Research Resources & Processes

The School of Music, Theatre & Dance (SMTD) is committed to supporting and advising faculty in the pursuit of funding for scholarly and artistic research.

Types of funding available

Effective September 1, 2021, the SMTD will oversee and distribute funding through a new in-house program known as the “Research, Catalyze, Innovate” (RCI) program. This program replaces the former UMOR and SMTD grant programs and will offer three levels of grant support (where we formerly had only two). The SMTD Faculty Research Committee (FRC) will conduct in-house reviews of all applications to RCI program. Please note that the peer-review process has also shifted in-house, so the FRC will require one letter of support for each application to the RCI grant program.

Several other funding opportunities at U-M are available. Finally, projects that are funded by external sponsors are managed by the Office of Research and Sponsored Projects (ORSP).

Note: Full-time, tenure-track and clinical-track faculty are eligible for one RCI grant award per fiscal year (July 1-June 30). Awards must be closed out before an applicant can apply for a new award. To be eligible for an RCI grant, faculty must hold an ongoing faculty position while the funded research is being completed. Faculty who leave the SMTD for another institution will forfeit their grant. Faculty who have stated their intentions to retire are ineligible for an award for a research project that will extend into retirement.

RCI Grant Funding Information

Effective September 1, 2021, the UMOR and SMTD grant programs will be replaced across campus with a new set of grants operated under the banner of “Research, Catalyze, Innovate” (RCI). In the SMTD, the new RCI grant program will build on the former grant offerings, expanding that program from two grants to three:

(1) The Large-Scale RCI Grant
• This grant replaces the former UMOR grant at the same funding level, and supports projects up to a cap of $18,000
(2) The Medium-Scale RCI Grant
• This is a newly conceived grant for projects with a smaller budget than the Large-Scale Grant and will fund projects up to a cap of $12,000
(3) Small-Scale RCI Grant
• This grant replaces the former SMTD grant and will fund projects up to a cap of $5,000


Description of the RCI Grant Program

RCI grants are intended as seed grants to support new research projects by tenured, tenure-track, and clinical faculty at the SMTD. These grants are not designed to fund the reiteration of a project that has already received funding.

Faculty who are awarded RCI grants are strongly encouraged to seek funding through various other sources (ADVANCE, CEW, IRWG, NEA, NEH, Foundations, and so on). The Director of Research will update faculty by email as funding opportunities arise.

Faculty are eligible for one RCI grant per academic year and cannot hold two concurrent RCI grants. An existing grant must be closed out with the Financial Office before a faculty member can apply for a new grant.

Faculty who hold personal research accounts are expected to contribute 10% towards the budget for their research projects.


Funding Restrictions

According to the Office of the VP-Research, RCI support is NOT available for:

  • Travel, lodging, and membership fees to present at, or attend, conferences and professional workshops;
  • Travel, lodging, and membership fees covered by an honorarium from another institution or funding body;
  • Payment of an honorarium or salary to regular U-M faculty (including tenure-track, clinical, and LEO faculty at U-M);
  • Research projects for which you will receive payment;
  • Student research assistance support (please use Work Study for this expense);
  • Hosting of professional workshops and visiting artists (faculty inquiries should be directed to the Arts Initiative “Visiting Artist Support Grants” or “Visiting Artist Integration Project” grant);
  • Expenses associated with the development of a new course or with teaching an existing course (faculty inquiries for these project should be directed to the CRLT grant program). While financial support for teaching is excluded from RCI, an exception will be made for publications that focus on pedagogical philosophies or approaches to teaching;
  • Research projects that involve overseas travel with students (faculty inquiries should be directed to Global Engagement);
  • Cost sharing on any externally or internally funded research grants, or reduced awards;
  • Computer/hardware/software for routine use;
  • Equipment maintenance costs;
  • Retroactive funding or cost overruns;
  • Office equipment such as photocopy machines or telephones; and,
  • Page or reprint costs of articles in professional journals.


Application Procedure

For consideration by the Faculty Research Committee, each application must contain:

  • An application form, signed by the applicant and the department chair. Please reach out to the Director of the Research ([email protected]) for this form well in advance of your intended submission date;
  • A narrative that describes the project in detail;
  • Short biographies of any collaborators on the project;
  • A timeline to completion;
  • A line-item budget;
  • Invoices for any expenses that will be charged against the grant and that are listed in your line-item budget; and,
  • A peer-review from a faculty colleague. Please reach out to the Director of Research for instructions to provide to your reviewer.

Each of these components of the application must be submitted to the Director of Research in pdf format only. Materials submitted in other formats will be returned to the applicant. Projects will not proceed to review by the Faculty Research Committee without all of these components in pdf format and in place prior to submission. All signatures must be secured before the application is considered complete.

Proposals that involve scheduling and reserving campus facilities, equipment purchase or rental, or departmental staffing may require additional approval and coordination. These must be negotiated and secured before the proposal is presented to the Faculty Research Committee, so applicants are encouraged to submit their proposals well before the deadline.

The Office of the VP-Research requests that each project funded through RCI credits the OVRP for its support (either in a program note, on liner notes, on any publicity materials, and so on). Please state that the project “has received funding from the University of Michigan’s Office of the Vice-President for Research”).


Annual Faculty Reporting

Under the RCI program, the Director of Research submits an annual report every April, followed by an application for funding for the next year. As part of accepting an RCI award, each faculty awarded RCI grant funding must submit an update about their grant on or before April 1 in the year following the grant award (i.e., if you were awarded a grant in AY2022/23, your report will be due to the Director of Research on April 1 2024). OVPR requires updates on all RCI grants awarded in each unit, including the SMTD, and these are included in the Director’s year-end report.

Reporting has become a critical component of our yearly bid for research funding through OVPR. Faculty who do not submit an annual report when requested may be disqualified for further RCI funding until the report is submitted.

External funding sources

Projects that are funded by external sponsors are classified as sponsored projects and are managed by the Office of Research and Sponsored Projects (ORSP) using the eResearch Proposal Management interface (note that ORSP has its own published deadlines for ePAF submissions).

Additional Resources

*Faculty and funders are encouraged to contact the SMTD webmaster with additional sources