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The Research Advancement Fund (RAF) seeks to advance research and scholarship across disciplines, schools, institutions, and even geographies. Research plans can involve non-Tufts faculty and international partners; funding can be used for a range of research and scholarly activities—from course/time release, expanding pilot data to respond to grant review critics, and small workshops to developing “broader impacts” plans such as those required by NSF, among others.  Applications must be accompanied by evidence of potential success (e.g., relevant grant pink sheet scores, or other supporting material that suggests likelihood of next stage success).

The goal of this program is to advance research efforts that will likely result in competitive research proposals to federal, foundation, and industry granting agencies.

Any Tufts faculty active in scholarship, research, and/or creative works with a primary appointment at a University school or unit is eligible to apply to RAF to support a singular study, collaboration within Tufts, or with a colleague at another institution.  In all events, the lead principal investigator (PI) on a grant application must be a Tufts University employee.  Tufts faculty members with a primary appointment at Tufts Medical Center or other affiliates and a secondary appointment at a University school or unit are encouraged to serve as collaborators, but may not be the principal investigator.

RAF awards are expected to range from $500 to $15,000.  Funding decisions are made through a peer-review process by faculty and administrative staff with appropriate expertise, and based on several criteria, including degree of innovation, potential for external funding, likelihood for sustainability and impact, and viability within departmental, school and/or programmatic frameworks.

To be eligible for support:

  • The lead PI must hold primary Tufts faculty appointments at the rank of Assistant, Associate, or Full Professor or senior non-ladder faculty appointments including Senior Lecturer, Senior Preceptor, Professor of Practice, and Research Scientist (senior, I, II, III)
  • Grants up to $15,000 are available

These one-year grants should be considered seed money rather than continuing support. Funding should be expended within a year of the award.

Proposals will be evaluated by the following criteria:

  • Scholarly impact: The activity/research should help balance and enhance the portfolio of academic activities across Tufts and/or expand the boundaries of current scholarship.
  • Other sources of funds: In the case of budgets that exceed $15,000, applicants are required to show other sources of funding before an award can be finalized.

Application Process

There will be three deadlines for applications pertaining to activities planned for the 2019-2020 academic year: August 23, 2019, November 22, 2019 and May 22, 2020. However, we encourage anyone considering an application to contact us in advance, prior to submitting an application, so that we can gain an early understanding of what you hope to accomplish. Applications should be sent to: General inquiries should be addressed to

Applications should contain:

  • Proposal – The proposal should be a description of the activity (less than two pages) addressing the criteria above. Where appropriate, applicants should also attach drafts of relevant agendas, programs, schedules, CVs, etc.
  • Budget – Include a detailed budget including categories of expense and specific planned expenditures (e.g., salary, supplies, course support, guest travel and lodging, food, facilities rentals) as well as any additional resources/income secured or solicited from other sources.
  • Faculty commitment letters/emails – Include letters or emails of commitment to the project, one from the lead PI assuming fiscal, administrative, and intellectual responsibility for the program and one from each significant faculty contributor specifying the level of involvement to which he/she is prepared to commit. NOTE: Letters/emails of commitment should come directly from faculty contributors (to the email address below).
  • All applications must be approved by the lead PI’s dean.

Funds are intended for use during one particular academic year. Contact the program administrator to request a no-cost extension (approved under extenuating circumstances). In the absence of an extension, any funds not used within the same fiscal year as the award transfer will be returned to the OVPR. Each group awarded funding should be in touch with a report within one year of the award date, detailing what activities the group has engaged in, who has participated, the substance of the issues explored, and any resulting products. That report must also contain a detailed and final budget.

Applications or questions should be submitted via email: