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Office of the Provost


Excellence Initiative Call for Proposals

The Excellence Initiative promotes transformative teaching, research, creative activity, and community engagement, pursuant to the core mission of the University of South Carolina and its strategic goals.

The Excellence Initiative Committee is pleased to announce the 2018 call for proposals. Given the long-term goals of the Excellence Initiative, eligibility is restricted to faculty with a professional title (any rank) in "permanent" (FTE) positions are eligible; grant-funded (RGP) faculty are not eligible, since we cannot verify their continued appointment to support an approved Excellence project.  The review of proposals will proceed through 2 phases.  During Phase 1, all eligible faculty members will be allowed to submit a proposal.  The principal investigators of proposals deemed to be most meritorious will be invited to submit more detailed proposals for evaluation in Phase 2.

The number of awards given will be contingent upon the availability of funds.


Phase One Proposals Due Feb. 1, 2018

Phase 1 proposals will be a maximum of 2 pages, single spaced, with 1” margins, in Arial, Garamond, or Times New Roman, 12-point font. Each proposal must address the following elements:

  • impact
    Will the proposal facilitate a sustained, high-caliber transformation of the university?
  • feasibility
    Does the proposal provide a plausible and/or realistic plan?
  • innovation
    Does the proposal challenge and seek to shift current paradigms?

In addition to the 2-page proposal, each submission must include:

  • an estimated budget,
  • a 2-page biographical sketch of all investigators, and
  • current and pending support (if any)
    • internal and/or external support relative to this project
    • potential future sources of support/sustainability (for proposals seeking recurring funds)
    • other current funding of investigator(s)

Proposal Submission and Review

Investigators will submit their proposals, as a single PDF, directly to the Excellence Initiative Committee, using the USCeRA system. When submitting, investigators should choose “yes” for Internal Grant Proposal and then select “Excellence Initiative” as the internal grant type in the dropdown menu.

Deans will be notified of proposal submissions via the USCeRA system.  However, they will not be asked to evaluate any proposals during Phase 1.

The Committee will review all Phase 1 proposals to determine which proposals merit further consideration. Principal investigators of the most meritorious proposals will be invited to submit a more detailed proposal (Phase 2).


Phase 2

Phase 2 proposals will be a maximum of 10 pages, single spaced, with 1” margins, in Arial, Garamond, or Times New Roman, 12-point font. Each proposal must address the following elements:

  • impact
    Will the proposal facilitate a sustained, high-caliber transformation of the university?
  • feasibility
    Does the proposal provide a plausible and/or realistic plan?
  • innovation
    Does the proposal challenge and seek to shift current paradigms

In addition to the 10-page proposal, each submission must include:

  • an estimated budget,
  • a 2-page biographical sketch of all investigators,
  • formative/summative metrics, such as benchmarks and milestones for the proposed work,
  • current and pending support (if any)
    • internal and/or external support relative to this project
    • potential future sources of support/sustainability (for proposals seeking recurring funds)
    • other current funding of investigator(s)

Phase 2 Proposal Submission and Review

Investigators will submit their proposals, as a single PDF, directly to the Excellence Initiative Committee, using the USCeRA system. When submitting, investigators should choose “yes” for Internal Grant Proposal and then select “Excellence Initiative” as the internal grant type in the dropdown menu.

Deans will be asked to submit letters of evaluation for each proposal submission (to be included in the single PDF that is uploaded in the USCeRA system).

Using a 10-point rating scale (1=Poor to 10=Exceptional), the Committee will provide a score that takes into account the three review criteria (impact, feasibility, and innovation). The Committee will make recommendations to the President and the Provost, who will make the final determination of awards.