The University of Arizona

Start for Success Grants

Funding Links

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


Award Cycle: Rolling
Limit on Proposals per PI: There are no limits.
Next Due Date: No due date. Proposals are accepted on an ongoing basis.
Earliest Start Date: Dependent upon submission
Award Period: One year from award date, unless otherwise specified
Applications: Submissions are currently being accepted. Apply via UA Competition Space.
PDF Description: Download the PDF here. (Posted July 3, 2017)

Description: Research, Discovery & Innovation (RDI) funds these Category 1 grants. They are designed to initiate early stage project development or assist with the proposal development associated with submission of a large/complex proposal. Standard Start for Success (SFS) grants help initiate new transdisciplinary research programs by creating and building teams, mapping out the opportunities, and broadening the partnerships and networks that will result in successful extramural funding. Large/Complex SFS grants help established teams prepare a large/complex proposal. “Large” is generally defined as greater than $10M total award and “complex” is generally defined as requiring the participation of many units, industry, government agencies, international institutions, leasing of off-campus facilities, ITAR/export controlled activities, and/or other aspects requiring special attention.

Track 1: Standard – up to $25,000 to teams to incubate promising new research ideas that will lead to new extramural funding.
Track 2: Large/Complex – up to $25,000 to established teams that are submitting proposals to a large/complex solicitation and require proposal development support.

1. Expected Outcomes: SFS 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.

  • Track 1: Recipients must prepare a final report in the form of a development plan within one month of the end of the award period. The plan must lead to the submission of at least one proposal for an external grant. If at all possible, SFS recipients should apply for extramural funding 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.
  • Track 2: Recipients must provide proof of large/complex proposal submission within one month of the end of the award period; upon proposal submission is preferable. If a proposal has not been submitted by the report deadline, an update on proposal status with a timeline for completion should be submitted.
  • Both Tracks: 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.

2Eligibility: The PI and Co-PI(s) for SFS proposals must be faculty, continuing-eligible academic professionals, and/or continuing status academic professionals. It is expected that teams represent at least two distinct disciplines (typically in separate colleges). Teams may consist of the PI and up to three Co-PIs.

3. Other Program Details
a. Proposal Related Information: SFS proposals must be submitted through UA Competition Space. They may be submitted at any time during the year.

b. Award Related Information: Award notification will be sent to PIs, heads/directors, and deans. Typically, SFS-supported projects will be completed within one year. That is, award period is exactly one year. No-cost extension requests are not available for SFS awards.

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. For Track 1 awards, this report will provide a program development plan and describe research or scholarly activities preformed, 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. For Track 2 awards, this report will provide documentation of the successful large/complex proposal submission. Publicity for SFS recipients will be coordinated through RDI Research Communications.

d. Review Requirements: SFS 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, SFS 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: RDI is responsible for the review and selection of SFS proposals. As needed, ad hoc reviewers may be requested to evaluate merit. PIs should write proposals that are understandable to an interdisciplinary audience. The following criteria will be considered:

  • Feasibility of the plan to pursue external funding and likelihood of a competitive proposal, including fit with funder
  • Soundness of approach, including research questions and methods
  • Significance of proposed research and potential impact
  • Qualifications of the PI and team
  • Support of one or more Dean(s), or university-wide Institutes and Centers, or TRIF Research Initiative

Selection will be based first on the outcome of the review. Where applicable, alignment of SFS 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: SFS proposals must be submitted through UA Competition Space. All documents should be submitted as a PDF except for the budget, which should be uploaded in Excel. If you have not used this system, please see the instructions on the right side of UA Competition Space’s home page.

a. Two-Page Project Narrative

  • Track 1 - Standard:
    • Description of the proposed project including the significance and impact of the proposed research program and UA’s competitive position
    • Proposed activities with short- and long-term goals
    • 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 SFS will increase competitiveness
    • References Cited (included within the two-page limit)
  • Track 2 - Large/Complex:
    • Identification of the large/complex proposal including the RFA/RFP/solicitation
    • Proposed activities
    • Brief description of the significance and impact of the proposed work and why UA is competitively positioned
    • References Cited (included within the two-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. Other 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 proposed research program. 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 (RDI proposal budget up to $25,000) using template on UA Competition Space for costs such as these:
    • Consultant fees, honoraria, or participant stipends
    • Meetings
    • Travel
    • Proposal development costs such as graphic design and external scientific/technical review
    • Personnel (including student), in limited and well-justified circumstances
    • Budget justification (maximum of 2 pages)

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