Research and Artistry

Research and Artistry is an annual internal grant program supporting faculty research, scholarship, and artistry activities. Applications are due in the fall and awards are made in the spring. The process is competitive, and all applications are reviewed by a faculty committee.

Proposals are invited from NIU faculty to support research, scholarship, and artistry activities in all academic areas. This support reflects the university’s commitment to investing resources in faculty research, scholarly, and creative activities.

Proposals will be accepted in two categories: Opportunity Grants and Facilitation Grants. Complete proposal and budget guidelines, evaluation criteria, and selection procedures are provided separately for Opportunity and Facilitation Grants (see category description and links to each RFP below).

Eligibility to apply to the 2021 competition is limited to untenured faculty. Eligibility criteria, submission details, and deadlines are provided below. 


  • Applicants must have a tenure-track teaching or research faculty appointments during the application and award academic years (2020-2021 and 2021-2022).
  • Tenured faculty members are not eligible to apply for 2021 funding.
  • Untenured faculty members who received Research & Artistry awards in 2020 may apply for 2021 funding.
  • No individual can apply for or receive Research and Artistry funding for more than two consecutive years.
  • Collaborative proposals may be submitted by more than one faculty member, including interdisciplinary submissions by faculty from different units/departments/colleges. Such proposals must identify the lead/contact PI. Each of the submitting faculty members must meet eligibility requirements. Joint proposals will be assigned a single score.
  • An individual can be the lead/contact PI on no more than one proposal and a key participant on no more than two proposals (regardless of category). Each individual may request summer salary only in accordance with budgetary requirements specified elsewhere in these guidelines, and on only one proposal.


Proposals must be submitted by 4:30 p.m. on November 20, 2020.

Important note: Proposals submitted after this time and date will not be accepted for review. Proposals submitted on time but are incomplete or otherwise non-compliant will not be reviewed.

Proposal Submission

  • Proposals must be submitted via NIU’s InfoEd portal
  • Instructions for logging into InfoEd and starting your proposal are available on the Division of Research and Innovation Partnerships Electronic Research Administration webpage
  • The “Creating a Research and Artistry proposal” support document outlines the steps to complete and submit your proposal.
  • For technical assistance with the InfoEd submission process, send an email to and reference “Research and Artistry 2021” in the subject line.

The process is completely electronic. Proposals submitted by any method other than the InfoEd portal will not be accepted.

Evaluation Process

Proposals will be reviewed and scored by each member of the Research and Artistry Selection Committee. The Research & Artistry Selection Committee will evaluate each submitted proposal in the context of the program-specific criteria to develop scores and formulate funding recommendations. Proposals will be discussed by the full Committee and the scores (and the averages) adjusted if warranted.

Final Selection and Budgets

The Vice President for Research and Innovation Partnerships will make final selections based on the Selection Committee recommendations and rankings and balancing of categories and disciplines. The budgets and budget justifications of the selected proposals will be reviewed and adjusted (if necessary) by the Vice President for Research and Innovation Partnerships.

Research and Artistry Grant Categories and Request for Proposals

More Information on Opportunity Grants    
The Opportunity Grant supports research, scholarly, and creative activities with the potential to attract future external funding. Submissions may propose investing in the success of an established program, as well as supporting new projects through funding for a pilot project, establishing or enhancing partnerships, or other activities that significantly advance the University’s scholarly enterprise. Because the intent of Opportunity Grants is to seed future externally funded activity, applicants should clearly demonstrate the potential of their project to lead to external funding.
More Information on Facilitation Grants    
The Facilitation Grant provides support for high quality research, scholarly, and creative activities for which extramural support is not feasible or for which external funding has proven inadequate or become unavailable. Such proposals may be submitted by faculty members working in areas where external funding is limited (e.g., the visual and performing arts, the humanities, and multidisciplinary efforts in the social sciences that have humanistic content and employ humanistic methods) or proposing activities for which external funding is not readily available (e.g., support for a book manuscript, completing analysis or a paper from an externally funded project that recently ended, etc.). The category is also appropriate for scholarly activity for which external grants have lapsed or funding has been inadequate.

Please email the Research and Artistry program with questions at

Changes to the 2021 Research and Artistry Program

  • Only untenured faculty are eligible to apply. This is a change from previous years, in which the program emphasized support for untenured faculty but also provided limited funding to tenured faculty.
  • The number of proposal categories has changed from three to two: Opportunity Grants and Facilitation Grants. The previous third proposal category, Completion Grants, has been discontinued and incorporated into the Facilitation Grant. The Facilitation Grants proposal category has been expanded to capture multiple types of projects for which external funding is not feasible.
  • The InfoEd application portal has been updated. The application portal now aligns more closely with the proposal content requirements.
  • Access to the list of external funding activities required for the Opportunity Grant have changed. In previous years, applicants requested this list from the eRA coordinator. This year, applicants must access the report themselves (specific instructions are provided in the guidelines and InfoEd instructions).

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I apply for support for any kind of scholarly activity?

Yes, but you must submit your request under the appropriate category of grant support described here. You must also justify how your project aligns with the category under which your proposal is submitted

Q: If I am a tenured faculty member and I received and R&A grant for summer 2020, can I apply again this year?

A: No, tenured faculty are not eligible to apply for 2021 funding.

Q: If I am an untenured faculty member and I received an R&A award for summer 2020, can I apply again this year?

A: Yes, as long as you were not also funded in 2019. Untenured faculty can receive funding in up to two consecutive years.

Q: If I am an untenured faculty member, but I am submitting my paperwork for tenure this fall, am I still considered untenured for purposes of this competition?

A: Only applicants who will be untenured throughout the full 2020-2021 academic year are eligible to apply.

Q: May I use Summer Research & Artistry award funds to travel to a professional conference?

A: Conference travel is not allowed; only travel for the purpose of conducting research related to your proposal is permitted. Your proposal must clearly justify all travel funding requests and explain exactly how the travel is required to complete your project. Travel funding will not be included in awarded budgets if not sufficiently justified. Travel vouchers submitted to RIPS for conference travel will be returned to the department and will not be paid by the R&A award.

Q: If I am applying for a Facilitation Grant, do I need to clarify whether my area of study provides extremely limited funding to support projects like mine?

A: Yes. You may only apply in the Facilitation category if your work cannot support future funding or if external funding has proven inadequate

Q: If I am applying for a Facilitation Grant based on limited external funding will I be penalized if I list the few small grants or awards that I have been able to pursue successfully

A: No. Whereas you are not required to report any history of extramural funding, you will not be penalized for demonstrating success at obtaining funding from the limited sources available to your discipline.

Q: Can I include appendices or letters of support with my application?

A: Proposals that include materials not specifically allowed by the guidelines will not be reviewed by the committee. Attachments confirming the commitment of external collaborators are allowed; letters of support are not allowed.

Q: How do I get a list of previous grants I have submitted in the past three years?

A: You may retrieve this list from the InfoEd database by accessing the Standard Reports

Q: Can I collaborate with NIU colleagues on a proposal and submit another as the PI?

A: You can be the lead PI on no more than one proposal and a key participant on no more than two proposals (regardless of category). You may only request summer salary in one proposal in an amount not to exceed one month of salary or $4,500, whichever is less.

Q: May I split my summer salary request between two proposals?

No. Faculty may only request summer salary in one proposal up to one month or $4,500, whichever is less

Q: May I collaborate with colleagues outside of NIU on my proposed project?

A: Collaboration is allowed, even encouraged in the Research and Artistry program. However, funding to external entities in support of collaboration is limited to contractual payments to another organization for services that are not available at NIU. Direct payment to individuals (including but not limited to faculty or students at other universities) is not allowed. A subaward to another institutions to complete a portion of the proposed project is also not allowed. Payments to external collaborators should require a purchase order with an institution vs payment to an individual or a contract to complete any portion of the work that could be completed by personnel or facilities at NIU.

Q: Can you provide examples of how proposals should be classified in each of the categories?

A: Below are a few examples in each category:

  • Opportunity grants
    • A faculty member in Marketing seeks funding to create a database relevant to research questions about a particular industry cluster. Creation of the database represents one of the initial steps in a long-range plan to establish a consortium where private partners pay to have access to raw and/or analyzed data. The formed partnerships and associated investment sustain the scholarly effort over time through the provision of resources and the generation of new research questions.
    • A faculty member seeks funding to investigate and quantify the role of groundwater in water resources and how the groundwater is impacted by a warming climate. The project provides preliminary research results to be included in an external proposal to NSF for a larger grant to examine larger bodies of water at a regional scale.
    • A faculty member seeks funding to investigate changes in a mitochondrial protein following intense exercise in prediabetes patients. The project informs the connection between exercise, prediabetes, and cardiovascular fitness and provides pilot data for a larger external grant application to NIH to fund a clinical trial examining prevention and treatment of prediabetes and diabetes patients through exercise.
  • Facilitation grants
    • A faculty member plans to use qualitative research methods to study how workflows influence employee attitudes in hierarchical organizations.
    • A faculty member requests summer salary to allow them to complete a manuscript that is currently under revision. Completion, submission, and publication of the manuscript are identified as intended deliverables in the application for funding.
    • A faculty member in the School of Theater and Dance seeks funding to bring a nationwide arts campaign examining bigotry and hate to the northern Illinois region. The project intends to generate important discussion on the topic of bigotry and hate and individuals’ and society’s responsibility when confronted with them. The proposal includes plans for installations and events in collaboration with multiple regional partners.
    • An externally funded project cannot be completed with the externally funded resources, perhaps because additional data was received and personnel could not be paid to analyze the additional. data.

Q: What role will the selection committee play in the review of proposals?

A: The selection committee will be chosen from among members of the faculty actively involved in research, artistry, and scholarly activities. The selection of committee members will reflect the disciplines represented among the submissions.

If you don’t see the answer to your question here, email the Research & Artistry program at and we will address your inquiry.