SAS Research Opportunity Grants

SAS expects that the faculty’s first step in seeking financial support for their research will be from external sources, including governmental agencies and foundations, the University Research Foundation (URF), or departmental discretionary resources. However, SAS recognizes that there are types of research activity for which it is harder to obtain such funding. SAS offers Research Opportunity Grants (ROGs) because it is both necessary and appropriate for the School to support activities including research travel, access to documents, and publication subvention for the dissemination of the research, among others.

It should be understood that the School does not have the resources or the responsibility to fund everything associated with a faculty member’s research: it sets limits on both the nature and the amount of resources provided. Research funding is provided according to both need and merit: to receive funding, faculty must make the case for the need, and at the end of the grant period they should be able to demonstrate that the investment of SAS funds was worthwhile.

The School administers SAS Research Opportunity Grants to support individual faculty research needs that are not covered by an external grant, existing discretionary research account, or departmental sources.

Biannual application- and award-cycles for ROGs intentionally coincide with those of the URF.  Review committees work together to maximize award amounts for successful applications to both programs.  Therefore, standing faculty are required to simultaneously submit both ROG and URF applications, except when requesting support for projects  that are not eligible for URF funding.  Please see the SAS/Penn Research Support Application page for more information on simultaneously submitting ROG and URF applications.


SAS standing faculty, Senior Lecturers, Senior Lecturers in Foreign Language, and emeriti faculty.  Priority will be given to faculty with no existing discretionary research accounts.

Award Amounts

  • Minimum: $500 (amounts under $500 should be supported by the faculty member’s department).
  • Maximum: Individual requests are expected to be under $5,000. Requests over that amount will be considered under special circumstances.

Activities or Purchases Covered

May include:

  • research travel for the collection of data or archival work
  • research assistance (with a preference for the employment of undergraduate research assistants)
  • obtaining important documents or primary materials
  • publication subvention (faculty may apply for publication subvention only after a project has been formally accepted for publication; please include a copy of this acceptance with the application)
  • specialized computer equipment or software that cannot be obtained through customary School allocations
  • other equipment that cannot be obtained through customary School allocations or external support.

To Apply

Please submit the following to the SAS/Penn Research Support Application page by 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 23, 2017:

An SAS Research Opportunity Grant application--a single pdf comprising:

  • a Research Opportunity Grant cover sheet, signed by your department chair and business administrator;
  • an abstract of no more than 200 words;
  • a proposal of no more than five pages describing the project/activity/purchase and explaining clearly the research that it will support.  Please also describe the financial need, i.e. what other sources of support are being sought at and beyond Penn, or why other sources of funding are not available (e.g. no discretionary funds, not an allowable expense on an existing grant);  
  • a budget which has been reviewed by your business administrator, as attested to by his/her signature on the cover sheet;
  • a current curriculum vitae of the principal investigator/applicant.

Please note: Except when requesting support for projects that are not eligible for URF funding, standing faculty who are applying for ROGs are also required to submit a University Research Fund application.  Identical narrative and budget information may be submitted for both opportunities, but each must be uploaded separately with their respective cover sheets.  Appropriate application and budget forms are available through the URF website.

While the Office of the Vice Provost now requires approval to be indicated via check-box certification instead of signatures for URF applications, it is nonetheless necessary for URF budgets to be approved by an SAS business office to ensure compliance with University financial guidelines.  Business office and department chair signatures are still required on the SAS Research Opportunity Grant cover sheet.  Please submit your budget to your business office for review no later than noon on WEDNESDAY, MARCH 22 prior to submission by the March 23 deadline via the SAS/Penn Research Support Application page. 


Notification of Awards and Use of Funds

 Application Deadline   Notification of Award
 Late October/Early November  February
 Late March  July

Because the review process for ROG applications, conducted by a committee of SAS deans, is coordinated with that of URF applications, conducted by committees appointed by the Vice Provost for Research, notification will occur after both committees have completed their reviews.

Awards are subject to SAS guidelines for the use of faculty research funds.  They will be administered by the recipient's regional business office.