LIFT Solicitation for Proposals

Overview

The Research and Educational Technology Committee (R&E) of the IT governance structure at The University of Texas at Austin is seeking proposals for innovative technology projects that support students and faculty. R&E is responsible for allocating $500,000, through the Longhorn Innovation Fund for Technology (LIFT), for use towards innovative information technology projects in fiscal year 2016-2017.

LIFT is intended as one-time seed money for innovative technology projects that leverage information technology in order to improve quality of instruction, create a differentiator for attracting higher caliber students to the University, or result in a competitive advantage to the University in attracting sponsored research. While LIFT may be awarded to research projects, the research must be applied with near-term practical use and benefit to the University. Preference will be given to projects with broad impact across and beyond the University. The project funded by LIFT can target a specific audience, but if it does, there should be a plan for increasing audience size and broadening impact of the University. LIFT is partnering with the NSF I Corps program to provide applicants and winners with training on how to reach and expand the audience for the grant product, commercialize any technology developed, and provide the legacy status necessary for applying for major governmental grant funding.

LIFT focuses primarily on projects that promote innovation with information technology. These innovations focus on developing a software or information technology tool to address a given need or audience. Examples of innovative information technology projects include games that promote learning, an app that allows access to and manipulation of Big Data sets, interactive speech therapy tools, an interactive online text book, innovations in robotics and 3-D printing, innovations in environmental scanning and monitoring, and iBeacons for interactive event participation. 

LIFT projects may also involve innovative data access and use, which includes innovative data access methods, innovative data use, and innovative technology use that promotes data access, use, and analysis. Grant applications that promote understanding of innovative data access and use might include the exploration of obstacles to and innovative practices for data access, data use in better or innovative decision making processes, identification of technologies and practices that support access to data for better decision making, understanding how data supports innovation, understanding how large scale data analytics can be used to promote better educational, health, or societal outcomes, or understanding the limits of innovation in data use in technology personalization.

LIFT is not a substitute for normal infrastructure funding. Facility or infrastructure upgrades will not be funded through this program.

Preference for LIFT funding will be given to proposals that address significant campus needs or extend the reach of campus teaching and research in innovative ways. R&E will also look at the likelihood of success and adoption in evaluating proposals and determine the breadth of impact to the University. Refer to the LIFT Criteria section for a complete list of criteria. Each member of R&E will judge each submission on three main criteria, Significance, Likelihood of Success, and Impact/Value. If there is a potential conflict of interest between R&E members and proposals, members will recuse themselves from the review and discussion of the specific proposal. Each year approximately eight percent of grants are chosen for funding. 

Proposals should adhere to the LIFT Proposal Template. Requests should be in the range of $75,000 – $125,000. Any UT faculty or staff member is eligible to submit a project proposal. LIFT awards can be used for salaries, faculty time, student time, staff time, and participant support. LIFT awards can also be used for domestic travel and equipment. LIFT awards are considered internal funding and do not carry indirect costs. Proposed projects should be 12 months in duration.

Timeline

  • January 2016 -- LIFT Solicitation Opens

  • March 4, 2016 – Past Winner Poster Session and Solicitation Q&A 

  • April 15, 2016 – Deadline for proposal submission

  • May 2016 -- Special extended meeting for selection

  • End of June/First Week of July 2016 – Notification of awards
  • Beginning of fall 2016 semester – Project Start

Proposals

Proposals should be written using the LIFT Proposal Template can be submitted on-line via EasyChair in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format. Supplemental documentation (letters of support, etc) may be submitted in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format. If you have any questions or comments, please contact Angela Newell or Christy Tran.

Proposal Renewals

While LIFT is not intended to provide ongoing funding for any project after the initial award period, the committee recognizes that some projects merit renewal. Projects previously funded through LIFT may apply for additional funding on a one-time-only basis. Those who choose to reapply should be aware that any renewal will be judged against new proposals and no more than half of the total funding dollars will be allocated to proposal renewals.

Those seeking to renew funding through LIFT are required to complete supplemental proposal materials including metrics from the original proposal, documented efforts to receive external funding, and a fully considered Sustainability Plan. Requests for renewals of LIFT funding will be expected to achieve substantive new deliverables.

LIFT Criteria

The Research and Educational Technology Committee will use the following criteria to evaluate and judge each submission for the Longhorn Innovation Fund for Technology.

Significance

  • Significance of need addressed
  • How innovative
  • Quality of implementation plan
  • Quality of evaluation plan

Likelihood of Success

  • Likelihood of execution
  • Readiness for adoption
  • Extensibility of plan
  • Sustainability of plan
  • Reasonableness of cost

Impact/Value

  • Short-term impact
  • Long-term impact
  • Breadth/depth of impact
  • Competitive advantage to UT