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Purpose

The Research Development Grant (RDG) program is a source of financial support for the research and scholarly activities of Penn State Berks faculty members. It is intended to foster new research and scholarly activities rather than to sustain research programs. Faculty may not receive RDG support for the same project for more than three years. RDGs are not intended to support instructional improvement or course development. RDGs have two sources of funding: central Penn State Berks funds and funds made available to Penn State Berks from the Chancellor’s Penn State Fund for Research, which earmarks grants for full-time faculty on continuing appointments.

Research and Scholarship Projects

Any of the following general types of research and scholarly activity are appropriate for a RDG proposal: Conducting research that employs any methodology acceptable in the applicant's discipline;

  • Producing an interpretation, analysis, synthesis of existing knowledge in any form that will provide critical review of other scholars in the applicant's discipline
  • Developing new scholarly methods or research tools
  • Developing new application of knowledge
  • Creating new artistic products or forms
  • Developing new theories, philosophical views, or position papers
  • RDG in Support of Proposal Writing: This is intended for faculty who are in the process of preparing an externally funded research project. Such projects should have a minimum budget of $15,000 (direct cost), be an original submission or a significant revision of a project that has been denied, and be submitted in the academic year in which the support is sought. Please see your Division Head for details as to the specific uses of the funds.

Specific questions often arise about RDG support for certain activities. In anticipation of these questions, the following information may be helpful:

  • Travel may be included, provided the applicant makes it clear that the travel is essential for the conduct of the research and scholarly activity. Travel to professional meetings is not supported through the RDG.
  • The purchase of equipment, software, printed material, microfiche, supplies, and other similar materials may be included, provided the applicant makes it clear in the proposal that the purchase is directly related to the activities for the project. Purchase of microcomputers is not supported unless the microcomputer is essential and directly related to conducting the research. Any equipment purchased with RDG funds becomes the property of the University and is assigned to the faculty member's campus.
  • Support for doctoral dissertation research is not available through the RDG.
  • Some support for page charges for articles that will be published in refereed journals is available. Documentation that a manuscript has been accepted must be submitted with a request for page charges.
  • Proposals for course development and instructional support are excluded from RDG consideration.
  • Requests for released time are permitted. Tenured and fixed-term faculty members on continuing appointments may receive an RDG course release once every three years. Faculty on the tenure-track may request up to three RDG-funded course releases during the provisional six-year period. Faculty members should discuss such requests in advance with their Division Head to determine which course offered what semester will be the easiest to cover.
  • Requests for salary supplements to support research during the summer are permitted. Additionally, RDG funds can be used to cover student wages when they are actively involved in a project.
  • No amount of support is too small to request through the RDG proposals. Most proposals are funded between $500 and $2,550. Proposals that request funding at a higher than $2,550 are considered but these requests must clearly demonstrate the need for more extensive financial support, and applicants for higher amounts should recognize that the competition is more intense at these levels. For all proposals, budget items should be clearly itemized and related directly to project activities.
  • RDG proposals must be received by April 15th. Proposals will be reviewed by the review committee between April 15th and May 30th. Faculty will be notified by the 1st week of June.
  • The review committee will consist of the Division Heads and the Associate Dean.

Eligibility

All full-time Penn State Berks faculty members on continuing appointments are invited to apply for RDG funding.

Project Completion 

At the conclusion of the project, successful applicants are expected to provide a brief report of the project activities to their Division Head and the Associate Dean. Because of the temporary nature of the funds for the RDGs, project money should be expended by the end of the fiscal year, June 30, although short-term extensions may be granted with the approval of the Associate Dean.

Review Process

RDGs are awarded on a competitive basis following review by the review committee. Faculty in other PSU colleges may be asked for input and feedback on individual proposals. The Associate Dean will be consulted as part of the review process. Because of the limited amount of money for the RDGs, not all proposals can be funded.

Apply

To apply, fill out the appropriate online form for your academic division (see links below). Applications will be directed to Marga Row in the Grants Office and the Division Heads.

Engineering, Business and Computing

Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

Science