Sustainable Development Goal Research Grants Program

Applications are no longer being accepted. Grants are expected to be announced in June.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) offer a globally recognized and holistic framework promoting peace and prosperity for people and the planet. Working with our communities, our state and international partners  to meet these shared goals is an urgent priority. 

The Global Programs and Strategy Alliance (GPS Alliance) is pleased to announce, as part of its system-wide initiative focused on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a new research grant competition. Grants will support current faculty, academic staff, and researchers to use the SDGs as a framework for research to help address the many challenges that are arising locally and globally. Research proposals should align with the SDGs, and priority will be given to projects that connect local and global issues.

2021 SDG Research Grants

In Spring 2021 we launched a second round of research grants as a next step in the SDG Initiative. This SDG Research Grants Program will award grants of up to $20,000 to faculty and research staff to support SDG-aligned projects.

The application deadline for the SDG Research Grants deadline has passed.  We anticipate announcing the grant recipients in June. 

Contact [email protected] with questions.

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Current faculty, academic and research staff from academic units throughout the University of Minnesota system are eligible. Grant proposals should clearly demonstrate how the project will both advance known needs locally and globally, and also how it will contribute to at least one SDG including, if possible, linking to specific SDG targets and indicators. 

Awardees need to follow all the COVID-19 guidelines and safety protocols in place at the University of Minnesota throughout project implementation.  This includes but is not limited to complying with any restrictions on travel, on-campus or community work, and following any stay at home orders, personal protective equipment requirements, social distancing, and training procedures to assure personal safety.

    Selection Criteria

    Proposals will be evaluated by an interdisciplinary committee on the basis of the following criteria:

    • SDG focus of the project or research plan
      • Provide an explanation of which SDG(s) the project addresses and how the work contributes to the advancement of SDG scholarship and local or global needs related to these SDGs.
    • Intellectual merit, cohesiveness, and feasibility of the project proposal or research plan and the clarity with which it is conveyed to a non-specialist
    • Interdisciplinary nature of the proposed project or research plan
      • As the SDGs offer an integrative framework, proposals that demonstrate interdisciplinarity in methods and/or conceptual frameworks will be prioritized for funding.
    • Where appropriate, evidence of external partnerships
      • External partnerships are not required; however, if such partnerships are integral to the project please provide evidence of partner engagement with the project.
    • Soundness of the budget request

    Application Process

    The application deadline for the SDG Research Grants deadline has passed.  We anticipate announcing the grant recipients in June. 

    Application Form

    Apply using the online application form

    Project Proposal

    The project proposal section of the application form describes the research and scholarly focus of the project and includes:

    • Project abstract (150 words max)
    • Objectives and expected outcomes of the project (500 words max)
    • Justification and link to SDG and known local and/or global need (500 words max)
      • Outline of proposed activities clearly demonstrating the intellectual merit, interdisciplinary nature, and connection to the SDGs
      • Likely impact of the project on SDG related needs (local and/or global)
    • Interdisciplinary scope of project (500 words max)
    • External partnerships (where applicable - 500 words max)
    • Methods (500 words max)
    • Future funding strategy (250 words max)
    • Acknowledgement that you will apply or have applied for the University’s Institutional Research Board (IRB) approval for proposed activities (if required) and any travel registration or exception processes have been followed

    Supplemental Documents

    The components listed below must be submitted via the application form as well.

    • Budget Proposal: Complete the budget proposal form. Please include the full budget for your project, even if it exceeds the maximum amount of funds that can be awarded.
    • Biosketch: A PI biosketch of no more than 2 pages must be submitted via the application form. Projects may include multiple co-PIs, but a single PI must be identified to receive the grant funds. 
    • External Partner Letters of Support: Letters of support from external research partners including universities, community organizations, private sector, or government partners may be included. If the project requires partner support or participation, please include relevant letters of support. Please include a letter (no longer than one page) for each major partner.

    Grant Requirements

    Release of funds is contingent upon appropriate Institutional Research Board and travel approval (if required) and necessary approval(s) from community partners. Funded work must comply with all University of Minnesota and state of Minnesota policies related to COVID-19 as well as other University of Minnesota research, community engagement, and travel policies. Grant recipients must submit a report consisting of a description of funded scholarly and/or creative activities, how the funded activities advanced progress toward one or more SDGs, and a brief account of how the grant funds were spent, along with a list of other support received. The report should be 2 to 4 pages, double-spaced. Reports should be submitted within two months of the end of the funded activity. We also request photos taken during the activities be submitted as JPEG files along with the report.

    Past Grants

    The SDG Initiative recently concluded a first round of SDG Rapid Response grants to support SDG-linked work of UMN faculty, research staff, and graduate students. Grants were awarded to support projects involving time-sensitive data collection related to the COVID-19 global pandemic or the global movement to eradicate racism; pilot projects seeking to launch new SDG research; and projects redirecting research agendas to COVID-19 or to Minnesota-based SDG work. The response to the call for proposals came from across the Twin Cities and system campuses with 15 grants up to $5,000 awarded.

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