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MechSE Business Office Manual

Section 3: Research Opportunities (Resources & Links)

ACRC and Richard W. Kritzer Research Grants

Vision. Faculty vision and excellence are the cornerstones upon which the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering (MechSE) builds its programs of research and education. Through the generosity of the Richard W. Kritzer Endowment and the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Center, MechSE has the unique opportunity to support research in the areas of refrigeration, air conditioning, heat exchange equipment and other relevant fields in Mechanical Science and Engineering.

Criteria. Funds from the Kritzer Endowment will be used to establish and maintain leadership in air conditioning and refrigeration and relevant fields by supporting faculty projects. They will be used to promote the pursuit of new ideas and basic research. The selection criteria include:

Innovation and Risk: the degree to which the proposal identifies a new or emerging need or opportunity, addresses an existing need in a substantially new and promising way, or offers a new understanding, modeling, or analysis tool. An award should be used to support novel and potentially risky projects that might not otherwise be funded through the ACRC affiliates.

Relevance and Importance: the relationship between the proposal and ongoing collaborative research between the Department and industry in the fields of refrigeration and air conditioning must be clear. Projects should address topics and problems of technical importance.

In addition, funding from the Kritzer Endowment will be used to help faculty of all ranks develop their activities in the air conditioning and refrigeration areas and related fields. Awardees can embark upon research and educational projects that will enable them to extend their thinking beyond the current state of engineering and science, explore radically new and high-risk ideas, and undertake projects that would otherwise be difficult to initiate and sustain due to the pressure of normal activities. Project results should have the potential to significantly impact the current and future programs of the faculty and, hence, the department and its students.

Proposed Use of Funds. The funds may be used at the faculty member's discretion to support graduate students, faculty summer salaries, equipment, and travel in a manner so as to maximize scholarship. There will be no overhead on the funds.

Program Structure. The proposed programs will be reviewed and evaluated by a selection committee composed of the ACRC Director(s), the Associate Head for Graduate Programs, and two additional faculty members in MechSE appointed by the Head. Based upon the recommendations of this committee, programs will be selected for funding by the Department Head.

Note: The selection committee members may submit proposals, but all such proposals will be handled at the end, with those committee members not participating in the final recommendation decisions.

Application Solicitation. Richard W. Kritzer Research Grant applications will be solicited at the same time as the ACRC Affiliate proposals, and faculty may designate that a proposal be considered by one or both of these programs. However, the review criteria and selection committees for these programs are independent.

Structure. Support for the selected program(s) will be made available by the Kritzer Endowment. One or more grants will be awarded, depending on the endowment income and Department priorities consistent with the goals of the endowment. The Department Head will notify the successful project investigator(s) by mid-April. Funds must be expended by June 30th of the following year. Program faculty may be asked to submit a report and/or present a seminar at the end of the appointment period.

For more information, please see Huseyin Sehitoglu, Anthony M. Jacobi or Predrag S. Hrnjak.

C.J. Gauthier Program for Exploratory Studies

Vision. Faculty vision and excellence are the cornerstones upon which the department builds its programs of research and education. The C. J. Gauthier Program for Exploratory Studies is designed to promote the pursuit of new, innovative ideas that will continually recreate the future of the mechanical engineering and industrial engineering disciplines. In the Program, faculty, together with students and associated scholars, can embark upon research and educational projects that will enable them to extend their thinking beyond the current state of engineering and science, explore radically new and high-risk ideas, and undertake projects that would otherwise be difficult to initiate and sustain due to the pressure of normal activities. Project results should have the potential to significantly impact the current and future programs of the faculty and, hence, the department and its students.

Need. The normal demands placed on university faculty members will continue to increase in scope and complexity in the twenty-first century. A solid grounding in the fundamentals of the basic engineering sciences will always remain the core of our curricula, and our programs will continue to be impacted by the interdisciplinary nature of technological growth. Likewise, the rate of growth of knowledge in engineering and science and the rapid emergence of a continual stream of new and exciting areas of technological focus and application present a daunting challenge to our programs of research, education and service. Today, these new thrust areas include biotechnology, information technology and nanotechnology, yet what lies beyond these new frontiers is unknown. The C. J. Gauthier Program for Exploratory Studies will provide a unique environment that will promote the process of exploration and innovation with a format and structure that will sustain itself in perpetuity.

Program Long-Range Scope. The goal is to provide support for both the faculty's proposed program and funds for arrangements to relieve the faculty from the normal demands and obligations in the department. The Program is envisioned to encompass various approaches to exploratory investigations depending upon the program of study. Faculty may propose a broad range of activities including, but not limited to, new research initiatives, studies in new and emerging areas, software development, laboratory development, textbook writing, new course development, innovative curricular concepts, leadership in the development of team/collaborative efforts in new research and education areas and associated proposal writing, and strategic planning that has the potential for broad impact on department programs. Unlike a sabbatical leave, the program of study will typically incorporate new high-risk projects in residence and will not be used to supplement traditional sabbatical leaves.

Program Structure. Tenure-track faculty, past the initial start-up period (typically past the initial three-year period), and tenured faculty who desire to become Program faculty may propose individual or group programs of study for a period of one year. Creativity, innovation and impact shall be weighted heavily in evaluating a proposed plan. Risk shall be considered a positive attribute of a proposed program of study. The proposed programs will be reviewed and evaluated by the MechSE Named Faculty Appointments Committee. Based upon the recommendations of this committee, the programs will be selected by the Head and Associate Heads.

Structure. The Program intends to provide resources to a faculty member's research program. One award is planned in the form of a graduate fellowship directed to the particular research topic proposed. These funds may be used to support a student of fellowship-caliber. Funds must be expended by June 30 of the award year. Program faculty will be asked to submit a report and/or present a seminar at the end of the appointment period.

For more information, see Huseyin Sehitoglu.

Sprague/Swanson Research Grants Program for Energy Sciences

Background. The Sprague/Swanson Research Grants Program for Energy Sciences is designed to promote the pursuit of new, innovative ideas in Energy Sciences within the Mechanical Science and Engineering Department. Research on both conventional and alternative fuels and their usage and delivery systems requires a wide variety of innovations in materials, and systems (both chemical and mechanical). Alternatives for electric power generation include research on non-hydroelectric power generation capacity from solar, wind, and waves by an order of magnitude or more; generation of more nuclear power; production of electric power from coal and biomass while sequestering CO2; and increases in small distributed power co-generation plants that utilize hydrogen and/or natural gas. In the transportation area, improvement in vehicle efficiency requires development of new materials, sensing/processing/ control/manufacturing strategies, and new vehicle configurations (design). Energy savings in the comfort conditioning and operation of buildings will be realized with advances in efficient and environmentally benign heat engines, air conditioning/refrigeration systems, incorporation of solar energy into building design, and advanced building insulation materials. Large energy savings are available by reductions in manufacturing energy and by process optimization. The efforts by the MechSE Department faculty in the sustainable energy and environment areas would be enhanced by further funding and via collaborative research activities.

The Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering was the first department in the College of Engineering to establish a Strategic Committee to explore new opportunities in the Energy arena. The Committee studied the historical, global, and national trends in the energy area, and made explicit suggestions how best to utilize existing resources at UIUC to excel in this area. The Committee presented its findings to the faculty and to the College Administration. The Sprague/Swanson Research Grants Program is an outcome of these discussions and will provide a unique environment that will promote the process of exploration and innovation in the Energy field.

Program Long-Range Scope. The goal is to carry out basic research in the areas of energy sciences that impact energy production, and includes energy conservation as well as efficient and environmentally benign usage of existing energy sources. The program will provide seed funding for ideas related to sustainable energy and the environment, to show feasibility of proposed systems, and to provide a venue to attract new funding in this field. MechSE by its nature is a cross-disciplinary department whose participation is central to the definition and success of any campus effort in the energy area. The benefits will include contributions and playing a leading role in Campus-Wide Initiatives, and to prepare a new generation of students in this field.

Program Structure. Tenured and tenure-track faculty in MechSE (past the initial three-year period covered by start-up funds) may propose individual or group programs of study for a period of one year. Creativity, innovation and impact shall be weighted heavily in evaluating a proposed plan. The proposed programs will be reviewed and evaluated by the MechSE Named Faculty Appointments Committee. Based upon the recommendations of this committee, the program(s) will be selected by the Head and Associate Heads. Proposals will be eligible for consideration of funding from either the Sprague or Swanson endowments. Two awards are anticipated for $37.5K/year for one year.

2007-2008 Structure. The MechSE Department intends to provide resources for collaborative, high impact research activity. These funds may be used to support a student or partial support for students of fellowship caliber. Funds must be expended by June 30, 2009. Program faculty will be asked to submit a report and/or present a seminar at the end of the appointment period and should also describe any other funding that was obtained, in whole or in part, based on the work accomplished with these funds.

Download the Proposal Format here.

Vice Chancellor for Research

Other Campus Research Funding Opportunities

Federal Agencies Research Opportunities

Federal Agency Proposal Guidelines

Federal Agency Home Web Pages

Resources for Writing Successful Proposals

The following links are to websites that provide some good information and tips for writing good proposals and increasing your chances of funding.

NSF

A Guide to Writing Proposals for Federal Funding, Caroline Wardle, National Science Foundation, February 2000

Advice on Writing Proposals to the National Science Foundation, Susan Finger, Carnegie Mellon University

NSF CAREER Proposal Writing Workshop, Kansas State University

Writing an NSF Career Award Proposal, Notes from a May 2000 Workshop at the University of Washington College of Engineering, Michael Ernst

NIH

Useful Proposal Planning, Writing Tips and Guidelines, University of Miami, contains several resources for writing NIH proposals

General

Proposal Writing Short Course, The Foundation Center

How to Write a Winning Grant Proposal, Summary of Presentations at the AAS Business Meeting Supplementary Session, Chicago, IL, June 1999, Speakers: Sethanne Howard, NSF Astronomy Division; Guenther Riegler, NASA HQ, Space Science; Mike Shull, University of Colorado; Rob Kennicutt, University of Arizona & Astrophysical Journal

What Makes a Good Proposal, Dennis E. Davenport, Miami University

Grant Proposal Writing Columns, Steve Wilbers

The Art of Grantsmanship, Jacob Kraicer

The following books about writing successful grant proposals are available on Amazon.com and other online bookseller's websites.

2004 Essential Guide to Grant Writing and Federal Grants: Proposal Writing Tips, Resources, Funding Options for Government Money (Ring-bound) by U.S. Government (Ring-bound - November 2003)
Getting Funded: The Complete Guide to Writing Grant Proposals by Mary S. Hall, Susan Howlett (Paperback - July 2003)
The Only Grant Writing Book You'll Ever Need: Top Grant Writers and Grant Givers Share Their Secrets! by Ellen Karsh, Arlen Sue Fox (Paperback - July 2003)
  Grant writing 101: finding the funding for a great project often begins with the writing of a successful grant proposal.(Tech Credit) : An article from: Techniques [HTML] by Susan Reese (Digital)
Grant Writing for Dummies by Beverly A. Browning
Finding Funding: The Comprehensive Guide to Grant Writing (2002 edition) by Daniel M Barber (Paperback)
Writing Successful Science Proposals by Andrew J. Friedland, Carol L Folt (Paperback)
  What's the big idea? Practical advice from a successful grant-writing team. (funding matters). : An article from: District Administration [HTML] by John Falco, Suzanne Dewald (Digital)
Grant Writing in Higher Education: A Step-by-Step Guide by Henson (Paperback)
Proposal Planning and Writing (2nd Edition) by Lynn E. Miner, et al
Webster's New World Grant Writing Handbook (Webster's New World) by Sara D. Wason (Paperback)
The Grantwriter's Internet Companion: A Resource for Educators and Others Seeking Grants and Funding by Susan Peterson (Paperback)

University Links: