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 are due the second Wednesdays of May and

Submissions for Education/Curricular Proposals are due the first
Wednesdays of October.

Research & Scholarship Proposals

Submissions by*:

Project Start Date:

Project End Date: 

Wednesday, May 10, 2023 July 1, 2023

Tier 1: June 30, 2025
Tiers 2 & 3: June 30, 2024

Wednesday, September 13, 2023 January 1, 2024

Tier 1: December 31, 2025
Tiers 2 & 3: December 31, 2024

Education/Curricular Proposals

Submissions by*:

Project Start Date:

Project End Date: 

Wednesday, October 4, 2023 July 1, 2024

Tier 1: June 30, 2026
Tiers 2 & 3: June 30, 2025

* All applications must be submitted electronically via RAS by 5 pm on the submission due date. Please work with your local research administrator to prepare and submit your proposal in RAS.


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 commitment to be an 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 to 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.

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. For educational applicants, teaching faculty are also eligible. All applicants must hold a primary appointment at a Tufts’ School, 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.


  • 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 two years for Tier 1 and international projects, and up to one year for Tiers 2 & 3. For R&S applications submitted in May, projects will start on July 1, and applications submitted in September, projects will start on January 1. For Educational/Curricular applications submitted in October, projects will start on July 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 two years (tier 1) and one year (tiers 2 and 3) are key review criteria.

There are three funding tiers:



Must lead to an extramural proposal of >$1M/yr (direct cost) for ≥2yrs within 12 months of completion



Extramural applications are strongly encouraged and a detailed continuation plan required



Extramural applications are strongly encouraged and a detailed continuation plan required


Tier 1

Funding up to $100,000 may be requested to support large collaborative efforts. Successful applications will identify center or multidisciplinary grants that will bring $1M/year (direct cost) to Tufts. Examples of opportunities that are strongly encouraged for tier 1 funding include: NSF center grants (e.g., Engineering Research Center, Science & Technology Center); NIH center or program project grants; federal (e.g., Department of Energy, Department of Defense) Center of Excellence grants; large foundation grants.

Additional activities that could be supported by TIER 1 awards include:

  • Proposal development consulting (proposal coordinator, technical editor, graphic designer, production manager, site visit preparation)
  • External workshops and external red team reviews
  • Freelance grant-writer
  • Technical writer
  • Graphics support
  • Travel for participating organizations’ researchers
  • Collaborator travel to site visit
  • Support for collaboration, team formation, project development, shared visioning (e.g. consultant, facilitator for effective design of team brainstorming and function, virtual meetings etc.)

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. Extramural applications are strongly encouraged and a detailed continuation plan required.

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). Extramural applications are strongly encouraged and a detailed continuation plan required. 

  1. 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?
  2. Significance: What important problem or critical gap in knowledge does the proposed project address? Does the proposed project have the potential to advance the field? Will the proposed project maintain or enhance Tufts’ impact, reputation and standing as a R1 research and scholarship institution and member of the Association of American Universities?
  3. 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?
  4. 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 (2 years for Tier 1; 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)?

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.

Educational/Curricular Review Process: Funding decisions will be made through a peer review process including faculty and administrative staff and based on several criteria, including challenging existing educational models, potential impact on learning by Tufts students, likelihood for sustainability and viability within departmental, school, and/or programmatic frameworks.

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 (July / January)
  2. Half-way check-in (January / June)
  3. Final report and presentation (September / March)

All applications must be submitted electronically via RAS by 5 pm on the submission due date. For R&S program, submit by May 10, 2023 for funding available July 1, 2023; or on September 13, 2023 for funding available January 1, 2024. For Educational/Curricular program, submit by October 4, 2023 for funding available July 1, 2024. Please work with your local research administrator to prepare and submit your proposal in RAS.

In addition to completing the proposal demographic data (PI, collaborators, etc.) and budget document in RAS, applicants must prepare and upload a single PDF attachment to the proposal in RAS with the following components: 

  1. Tufts Springboard Proposal Template. All sections must be completed.
    • Project Description. Address each question in detail.
      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. For Educational/Curricular Proposals: In addition to the above, include who the project is directed toward (i.e., which students, how many students and whether the knowledge gained will be transferable to other courses in the discipline, school, and/or beyond).
      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 note that extramural applications are required for Tier 1 and strongly encouraged for Tiers 2 & 3.) For Educational/Curricular Proposals, identify whether or not there is a commitment on the part of the school to support after the grant ends.
      4. For Educational/Curricular Proposals ONLY: Provide an assessment plan detailing steps that will be taken to measure success, as well as a sustainability plan showing how programming will continue, grow, and forward departmental, school, and University’s goals.
    • Budget Justification
      1. Details explaining the necessity of each budget item.
      2. Description of each person's role in the project, percentage of effort, and estimated costs.
      3. List of any in-kind (no cost to the grant) contributions from Tufts central services and any other school or department (e.g. salaries and supplies).
      4. Justify use of non-Tufts service of cores when similar resources are available at Tufts
  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. For Educational/Curricular Proposals: Letters of Support from Department Chairs and Deans.
  4. References/Bibliography. A list of references relevant to the project may be included but is not required.

All proposals must be submitted via RAS. Please use the Tufts Springboard Proposal Template to prepare the above components. Use an Arial, Helvetica, Palatino Linotype, or Georgia typeface, a black font color, and a font size of 11 points or larger. Use standard paper size (8 ½" x 11).

Inquiries may be directed to Springboard@tufts.edu.