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Apply For Gund Catalyst Awards

Gund Catalyst Awards increase collaborative research at UVM, while advancing our mission: To mobilize scholars and leaders to understand and solve the world’s critical environmental problems.

Funded proposals address environmental issues at the interface of two or more Gund research themes: climate solutions, sustainable agriculture, health and well-being, and resilient communities.

We are particularly interested in projects that address inequality, racial justice, and diversity dimensions of these environmental challenges. 

  • Proposals deadline: Oct. 15, 2020 
  • Value of awards: $10,000 to $50,000
  • Expected awards: 3-5

Successful proposals will combine cutting-edge research and scholarship, real-world engagement and impact, and the promise to grow and attract greater support and recognition.

In three years, Gund Catalyst Awards have issued $630,000 in support for 16 UVM interdisciplinary teams. These projects have advanced research solutions for urgent environmental issues, and generated over $8M in external grants. 

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The Principal Investigator (PI) on each proposal must be a Gund Fellow.

Proposal can have up to one Co-PI, which can be another Gund FellowGund Affiliate, or any UVM faculty member. Anyone can participate as a Collaborator, including postdocs, students and external colleagues.

Winners of our first and second rounds of Catalyst Awards are eligible to apply again, as those grants will expire before these begin.


Proposals must involve two or more UVM faculty from two or more departments, and preferably two or more colleges or schools.

Proposals must include a clear description of how the proposed work will lead to broader, longer-term efforts, especially external funding proposals in appropriate fields.

An individual can only serve as PI or co-PI on one Catalyst Award at a time.

Awards can support:

• Costs of research, including materials, equipment, data, and assistants
• Up to one month of summer salaries for UVM faculty on a 9-month contract
• Up to three months of summer stipends per summer for students
​• Travel and workshop costs for project participants

Awards will not support:

• Academic year salaries or stipends for UVM faculty, postdocs, or students
• Salaries or stipends for faculty, postdocs, or students outside UVM

Criteria and Review

To be eligible for funding, proposals must be feasible and address the priorities of this call.

Proposals will also be scored on 5 criteria: intellectual merit, interdisciplinary reach, strength of team, potential for impact, and potential for growth. See scoring rubric in UVM's InfoReady portal (right sidebar).

Applicants are encouraged to work with the Gund Director of Policy Outreach to ensure proposed projects have policy relevance and potential for real impact.

Proposals are reviewed by a committee of UVM and external evaluators, chosen to represent relevant disciplines. Priority will be given to proposals that represent new collaborations among UVM scholars, involve graduate and undergraduate students, and/or include collaborators outside of UVM.

Final award decisions will be made by the Director of the Gund Institute for Environment.

How to Apply

Proposals must be submitted through UVM’s InfoReady portal

Required files to upload include: 

  • Project proposal (see below) 
  • Budget (use template in InfoReady)
  • Collaborators list (use template in InfoReady)
  • 2-page CVs for PI, Co-PI (if applicable), and each investigator
  • Completed signature page (available in InfoReady) indicating support from the Chair and Dean of PI and co-PI (if applicable).

Project proposal document should include the following sections (max 2500 words, excluding timeline and references):

  1. Abstract (max 250 of the 2500 total words)
  2. Introduction and problem statement
  3. Objectives
  4. Approach and work plan
  5. Significance and novelty of scholarship
  6. Relevance to Gund priorities
  7. Impact statement (see guidance in InfoReady)
  8. Plan for expanding the work, including follow-on proposals
  9. Interdisciplinary team
  10. Timeline of activities
  11. References (max 20)

Funding Details

Awards will cover a 19-month duration that includes three semesters and two full summers. No-cost extensions are not typically allowed. There is no overhead on these grants. All funded teams will also have access to assistance in developing follow-on proposals.

Grantees' Responsibilities

Awardees must acknowledge Gund Institute support in all resulting publications, presentations, or reports.

Annually, awardees will report on publications, funding, and presentations as a result of the award. 

2020 Awardees must submit at least one significant funding proposal from this Catalyst Award by the end of December 2022.

At the end of the grant period, any unspent funds will be returned to the Gund Institute. 

Within 2 months of the end of the grant period, PIs must provide a 4-page written report on project activities and measurable outcomes. At the end of the grant period, any unspent funds will be returned to the Gund Institute.

Awardees agree to serve as reviewers in future competitions.

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  • Oct. 15, 2020

Past Competitions