Collaborative Research Opportunity (CORE) Grants

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Program Description

Submission Deadline: Friday, February 9, 2024 by 5PM

As described in detail below, a CORE proposal should describe an opportunity to establish a new multi-faculty research program, or to add a substantial and enduring new element to an existing program. In each case, applicants should begin with a clear vision for the future of their program, describing how the work will be of value to academic and constituent communities including those expected to provide sustained support. The statement of opportunity should further include a description of how the group will distinguish itself through the novelty of its ideas, approach and/or composition. Applicants should write clearly and convincingly about their potential impact and competitive position.

Teams must describe, as specifically as possible, their paths to sustained extramural support. A strong application will identify what work, if successfully completed, would provide others with compelling reasons to invest in the project. Groups should identify programs for which they expect to qualify, and should plan to pursue external funding within six months after the end of the award.

Teams are also strongly encouraged, taking advantage of their multidisciplinary nature, to identify multiple sources to which they can offer value, thereby increasing the stability of the program over time.

Funding for the CORE program is provided by the Smith Fund for Research and Innovation in Science and Engineering for projects in the natural sciences and engineering, and by university funds for projects in all fields.


Grants will be limited to a maximum of $70,000. 


All tenured and tenure-track faculty, as well as research professors (Assistant, Associate and Full), are eligible to apply. The proposed project must involve at least two tenure-track/research track faculty members. A faculty member with a current Lehigh internal grant may apply as a member of a team, provided that team composition is different and the project goals and scope of work are significantly different from those of the current award.  For an application to be considered, all required reports for prior Lehigh awards must be completed.  

The team will designate one tenure-track or research faculty member as Principal Investigator (PI). The PI should be a team member who has taken a leadership role in the project and will continue to do so.  The PI will receive all correspondence, manage the budget, and be responsible for reporting. 

Allowable Costs

An internal grant award is an investment in faculty research and its broad impact. Awards may be used for a wide range of research expenses provided that a clear case is made that the expenses are essential to the project. Grant funds may be used for:

  • Support for graduate students, postdoctoral research scholars, hourly wage research assistants
  • Reesearch materials including books unavailable through the library system
  • Access to off-campus research materials
  • Lab supplies
  • Travel necessary to perform research
  • Manuscript preparation
  • Necessary publication costs, costs of performing research and effectively disseminating outcomes. 
  • Travel to disseminate outcomes may be supported, but needs to be carefully justified.  

All expenditures must be in compliance with Lehigh’s Travel and Business Expense Policy

Non-allowable Costs

Awards may not be used to replace or to supplement current funding, or used to support work within the scope of a pending grant application or an active or recently completed research grant. Further, grant funds cannot be used for:

  • Faculty salaries (only the Accelerator grant may include request for summer salary)
  • Purchase of general-purpose equipment and computers, unless specifically designated for research usage.
  • Visiting faculty
  • Course development
  • Purchase of reprints
  • Remodeling of alteration of facilities
  • Reimbursement of costs incurred prior to submission of the application.

This list provides some examples, and is not exhaustive.  If you have any questions about allowable/unallowable expenses, please contact our office.  You may also consult the Travel and Business Expense Policy for further information.

How to Apply

Application Details

Submit your application through Lehigh’s InfoReady portal.  InfoReady will prompt you for the following summary details: 

  1. Descriptive project title - suitable for publication on our public web site.

  2. Name, Department, Position Title of each participating faculty member. One faculty member must be the main correspondent and will be responsible for all deliverables and management of the budget. All co-PIs must provide approval of the proposal submission

  3. Budget requested

  4. IRB/IACUC status - refer to our Research Integrity site for requirements.

  5. Abstract: a 250-word abstract suitable for a sophisticated lay audience, suitable for publication on our web site. The abstract should describe the project’s broad significance, the proposed activities and the project’s intended results.

Body of Proposal

In the proposal upload section, the following must be uploaded as a single pdf. Page margins must be at least one inch. Exclusive of any figures, text must be 11 point or larger:

1. Narrati​ve: 

A proposal narrative, not to exceed six pages (not including references), that enables reviewers to judge the merits of the project using the criteria listed below. Please adhere to the following outline:

  1. Background, context and long-term goals. 
  1. Project plan - Describe the work that will be undertaken and its expected outcomes. Make it clear to reviewers that you have devised a well-crafted plan that makes good use of talent, experience and existing resources. After reading this section, reviewers should appreciate how expected outcomes would address the critical barriers that you identified in the previous section.
  2. Plans for continuation - Identify expected sources of extramural support.

2. Time line: Provide a timeline for completion of the proposed work in simple, readable form such as a short paragraph or simple diagram. Unless justified based on the nature of the work involved, the work should be completed within 12 months of the start. The proposed start date may be delayed for up to six months as necessary for reasons such as recruiting students, seasonal factors in conducting fieldwork, or preparation of regulatory protocols.

3. Budget: Provide a one-page itemized budget and justification, providing sufficient detail for reviewers to understand how the budget items support the completion of the project. The budget must be appropriate to the specific needs of the research project.

Click here to access a simple Google Sheet calculator.  Some formulas are embedded to assist you in your calculations, but you may edit the chart as needed.  Copy and paste the completed budget chart into your application, or upload it separately.

4. Short-form biographical sketches for each of the faculty members involved in the project. You may use the form prescribed by any federal agency or a listing, not to exceed two pages, of educational preparation, research activity and relevant publications, presentations, etc.

5. Recent Grant Fun​ding - Provide a listing of all internal Lehigh grants and external grants completed within the past two years, currently active, and currently pending.  In any case in which a non-specialist might perceive the application to support work already funded by the completed, pending or current grant, provide a brief explanation of how the work and its goals are different. 

Review Process & Evaluation Criteria

Lehigh’s Internal Review Committee (IRC) will review proposals. IRC members are selected for their experience and representation of the scope of research endeavors at Lehigh. Awards will be made by the VP for Research based on the recommendations of the review panel.   Please keep in mind that your proposal will be reviewed by a faculty committee with members who may not be familiar with your specific area of study. Therefore, it is important that technical terminology be kept to a minimum and that the project be described in a manner that can be readily appreciated by non-specialists.

Applications will be evaluated according to these criteria: 

  • Opportunity, originality and potential impact. Do the applicants describe an opportunity to build a sustained multi-investigator research program with broad impact? Do they identify a field of study or application of rising importance? Do they identify distinguishing characteristics of their approach or their combination of talents, experience, capabilities and perspectives? Could the novelty of their approach, the broad importance of the problems being addressed to the field and/or to the world at large, and the constitution of the team confer a distinct advantage over time?
  • Quality of the research plan. Do the applicants present a well-conceived plan for use of CORE funding? Have they identified critical questions about the feasibility or promise of their approach, or about the long-term importance and viability of their program, and focused their plan on addressing those questions? Have the applicants proposed a sound research plan that makes good use of their talents and existing physical and programmatic resources? Is the budget appropriate for the scope of the plan? Is the proposed timeline appropriate?
  • Continuation plan. Do the applicants describe a sound plan for pursuing funding for continuation of the program? Have the applicants identified potential funding sources and cited prerequisites to success with those sources? Does their vision for the project serve the missions and priorities of those sources? Do they describe a funding strategy, considering potential paths such as qualification for major center grants and/or coordinated use of multiple smaller grants? If expected outcomes are achieved, are the applicants likely to be competitive in the near term?
  • Long-term potential and strategic fit. Is there potential for continued growth of the program at Lehigh? Is it likely that the program offers a significant opportunity for multiple co-investigators, thereby assuring their ongoing commitment? Might it, over time, naturally draw in others or establish connections with other programs? Is future development of the program fully supported by existing or planned facilities and programs? Does the project have the potential to establish or enhance connections between academic work and broader concerns?

Expenditures and Grant Management

If awarded, an individual research account will be established.  The PI will be responsible for assuring that the funds are spent: 

Absent justification for no-cost extension, funds remaining at the end of the 12-month award period will revert to our office to support future research projects. 

For more information, please consult our Internal Grants FAQ.

Reporting Requirements

You will be required to report annually on the progress and outcomes of your project over a 5-year period, and to cite the grant with a unique ID number in any publications, presentations or other significant work that result from the work funded by this grant.

Instructions on reporting will be provided to you by our office.  

Contact Information

Questions and requests for additional information should be directed to