor, Assistant Research Scientist across all campuses and assistant professor, tenure track on the Flint and Dearborn campuses – who have submitted an external proposal as PI within the past 3 years)
    • No-cost extensions across OVPR internal grants programs awarded 2019-2021
    • Workshop series on how to revise deliverables and budgets on current grants that have been impacted by COVID-19, as well as focused guidance and online resources on how to navigate the pandemic relief with external sponsors
    • Workshop series to facilitate internal networking and creative processes focused on planning new projects at this point in the pandemic.

OVPR will continue to engage with the research community on additional initiatives to provide aid during the next step of COVID-19 recovery. In addition to these university-wide pandemic support programs, there are many programed based in schools, colleges, units, and centers aimed at supporting faculty through this difficult time and we encourage faculty to work with their local unit leadership.

OVPR Funding Process

OVPR will review and award Pandemic Relief funding requests through the InfoReady system. Once an application is approved, the applicable funding will be transferred into the shortocde provided on the application (General Fund shortcode preferred), and if childcare reimbursement is approved, OVPR will process the Personnel Action Form (PAR) transaction for payment to the faculty member. These payments will be supplemental pay and are taxable for the employee. Taxes will be withheld. When transactions are complete, the faculty member and the home unit will be notified by OVPR.

Flexible Relief Funding Support

This funding program will provide discretionary funding to (1) re-establish research activities that have been significantly impacted or delayed by the pandemic, and/or (2) explore new directions for research and creative practice in ways that were not possible during the pandemic. These programs are designed to support early associate rank faculty who are at a critical point in their career trajectory and assistant rank faculty who are just launching their research and scholarship. Although this suite of initiatives will not address every faculty or even every faculty who has been impacted by COVID-19, it aims to be a first step to address the most pressing issues for our early- and mid-career faculty with research and scholarship focus who were most impacted.

RANK OF ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR (OR SCIENTIST)

Funding Amounts: Funding amounts will be provided to those in the early mid-career program in the amount of $15,000 or an amount not to exceed the maximum budget of an external proposal within the last 3 years. See below for eligibility criteria.

Associate Professor (Tenure Track)

Eligibility for the early/mid-career faculty OVPR award (up to $15,000), for researchers who meet all the following criteria:

  • Rank of associate professor with less than 4 years in rank at Ann Arbor, Flint or Dearborn
  • Have received an external grant* as PI within the last three years
  • Availability of discretionary funds (including startup funds) less than $10,000
  • Demonstrated COVID impact via a statement/description of COVID impacts

Associate Professor, Ann Arbor (Provost Early Tenure-Track Faculty Research Support Initiative)

Research Associate Professor

Eligibility for the early/mid-career faculty OVPR award (up to $15,000), researchers must meet all the following criteria:

  • Rank of research associate professor with less than 4 years in rank at Ann Arbor, Flint or Dearborn
  • Have received an external grant* as PI within the last three years
  • Availability of discretionary funds less than $10,000
  • Demonstrated COVID impact via a statement/description of COVID impacts

Clinical Associate Professor

Eligibility for the early/mid-career faculty OVPR award (up to $15,000), researchers must meet all the following criteria:

  • Rank of clinical associate professor with no more than 4 years in rank at Ann Arbor, Flint or Dearborn
  • Have received an external grant proposal* as PI within the last three years
  • Availability of discretionary funds less than $10,000
  • Demonstrated COVID impact via a statement/description of COVID impacts

Associate Research Scientist

Eligibility for the early/mid-career faculty OVPR award (up to $15,000), researchers must meet all the following criteria:

  • Be an associate research scientist and less than 4 years in rank at Ann Arbor, Flint or Dearborn
  • Have received an external grant* as PI within the last three years
  • Availability of discretionary funds less than $10,000
  • Demonstrated COVID impact via a statement/description of COVID impacts
RANK OF ASSISTANT PROFESSOR (OR SCIENTIST)

Funding Amounts: Funding amounts for the assistant faculty grants for the Assistant Research Scientist, Research Assistant Professor, and Clinical Assistant Professor will be provided in the amount of $3,000. See below for eligibility criteria by track:

Research Assistant Professor

To be eligible for the research assistant professor OVPR award ($3,000), researchers must meet all the following criteria:

  • Rank of research assistant professor at Ann Arbor, Flint or Dearborn
  • Applicants must have a funded appointment (i.e., greater than 0% effort) at the time of application to be eligible for support under this program
  • Have submitted an external grant* as PI within the last three years
  • Demonstrated COVID impact via a statement/description of COVID impacts

Clinical Assistant Professor

To be eligible for the clinical assistant professor OVPR award ($3,000), researchers must meet all the following criteria:

  • Rank of clinical assistant professor at Ann Arbor, Flint or Dearborn
  • Applicants must have a funded appointment (i.e., greater than 0% effort) at the time of application to be eligible for support under this program
  • Have submitted an external grant proposal* as PI within the last three years
  • Demonstrated COVID impact via a statement/description of COVID impacts

Assistant Research Scientist

To be eligible for the assistant research scientist OVPR award ($3,000), researchers must meet all the following criteria:

  • Rank of assistant research scientist at Ann Arbor, Flint or Dearborn
  • Applicants must have a funded appointment (i.e., greater than 0% effort) at the time of application to be eligible for support under this program
  • Have an external grant proposal* submitted as PI within the last three years
  • Demonstrated COVID impact via a statement/description of COVID impacts

Flint/Dearborn, Assistant Professor, Tenure Track

To be eligible for the assistant professor, tenure track faculty OVPR award ($3,000), researchers must meet all the following criteria:

  • Rank of assistant professor, tenure track on Dearborn or Flint
  • Applicants must have a funded appointment (i.e., greater than 0% effort) at the time of application to be eligible for support under this program
  • Have submitted an external grant* as PI within the last three years
  • Demonstrated COVID impact via a statement/description of COVID impacts
  • The Ann Arbor Provost’s Early Tenure-Track Faculty Research Support Initiative supports Ann Arbor Assistant Professors, tenure track.

Assistant Professor, Tenure Track Ann Arbor, (Provost Initiative)

* External grant proposal- any non internal UM funding, foundation, industry, state, federal of any size.

** Additional support for tenure track associate professors at Ann Arbor through the Ann Arbor Provost’s Early Tenure-Track Faculty Research Support Initiative. Faculty may be awarded both the Ann Arbor Provost/ADVANCE support and OVPR support towards research recovery.

How to Apply

Applications must be submitted through the online application form. To be considered, applicants must provide a brief description (250 words or less) of how COVID has impacted their research and a brief description of how the funds will be used (250 words or less).

Questions

For questions related to this call for applications, please contact OVPR-Pandemic-Relief@umich.edu. For troubleshooting questions related to the InfoReady Review submission portal, please contact triciamc@umich.edu.

Other Support Mechanisms

We understand funding is not the only type of support needed by researchers who have been impacted by COVID-19. To address some of these other needs, OVPR will provide the following additional supports:

    Automatic no-cost extensions on all OVPR research funding disbursed from 2019-2021
          • All OVPR grant programs funded from 2019 – 2021 are approved for automatic no-cost extension of at least one year from the original expiration of their award.
          • OVPR supports researchers discussing with other U-M internal funding programs the options for granting no-cost extensions.
    Workshops and focused guidance on how to navigate pandemic relief with external sponsors
          • OVPR will provide workshops in Spring of 2022 and develop tools and other resources to aid faculty in exploring ways to work with external funders about the ways current projects could be successfully completed in this environment. Topics will include how to communicate with program officers about revising aims to address COVID-19 impacts, negotiating revised deliverables and no-cost time extensions, and strategies for recruiting staff and students to support active projects.
    Foster the planning process for new projects and development of new networks
          • We have heard clearly that researchers are having particular difficulties in planning for new projects given additional challenges with managing active projects impacted by COVID-19 and/or other work-life challenges. OVPR will host a Pandemic Workshop series of workshops in Spring of 2022 that will be posted online and other resources to support the preparation of new external proposals, the development of new ideas, and/or build new connections for collaborative research.

    FAQs

    Why do faculty in assistant ranks get less than those in the associate ranks?

    We understand that early and early mid-career faculty have been tremendously impacted by the pandemic, but unfortunately the OVPR Pandemic Relief Program cannot provide broad financial support across the U-M research community. This is one support mechanism and will not fill all needs, but it can provide some modest relief to those who need it most. The financial support available to Assistant Professors is indeed less than that offered to Associate Professors, but there is also a lower bar for participation. Assistant Professors who have submitted an external grant application are eligible for financial support, regardless of whether they eventually received funding, because we understand the competitiveness during this career stage, especially during a global pandemic. In order to provide broad eligibility for Assistant Professors, we must offer less funding support. In doing so, this program is able to financially support a substantially higher number of Assistant Professors than Associate Professors, who have stricter eligibility requirements.

    As it relates to Associate Professors, this program focuses on those faculty who have met specific criteria for funding and who do not have access to resources to initiate new projects. Feedback generated from our focus groups, listening sessions and surveys of the research community clearly identified two groups with an increased need for immediate support:

    • Early career faculty pre-promotion/pre-tenure
    • Early mid-career faculty who have had to focus all efforts on their currently-funded research, but have not had time/resources to initiate new ideas and projects to seed the next round of grant applications at this transitional point in their career
      What are some examples of allowable activities and expenses?
      • Equipment, supplies, research facility fees, IT equipment, datasets
      • Child/dependant care while on research travel (e.g., field work or site work)
      • Research data collection and analysis (e.g., associated research staff and routine research-related costs)
      • Grant planning and preparation
      • Student assistance for course preparation or new course development
      • Editorial or technical assistance in preparing graphs, tables, illustrations, or manuscripts for submission or publication
      • Publication fees (required by journals, e.g. open access fees)
      • Writing retreats – both those run by an outside entity as well as self-organized retreats with a community of other writers (travel, housing, food, retreat participation fee)
      • U-M Personnel (student stipend, postdoc, technician, staff, temp) in support of research, scholarship, or creative practice, or course prep & new course development
      • U-M Tuition support for graduate student working on research project
      • Collaborators/performers external to the U (e.g. performance needs for staging works off-campus, travel expenses for collaborators to come to campus)
      • External consultants for research activity (e.g., editor)
      • Travel to attend a conference or writing retreat, participate in field work, or travel to collaboration, archives, or performance site
      • Faculty may pool their requests (e.g. to fund a conference or performance at UM or elsewhere or writing retreat or piece of equipment)
      What are some examples of allowable activities and expenses as it relates specifically to child/dependent care?
      • Support for child/dependent care and/or travel to allow applicant to travel for the purposes of research, scholarship, or creative practice. Eligible expenses under these circumstances include:

        • Airfare and/or ground transportation charges for dependent(s) to/from destination

        • Travel-related expenses for dependent(s) (e.g., visa/passport fees)

        • Babysitter, daycare, or overnight care (including elder and adult care), either locally or at destination

        • Car seat, crib, and/or mobility device rental for dependent(s)

        • Additional charges incurred due to traveling with car seat, stroller, and/or mobility device (e.g. checking the item on a flight)

        • Additional transportation and lodging charges incurred due to the presence of dependent(s) (e.g. special lodging needs or travel itinerary that applicant would not otherwise require)

      What are some examples of ineligible expenses?
      • Routine childcare, e.g. care during regular work hours when parent is in town (including days when childcare or schools are closed),
      • Unexpected family financial needs related to COVID or partner’s income
      • Medical expenses (refer to FASCCO fund)
      • Course buyout or release time from clinical duties
      • Indirect costs
      • Salary support
      • Summer salary
      What are some examples of ineligible expenses as it relates specifically to child/dependent care?
      • Related to dependent care and/or travel:

        • Local dependent care when applicant is in town (including days when childcare or schools are closed or virtual)

        • Food for dependent(s)

        • Purchase of car seats, portable cribs, or other equipment

        • Dependent care provided by spouse, partner, or other family member

      What does caretaking while on research travel mean?

      The funds may be used to cover the costs of child, elder, or dependent care while traveling for research or to the work site. Funds will be distributed as extra pay and are taxable. Funds are not allowed to be used for non research travel routine child or dependant care.

      What is the definition of external funding?

      External funding is includes funding obtained from outside of the university, including federal funding agencies, industry, state and foundation research sponsors. External funding excludes U-M internal funding sources include start up funds, (eg., U-M internal dept funds, non U-M Center or institute pilot grant funds, etc.)

      What are the funding limitations for associate professors?

      Associate Professors are eligible to receive up to $15,000 or the maximum budget of their last external award. If the total direct costs ( directs and indirects) on your last award were $10,000, you may receive $10,000 through this program.

      Why do I have to have external spending? My scholarship and creative practice does not require me to obtain external funding, but COVID-19 has impacted my scholarship. Why am I not eligible?

      The OVPR program is focused on supporting those that need external funding for their research program. This of course does not mean that other types of research, scholarship and creative practice were not impacted. The OVPR program is meant to be synergistic with the Ann Arbor Provost’s Early Tenure-Track Faculty Research Support Initiative.

      What if I had an award in 2018 for $25,000 and then one in 2019 for $2,000?

      The maximal amount of total external funding in the past 3 years ( 2019- 2021) is the maximal amount OVPR can provide. Therefore in this example if other eligibility criteria is met you could recieve $2000.

      Will women, URM faculty or those with young children be prioritized?

      All eligible faculty will receive funding.

      I am a team science investigator and collaborating on a grant. Am I eligible?

      This program focuses on providing funding to those who have managed or submitted external budgets as PI depending on rank. Thus team science CO- I who are not eligible under the OVPR program. However the Ann Arbor Provost’s Early Tenure-Track Faculty Research Support Initiative does provide support for all eligible assistant and associate rank faculty regardless of PI submission or award. Thus these are complimentary programs.

      When will the workshops be held? When will the tools and resources be available?

      The workshop series wil begin in the spring and run through December 2022.

      Am I eligible for this and the Medical School program?

      You are eligible to receive OVPR funding if you also receive funding from the Ann Arbor Provost’s Early Tenure-Track Faculty Research Support Initiative, or the Medical School or other school pandemic support program.

      What resources are available for faculty at the Dearborn and Flint campuses?

      The OVPR program is open to faculty on all 3 campuses that meet eligibility criteria. 

      Note the OVPR program does not include assistant professor tenure track faculty on the Ann Arbor campus. These faculty should refer to the Ann Arbor Provost’s Early Tenure-Track Faculty Research Support Initiative.

      Does the OVPR program intentionally exclude Assistant Professors on the Ann Arbor campus?

      The Ann Arbor Provost’s Early Tenure-Track Faculty Research Support Initiative supports Ann Arbor Assistant Professors, tenure track.

      I am an Assistant Professor, tenure track on the Ann Arbor campus. Am I eligible to apply? If so, can the caretaking costs for children include travel expenses (e.g., flights, lodging) when children accompany me on a research trip?

      The Ann Arbor Provost’s Early Tenure-Track Faculty Research Support Initiative supports Ann Arbor Assistant Professors, tenure track.

      If an external grant is awarded (for tenure track faculty) or submitted (for clinical faculty) in 2022, does this meet the requirement for a grant in the last 3 years?

      Yes, 2022 submissions would qualify.

      Is there a stipulation on the time period in which funds will need to be used? Or will that depend on the needs/circumstances of the applicants?

      No, there is no time period for when the funds will need to be spent by. The idea is that these funds will be spent in the next 12-24 months as they are being awarded to help serve a need.

      A General Fund shortcode is recommended for this program. What is a General Fund shortcode?

      A General Fund Shortcode is an account number assigned by the university. You may already have a suitable Shortcode (e.g. a research discretionary account), or you may not. Please work with your Unit Contact to identify an appropriate existing General Fund Shortcode. Note that a General Fund Shortcode will be a six-digit number that begins with a “1”.

      What do you mean by PI? Does this include MPIs (NIH), Co-PIs (NSF), or leader of subcontract or module of a multi-site or multi-component grant (PI of a subcontract)?

      Eligibility for this program requires PI status on a federal, foundation, or state award. For NIH grants with Multiple PI leadership or NSF grants with Co-PI structure, the contact PI is eligible. Leader of subcontract or module of a multi-site or multi-component grant (PI of a subcontract or Co-I on NIH award) does not meet eligibility requirements. In regards to collaborative projects in which multiple universities submit parallel proposals where there is a PI at each university would also be considered an eligible PI.