Request For Proposals


Due Monday, February 28th, 2022

Memorandum of Understanding

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

4-VA at JMU Collaborative Research Grant Program

Background Information

4-VA is a collaborative partnership between eight Virginia universities that is powered by 4 initiatives. Our mission 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 unprecedented partnerships between faculty and departments to generate significant, innovative solutions to educational and real-world problems.

4-VA is made up 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 while achieving the following 4 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 grants are aimed at fulfilling the 4-VA collaborative research initiative.

Collaborative Research Initiative – Grant Proposal Information

Aims of 4-VA Collaborative Research Grants

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

Potential outcomes include the following:

  • Original research
  • New partnerships
  • Events/conferences that bring together researchers on common subjects
  • Future funding and competitive research
Funding Information

4-VA at JMU awards mini-grants which range from $1,000-$5,000, or scale-up grants which may go up to $20,000. In order to be considered for a scale-up grant, faculty must have either previously received a mini-grant from 4-VA or shown evidence of their capacity to take existing research to the next level with intentions of pursuing significant external funding at the completion of the scale-up grant.

Complementary Funds

Complementary funds (up to $5,000) can be requested from other 4-VA institutions participating on a grant. If you have questions about complementary funds, please contact the 4-VA assistant director, Karris Atkins, at or (540) 568-7170. You can request complementary funding by designating the institution and amount on the submission form. Please make sure your proposal budget has two different tracks, one that shows the original funding request and one that shows how you would use the complementary funding.

  • Complementary funds are not guaranteed, so grants must not be dependent on them to be approved.
  • Complementary funds are awarded after the original grant has been approved. The 4-VA assistant director will communicate with you after your original grant is awarded to explain the approval process.
  • Complementary funds can only be used for expenses at the requesting 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 funds. Not all 4-VA schools are able to provide complementary funds each cycle. For questions about which schools are participating at this time, please reach out to Karris Atkins at
Funding Priorities

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

  • Creating and/or strengthening partnerships across the commonwealth
  • Incorporating undergraduate and graduate student researchers into the project
  • Projects that show a strong plan for future funding from other resources
Screening Criteria
  1. Grants are open to JMU faculty. Faculty may name staff as Co-PIs.
  2. The applicant must obtain departmental chair support.
  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 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
  4. Innovation in research
  5. Sustainability
  6. Alignment with institutional goals
Proposal Format

Proposals should not exceed 5 pages and should be double-spaced, 12-point, Arial font, PDF file (saved, 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 grant 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
  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 will require approval from the appropriate academic unit head. 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.
  • Grants requesting funding in the Spring 2022 cycle are due by Due Monday, February 28th, 2022.
  • Submit your PDF file here:
  • Only grants submitted through the procedure listed above will be considered for funding.
  • Submit questions to 4-VA Assistant Director Karris Atkins at


Due Monday, February 28th, 2022

  1. Grantees are required to complete a 4-VA follow-up survey at least once every year, for up to five years after the grant is awarded. 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 executive director or 4-VA assistant director 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 executive director in advance.
Legal and Ethical Considerations

Federal, state, and university policies, procedures and rules apply to all awarded grants. 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 the Office of Technology Transfer, Mary Lou Bourne (, MSC 4904.

A number of ethical practice review protocols are required for some research activities. If you have questions about the requirements that may apply to your project, contact JMU’s IRB Compliance Officer, Carolyn Strong at or 8-6872.