Academic Affairs

Faculty Research Fund Guidelines

The Faculty Research Fund (FRF) seeks to encourage research by Union College faculty, particularly for projects that bear a clear and significant relation to a faculty member's overall long-term scholarly program. Grants from the FRF may be used to initiate, continue, or complete research projects. To apply, please fill out this form.

General guidelines

  1. Proposals must be submitted on the application form with supporting budget documents.
  2. The Faculty Research Fund is administered by a committee whose members are appointed by the Academic Affairs Council, or its designee, with each academic division represented by one faculty member. Ex-officio and non-voting, the Dean of Academic Departments and Programs (DADP) will chair the Committee and coordinate its activities.
  3. Proposals will be reviewed three times a year, once during each term, and should be submitted electronically by the end of the third week of the term.
  4. The maximum grant awarded per academic year under this program is $3,000. The first round of funding starts in the fall term with the final round of funding in the spring term.
  5. Multiple FRF grants in a single year are allowed but the total awarded to a faculty member may not exceed $3,000.
  6. The Committee reserves the right to submit any proposal to an outside reviewer for evaluation.
  7. Occasionally the Faculty Research Fund pays subvention fees, recording costs and other publication expenses associated with a piece of scholarship. When these works of scholarship are sold commercially and yield a profit to the author/artist exceeding $5,000, it is expected that the Faculty Research Fund will be reimbursed for the original amount of the grant(s) supporting the work. Published research results should acknowledge funding by the Faculty Research Fund.
  8. A brief report describing the results of the research funded by the grant must be submitted to the Dean of Academic Departments and Programs following the completion of the project. Such reports on the past use of FRF funds may be used by the Committee in its consideration of future FRF grant applications. Faculty will not be eligible to receive subsequent funding until this report is received.
  9. Faculty need to use the approved funds on the project they specified within three academic years from the term they receive the funding (e.g. funding received in Fall 2024 needs to be used by Spring 2027). Any remaining funds or funds not used within this time period will go back to the dean's account. Faculty have the responsibility to inform the DADP office on any discrepancies on fund usage. Requests to repurpose funds for a different use will also need to be approved by the DADP.

Funding Priorities

When judging the relative merit of proposals, the Committee will look with equal favor upon proposals that seek funds to initiate, continue, or conclude a research project. However, the Committee will give priority to those proposals that are shown to bear a clear and significant relation to an applicant's overall research program.

While faculty members may submit proposals in consecutive years, it should be understood that the Faculty Research Fund Committee gives priority to those who have not recently received funding under this program. TO HELP ENSURE THAT A BROAD RANGE OF FACULTY HAVE ACCESS TO THESE FUNDS, FACULTY WHO HAVE RECEIVED FUNDING THREE OUT OF THE LAST FIVE YEARS WILL HAVE TO WAIT TILL THE FINAL ROUND OF FUNDING TO SUBMIT A FUNDING REQUEST. Faculty who have received frequent but smaller requests should contact the DADP about flexibility with this guideline. In addition, grant proposals that either already have some external support from government or private foundations or which indicate that outside agencies have been or will be approached for support are preferred. The Committee realizes, however, that many projects due to their small size, unusual nature or critical approach may have difficulty in obtaining outside funding.

If an application is not funded in one round, it may be resubmitted for the next. Grant applications, however, will not automatically be rolled over into the next round.

Policies have been developed for selected common requests and are presented below:

Equipment – Funded only if it is an integral part of the research program. When requesting permanent equipment for research, the committee will normally expect the department or some outside funding agent to pay at least 1/3 of the cost if the project benefits only one faculty member, and up to 1/2 if it benefits more than one faculty member. Equipment that is primarily in support of teaching will not be funded. All equipment purchased with Faculty Research Fund monies becomes the property of the College. Requests for computer hardware will be considered only if the purchase is clearly and critically related to the research project.

IT Support and Computer Software – Funded if it is an integral part of the proposal. Any grant proposal that requests computer support (hardware or software) will be reviewed by the Chief Information Officer after you submit the online form.

Audio Visual – Any proposal that calls for audio-visual equipment will be reviewed by the Director of Learning Design & Digital Innovation (LDDI) after you submit the online form.

Travel – Funded if it is necessary for the faculty member to work at a facility that has a unique piece of equipment that is necessary for the project, or to use resource materials, interview persons, etc., not located near Union College. Travel for other than research purposes will not be funded. If traveling by air, it is expected that applicants will make every effort to obtain the least expensive fares. Please refer to the updated Travel Policy for details.

Food Expenses - Faculty members may request up to $60/day for food with receipts. Food expenses cannot account for more than 25% of the total research budget. This means that for a budget for $3,000, no more than $750 can be allocated for meal expenses. Note that the allowance is not intended to cover the actual cost of meals every day, but rather it is a subsidy in recognition of the fact that while traveling, meal expenses are higher than when living at home. Please refer to the updated Travel Policy for details.

Research Assistants – Research assistants are fundable but generally not for the purpose of typing or other secretarial tasks. Projects employing student summer research assistants should normally first seek support from Union’s Summer Student Fellowship Program.

Faculty Summer Salaries – The Faculty Research Fund does not fund summer salary for faculty members.

Release Time – The Faculty Research Fund does not fund course release time for faculty members.

Sabbaticals – Applications for research support during sabbaticals are considered.

Payment and Reimbursement Procedures

All grants awarded to faculty will be deposited into their personal Research and Travel (R&T) Accounts. Please keep all receipts for expenditures. A Union College credit card should be used to make all purchases with your grant. Please reconcile your charges through the Workday system using your Research and Travel Account number.

If you do not have a Union College credit card, please contact the card program office,, to make arrangements to obtain one. Credit cards are issued to all faculty members with a Research and Travel Account. The transactions are reconciled online and training is required to use the software. Administrative assistants also have cards and can make purchases on your behalf.

All faculty receiving funds need to reconcile all related expenses on Workday by "Creating Expense Folder" and put "2024-25 FRF" in the "Memo" field. The FRF committee may not consider future funding requests if faculty do not comply with this requirement, in additional to submitting a written report.

Updated in July 2024 by Emily Tong