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Apply for Support for Affiliated Research Teams (StART)

The Science Alliance was formed to build and enhance relationships between University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UT) faculty and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) scientists and engineers. Based on our strong history of connecting UTK and ORNL researchers, we are implementing the new Support for Affiliated Research Teams (StART) program to continue the spirit of collaboration. This program will have a single call, with semiannual deadlines. Typical awards will be $75k, and the number of awards will be dependent on the quality of proposals submitted as well as available funds. Projects will be funded for one year, with a chance for second year funding if the project shows strong promise of receiving new external funding as a result of the collaborative activities and is deemed meritorious in the second year’s proposal evaluation process.

The Science Alliance is now accepting proposals for the FY19 Support for Affiliated Research Teams (StART) program.

The first deadline for FY 20 proposals is 5 p.m. on June 24th, 2019, with funding anticipated to begin on August 1st, 2019. The second deadline for FY 20 proposals will be 5 p.m. on November 1st, 2019, with funding anticipated to begin on February 1st, 2020.

Eligibility: The StART program is being established to foster collaboration between UT and ORNL researchers. Therefore, each research team must include a principal investigator from UT and a confirmed collaboration with an ORNL scientist. All UT faculty members are eligible to apply, including faculty who have had previous ORNL collaborations and/or have existing joint appointments. Preference will be given to junior faculty who do not have a joint appointment and/or are establishing a new collaboration with ORNL scientists. UTIA and UTSI faculty are not eligible for StART funding.

Expectations of Awardees: A primary focus of the StART program is to generate new funding for collaborative teams of scientists and engineers. Therefore, each funded StART team will be expected to have either submitted a new external proposal by the end of the first year or to provide the Science Alliance with a proposal draft that will be submitted within three months of the end of the performance period for the award. Second year funding will only be available to teams that provide the above-mentioned proposal to the Science Alliance team. These proposals will count as the proposal submission for year two internal funding as well.

Review Process and Criteria: A review committee appointed by the Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement will review the proposals and make recommendations for funding. Proposals will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Technical merit of the proposed research
  • Potential for the establishment of a meaningful and sustainable collaboration with ORNL, including joint publications, student mentoring, team development, etc.
  • Likelihood for future external funding and target funding call/notice
  • Inclusion of graduate and undergraduate students in the research



Apply online at A complete year one application will include the following:

  1. Research Proposal (3 page max, not including references)
  2. Project Summary written for a general audience (150 word max);
  3. Description of the proposed research;
  4. Description of specific funding opportunities that will be targeted for future support inclusive of funding agency, program manager/officer and prior interactions with funder;
  5. Description of all of your prior affiliations, collaborations, and publications with ORNL, and how this project represents a new interaction in a new scientific/engineering area;
  6. Description of expected extended collaborations with your ORNL colleagues, for example, joint faculty opportunities, student mentoring, team development, publications, etc.
  7. Appendices
  • Appendix A: One page quad chart (template available via InfoReady)
  • Appendix B: A budget* (template available via InfoReady)
  • Appendix C: A letter from the ORNL PI supporting the partnership.
  • Appendix D: A one-page bio for each PI that includes most recent grants, professional awards, and recent relevant publications of both the UT and ORNL investigators


*Allowable costs include graduate and/or undergraduate student support, postdoc support, supplies, and other incidentals needed to support the research.  Academic year salary and/or summer salary (applicable to all colleges) is allowable up to a maximum of $5,000 per year, inclusive of benefits.  For all personnel, appropriate benefits must be included. StART funds cannot be used to pay for accrued benefits earned by individuals prior to their participation in the StART program.  Requests for equipment are discouraged and are unlikely to be awarded. No funds may be used for travel except where travel is necessary to meet with ORNL collaborators or external funding agencies and/or program officers.  No F&A should be charged to the project.  Note that, if the project is selected for funding, the funds must be used as requested in your project budget unless prior approval is granted, and unused funds will be reclaimed at the end of the project year.


Please contact Betty Carmon at if you have any questions about the application procedure.


To streamline internal funding and competition management, the Office of Research and Engagement has recently acquired a new internal software called InfoReady. InfoReady will replace all of the emails, spreadsheets, and shared folders currently used for internal competitions with a more efficient system. Applications, reviews, and award notifications for internal funding and limited submission competitions will be managed through the software. Visit to apply.