VCU Presidential Research Quest Fund

The VCU Presidential Research Quest Fund - the "Research Fund" - is grounded in the President's commitment to develop and enhance faculty scholarship across the institution. Formally known as VCU Presidential Research Incentive Program (or PRIP), its goal is to afford all faculty internal funding opportunities to support new, emerging, or continuing research. In part, the Research Fund addresses three initiatives in the Virginia Commonwealth University's 'Quest for Distinction' Strategic Plan: 1) increasing and diversifying the university's sponsored research; 2) increasing productivity in high impact and translational research; and, 3) increasing interdisciplinary research.

Proposals to the Research Fund are encouraged from all faculty regardless of their current research support. Research proposals that advance any discipline and area of research focus are appropriate for consideration. Requests for grant support may be based on a broad array of needs, from restarting an inactive research program to pilot studies that would produce preliminary results on which external grant applications could be based. Proposed work that helps advance interdisciplinary research and inter-campus collaboration as well as research that has the potential for translation to practice or market is especially encouraged.

All full-time VCU faculty, regardless of rank or tenure status are eligible to apply.

Applications to the Research Fund are due no later than 5pm on April 1, annually. Applications are to be submitted on-line. See the process overview and preview the PeRQ Fund On-Line Application for more information and to get prepared.

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Research Fund Eligibility & Allowable Costs


All full-time VCU faculty regardless of rank or tenure status are eligible to apply.

Faculty receiving a grant from the VCU Presidential Research Quest Fund as either a Principal Investigator (PI) or co-Principal Investigator (co-PI) must delay subsequent applications to the Research Fund for a specified time depending on their rank. Junior faculty may submit a second proposal 3 years from the termination date of their first award. Senior faculty are required to wait 4 years. No faculty member may receive more than 2 Research Fund awards in a 10 year period.

Budget and allowable costs

Award amounts are variable and must consist of a cash component contributed by the investigator's chair and/or dean from school/departmental funds. In short, the Research Fund provides 60% of the total award, and the department or school provides no less than 40%. The typical award architecture is as follows:

Total Budget Requested Research Fund Contribution Department/School Contribution
$50,000 $30,000 $20,000
$30,000 $18,000 $12,000
$20,000 $12,000 $8,000

The application must have guaranteed unit-level cost-sharing. These must be unit contributed dollars, and they cannot be reallocated dollars from another extramural or intramural research funding source of the investigator(s).

The total budget may be for any amount up to $50,000, but must always reflect the 60/40% contribution scheme.

Allowable costs include those typically appropriate for grant budgets to federal agencies, including investigator salary. Where justified, a major portion of the budget can be used to offset faculty time and effort in order to allow significant effort to be applied to scholarly activities. Renovation costs are not allowable. Only direct costs are paid by Research Fund awards.

Submission, Review & Awards

Click here for an overview of the Research Fund Application, Submission, Review, and Award Process.

Proposal submission

Proposals must be submitted online by 5:00pm on April 1 of each year. They will then be forwarded to the relevant Dean’s Office(s).

Faculty whose appointment is not within one of VCU's academic schools, the College of Humanities and Sciences, VCU Life Sciences, or VCUQatar should contact Ann Nichols-Casebolt in the Office of Research and Innovation ( to discuss submission and review options.

Proposal review

Incomplete applications or those submitted after the deadline will not be reviewed. Incomplete applications are those from ineligible faculty and applications deviating from the guidelines listed below.

There will be two levels of Research Fund review: first within the school/college, and then recommendations are forwarded to the Research Fund Review Committee. Multi-investigator proposals will undergo the initial review by all units from which matching funds are requested.

The submission, review, and funding process is coordinated by the Vice President for Research and Innovation who will recommend proposals to the President for final approval.

The number of proposals recommended for funding is dependent upon the Research Fund dollars available each year.

Unit Level Review: All applications are first reviewed at the unit level. While each school/college/relevant unit will establish its own review process, every application within the school/college/relevant unit must be reviewed using a common format and scoring criteria.

Applications must be assessed in the following areas with percentage of score assigned as noted:

  • Scholarly merit of the project: 60%
  • Potential for extramural funding leading from the project: 10%
  • Contribution of the project to the scholarly trajectory/line of inquiry of the investigator: 10%
  • Extent of interdisciplinary and cross-campus collaborations: 5%
  • Potential for translation to practice or market: 5%
  • Additional school/college criteria as relevant to unit priorities: 10%

A written assessment must be completed on each application that is reviewed at the unit level. Assessments must be made available to the PI when the Research Fund award process is complete.

The unit-level review committees forward recommendations to the Research Fund Review Committee (RFRC) within 4 weeks of the application deadline. Applications forwarded to the RFRC must be scored (using the criteria and weights noted above), and, if there is more than one application forwarded from a unit, the applications should be ranked based on an assessment of recommended funding priority. The school/college process for reviewing will also be presented to the RFRC for review.

The Research Fund Review Committee: The Research Fund Review Committee (RFRC) will consist of the members of the Research Development Advisory Council (ReDAC). The RFRC makes recommendations for funding to the Vice President for Research and Innovation.

Only applications with assured matching funds from the unit(s) will be considered for funding by the RFRC. Applications will be ranked to allow for final decisions based on funding available. In its ranking, the RFRC will consider such factors as distribution of awards across units and the alignment with VCU Quest for Distinction. If it is a multi-investigator project reviewed by more than one unit, rankings from all units will be presented to the RFRC.

Within 4 weeks of receipt of unit recommendations, the RFRC will make their final recommendations for funding to the Vice President for Research and Innovation who will communicate the recommendations to the President.

Funding period

The Research Fund award is 18 months, from July 1 to December 31. Awards are made on July 1.

Awardee responsibilities

IRB and IACUC approval (if needed) are required prior to release of funds.

A brief (2-3 pages) final report of the Fund-sponsored results and outcomes (e.g. grants submitted, papers published, presentations made, etc.) must be submitted to the Vice President for Research and Innovation within 60 days of the completion of the project. The report must be signed by both the Principal Investigator and his or her departmental chair.

All publications, presentations, etc. resulting from the project must acknowledge financial support from the VCU Presidential Research Quest Fund.

Due Dates

February 1 annually

On-line application system opens.

April 1 annually

Applications submitted electronically to Office of Vice President for Research and Innovation by 5:00pm.

Applications forwarded to relevant Dean's office(s).

April 1-April 30 Unit-level reviews conducted.
May 1-May 30 Research Fund Review Committee reviews completed and awards recommended to Vice President of Research and Innovation and President.
July 1

Research Fund awards made.

Research Fund award period is July 1-December 31 (18 months).


VCU Presidential Research Quest Fund applications should be submitted on-line no later than 5:00pm on April 1 annually.

Complete all sections of the VCU Presidential Research Quest Fund Application.

Step 1.

Using the on-line application: Provide overview information about your proposed project, including general project information; budget request summary; investigator(s) information; collaborator(s) information; and project funding history.

You may save and return to this form later to complete your application using a validation code. Depending on the number of investigators and collaborators involved in the project, this section should take approximately 15 minutes to complete.

Step 2.

Complete the following proposal documents and save, in the order listed below, as a single PDF named PIlastname_perqYear.pdf (e.g. Smith_perq2015.pdf).

  1. Application Endorsements Form: Use the attached form to obtain signatures from the PI, Co-PI(s), and Chair(s).
  2. Response to prior critique (if applicable): If this application is a revision to a previous PRIP or Research Fund submission, detail the major changes in the present proposal. 1 page maximum.
  3. Research Plan: Address the proposed project’s:
    • Background and significance;
    • Specific aims;
    • Preliminary results (if applicable);
    • Research/scholarship methodology that is well-designed and uses adequate statistical and sample size calculations as appropriate;
    • Description of the contribution of the project to the investigator's scholarly trajectory/line of inquiry;
    • Outcomes including specific information on how the award will be leveraged into external support;

    8 pages maximum. Space allocation is at the discretion of the Principal Investigator.

  4. References Cited, Bibliography: Use the citation format that is appropriate for your field. 2 pages maximum.
  5. Timeline: Outline major project milestones and associated timeframes for accomplishment anticipated during the 18 month period of performance. The project start date is July 1 and the end date is December 31, 18 months later. 1 page maximum.
  6. Alignment with VCU Quest for Distinction: Include a statement addressing how this project aligns with/supports the VCU Quest for Distinction. 100 words maximum.
  7. Mentor Letter of Support and Mentoring Plan (if applicable):Certain applicants for PeRQ Fund awards must include a mentoring plan. Submissions from junior faculty who have been employed at VCU for 3 years or less are required to include a letter of support from a senior faculty member who will serve as a mentor to the applicant. The mentor must be appointed by the department chair with the approval of the Dean. The mentor must be a VCU faculty member who is an experienced, externally-funded principal investigator. The mentor's letter should describe his or her plan for providing guidance and project oversight. This plan should be formulated in concert with the departmental chair and with the applicant. The defined participation of a mentor follows a number of external funding models, and is designed to help promote the success of the project and the positive professional development of the applicant. Exceptions to the mentoring plan requirement may be granted by the applicant's chair or dean.
  8. Biographical sketch(es): Use the attached form to complete biographical sketches for the Principal Investigator and Co-Principal Investigator(s). The biosketch includes include a history of education and training, relevant appointments, peer reviewed publications, a history of past and present research funding, pending grant applications, and a personal statement. 4 pages maximum each.
  9. Budget & Budget Justification: Use the attached form to justify all requested costs associated with the proposed project.

Minimum Format specifications: These criteria apply to the narrative sections of your application described in Step 2: Response to Prior Critique; Research Plan Narrative; References Cited, Bibliography; Timeline; and Alignment with Quest for Distinction.

  • The application should be single spaced. Use 11 point (minimum) font and one half (0.5)-inch margins on all sides.
  • A header, appearing on each page, should include the title of the proposed project and the Principal Investigator's last name.
  • A footer, appearing on each page, should include the page number. All pages should be consecutively numbered.
  • For documents with tracked changes, turn off the tracked changes function and accept all changes.
  • Research Fund application packages must be saved as a single PDF. Documents should be named PIlastname_perqYear.pdf (e.g. Smith_perq2015.pdf).

Step 3.

Upload proposal documents prepared in Step 1 to the On-Line Application.

Submit electronically no later than 5pm on April 1, annually.

Apply Now

Start the Application Process:

Submit your Application:


Specific questions or concerns about your proposal, including eligibility, cost-share commitments, mentoring plan exemptions, and endorsement signatures:

Questions about the application format and on-line submission system:

  • Contact Jessica Venable, Coordinator for Research Development Services,

General questions about the Presidential Research Quest Fund and review process:

  • Ann Nichols-Casebolt, Senior Associate Vice President for Research Development,