Request For Proposals


Due Friday, September 30th, 2022

Memorandum of Understanding

The MOU includes the requirements and expectations associated with 4-VA collaborative research grants.

4-VA at JMU Collaborative Research Award Program

Background Information

4-VA is a collaborative partnership between eight Virginia universities that is powered by four initiatives. The mission of 4-VA is to promote collaborations that leverage the strengths of each partner university and improve efficiencies in higher education across the Commonwealth of Virginia.  We carry out this mission by advocating partnerships between faculty, departments, and colleges to generate significant, innovative solutions to educational and real-world problems.

4-VA is comprised of the following eight universities:

  • George Mason University
  • James Madison University
  • Old Dominion University
  • University of Virginia
  • Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Virginia Military Institute
  • Virginia Tech
  • William & Mary

The function of 4-VA is to put ideas into action—inviting innovative collaboration across disciplinary boundaries, among the Virginia system of universities, and between educational and business sectors to advance four initiatives:

  1. Collaborative Research
  2. Course Redesign
  3. Course Sharing
  4. Degree Completion

As a part of 4-VA, each university has developed unique programs to fulfill these initiatives based on their respective strengths and resources to achieve the following:

  • Increase the research competitiveness of partner universities for external funding
  • Increase opportunities and enhance the success rate of students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses and programs
  • Redesign courses to improve student outcomes and reduce instances of Ds, Fs, and withdrawals
  • Significantly expand access for all Virginians to programs, preparing them for rewarding careers

JMU-awarded collaborative research awards are aimed at fulfilling the 4-VA collaborative research initiative.

To strengthen Virginia’s competitive edge, 4-VA provides small-scale awards to pilot research teams collaborating across 4-VA universities. With access to funding, teams can build evidence to show that their projects will make valuable, impactful contributions to their fields and enhance the potential for external funding. The collaborative nature of these awards maximizes university resources at the 4-VA institutions and leverages faculty expertise all while increasing competitiveness and capacity.

Potential outcomes of awards include the following:

  • Original research
  • New research partnerships and collaborations
  • Events/conferences that convene researchers around common subjects and emerging opportunities
  • Extramural funding applications and advancement of competitive research


Funding Information

4-VA at JMU provides two types of collaborative research awards: research initiation awards and research scale-up awards. Research initiation awards, ranging from $1,000-$5,000, are intended to seed original research collaborations. The scale-up awards, of up to $20,000, are intended to build additional capacity for promising research collaborations. To be considered for a scale-up award, applicants must have previously received a 4-VA research initiation award or must provide compelling evidence of their capacity to take existing research to the next level with intentions of pursuing significant external funding upon project completion.

Complementary Funds

Complementary funds (up to $5,000) may be requested from other 4-VA institutions participating on an award. If you have questions about complementary funds, please contact the 4-VA campus coordinator, Dr. Keith Holland, at or (540) 568-2701. You may request complementary funding by designating the institution and requested amount on the award submission form. Please make sure your proposal budget has two different tracks. One track should describe the original funding request and the second track should describe how the requested complementary funding would be used by the 4-VA collaboration at their institution.

  • Complementary funds are not guaranteed, so proposed projects must not be dependent on them to be approved.
  • Complementary funds are awarded after the original award has been approved. The 4-VA campus coordinator will communicate with you after the original award is made to explain the approval process.
  • Complementary funds may only be used for expenses at the collaborator’s institution. For example, if you request complementary funds from Virginia Tech, those funds must pay for activities at Virginia Tech.
  • Complementary funds are contingent upon the participating school having available 4-VA funds. Not all 4-VA schools are able to provide complementary funds each award cycle. For questions about which schools are participating at this time, please contact the campus coordinator.
Funding Priorities

4-VA at JMU encourages projects to focus on the following funding priorities of the program:

  • Creating and/or strengthening research partnerships across the commonwealth
  • Incorporating undergraduate and graduate student researchers into the project
  • Developing capacity and a strong plan for securing future extramural funding
Screening Criteria
  1. Awards are open to JMU faculty. Faculty may name staff as Co-PIs.
  2. The applicant must obtain support from their unit head and dean for the proposed award activities. Following proposal submission, unit heads and deans will be contacted to verify support for the proposal.
  3. Projects must contain an aspect of collaboration. Collaboration outside of your home institution is strongly encouraged. Interinstitutional collaboration may be included, but the strongest proposals include an external partner. External partners may be from other 4-VA  member institutions, although this is not required. Other examples of acceptable institutions may include other state institutions (e.g., schools or government agencies) or other Virginia organizations (e.g., Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries), etc. Priority is given to collaborations that directly impact the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Evaluation Criteria
  1. Alignment of proposal to JMU 4-VA funding priorities and compliance with screening criteria
  2. Strength and evidence of collaboration with 4-VA institutions or other partners in the commonwealth
  3. Potential for strategic impact to the unit, college, university, or Commonwealth
  4. Innovation in research and execution plan
  5. Demonstrated potential for extramural funding beyond 4-VA
  6. Alignment with institutional goals
Proposal Format

Proposals should not exceed 5 pages and should be double-spaced, 12-point, Arial font, PDF file (not scanned) and include the following:

  1. Project Summary
    1. Title
    2. Principal Investigator (PI)
    3. Partners/Collaborators and their respective institutions
    4. Explanation of how this award helps to improve Virginia’s research competitiveness through collaboration (how this research meets the mission of 4-VA).
  2. Narrative
    1. Project activity summary
    2. Research questions
    3. Research plan (framework/methods/phases/specific approach)
    4. Assessment plan
    5. Outcomes and deliverables
    6. Description of how anticipated outcomes may lead to future work, extramural funding, and enhanced partnerships
  3. Timeline
  4. Budget – please round budget to the nearest hundred per item, and include anticipated date of expense for each line item (ex. $1,000 – undergraduate student stipend, spring 2022; $600 Fisher Scientific lab supplies, October 2021)
  5. Proposals that involve JMU departmental resources or release time require approval from the appropriate academic unit head. At the time of proposal submission, an email will be sent to your Dean and AUH requesting their acknowledgement of your submission.
Submission Deadlines
  • Two formal funding cycles occur each academic year—one in the fall and one in the spring.
  • Proposals requesting funding in the Fall 2022 cycle are due by Friday, September 30th, 2022.
  • Submit your PDF file here:
  • Only proposals submitted through the procedure listed above will be considered for funding.
  • Submit questions to 4-VA Campus Coordinator, Dr. Keith Holland, at


Due Friday, September 30th, 2022

  1. Awardees are required to complete a 4-VA follow-up survey at least once every year, for up to five years following the award. Additional assessment information will be provided upon award.
  2. Faculty are expected to acknowledge 4-VA support as a part of publications by using the official 4-VA logo on printed materials and by using language provided by 4-VA.
  3. Additional expectations regarding expenditure processes and policies will be provided upon award.
  4. Funds will be used according to the budget provided in the original proposal. The 4-VA campus coordinator must approve any changes or additions to the budget.  Should there be unused funds, those funds will return to 4-VA unless an updated or adapted proposal is submitted and approved by the 4-VA coordinator in advance.
Legal and Ethical Considerations

Federal, state, and university policies, procedures and rules apply to all awards. For further information regarding these rules, please contact Procurement, the Financial Procedures Manual, and Accounts Payable. If you believe your project will result in patentable work, you should discuss requirements and policies with Director of Technology Innovation and Economic Development, Mary Lou Bourne (, x8-2865).

A number of ethical practice review protocols are required for research involving human subjects, animal subjects, biohazardous materials, etc. If you have questions about the requirements that may apply to your project, contact Carolyn Strong  (, x8-6872), Director of the Office of Research Integrity.