Skip to main content

Request for Proposals: Grand Challenges Team and Individual Project Grants

Grand Challenge Project GrantsRequest for Proposals:

The University of Maryland invites Grand Challenges Grant proposals from the faculty for innovative and impactful research, scholarship, and creative activities designed to address grand challenges in service to humanity.

The Deadline for Individual and Team Proposal Submissions has passed (October 10, 2022).

Update: 111 Project Grant Proposals Submitted, Oct. 28, 2022

Grand Challenges Project Grants: Team & Single Investigator Grants: Efforts under this category will support or enable projects that are targeted toward a specific component of a grand challenge. Team projects or initiatives require multiple disciplines and collaborators from campus; single investigator awards do not.

Eligibility: Tenured faculty, tenure-track faculty, and professional track faculty are eligible to apply as principal investigators (PI).

Team Project Awards will provide up to $250K per year for 3 years of funding. A 1:1 match is required from participating colleges and/or departments that includes cash and in-kind resources. Up to 10 Team Projects are envisioned for funding.

Single Investigator Awards will provide up to $25,000 per year for 3 years from campus, 1:1 match required from participating colleges and/or departments that includes cash and in-kind resources; up to 50 single investigator awards are envisioned for funding.

Funding Priorities: Proposals must highlight the importance of how the proposed effort can and will significantly impact a key component of an enduring or emerging challenge of societal impact. Proposals should not focus on incremental or piecemeal advances, but must rather put forward a compelling, transformative and forward-leaning approach that will make meaningful advances to address a major societal challenge. Representative examples for a grand challenge focus area can include (but are not limited to):

  • Climate Change (includes clean energy, sustainability, food and water insecurity)
  • Social and Racial Injustice (includes poverty, education disparities, structural inequity)
  • Global Health (includes health equity, pandemic preparedness, mental health, and wellness)
  • Threats to Democracy
  • Ethical, Fair & Trustworthy Technology (includes bias-free artificial intelligence, privacy, transparent uses of data, etc). 
  • Other Grand Challenges welcome

Successful Proposals will:

  • Articulate a highly compelling need for the proposed project
  • Detail the proposed reach, impact and potential of the proposed project to address a grand challenge
  • Describe internal and external partnerships that will enable, scale, and expand the impact and visibility of the effort
  • Provide innovative and new opportunities for students’ learning and classroom experiences 
  • Demonstrate a path to financial sustainability (including, if appropriate, how internal funding will be leveraged to secure new grants, contracts, or other external funding and revenue sources, etc.) 

Proposal Requirements for Teams and Single Investigator Proposals: In five pages or less for single investigators OR seven pages or less for team proposals, please address the following questions:

1. Challenge Idea/Area:

  • What are you trying to do for the research project challenge?
  • Why is the proposed work important to society?
  • Articulate clear objectives/goals using absolutely no jargon.
  • Describe how the results would not be otherwise attainable or difficult to achieve without funding.

2. State of Art:

  • Describe how it is done today, and what are the limits of current practice?

3. Innovation:

  • What is new in your approach and why do you think it will be successful?
  • What technology/policy/methodology/process/cultural innovation do you hope to achieve to reach your goal?

4. Metrics & Milestones:

  • How will you measure success throughout the course of the project?
  • In 12 months after the project starts, how will progress be measured?
  • List an important milestone that will be achieved with a corresponding qualitative or quantitative metric.

5. Impact:

  • Describe the impact the new project will have in addressing a grand challenge at UMD, in the region, and more broadly.
  • Describe how this new project could ultimately improve the lives of millions of people.

6. Risks:

  • What are the risks to successful execution of the proposed project?

7. Resources:

  • How much will it cost over three years?

8. Partnerships:

  • Proposals should describe internal and external partnerships that will enable, scale, and expand the impact of the project

9. External Visibility and Funding:

  • As appropriate, proposals must identify how internal funding will be leveraged to secure external grants, contracts, awards, revenue sources and/or new visibility for the University of Maryland

Additional Team Project Requirements:

  • Teams must have at least one principal investigator and a minimum of one co-principal investigator. 
  • There is no limitation on the number of team members for projects.  
  • Teams are encouraged to have at least one faculty member at the rank of assistant professor (or assistant research scientist  or equivalent).  
  • Teams must demonstrate how their team's individual and collective components will work in collaboration and harness the complementary expertise of all team members and partners.

All submissions will be peer reviewed and scored in response to the questions and criteria listed under “Proposal Requirements.”  The evaluations and scores will be provided to the Senior Vice President & Provost and the Vice President for Research for final funding decisions.

Important: A letter of support from the Dean and the Department Chair of the PI is required with the project proposal. The letter of support must include a statement of financial commitment from the relevant Dean(s) & Department Chair(s) to support the project if it is selected for funding. The letter of support does not count against the page limit.

Budget Guidelines:

  • Assuming an award date of January 2023, build your budget with an indication of the first month in which actual expenditures would be incurred and the planned ending date.  With that start date, the funds should be planned to be expended over 3 years
  • Eligible expenses include well justified requests for salary support (including for temporary positions, research associates, graduate students), laboratory equipment, software, and project specific development needs. 
  • Faculty and students' stipends may vary depending on the amount of work involved for each person involved. 
  • Pro-rated fringe benefits must be included as a cost of the project in the proposed budget. Student wages must be calculated according to the unit’s or program’s guidelines. 
  • No overhead should be included in the budget. 
  • Budgeted items should be at or below the total amount of funds available per proposal. 
  • Proposals must include information about the roles and duties of each team member (including students if appropriate) and how they will collaborate to advance the work proposed.
  • Some contribution must be made by all participating colleges/schools; specific allocations are left to the discretion of each team
  • Equipment purchased through the GC Initiative will remain at UMD even if a PI or team member were to leave the university
  • Find the Institutional Grants and Team Project Grants Budget Template Here
    (The Team Project Grants Budget Template can be found on the tab at the bottom)

Grant Recipient Requirements: PIs/awardees who are supported by the Grand Challenges Initiative agree to the following:

  • Participation in an annual GC symposium or event that showcases results/outcomes 
  • Regular submission (semi-annual) of metrics, outcomes, financial expenditures, sharing of results 
  • Participation in media training with the Office of Strategic Communication
  • Cooperation with Maryland Today and/or other media inquiries to promote the work of the GC program
  • Important: It is expected that each funded team's project will submit at least one proposal to an external funding agency or foundation (ideally within one year of the award) directly as a result of this specific funded collaboration. Subsequent years of funding for the proposal may be delayed without corresponding proposal activity. 

Timeline and Key Dates:

    RFP Released: April 21, 2022

    Information Session: April 26, 2022

    Optional Participation in Ideation Sessions and Workshops: May 13 - June 30, 2022

    Proposals Due: Deadline Extended: October 10, 2022

    Peer Review Process: October 2022 - January 2023

    Announcement of Awards: February 2023



Individuals and team project proposals must be submitted by September 30 through the university’s InfoReady portal: Please note that College deadlines vary — see information at the top of this page. Questions or concerns regarding the InfoReady platform should be addressed to Hana Kabashi at

Optional information sessions and workshops will be available to interested participants following the issuance of this RFP to provide assistance to teams that seek such support. Additional information regarding the information sessions and workshops can be found here:

Additional Information, Questions: Please direct questions to Eric Chapman, Associate Vice President for Research ( and Betsy Beise, Associate Provost for Academic Planning and Programs (


Back to Top