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The Pitt Momentum Funds

In the 2019–2020 academic year, Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Ann E. Cudd and Senior Vice Chancellor for Research (SVCR) Rob A. Rutenbar collaborated to enhance and streamline internal funding opportunities for faculty research while continuing to support high-quality research, scholarship, and creative endeavors.

The result was a jointly funded large-scale research development fund—the Pitt Momentum Funds—which restructured the University’s suite of internal funding programs (Central Research Development Fund, Social Science Research Initiative, and Special initiative to Promote Scholarly Activities in the Humanities) and adds a new SVCR/Provost Fund to provide allocations for research seeding, teaming, and scaling grants.

The structure for Pitt Momentum Funds awards includes three tiers:

  • Seeding Grants, which support significant and innovative scholarship by individuals or small groups of faculty;
  • Teaming Grants, which support the early stage planning and capacity building of large multidisciplinary projects; and
  • Scaling Grants, which support the detailed project planning, gathering of proof-of-concept results, and reduction of technical risk so that teams can competitively pursue large, complex, extramural funding.

2020-2021 Funding Cycle

In response to the crises of 2020, the Pitt Momentum Funds program calls for research across all scales that seeks to improve our understanding of these extraordinary times. Particularly encouraged are projects addressing systemic racism, histories of racist structures, impact of race/ethnicity on social determinants of health, preexisting racial inequities highlighted again by the global COVID-19 pandemic, or arts-based race or social justice storytelling and creative performance. We encourage a range of interdisciplinary theoretical and methodological approaches to address social (in)justices.

Awards are made across the breadth of interdisciplinary scholarship at the University, and all eligible faculty are encouraged to propose new, innovate ideas that can contribute meaningful insight, understanding, or solutions to societal challenges. Teamed projects are reviewed by multidisciplinary faculty panels and individual projects are reviewed by one of four committees:

  • Creative Arts, Performing Arts & Humanities
  • Engineering, Technology, Natural Sciences, and Mathematical Sciences
  • Health & Life Sciences
  • Social Sciences, which includes Business, Policy, Law, Education, Informatics, and Social Work

Funding is available through the three tiers as follows:

  • Seeding Grants—one-year term with an award cap of $16,000 plus ($2,000 supplements are available for specific cases). Seeding grants support significant and innovative scholarship by individual or groups of faculty at all ranks at the University of Pittsburgh, with a particular focus on early career faculty and areas where external funding is extremely limited.
     
  • Teaming Grants—one-year term with an award cap of $60,000. Teaming grants support the formation of new multi-disciplinary collaborations to successfully pursue large-scale external funding.
     
  • Scaling Grants—two-year term with an award cap of $400,000. Scaling grants enable multi-disciplinary teams to competitively scale their research efforts in targeted pursuit of large-scale external funding.

An overview of the program including eligibility, proposal submission guidelines and deadlines, evaluation criteria, proposal review and award procedures, and participation requirements is available through Pitt’s Office of Sponsored Programs. The application, along with downloadable program guidelines, FAQs, and a budget template, can be accessed at the Competition Space.