College High-Impact Research Program

CHIRP funds projects that have the potential for high impact. The ongoing viability of CHIRP relies on royalty income; about half of CHIRP funds will go to projects that have royalty potential. The following considerations will be used in assessing CHIRP proposals:

  1. The anticipated end-result is of higher impact than typical research projects.
  2. CHIRP funding must be enabling—the proposal must explain why there is no other funding avenue.
  3. Research initiation to address significant problems of current strategic value, and that demonstrate likelihood of future external funding, are appropriate for CHIRP. Cross-disciplinary proposals are particularly encouraged.
  4. For projects without royalty potential, potential publication in a top-tier venue is necessary but not sufficient for CHIRP funding. The research should also show promise to advance the discipline in a significant way.
  5. If a PI has already received significant college funding, that will increase the threshold for a successful CHIRP proposal. New faculty who have unspent startup funds are unlikely to be successful with a CHIRP proposal.

The amount of a CHIRP grant will generally be in the $10,000–$40,000 range. Proposals submitted to external agencies can be submitted to the CHIRP, although the format and content will need revision and the funding amount will be less. For example, if the research is time critical and shows exceptional promise of high impact, CHIRP funding could be used to get a jump on the research while waiting for external funding. In such a case, the PI may be asked to return unused CHIRP funds when the external grant issues. Another example is a proposal to an external agency that is rejected because it is too risky or too preliminary, but it receives very high reviews.

Proposals that have not been submitted to external agencies should explain why they have not been. Possible reasons are that the research is too preliminary, too risky, or that it involves an interdisciplinary team that does not fit into funding agency classifications, or that it is too close to commercialization.

Submission Deadline: Friday, March 12, 2021. Email one electronic copy to your chair, and one to

Exceptional CHIRP proposals will also be considered well before the deadline. Before writing a CHIRP proposal, you are welcome to discuss your proposal idea with Associate Dean Bryan Morse.

Use of Funds: Student wages (but not faculty salary), supplies, travel, equipment.

Funding Period: Funding as soon as the proposal is approved.

Proposal Format

1–2 page: Executive summary written to a general scientific audience. This summary should overview the project and its potential impact, and estimate the likelihood of success. Most CHIRP proposals should be viewed as a springboard to external funding or royalties. Explain in detail how this will happen. Indicate if you are planning to submit a parallel Fast Grant or Tech Transfer proposal on the same or a related topic. Parallel submission is fine, but the likelihood of full funding from two internal sources for the same project is very small.

1 page: Detailed budget and budget justification. Explain why you cannot pay for your proposed project with existing funding. The budget should be in the $10,000–$40,000 range.

1 page: PI qualifications

≤ 5 pages: Project description

1 page: Detailed plan for leveraging CHIRP funding to establish a long-term impact. In most cases, this means either commercialization plans or plans for securing external funds. If your proposal is aimed at commercialization, provide an estimate of the royalty potential (including market size and competition) and discuss your project with the Office of Technology Transfer, as we will ask them for their recommendation. If your proposal is a springboard for external funding, explain why the potential impact of your topic is clearly above average, and why an external proposal is not currently feasible. Proposals that cannot be understood by a scientific audience of non-specialists will not be successful.

Final Report

A two-page final report should be submitted to the college after a CHIRP-funded project ends. This report describes what was accomplished relative to what was proposed, including such items as how the funds were spent, student participation, and external proposals or commercialization efforts, as appropriate.