RA & $10K 2020

The Office of Research and the Graduate School are pleased to announce a seed grant to provide faculty with the opportunity to explore 1) a new line of research or 2) research at the intersection of disciplines. This program will support the pursuit of a new and innovative research idea that leads to extramural funding, or scholarly achievement as recognized by your field. Awardee will receive $10,000 and/ or a doctoral level Research Assistantship (RA) for the Spring 2021 semester. The award will be made through a competitive proposal process, which will consist of a written application followed by a Zoom presentation during WSU Research Week 2020 (October 12-16).


Join us virtually!

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

WSU faculty members in any discipline may serve as principal investigator or team member.


Application DueSeptember 13, 2021, 5:00pm
Research Week PresentationsOctober 13, 2021
Awards RecognizedOctober 14, 2021, 3:00pm

Award Details
An award of $10,000 and a one-semester, non-renewable Research Assistantship will be awarded to support an individual faculty or collaborative team with a new research project. The RA will be limited to step 42.* The awarded project may be a stand-alone effort, or it may be used to gather preliminary data to explore in a new area of research
*If the graduate program typically funds RAs at a higher step, the unit is expected to fund the difference between the higher step and step 42.

Application Instructions
Applications are due September 15, 2020 at 5pm. An interdisciplinary evaluation panel will review the written applications.
The written application must include the following. All character counts include spaces:

  • Research Question/Project Overview (5000 characters) – Define the major research question to be addressed by the project.
  • Significance (3000 characters) – Describe the project’s impact on the discipline and/or to the public.
  • Innovation (3000 characters) – Identify the new methods, approaches, or other inventive elements of the research project. Describe how the project is unique within the field.
  • Plan of Execution (3000 characters) – Describe the approach, tasks, general timeline, and expected outcomes for the project. Include any special facilities, equipment, or other resources that will be used for the project.
  • RA Involvement (2000 characters) – Describe the unique training and research opportunities provided to the RA associated with the proposed project.

Include a two-page biographical sketch or CV for the PI(s).

Public Presentation
During Research Week 2020, the lead PI will make a virtual presentation to a general WSU audience and the review panel. The presentation should convey the essence of the written application to a non-specialist, multi-disciplinary audience. A short question and answer period will follow. The review panel will select the most promising and compelling project to receive the award.
Note: Presentations may be limited based on number of written applications received. The Office of Research will contact applicants with further instructions after September 15.
The winning project will be announced following the presentation and recognized during the Research Week awards ceremony on October 15.

Evaluation Criteria
A multi-disciplinary faculty review panel will evaluate both the written proposal and public presentation using the below criteria.

Research question is well-defined. .20
Project is of significance to discipline and/or has public impact..20
Project shows innovation or originality..20
Plan of execution is reasonable and feasible within two semesters..20
Project has potential to contribute to RA’s professional and academic development in a meaningful manner..20

Award Terms and Conditions

  • The RA must complete the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training prior to spring semester 2021.
  • If the research activities include human subjects, animals, and/or biosafety activities, the protocol letter of approval must be submitted to the Office of Research before funds can be released.
  • Assistantships are funded for one semester (Spring 2020).
  • Awardees may be asked to present at Research Week and/or Faculty Showcase following the project’s completion.
  • A proposal directly related to the seed grant project must be submitted to an external funding source no more than six (6) months after the award period ends. Alternatively, if the project does not lead to fundable research the awardee must show evidence of significant scholarly achievement.
  • Awardees must submit a final report to the Office of Research and Graduate School no later than six (6) months after end of the award period. The report must include an assessment of the award’s impact on both the PI’s research program and the individual RA’s academic development in order to allow the university to evaluate the effectiveness of the program. It should document project goals, activities, and outcomes as well as any publications, presentations, exhibitions, media coverage, sales or marketing, projects, papers, proposals/awards or other accomplishments that resulted from this support.

Frequently Asked Questions
Please submit any questions to or.orap@wsu.edu /335-7266 or gsdean@wsu.edu /335-5859.

  • How can the $10K funds be used? The $10K can be used for almost any expense directly related to the proposed project during calendar year 2020. However, subawards/subcontracts (see below) and conference travel is not allowed. Additionally, any requested faculty salary must be well justified, confirming the need for their time to be covered by this grant funding.
  • How detailed does the budget justification need to be? The budget justification portion of the proposal can be a general description of anticipated expenses (e.g. “Travel – $2,000 for our collaborator at TAMU to travel to WSU for planning activities.” or “Salaries – $5,000 in summer salaries for the lead PI to coordinate and oversee the planning process.”). It does not have to be detailed in the same manner as an NSF, NIH, or other federal budget proposal.
  • Can the planning grant include subawards/subcontracts to external collaborators? No. The money for this planning grant comes from state funds, which do not allow the establishment of subawards/ subcontacts with outside entities. Planning grant funds may be used to support a travel stipend or other expenses in support of an external collaboration, but no salary or benefits can be paid to non-WSU employees.
  • Can the graduate student/RA be PI for this funding competition? No, while the RA must be well integrated into the proposed project, the end goal of this completion is to provide faculty with the resources to advance their research program by pursuing a new area of research. As such, only faculty are allowed to be lead PI.
  • Should the Research Assistantship be accounted for in the budget? Yes, please include the cost of the research assistantship in your budget. If the cost of your RA is greater than Step 42, describe how the additional cost will be covered.

Apply now!








There were many exceptional presentations in the RA and $10K competition as well – so much so, that the judges selected two winners this year’s! Please join us in congratulating Dr. Minto Michael and Dr. Liane Moreau, each receiving grants of $10K plus a one-semester RA award. We look forward to hearing about the success of these projects.