Sewing the Seeds of
Scientific Discovery

The Research Award is designed to help new and early career faculty start exploring interesting research ideas that would be competitive as a future proposal submitted directly to the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Faculty and departments from the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville are not eligible to apply.

Seed funding for future NSF success.

KY NSF EPSCoR provides faculty seed-funding and hew-hire support for research projects with the goal of enabling future proposal applications submitted to the NSF. Submission of a future research proposal application to the National Science Foundation or other EPSCoR Agency is an obligation of RA awardees.

Up to

seed funding

Future NSF
proposal required

New Hire


Program Description

KY NSF EPSCoR Grants and Awards are intended to support high-risk, high reward projects that will support future submission of research proposals to NSF or other federal agencies. KY NSF EPSCoR Seed-Funding is part of the NSF EPSCoR RII Track-1 Award: Kentucky Advanced Manufacturing Partnership for Enhanced Robotics and Structures, Cooperative Agreement No. 1849213.

Research Awards (RA) provide seed-funding of up to $50,000 in direct costs for faculty research projects or to support new-hire, research-active faculty. A RA typically provides financial support for establishing and equipping research labs, including start-up support for new-faculty hires at Kentucky’s regional public and private institutions. A proposal to NSF or other EPSCoR agency is an expected outcome of all KY NSF EPSCoR Research Awards.

The work supported by a RA must be aligned with KY NSF EPSCoR’s current research themes. Applicants must submit a statement relating proposed work to current KY NSF EPSCoR research themes. The areas of work we can support will be interpreted broadly, but you must be able to show a clear, direct, and convincing connection to current research themes. For RA applicants, this will require showing how proposed work will directly support the research activities of the main themes:


Individual faculty members and departments at regional accredited academic institutions in Kentucky eligible to apply. Junior faculty, women, and members of other underrepresented populations are encouraged to apply. Faculty and departments from the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville are not eligible to apply. Void where prohibited.

Each institution that applies for financial assistance from the KY NSF EPSCoR must have a formal institutional plan to provide appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research (RCR) for all student, staff and faculty participating in the proposed research project. KY NSF EPSCoR must receive certification that participants on supported project have completed appropriate training consistent with their established institutional policies.

Any proposal submitted to KY NSF EPSCoR and declined for funding can be modified and resubmitted the following grant year but if declined more than once, cannot be submitted again.

Submission of Proposal

To Submit a Proposal upload the following:
  1. The proposed budget as a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet (.xlsx extension only)
  2. A combined PDF file of the complete proposal
    • Proposals should be submitted electronically as a single complete pdf document with any graphics embedded in the document no larger than 25MB and should adhere to the following order: (1) Cover Sheet (2) Project Summary (3) Project Description (4) Budget (5) Budget Justification (6) Current & Pending Support (7) Biosketch.

Important Dates

Proposals Due: 11:59 PM EST, May 15, 2021

Awards Announced: June 1, 2021

Award Year: July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022

General Terms & Conditions


Only one proposal per investigator per program per year.

Foreign travel cannot be proposed.

Requests for computers cannot be proposed.

Funds cannot be awarded for time beyond KY NSF EPSCoR’s Award Year.

Funds cannot be used for more than two months of faculty salary support.

Availability of funds is contingent upcoming continued funding by the National Science Foundation.

Review Criteria

Proposals will be reviewed by a committee including representatives from the KY NSF EPSCoR Central Office, plus research faculty with relevant expertise. When evaluating proposals, KY NSF EPSCoR reviewers will be asked to consider what the proposers want to do, why they want to do it, how they plan to do it, how they will know if they succeed, and what benefits could accrue if the project is successful. These issues apply both to the technical aspects of the proposal and the way in which the project may make broader contributions. View our rubric here

Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts are the two merit review criteria that NSF expects proposers to fully address in their proposals. The definitions of the two criteria, as noted in NSF PAPPG Ch. III Section A, are listed below:

  1. Intellectual Merit: The potential to advance knowledge, and
  2. Broader Impacts: The potential to benefit society and contribute to the achievement of specific, desired societal outcomes


Reporting Requirements

KY NFS EPSCoR must comply with NSF EPSCoR reporting requirements. Therefore, each awardee will be required to comply with expenditure report deadlines and submit a narrative outcomes report to the central office once the project is complete. Awardee RA PI and students can fill out the required reports here: KY NSF EPSCoR Reporting Documents 1 – 4.

Frequently Asked Questions

Apply Now

Ready to start your application? Download the application forms to apply for the KY NSF EPSCoR Research Award.

Get started ›

Have Questions?

Have questions or need more information? Please feel free to contact us anytime at