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Apply for PACT

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. The (PACT) program is managed and funded through the Science Alliance. The Science Alliance is part of the UT-Oak Ridge Innovation Institute, a joint initiative between UT and ORNL focused on focused on expanding collaborative research and development and preparing the next-generation of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) talent.

We have implemented the new Program for Advancing Collaborative Teams (PACT) program to provide support for collaborative research endeavors aimed at securing large extramural funding, such as NSF Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers (MRSEC) or NIH RM1 grants. Calls for this program will be made approximately 15 months before the anticipated submission of an external proposal. Investigator identified opportunities will also be considered, if they are brought the attention of Science Alliance with sufficient lead time to issue a university wide call. Typical awards will be $100-200k, and 2-3 awards are expected to be made. Projects will have staged funding for one year as long as performance metrics are achieved. A chance for second year funding will also be available 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 application deadline for FY23 proposals is June 30, 2022 at 5pm.

This year two broad areas will be targeted:

  1. Biological Sciences with Overlap with ORNL emerging initiatives
  2. Quantum Computing, with a particular focus on Quantum Networking
  3. Investigator Initiated Joint Programs

Eligibility: The PACT program was established to foster collaboration between UT and ORNL staff to accomplish research that cannot be achieved by a single PI or small collaborative team and that leverages the strengths from both institutions. Therefore, each research team must include multiple principal investigators from UT and have strong support and involvement from ORNL staff. All UT faculty members are eligible to apply, including faculty who have had previous ORNL collaborations and/or have existing joint appointments.

Expectations of Awardees: A primary focus of the PACT program is to generate new significant funding for larger collaborative teams of scientists and engineers. Therefore, each funded PACT team will be expected to work with Science Alliance and the Office of Research and Engagement to submit a proposal by the end of the first year. Progress will be assessed as follows:

  1. Six Month Report: The PACT team will provide a two-page report providing preliminary results and outlining how the funding has positioned the team for funding success. Funding for months seven-nine will be released upon submission of the report. This document will be reviewed internally to determine whether the funding will proceed in months ten-twelve.
  2. Engagement with Proposal Development Team (Month Nine): If funding is continued for month ten-twelve, the PACT team will be expected to meet with the Proposal Development Team to prepare submission of an external proposal.
  3. Proposal Submission (End of Year One): Each PACT team is expected to successfully submit an extramural proposal at the end of Year one. Second year funding will only be available to teams that accomplish this goal.

Review Process and Criteria: A review committee appointed by the Director of Science Alliance will review the proposals and make recommendations for funding. Proposals will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Team Strength and Likelihood of Funding
  • Merit and Significance
  • Inclusion of graduate and undergraduate students in the research


A complete year one application will include the following:

Cover Page

  • UT PIs name, faculty status, department, college
  • ORNL collaborator(s) name, title
  • Project title

Research Proposal (6 page max with 12-point font, not including references)

  1. Project Summary written for a general audience (150 word max);
  2. Description of the proposed research;
  3. Description of prior interactions with funder or program manager/officer;
  4. 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;
  5. Description of expected extended collaborations with your ORNL colleagues, for example, joint faculty opportunities, student mentoring, team development, publications, etc.


  • Appendix A: One page quad-chart
  • Appendix B: A budget*
  • Appendix C: A letter from the ORNL PI(s) 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

A complete year two application will include the following:

Cover Page

  • UT PIs name, faculty status, department, college
  • ORNL PI(s) name, title
  • Project title

Research Proposal Prepared for External Funding Agency (format will vary based on target agency)


  • Appendix A: A budget*
  • Appendix B: An endorsement letter from the ORNL investigator stating the specific impact of the previous year’s partnership and their desire to continue on with the partnership.
  • Appendix C: 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 UT faculty 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. The PACT funds cannot be used to pay for accrued benefits earned by individuals prior to their participation in the PACT project. 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 Lisa Lee at if you have any questions about the application procedure.

Applications should be submitted via InfoReady.