Faculty Innovation Fund (FIF) Guidelines

The Office of Research is pleased to announce a Request for Proposals for the Faculty Innovation Fund (FIF) to encourage new directions in research and scholarship that include a strong potential for commercialization.

The main goal of this initiative is to invest in research and scholarship that has the potential to create new technology-based products or services, and to create a pipeline of innovation that ultimately leads to the commercialization of University-owned intellectual property. FIF awards are expected to accelerate scholarly breakthroughs by supporting faculty pursuits of ground-breaking studies that can lead to transformative results, and to the development and implementation of innovative technologies, products, or services that can transition to the marketplace.

The FIF award period is 12 months from the date of award, with the possibility of a one-year extension. The maximum award is $40,000. There is no specific due date for proposals. Instead, proposals are accepted at any time, and the Office of Research will continuously review submitted proposals until the commitment of all available funds.

Allowable expenditures are direct costs normally incurred during the conduct of sponsored research, including salaries, consultant fees, equipment, travel required for the conduct of research, supplies, and other direct costs. The following should be noted.

  • Faculty (with stipulations noted below), student, and technician salaries (and fringe benefits) may be charged to the FIF.
  • Summer salary may be requested, as long as the amount of salary support is matched one-to-one by internal University sources.
  • If course release time for the academic year is requested, the budget should include the cost of the replacement instructor, including fringe benefits. A letter signed by the Chairperson and Dean must be submitted to document their approvals.
  • If a graduate assistant stipend is requested, documentation of the tuition source must be provided (tuition cannot be charged to an FIF award).

Full-time tenured or tenure-track graduate faculty with strong academic records commensurate with rank are eligible to apply for an FIF award. Faculty members on professional leave are eligible; however, funds cannot be used to augment professional leave salary. Applications for collaborative projects will be considered if all faculty investigators satisfy the eligibility criteria.

Eligible faculty are invited to submit a letter of intent via e-mail to and The letter of intent should consist of a completed cover page, and should describe the following with no more than one additional page: (1) The proposed innovative research, (2) The potential of the project to attract industrial funding, (3) The probability that the project will lead to the creation of a new technology-based product or service, and (4) How the project will lead to the commercialization of University-owned intellectual property.

The Office of Research will review all letters of intent. Faculty who submit highly rated letters of intent may be invited to orally present their idea and to submit a four-page proposal with a detailed budget.

Acceptance of an FIF award signifies the faculty member’s obligation to achieve at least two of the following outcomes in relation to their award within 24 months of inception.

  • Form a new start-up company
  • Establish a new research partnership with industry that includes industrial funding
  • File at least one patent application

Click here for a printable PDF version of these guidelines.