John Templeton Foundation: 25 years of

Research Grant Program

Overview  |  Grant Winners  |  Big Questions  |  FAQ

General  |  Eligibility  |  Use of Grants  |  Budgetary  |  International Applicants  |  ScholarOne - Electronic Submission


Is the June 1, 2012, 22:00 UTC deadline to submit a full proposal a “postmark” deadline or a “received by” deadline?

Answer: Your full proposal must be received by June 1, 2012 at 22:00 UTC via your personal account on the ScholarOne website: The proposal documents are sent electronically through this website only. Proposals will not be accepted via U.S. or international postal services, nor will they be accepted via e-mail. Any proposals received after 22:00 UTC will not be considered, and cannot be appealed.

If I am awarded a grant, must the start date be October 1, 2012?

Answer: Yes

What are the criteria of merit used to select the winners of this competition?

Answer: Each proposal will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

Potential for significant contribution to our basic foundational understanding of nature, and the likelihood for opening new, fruitful lines of inquiry;

Intrinsic intellectual merit, scientific rigor and originality of the submitted proposal;

Qualifications of the applicants and proposals;

Persuasiveness of the practicality of the plan and of the applicant’s ability to use the grant to continue to advance the themes explored in the proposal submitted as the basis for the application.

Refer to page 4 of the Request for Proposals (RFP) document for additional information regarding the criteria of merit.

I am applying as the Principal Investigator with a collaborator(s). Do I include the CV(s) of my collaborator(s)?

Answer: No. Your proposal includes the submission of a 3-page curriculum vita of the Principal Investigator. Biographical sketches (limited to 1-page each) of the Principal Investigator and Co-Investigators should also be included.

I applied as a team. Will all members of my team be invited to attend the Awards Ceremony? Will all members of my team be reimbursed for travel and hotel accommodations?

Answer: Team members are welcome to attend; however, airfare, hotel, and some meals will be funded for only one (1) Investigator.

I am a person with a disability who will need specific accommodations when attending the Awards Ceremony. Who do I contact?

Answer: If you are an individual with a disability and require a reasonable accommodation, please contact Julia Brazas at +1 773 702 1683 (000 1 773 702 1683 for international callers), or by email to, as soon as possible.

Are there any restrictions to the applicant's academic status for the research grants?

Answer: Formally, there is none. However, we expect all applications to be about science research, and be well-informed of frontline issues.

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I am not affiliated with a university or institution. How does this affect my eligibility and my award disbursement if chosen as one of the grantees?

Answer: You are still eligible for this grant competition even if you are not affiliated with a university or institution. However, if your proposal involves the use of human or animal subjects, you must be affiliated with an organization that can provide IRB and IACUC approvals. If you are selected as one of the grant winners who are not affiliated with a university or institution, and are not using human or animal subjects in your research, you will be consulted by our Project Administration on an individual basis regarding your award disbursement.

Are civil servants eligible to apply for a research grant?

Answer: Yes. Please check with your home agency regarding any requirements they may have.

Can I serve as the Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator on multiple proposals?

Answer: Yes; however this will be taken into consideration by reviewers as part of the overall effort required to participate on multiple projects simultaneously.

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Use of Grants

Can an award from this program be used to support on-going research that is also supported by other funds? Can this award be used as a basis for seeking other funds?

Answer: Yes. If you plan on doing this, be sure to list the other awards you are using and how this award would allow you to expand or improve your current research. However, keep in mind that this program intends to support non-mainstream research that would not otherwise be funded through conventional means. If you have received funding from other sources for a proposed research project, you must use this award to support something new and innovative within your existing research. Also, you can apply for other grants and assistance to go along with the New Frontiers award, should you receive it. However, we need to know about your plans at the time of submission of your proposal, and will request notification of successful funding requests. Our intent is to strongly encourage co-funding and/or follow on funding of the research, provided that the funding is used for budget items not already funded by a New Frontiers award. In fact, we are committed to doing whatever we can to help you with this process both scientifically and administratively.

What types of research will NOT likely be funded by the program?

Answer: Refer to page 5 of the Request for Proposals (RFP) document for a description of the types of research that would not likely be funded by the program.

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Am I allowed to include money for course buyout as well as summer salary in my proposed budget? Am I allowed to include travel expenses related to other conferences and meetings that are related to my research? Is there a cap on the salary that a Principal Investigator may claim as part of the direct costs of a proposed research budget?

Answer: Summer salary and course buyout are allowable items to include in your proposed budget, as well as trips to other meetings and conferences directly related to your funded research for the New Frontiers Project. In addition, there is no cap on the number of months of salary that a Principal Investigator may claim as part of the direct costs of a proposed research budget. However, you should be very prudent with regard to the degree to which your proposed research program can be justified if a substantial portion of the requested grant funds goes toward the direct salary support of the Principal Investigator.

Also, your particular institution may have their own restrictions or limits on how much time faculty are allowed for course buyout, or release time. For example, a particular institution may require that there is a maximum allowance of two course releases per year to ensure program quality and continuity.

Your institution should have a Sponsored Research Office (SRO), University Research Administration, or equivalent administrative office that assists faculty with developing budgets for the purposes of research. They would be able to provide you with information regarding institution-specific laws, regulations, or common practices that apply to budget development for research grants.

How do you define “indirect costs”? What line items can be applied to indirect costs, and what line items cannot?

Answer: Indirect costs are any costs that are not directly allocable to the supported activity and usually apply to administrative expenses incurred by the affiliated institution’s research administration. The maximum amount that can be requested is 15% of the indirect cost base or Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC) which is equal to the total direct costs minus subawards (line item C.) and equipment (line item D.).

Tight budgeting is encouraged in order to maximize the impact of the project as a whole, with emphasis on scientific return per dollar rather than per proposal. Remember that 15% of the Total Modified Direct Costs is the maximum percentage that can be applied to the Indirect Costs. Here are a few examples:

a. If the total direct costs equal $200,000 and the budget does not include subawards or equipment, then the indirect cost base and the total direct costs are the same.  The project may request up to $30,000 in total indirect costs (200000*0.15).

b. If the total direct costs equal $200,000, and there is $45,000 in direct costs for a sub-contract and some equipment, then the indirect cost base will be $155,000 (200000-45000).  The project may request up to $23,250 in total indirect costs (155000*.015).

Will an award from this program provide additional monies for indirect costs?

Answer: No. The upper limit for indirect costs is set at 15% of the total modified direct costs for the project. Any needed indirect costs that exceed the 15% upper limit will need to be funded by other outside sources.

How will the grant funds be disbursed?

Answer: Grant funds will be issued through subaward agreements. Depending on the specific budgetary needs of the projects that we will fund, we may raise or lower the award granted to each Principal Investigator. Care should be taken when constructing the project budget submitted with the full proposal since it is one of the factors that we will take into account when selecting the grantees. Also know that all awards will be cost-reimbursable, which means that an invoice is required to receive reimbursement for each amount of expense.

Usually, your financial contact named on your Cover Sheet will assemble each invoice on a standard form produced by your affiliated institution. These invoices are sent to The University of Chicago where they will be processed for payment. This means that The University of Chicago reimburses the affiliate institution; the PI, who is affiliated with an institution, does not receive funds directly.

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International Applicants

I reside and conduct my research in a foreign country. How does this affect my award disbursement if chosen as one of the grantees?

Answer: If you are selected as one of the award winners and are a foreign resident, affiliated or not affiliated with a university or institution, you will be consulted by our Project Administration on an individual basis. For all award winners who are affiliated with foreign institutions, we would require (at the award stage) the most recent audited financial statements for that institution.

I reside and conduct research in a foreign country and plan to utilize human or animal subjects in my proposed research project. If my project is chosen as a candidate for funding, what are the requirements for my application?

Answer: In the United States, evidence of Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval (or submission for approval) for research involving human subjects, and evidence of Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) approval (or submission for approval) for research involving animal subjects are required. In countries foreign to the United States, a review board (ethics review committee) or equivalent in that country has to review and provide appropriate approvals for the use of humans and animals as research subjects.

International activities must have academic merit; they may not violate pertinent laws or professional principles of conduct; and only competent and qualified individuals may participate. The research must be in compliance with all requirements regarding use of such subjects in their own country. Proof of such compliance is mandatory before awards can be made, and would require at the very least, certification from the appropriate institution. In some circumstances, certification may be required from higher authorities such as the appropriate national board confirming that all requirements have been met. It is up to the grantee to ensure that the appropriate certifications are in place before any grants can be awarded.

I am not a resident of the United States. If I am chosen as one of the grant winners, would I have to establish residency within the United States for any extended period of time?

Answer: No. You can conduct your research in the country in which you reside. Note: Award winners will be honored at an international gathering, scheduled for October 12-13, 2012, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. If you are selected as an award winner, you will be invited to this Awards Ceremony. Additionally, one short visit to the United States (Chicago, Illinois) in June 2014 is required. This meeting will require awards winners to present the progress on their individual projects.

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ScholarOne - Electronic Submission

I electronically submitted my proposal through Scholar One and later realized that my application was incomplete or contained errors. What do I need to do to correct this?

Answer: As long as the correction is made before the deadline (June 1, 2012, 22:00 UTC), you may un-submit your submission and repeat the same application process to submit a revised version of your full proposal. If you need to do this, be sure to do the following: (1) Send us an e-mail to to request that we un-submit your initial application; and (2) Once you have received an e-mail notification that your application has been formally un-submitted, you may repeat the same application process to submit a revised version of your proposal. Also, remember to re-submit all content, including the portions that did not need revisions. This way, the new version will arrive to us in one complete package of finalized materials.

I am having trouble with the ScholarOne Manuscript Central site. Where do I go for help?

Answer: If you are having trouble with the ScholarOne system, please contact, or call ScholarOne Support (Monday 12:00am EST – Friday 830pm EST): +1 434 964 4100 or +1 888 503 1050 (U.S.).

I do not use Microsoft Word. May I upload my proposal documents in Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF)?

Answer: Yes. There are five (5) required documents that you must upload in the following order:
1. Executive Summary (Word or PDF);
2. Cover Sheet (inked signatures; scanned and saved as PDF only);
3. Body of Proposal (Word or PDF);
4. Budget Summary (Excel or PDF); and
5. Project Timeline (Excel or PDF).

Conference of  Award Winners October 12–13, 2012

Fifth Floor Conference Center
222 North 20th Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


UChicago News

Scientists, students receive awards for exploring big questions about universe

By Steve Koppes
October 4, 2012

Instructions & Forms

Request for Proposal

Pre-Application Instructions

Research Grant Application Procedures

Cover Sheet

Budget Summary Template

Project Timeline Template