Home » Annual Faculty Award: Eligibility and Application Process

Annual Faculty Award: Eligibility and Application Process

The Annual Faculty Awards support innovative research in the arts, design, and humanities. For the 2020-21 academic year, a maximum of 120 awards, each up to $5,000, will be given.

For the current award cycle, we encourage proposals that center, imagine, and re-imagine racial justice and social justice within the arts, humanities, and design.

Applications open Monday, October 5th  – close Tuesday, January 19th at 11:59 p.m.


Applicants for the Imagine Fund $5,000 faculty award must be tenured or tenure-track faculty in the University of Minnesota (system-wide). Applications also will be accepted from arts, humanities, and design faculty holding full-time (100%) salaried continuous or fixed-term appointments who are annually evaluated like tenured and tenure-track faculty (i.e., with substantially similar expectations for research accomplishments, independence, and ability to secure external funding).

Note that eligibility does not include: visiting faculty, students pursuing a Ph.D., non-salaried faculty appointment type W (yearly Medical School, usually without salary) or employees with T appointments (temporary) or A appointments (adjunct from outside the University).

Attention will be paid to ensure that a representative proportion of tenure-track faculty applicants receive these awards. Only one application per faculty member is permitted.

Imagine Fund Annual Faculty Award Use

  • Proposed use for awarded funds must relate to the areas of the arts, humanities, or design..
  • The award may be used for research needs, teaching materials, books, materials for creative works, travel, or equipment (subject to limitations).
  • The award may not be used to purchase computers, nor may it be used to buy equipment available for loan from the University.
  • The award may not be used to supplement salary, nor may it be used for course buyouts.
  • Award funding will be released in July 2021 for use thereafter; funds must be spent within a three-year period.
  • Awards may be used to supplement or leverage external funding.
  • Awards do not need to be, but certainly may be, used for new projects.

The Application Process

Complete the online application form. In addition to basic applicant information, the application form requires responses to the questions outlined below. For detailed information including tips on creating a strong proposal, how to create a user account (necessary for creating a proposal), and other helpful hints, visit our Applying for Annual Faculty Awards page.

Proposal questions

  • Notable recent accomplishments
    Without including your name, list your five most recent scholarly or creative accomplishments. List actual (not pending) accomplishments. Remove your name from all citations. If this project reflects a significant change in the direction of your research relative to these accomplishments, please describe the change. Limited to 250 words.
  • Proposal goals and context
    A summary of your proposal's goals and context for a lay audience. Limited to 250 words.
  • Keywords
    Up to five keywords applicable to the proposal.
  • Details on how any previously awarded Imagine Fund awards have been used
    Limited to 250 words. Special note for previous recipients: After submitting your application, you will automatically be asked to upload documentation or links representing the work supported by the most recent award. This may be in the form that best represents the nature of your work: documents, images, links to video or audio, public announcements, reviews, etc. (This documentation is required by the Imagine Fund. It will not be reviewed by the committee as part of your application for this award cycle).
  • Proposed budget
    Budgets must list all funds (external and internal) available and all expenses. Include justification or rationale for any budget items where need is not self-evident. If including travel in your budget, be specific and use the University per-diem rate. Limited to 500 words.
  • Details on any additional sources of funding that have been committed, such as grants-in-aid, start-up funds, faculty development or research funds, etc.
    Limited to 250 words.
  • Project time frame
    Is this a project that anticipates additional funding in future years? A proposal should include plans to use the current funds and further the project without relying on subsequent awards from the Imagine Fund. Limited to 250 words.

Note: If applicants have more than $5,000 in research funds available to them to cover these expenses, the Imagine Fund will give their applications a lower priority. Support for work to be supported by the annual $5,000 awards must not be similarly supported by University of Minnesota (not including Imagine Fund grants) or external funds.

How Proposals will be Evaluated

A committee of arts, humanities, and design faculty will review the applications and make recommendations to the provost. The committee will rate proposals based on the following weighted criteria:

  • Merit and impact (50 percent of overall rating): Will the proposed use of funds make a positive contribution to the field? Will awarding funds for this proposal be money well spent?
  • Appropriateness for requested budget (25 percent of overall rating): How well does the proposed use of funds fit within the proposed budget? Is the budget adequate to address the stated goals of the proposal? Does the proposal describe how the budgeted funds will be used?
  • Feasibility of proposal (25 percent of overall rating): Does the proposal make a clear, articulate case for the proposed use of funds?

Projects that use primarily social science research methodologies, or will be published in social sciences journals, may face more scrutiny given that the Imagine Fund’s mission is to support scholarship in the arts, humanities, and design.

Applications will be reviewed without name or affiliation. They will be also sorted by staff in advance to ensure that no faculty committee member reviews an application from their home department—and in the case of the system campuses, that no one reviews applications from their home campus. Each application will be reviewed by two faculty committee members; in the case of a significant variation in evaluation such applications will be reviewed by a third faculty committee member. The Imagine Fund Advisory Committee will make final review and recommendations to the provost. Due to the volume of applications, we regret that we are not able to provide feedback on individual applications; please see our Example Proposals page for exemplary proposals.

Key Dates

Updated information about the Imagine Fund Grant program for the 2021-22 academic year will be posted in October 2021.
Please check the website for information in the coming months.