FAQ Internal Grants

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Budget and Expense Questions

Are equipment purchases an allowable expense?

With good justification. Awards are intended to support research activity leading to initiation or expansion of self-sustaining research programs. Applicants are asked to identify current barriers to becoming self-sustaining and to propose a work plan that will lower or remove those barriers. With justification, modest expenditures for equipment may be among the items needed to complete the work that is planned.

Those who propose to use a significant portion of their budgets for purchase of equipment must describe how acquisition of the equipment serves the same purpose – enabling sustenance and growth of the research program – that is more typically served by completing research activity.

Non allowable, “general purpose” equipment includes laptop computers, software, fax machines, copiers, cameras, etc. The review panel will consider a compelling case should the faculty member indicate why the proposed research project would not be feasible without the requested equipment. If the panel considers the proposal itself fundable, but not the general equipment, this will be removed from the budget and the recipient will be offered a partial award.

What about budgeting for indirect costs (IC)?

Indirect costs are not charged on internal grants.


Can funds be used to pay for outside services essential to the proposed project?

Generally speaking, reviewers would like to see internal grant funds be used to support Lehigh faculty and if necessary graduate student support for a faculty research project. However, internal funds have been used to cover outside services essential to the research project such as editorial services, translations, manuscript preparation, studio fees etc. 


If you intend to hire someone to assist with your research, it is critical that you follow proper procedures for verifying employment eligibility before any work may begin.  Please contact your Business Manager and/or Financial Administrator to initiate the process.

Is faculty summer salary an eligible expense?

No, faculty salary is not an allowed expense.

I am collaborating with someone outside of Lehigh. May I use internal grant funds to fund my collaborator's costs for work on the project?

No. While your budget can include purchased services, academic collaborators at other institutions must separately fund their portions of the project.

GA/RA/TA Questions

Can internal grant funds be used to support a graduate/research assistant?

If the assistance provided is to further the faculty member’s research project, the budget can include student support in the form of hourly wage or stipend.  However, student research projects are not eligible. The extent and justification for student support should be included in the project narrative. 


Students may not perform any work until the employment eligibility is approved by the Payroll department. Contact your Business Manager and/or Financial Administrator to initiate the process.

What rate should I use for graduate student compensation?

The Minimum Stipend Rate Policy provides the current minimum rate for GA/TA/RA monthly salary and hourly compensation information.  Rates will vary by college and program. Please consult with your College's Associate Dean and Graduate Program Manager for details.


Can internal grant awards be used to supplement undergraduate or graduate tuition?

No, Lehigh internal grant funds cannot be used to cover tuition costs. Department and/or college administration should be informed so that they may sign off on waiving tuition.  Contact your Associate Dean of Research/Graduate Studies for college-specific requirements.


Grant Eligibility Questions

Who is eligible to apply for an internal grant?

All tenure track and tenured memebrs of the Lehigh faculty are eligible to apply. Professors of Practice or staff may be team members on grants where a faculty member is the PI.

Can I apply for an FRG every semester?

Faculty are eligible to apply for a FRG every semester but may only hold one award per academic year.

Is there a limit on the number of FRGs I can receive?

There is no limit on the number of FRGs a faculty member can receive. However, faculty who have received three awards within the last five-year period are not eligible to apply.

Can I apply for an FRG and other internal funding such as FIG or a Humanities Center grant at the same time?

Yes, you can apply for more than one internal grant at the same time. However, for each submission, the proposed research activities must be different and the budget should be distinct.

Can an individual be awarded a FIG grant in two consecutive years?

An individual or team is limited to one FIG award every two years.

Can an individual with a current FIG grant apply for a CORE grant?

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.

Who can collaborate on an Accelerator Grant proposal?

The proposed project must involve at least three tenure-track faculty members, including at least one tenured member of the faculty, as co-Principal Investigators.

Can faculty collaborate with external partners on an internal grant proposal?

Yes. External partners, however, must cover all costs of their portions of the project.

Evaluation and Selection Questions

Should I ask for the maximum award?

You must ask for what you really need to meet the goals of the grant.

Will the absence of any current and pending grants affect my ability to obtain an internal grant award?

No. The sole purpose of the list of any current and pending support is to support judgment of how the proposed project differs from any current project. Your ability to compete for external support will be judged by your vision for the project and its fit with the missions of potential sources, how well you identify criteria for success with potential sources and the plan you describe for meeting those criteria. Of course, other material, including your CV, and your narrative concerning the relationship between your personal research agenda and the proposed project, serve to document your capabilities as a researcher.

Can reviewers' comments on an unfunded grant application be used as evidence of critical barriers for moving the project forward?

Yes, and you will not be discredited for having attempted to go straight for extramural funding. You may paraphrase or quote the review in your application and provide a copy of the critique as an addendum.

I work in a field for which there is no federal agency with a catalog of grant opportunities. How should I go about showing potential for external support?

You may target one or more foundations that support work in your field or has interest in a topic to which your work can be applied. Conduct of work that demonstrates the merits of a new project or application of an existing line of work to a new area that is of interest to a foundation is excellent use of a FIG award. A FIG award can support initial work with a colleague for that purpose.

What if I plan to submit a proposal for external funding prior to the end of the award period?

FIG awards are for up to 12 months, and you may expect to be ready to pursue external funding in less time. Of course, if you plan a submission very near the start of the FIG grant, it must be clear why the FIG support is needed, remembering that the FIG should be supporting new work.

I wish to use a FIG application to transition to a field in which I might not be viewed as qualified. How will this affect my chances of success?

It depends. You would need to make a case that, at the end of the FIG project, you will show promise of contributing to the "destination" field in a manner that would be appreciated by people in that field. A FIG grant can provide a means to show some initial accomplishments and establish a record of publication in a new area. You should consider consultation or collaboration with someone who works in the "destination" field.

When are grant recipients notified of an award?

The Review Committee meets approximately two weeks after that grant deadline.  Award decisions are usually made within a week of the review meeting, and grant funds are usually available within a month of award notification.

Research Integrity Questions - IRB/IACUC

What if my proposed project involves animal or human subjects?

To account for processing time, faculty are encouraged to apply for IRB or IACUC approval as soon as they decide to apply for internal grant support. Research activities using animal or human subjects cannot begin before receiving IRB or IACUC approval, which may impact your ability to complete the project within the 12 month award period.

Where can I locate information about applying for IRB/IACUC approval?

University policies regarding animal and human subjects can be located on the Research Integrity site. There you can select the appropriate information for animal and human subjects.


What if I have an existing IRB/IACUC protocol in place?

Simply note that an existing protocol is already in place along with the date approval was given in the narrative section of your proposal.


Post-award Questions

Who should I ask for assistance with administrative tasks related to my award?

General administrative support, such as account balances, invoice payments, purchase orders, OneCard approvals, and Payroll set up requests are conducted at the College level with your coordinator and business manager.

Questions related to graduate student stipends should be directed to your Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Graduate Programs Manager. 

Award-specific matters including final reporting, account closure, budget modifications and extension requests should be directed to the Office of VP Research at vpresearch@lehigh.edu.

How do I request a budget modification or extension of my award?

To request a budget modification or extension of an award, the recipient should email the request to VPresearch@lehigh.edu. Please include in your request the reason a budget modification or extension is needed, and whether you anticipate that the modification/extension will affect the nature/scope of the proposed project. When requesting an extension, also please indicate how long of an extension is needed (e.g. month, semester). In most cases, there will be a response to your request within a week.

What if I cannot complete my work within the award period?

Unused funds revert back to the OVPR for later use. 

If you have a compelling reason why the project cannot be completed during the award period, you may submit a request for an extension in writing. The request should indicate the circumstances leading up to the request, the duration of the requested extension and what impact the extension will have on your ability to submit the required proposal to an external funding agency. This request should be sent by email to VPresearch@lehigh.edu. Please include “Extension request” in the subject line.

If circumstances prevent you from completing the research completely, the award can be returned without penalty or consequence for future applications. 


Have more questions? 

Contact our office at VPResearch@lehigh.edu