The University of Arizona

Accelerate For Success Grants

Funding Links

Contact Research Development Services 
Phone: (520) 621-8585


Award Cycle: Annual
Limit on Proposals per PI: An individual may participate as PI or co-PI on one AFS per cycle.
Next Due Date: March 15, 2018
Earliest Start Date: July 1, 2018
Award Period: July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019
Applications: Submissions are currently closed.

Updated guidance will be posted in January 2018. The guidance below is for the FY17 competition. 

Description: Research, Discovery & Innovation (RDI) funds these Category 2 grants. They are designed to catalyze or scale strategic transdisciplinary research programs by creating teams, broadening partnerships, and supporting the development and submission of extramural proposals. These efforts may include the development of a center-like endeavor targeting one of the externally-funded centers (e.g., National Science Foundation Science & Technology Center, Department of Energy Energy Frontier Research Center, U.S. Department of Agriculture Coordinated Agriculture Products).

Track 1: Medium – up to $100,000 to teams that target external funding proposals up to $2 million in direct costs.
Track 2: Large – up to $250,000 to teams that target external funding proposals over $2 million in direct costs.

1. Expected Outcomes (both Tracks): AFS awards must be leveraged to acquire external support, as specified by track, for the proposed research or scholarly activity. Indications of such support will vary (e.g., depending on when a grant proposal is due). Other expectations are distinguished below.

  • Recipients must prepare at least one proposal for an external grant during the award period. Ideally, a copy of a submitted proposal will address this requirement. If that is not possible, the final report must include proposal components prepared to date, and a timeline of the remaining activities required to successfully submit a proposal.
  • Recipients must use RDI services/staff to enhance the competitiveness of their external grant proposals. Options include: Research Development Services, Strategic Business Initiatives, and the Associate Vice President for Global Research Alliances. In addition, PIs will need to liaise with college/departmental staff on planning proposal budgets.

2. Eligibility: The PI and co-PI for AFS proposals must be faculty, continuing-eligible academic professionals, and/or continuing status academic professionals. It is expected that the PI and co-PI are from distinct disciplines (typically in separate colleges).

3. Other Program Details
a. Proposal Related Information: AFS proposals must be submitted through UA Competition Space by 5:00 pm MST on May 8, 2017. See below for other proposal and submission requirements. Review is anticipated to be finished in June, and award/decline decisions made soon thereafter.

b. Award Related Information: Award notification will be sent to PIs, heads/directors, and deans. AFS awards begin with the fiscal year (i.e., July 1). Typically, AFS-supported projects will be completed within one year. That is, award period is exactly one year. No-cost extension requests must be made at least one month before the end of the grant (i.e., May 31) and accompanied by interim reports regarding success in meeting project milestones. Track 2 proposals may distribute the requested funds over a one- or a two-year period, if well justified.

c. Reporting Requirements: Within one month of the award’s end date, PIs must submit final reports via UA Competition Space. Failure to meet the expectations described here results in ineligibility for receipt of subsequent funding from RDI. This report will describe research or scholarly activities preformed and success in meeting project milestones, including proposals submitted to external funders. If a proposal has not been submitted, the status of its development, as well as a critical evaluation on project milestones relative to the stated proposal plan, must be addressed. Two-year awards require the submission of an annual report following the guidance described above. Publicity for AFS recipients will be coordinated through RDI Research Communications.

d. Review Requirements: AFS awardees are expected to serve as reviewers on at least two RDI grant competitions over a three-year period.

e. Dean’s Support: While there is no specified contribution requirement, AFS proposals should show support by the Dean of the PI’s College. Faculty salaries, including course buy-out, may be provided as unit in-kind contributions and should be documented by the letter of support from the appropriate unit(s) and dean(s).

4. Review and Selection Processes: A panel of faculty peers will review proposals; this panel will be supplemented by ad hoc reviewers as needed. PIs should write proposals that are understandable to an interdisciplinary audience. The following criteria will be considered:

  • Evidence of the project to initiate or expand research or scholarly activity
  • Feasibility of the plan to pursue external funding and likelihood of a competitive proposal 
  • Soundness of approach, including research questions and methods
  • Significance of proposed research and potential impact
  • Qualifications of the PI and team
  • Fit with identified funder’s priorities

Selection will be based first on the outcome of the review. Where applicable, alignment of AFS proposals with the Strategic Pillars in Never Settle, with RDI Strategic Planning Sessions, or with the UA’s TRIF plan will be considered. Prior to award, proposers will present to RDI leadership.

5. Application and Submission Instructions: AFS proposals must be submitted through UA Competition Space by 5:00 pm MST on May 8, 2017. If you have not used this system, please see the instructions on the right side of UA Competition Space’s home page.

a. Four-Page Project Narrative

  • Description of the proposed project including the significance and impact of the proposed research, UA’s competitive position, and gaps in competitiveness that will be addressed with AFS funding
  • Summary of milestones revealing a specific strategy for proposed research or scholarly activity
  • Proposed activities corresponding to each milestone
  • Identification and justification of at least one extramural funding opportunity. Give the grant/program title, funder name, submission deadline, and funders’ priorities. If possible, include a link to the RFA/RFP/solicitation (or program if the solicitation is not yet available).
  • Brief description of significance and impact, addressing why the PI is uniquely positioned to be competitive in this area, and how the AFS will increase competitiveness 
  • References Cited (included within the four-page limit)

b. TRIF Initiative: If your proposal aligns with a TRIF initiative, select the most applicable initiative. If your proposal does not align, select "other". Options include: Improving Health; Water, Environment & Energy Solutions; Space Exploration & Optical Solutions; Defense & Security Systems; Other. You may select up to two categories.

c. Supplemental Documents

  • PI’s CV or agency-specific biographical sketch
  • Co-PI’s CV(s) or agency specific biographical sketch(s) uploaded as a single PDF
  • Two-page description of team including areas of expertise and organizations of each of the team members. Indicate why this team is competitive for the targeted opportunity. As only the PI and Co-PI(s) biographical sketches are required, this supplemental document should portray the depth and experience of the proposing team.
  • Letters of support from collaborators, if applicable
  • Letter(s) of support from appropriate unit(s) and dean(s)
  • Budget and budget justification using template on UA Competition Space for costs such as these:
    • Research staff
    • Graduate and undergraduate students
    • Core facility use
    • Research supplies
    • Consultant fees, honoraria, or participant stipends
    • Meetings 
    • Travel
    • Proposal development 
    • Specialized equipment (capital & other) pertaining specifically to the project

Note: While not required, any collaborative support or matching funds from partner institutions will strengthen the application. No AFS awards may be used for faculty or administrator salaries; neither may awards be used to replace current sources of support for personnel. No AFS awards may be used for personnel salaries from other institutions.