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COVID-19 Seed Funding Living FAQ Spring 2021

Bureau of Educational Research

Last update: March 19, 2021

Application  submission Interface

 

A. Eligibility and Fit

What external sources of funds could I be aiming to pursue?

Organizations that often support research in the College are posting information and creating opportunities that attend to issues and opportunities around both COVID-19 and diversity, equity, and inclusion. (See the BER Keep Researching Funding for COVID-19 and Anti-Racism Projects Projects page for a non-exhaustive listing of funder announcements. This list is being updated regularly as research opportunities continue to emerge.)

I have an existing NSF or IES grant, or support from another funding source. Can I use this program to adapt research associated with the grant?

Possibly. Grants are designed to be flexible and are often re-budgeted as a natural course of the project. You should first reach out to your program officer to discuss the best way to move forward, including exploring a supplemental grant, or re-budgeting, to handle any COVID-19 related changes. If you are unsuccessful in your efforts, please document this in the proposal and make the case for why this funding would be essential to your work.

I plan to name a graduate student a Co-PI role in my seed funded project. Will I be able to give that student a similar role in the external funding proposal I eventually plan to submit?

External proposals are submitted in the name of the university, and so need to adhere to university rules governing research participation. Graduate students can be named as “senior personnel” if they play significant roles in an external funding proposal. University submissions do not typically name students in PI or co-PI roles because that entails fiscal responsibilities for the conduct of the project. Please consult the Bureau with specific questions. 

I am a pre-tenure faculty member conducting research supported by startup or other institutional funds. I have encountered difficulties or delays in conducting research due to the pandemic. Am I eligible to apply for a seed award to address these additional needs?

Pre-tenure faculty in need of supplemental funding for project completion due to COVD-19-related hardships should contact the Dean’s Fellow, Rodney Hopson, who is charged with assistant professor development.

How should I share the external funding proposal I develop from my seed-funded project?

Please contact Elizabeth (Beth) Niswander to share updates as your plans develop. Provided you initiate discussion early on, Beth will also field requests for strategic support (e.g, feedback on proposal drafts, assistance in finding needed resources or collaborators).

What if I am not quite completely done with the project by the end of my timeline due to unforeseen additional challenges as related to COVID?

It depends.  Please contact Beth Niswander to initiate conversation on timeline concerns and determine needed documentation.

B. Research Compliance

I want to work with video conferencing technologies for research data collection. What considerations should I take into account?

Guidance from OVCRI/OPRS for actively evolving video tools and platforms is being updated periodically, focusing on concerns about the performance and compliance with human subjects protections. OPRS has posted a Virtual Resources Guidance document with detailed recommendations.

Will I need an IRB for this emergency COVID research project?

Please follow all necessary IRB requirements through our University Office for the Protection of Research Subjects OPRS), including In-Person Human Subjects Research Guidance, and related advice on the OPRS COVID-19 Response Update Response Update page. 

Will I need to secure FERPA for this emergency COVID research project?

FERPA questions and requirements about access to school records will be dealt with in the course of OPRS review.

C. Budget and Financial Needs

What budget materials do I need to submit?

For the seed funding submission, you need to include both an Excel budget and narrative that breaks down use of funds, with a dollar amount for each item. Preparation and submission of the seed funding application is the researcher’s responsibility. You may request help from Kim Darnell via grants@education.illinois.edu to generate an Excel budget with correct salary and fringe benefit rates. Please make that request no later than Thursday, April 8 before you submit your seed funding proposal. When selected for funding (and before you start spending), these documents will enable College administration of your award funds.  

How should student participation in the project appear in my budget request?

Please include student support as an hourly wage, with fringe benefits; do not budget this as a percent time assistantship.

When will project funds be available, and how can I access them?

Funds will be available for use as soon as you receive notice that you have received funding. The Bureau will share copies of your proposal and budget with Business Operations in Finance; they will assign your grant charges to the right program code (CFOP) and will send out reports of expenditures to PIs.

When should I submit my external funding proposal?

External proposal submissions are expected as an outcome of the seed-funded project. Because funder due dates vary, they may fall within, or following, the six-month window for seed-funded activity.

External proposal submissions should follow normal BER submission processes. Please contact Kim Darnell via grants@education.illinois.edu as soon as your funder submission date is known to plan the submission process.  

What if I need to revise my project budget following an award?

Where budget revisions are tied to a significant re-design of the project (e.g., adding a collaborator, changing research design), please contact Kim Darnell for assistance, and then share narrative and budget revisions with Jessica Li and Beth Niswander.

Where budget revisions are administrative (e.g., adjusting student worker hours, purchasing minor supplies), working with Kim Darnell will be sufficient; she will communicate revisions with BusOps.