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RGS sponsoring ASPIRES

By Susan Trulove

Spectrum Volume 19 Issue 02 - September 5, 1996

Research and Graduate Studies is sponsoring a new program to stimulate research initiatives in all disciplines.

ASPIRES (A Support Program for Innovative REsearch Strategies) will assist individuals or teams with development of enhanced research and scholarship activities

"ASPIRES will provide support and funding for strategies, activities, equipment, programs, laboratories, and facilities that will enhance an individual's or a team's ability to compete for funds from other sources," said Len Peters, vice provost for research and dean of the Graduate School.

Awards will be made to faculty members on a competitive basis in response to proposals that describe strategies for improving the university's sponsored-research activities and the quality of graduate education. It is anticipated that about 50 awards will be made ranging from $10,000 to $50,000 from resources provided by RGS, the Office of the Provost, and the central capital account.

Successful proposals will demonstrate a strong return on investment and will provide clear evidence that the proposed activity will enhance the individual's or team's ability to compete for sponsored research; result in recruitment and retention of and the establishment of appropriate employment opportunities for high-quality graduate students; result in recruitment, retention, and professional development of high-quality faculty and professional staff members; result in activities that will contribute to economic development; or other activities to improve research and graduate education. Enhancement of efforts to obtain multi-year funding from off-campus sources will be emphasized.

Proposals might be for funds that will contribute to the purchase of a critical piece of equipment, renovation of a research facility, development of infrastructure required to recruit a critical faculty member, or to successfully compete for sponsored research. Proposals might also include acquisition of literary collections upon which research is to be conducted, or the purchase of specimen collections for research purposes. Also valid are such activities as attendance at workshops to gain critical expertise, organization of workshops and conferences to disseminate expertise, and the formation of interdisciplinary groups or partnerships within academia, or with government agencies or the business sector.

"Innovation is encouraged," Peters stressed.

A strong academic endorsement and offers of cost-sharing from the academic unit from which the proposal comes are required.

The proposals will be evaluated by panels of faculty members nominated by the Provost's Office, deans, and the vice provost for research.

Applications are due October 15. Awards will be announced in mid-December. Forms are available in 306 Burruss or from the RGS server at http://milieu.grads.vt.edu. Questions may be directed to Gene Brown, associate provost for program development, at 1-5410 or efbrown@vt.edu, or to Ken Reifsnider, associate provost for interdisciplinary centers, 1-9359 or mrl@vt.edu.