Tufts Springboard

A new intramural grant program sponsored by the Office of the Provost and the Office of the Vice Provost for Research (OVPR), Tufts Springboard is the next generation of the popular Tufts Collaborates and Tufts Innovates programs.

Submission Due Dates

Standard Deadlines:

  • Submissions for Research & Scholarship Proposals are due the second Wednesdays of May and September.

Research & Scholarship Proposals

Submissions by*: Project Start Date: Project End Date: 
Wednesday, May 8, 2024 August 1, 2024 July 31, 2025
Wednesday, September 11, 2024 January 1, 2025 December 31, 2025

Education/Curricular Proposals

Submissions by*: Project Start Date: Project End Date: 
TBD    


*All applications must be submitted electronically via InfoReady by 12pm on the submission due date.

Description

Tufts Springboard is an intramural grant program sponsored by the Office of the Provost, the Office of the Vice Provost for Research (OVPR), and Tufts Medicine. The goal of Tufts Springboard is to stimulate high impact research, scholarship and educational initiatives that have an explicit plan leading to extramural funding or other outcomes that influence research, scholarship, educational outcomes, and/or policy.  Moreover, the Tufts Springboard program aims to further the priorities of the University and its schools and to fortify Tufts' status as a R1, very-high research activity university and member of the Association of American Universities.  

Special consideration will be given to research, scholarship, and educational projects that focus on racial inequities and/or promoting anti-racist interventions in keeping with the University’s and Tufts Medicine's commitments to be anti-racist institutions. 

Projects should be built on the applicant’s prior work and lead to a long-term research, scholarship, or curricular endeavor. The program is not intended for one-off projects, but rather to make a lasting contribution to Tufts’ mission via research, scholarship, and/or education. 

Successful Research & Scholarship awardees will work with members of the OVPR once the project has been awarded to develop a funding support strategy that best suits the project and individual(s). In some cases, educational projects may be able to develop a funding support strategy as well.

IMPORTANT UPDATE FOR THE 2024 CYCLES: For FY25, the Tier 1 program will be on hiatus as we seek to revise the program to increase its impact and better meet the needs of applicants. Instead, the focus will be on Tier 2 and Tier 3 awards for R&S during this period.

Any Tufts faculty or research staff that is actively contributing to scholarship, research, and/or creative work is eligible to apply. Please note that everyone on the project must be eligible to conduct research or scholarship according to applicable School requirements and restrictions. All applicants must hold a primary appointment at a Tufts School or unit, or Medical Center.

Only ONE application per PI per cycle is allowed. A specific project may only be resubmitted one time. Resubmissions should specifically note changes made to strengthen the project.

Exclusions:

  • Tufts Springboard will not fund projects related to currently funded Provost/OVPR programs, including Tufts Initiative on Substance Use and Addiction, and programs funded by the Tufts Research & Scholarship Strategic Plan (CIMAR, CREATE, Culture, History & Translation (CHT), Equity in Health, Wealth & Civic Engagement, Healthy Aging at Tufts, L2D, TIGOR).
  • Investigators may receive Springboard funding no more than once every three years.

The duration of the award is up to one year for Tiers 2 & 3. For R&S applications submitted in May, projects will start on August 1, and applications submitted in September, projects will start on January 1.

All expenditures must be made by the project end date and any unused funds must be returned. No-cost extensions will not be permitted except under special circumstances. The feasibility of completing the proposed work and submission for extramural funding opportunity in one year (tiers 2 and 3) are key review criteria.

For FY25, the Tier 1 program will be on hiatus as we seek to revise the program to increase its impact and better meet the needs of applicants. Instead, the focus will be on Tier 2 and Tier 3 awards for R&S during this period.

Tier

Requirements

Award Ceiling

2

A plan for extramural funding applications and a detailed continuation plan required. Cross-disciplinary collaborations are strongly encouraged

$35K

3

Extramural applications are strongly encouraged and a detailed continuation plan required

$15K

Tier 2
Funding up to $35,000 may be requested to support field-defining and ambitious research projects that will build collaborative teams with the goal to amplify long-term research, scholarship, and educational endeavors. These distinct projects can include activities and events such as major symposia or other events that draw international attention to Tufts as a leader in the field and strongly position investigators to secure extramural funding. While not required, successful Tier 2 projects typically involve new, cross-disciplinary collaborations or provide opportunities to further develop existing collaborations. An extramural funding plan is required, with the expectation that applicants will apply for external funding within one calendar year of the end of the funding period. An additional detailed continuation plan to demonstrate how the work proposed leads to long-term goals that advance the research and scholarship fields represented and lead to societal impact.

Tier 3
Funding up to $15,000 may be requested to support a range of research, scholarly, and/or pedagogical activities—from developing a new project or curriculum calibrated to a specific program or sponsor, to expanding pilot data to respond to grant application review critiques, or launching a team-based effort to develop further research and scholarship.  Applications must be accompanied by evidence of potential success (e.g., relevant grant reviews, or other supporting material that suggests likelihood of next stage success). Recent examples of successful Tier 3 Research & Scholarship projects have included secondary data analysis, developing digital tools to advance a research project, small pilot projects to collect preliminary data, evaluation of existing programs, creating new platforms for disseminating research and scholarship, symposia, and related activities.  Extramural applications are strongly encouraged and a detailed continuation plan required.

Research and Scholarship Review Process: Tufts Springboard will use a Distributed Peer Review process in which the applicants serve as the reviewers. This process has been successfully trialed in previous Springboard cycles and has also been used successfully at the NSF and USDA, as well as large foundations. Each PI must review the proposals submitted by 5-8 of their peers, and you will have your application reviewed by the same number of your peers. You will have 30 days to complete the reviews. Failure to submit reviews may result in disqualification. Those projects indicating that they have a focus on racial inequities and/or promoting anti-racist interventions will undergo additional review from experts in these areas.

Criteria

Description

Max Score

Background & Foundation

  • Does the investigator/team demonstrate a strong track record in their field and/or demonstrate how their skills/expertise will lead to the proposed project’s success?
  • Do the investigators present any preliminary evidence from the literature and/or from previous work to support the hypotheses/research objective?
  • Does or will the project provide opportunities for cross- or multi-disciplinary, collaborative, and/or translational research, scholarship, and/or educational programing inside and/or outside Tufts?

9

Significance

9

Impact and Outcomes

  • Does the application describe the expected impact of their work within Tufts and beyond from a research/scholarship perspective (e.g., advancing the field, impact on society, pathway to commercialization/translation)?
  • How does the proposed work advance the long-term goals of the investigator(s)/team?
  • What concrete next steps post Springboard funding are described (e.g., extramural funding, new collaboration, innovation, and/or societal impact)?
  • Are these next steps appropriate for the project as described?  

 

9

Feasibility

  • What is the feasibility of the proposed project within the budget, budget justification, and timeline provided?
  • Can the work be completed with the proposed environment (facilities and resources) within the time period allowed (1 year for Tiers 2 and 3)?
  • How have potential problems and alternative strategies been addressed to identify and mitigate potential risks to the project’s successful completion (e.g., travel delays, inability to find appropriate facilities/resources)?

9

The PI or designate (grant administrator) will be responsible for financially managing the award. Funds will be disbursed to the School/unit where the lead PI is primarily affiliated based on the approved budget. The budget should follow the policies of the University and the applicable School(s). Expenses will be periodically reviewed to ensure allowability of funds and that the project is progressing in a timely manner.

Funds can only be used for the activities or experiments described in the proposal. Re-budgeting can be requested if there are line-item reallocations that are necessary to complete the project or will provide a superior result. All funds must be utilized within the project period, any unused funds must be returned. No-cost extensions will not be permitted unless there is strong justification and must be requested 90 days before the project end date. Please note that no more than one NCE will be allowed per project, and any funds that are unspent must be returned to the Office of the Vice Provost for Research.  Re-budget requests should be submitted to Springboard@tufts.edu and no-cost extension requests should be submitted via the NCE form.

Reasonable requests to cover faculty and non-faculty researcher salaries may be made to ensure that investigators can dedicate sufficient time to the project. Expenditures for course releases are permitted according to School policies and appropriate approvals.  Fringe benefits charges for personnel must be included in preparing the project's budget based on the University’s established rates. Post-doc, technician, and student salaries are allowable expenses.

If core services are required (e.g., sequencing or imaging), preference must be given to Tufts core facilities if those capabilities exist. If funding for outside cores is requested, a justification is required. For a full list of Tufts core facilities please see: https://viceprovost.tufts.edu/core-facilities/

Funds can be requested for equipment if the equipment will be primarily used by Tufts faculty, students, and staff for the proposed activities or experiments described in the proposal. Equipment purchased is property of the Office of the Provost and the Office of the Vice Provost for Research; transfer of property ownership will be considered at the end of the grant period. Reasonable requests for travel will be permitted.

Generally, the budget may not be used to pay for:

  • Indirect costs and overhead
  • Tuition costs
  • Refreshment costs or meals
  • Laptops/Computers
  • Student Health Insurance
  • Salary for collaborators outside of Tufts

The proposal review committee retains the right to veto any budget item it deems unallowable. The receipt of an award may be conditioned on budget modifications.

Awards involving human research participants, biohazards, use of animals, hazardous materials, and radiation sources must be approved through the respective regulatory office in the OVPR.

All awards are subject to the Tufts IP Policy.

NB: Awardees in the Research & Scholarship strand must commit to participating in 3 consultations with the OVPR team during the life of the award in addition to a final report and presentation:

  1. Pre-award planning meeting to tailor a support strategy (August/January)
  2. Half-way check-in (January/June)
  3. Final report and presentation (October/March)

All applications must be submitted electronically via InfoReady. In addition to completing the proposal demographic data (PI, collaborators, budget, etc.) in InfoReady, please complete and upload the proposal description, including biosketches, letters of support, and budget justification in InfoReady by 12PM on the submission due date.

  1. Project Description. All sections of the project description template must be completed. Please remember that reviewers may not be in your field, so write your project description for an audience who will not have your specific expertise. Address each element in enough detail that the reviewers can determine the extent to which your proposal adheres to the review criteria:
     
    1. What is the background for this application? Specifically discuss your own preliminary data/work/contributions and funding (internal and external), as well as other work that has been done in the area. Briefly describe how your proposed project will fill a need or a critical gap in knowledge.
    2. Describe the proposed work. Include sections for i) Aim, ii) Hypothesis (if applicable), iii) Design, iv) Methods and v) Table of Project Timeline. Be sure to describe how it will build upon past work and ways in which any collaborators, students, or other participants in the work will contribute to the project. Please be sure to include sufficient detail in your design and methods sections for reviewers to be able to evaluate likelihood of project success.
    3. Describe the follow-up work and how it will be funded. (For example, what are the plans for continuing or building on the proposed project after this award ends and how this project will allow you to move toward your long-term goals?

      (Please see project timeline examples/templates below)
       
  2. Abbreviated CV or NSF/NIH-style Biosketch (no more than five single-spaced pages per person).
     
  3. For Research & Scholarship Proposals: Letters Committing Support of Collaborators and Service Providers
     
  4. References/Bibliography. A list of references relevant to the project may be included but is not required.
     
  5. Budget Justification (2-page limit): Provide the following details for your budget request:
  • Details explaining the necessity of each budget item.
  • Description of each person's role in the project, percentage of effort, and estimated costs.
  • List of any in-kind (no cost to the grant) contributions from Tufts central services, any other school or department, and faculty mentors or consultants (e.g., salaries and supplies).
  • Justify use of non-Tufts service of cores when similar resources are available at Tufts.
     

Year 1

Jul

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Year 1 

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

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Example activity 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Request for Proposal (RFP) released

April 8, 2024

Applications due in InfoReady by 12PM

May 8, 2024; September 11, 2024

Awards announced

July 15, 2024; December 16, 2024

Grant performance period begins

August 1, 2024; January 1, 2025

Pre-award meeting requested by OVPR*

August 1 – 15, 2024; January 1 – 15, 2025

Project update meeting requested by OVPR*

January 1 – 15, 2025; June 1 – 15, 2025

All funds must be spent

July 1, 2025; December 1, 2025

Grant performance period ends

July 31, 2025; December 31, 2025

Final project report due

October 1, 2025; March 2, 2026

Extramural grant/long-term impacts report due (1 year post project completion)

October 1, 2026; March 1, 2027

Extramural grant/long-term impacts report due (2 years post project completion)

October 1, 2027, March 1, 2028

* For Research & Scholarship awards