UW Research

Royalty Research Fund (RRF)

The Royalty Research Fund (RRF) is a competitive awards program that provides research support to University of Washington faculty. The RRF is funded by royalty and licensing fee income generated by the University’s technology transfer program. The RRF has been offered twice a year since 1992. In 1994, the RRF Scholar Program was initiated to provide one quarter of release time for faculty with full teaching loads to engage in concentrated scholarly activities. The RRF welcomes proposals with budgets up to $40,000. Approximately $1M is awarded per round. The success rate for applicants averages 25%.


The purpose of the Royalty Research Fund (RRF) is to advance new directions in research, particularly:

  1. In disciplines for which external funding opportunities are minimal, and/or
  2. For faculty who are junior in rank, and/or
  3. In cases where funding may provide unique opportunities to increase applicants’ competitiveness for subsequent funding.

Proposals must demonstrate a high probability of generating important new creative activities or scholarly understandings, new scholarly materials or resources, significant data or information, or essential instrumentation resources that are likely to significantly advance the reputation of the university, lead to external funding, or lead to the development of a new technology.


  • Full-time or part-time faculty with regular or fixed-term appointments are eligible to apply as PI or Co-PI, as are professional staff. All applicants must have PI status as determined by their dean. Applicants must hold an eligible rank that is active in Workday at the time of submission.
  • Those with acting, temporary, or postdoctoral appointments are ineligible to apply as PI or Co-PI, but may be included in the budget for the project team. Affiliate or visiting faculty may not receive salary from an RRF grant, but can be involved on the project team.
  • If you have already received an RRF award, you may apply again two years after the previous RRF award was formally terminated and the final report received.
  • If a UW faculty member holds an eligible rank but is based at another institution (e.g. Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center), all of their extramural grants must be run through the UW in order to be eligible for an RRF award.
  • RRF Scholar applicants (those requesting one quarter of release time from teaching) must teach at least four regular and substantial courses per year. Independent study and dissertation supervision are not included.
  • RRF proposals must support faculty development; this fund does not support independent research projects undertaken by graduate students and/or post-doctorates.


A PI or Co-PI may submit one proposal per round. Our policy precludes PIs and Co-PIs from having multiple funded proposals within the same period. There are no restrictions on participating faculty or staff who are not PIs or Co-PIs.

The RRF may not be proposed as matching funds for another grant. (See the Office of Research Matching Funds Request page for information and to make a request.)

Applications can be made for external support of the same project, but an RRF award will not be given if an external award has been made. Support will not be provided merely to supplement or extend an ongoing funded research project.

The RRF is not intended to provide or supplement start-up funds for new faculty. RRF awards are based on the quality of the research being proposed and are not intended to serve as bridge funding when external sources of research support have been lost. The University program that supports faculty bridge funds is the Bridge Funding Program. Acceptance of an RRF award of $30,000 or more will make an individual ineligible for a Bridge Fund award. Applicants who apply to both programs simultaneously may receive one or the other award. If an individual holds a Bridge Fund award and subsequently accepts an RRF award of $30,000 or more, any remaining Bridge Fund monies must be returned.

A proposal that is not funded may be resubmitted twice (applicants are encouraged to take previous review comments into consideration). A proposal can be submitted a maximum of three times.

Deadlines & How to Apply

Spring Round

  • New this round: All sections (A-F) of the Description of Research are required and must be labeled and presented in order in proposals.
  • Submissions are due 5:00 pm on Monday, March 4, 2024.
  • Awards will be announced by June 15.

Fall Round

  • Website updates and email announcement will be made in early August
  • Submissions are due 5:00 pm the last Monday in September
  • Awards will be announced by January 15

Instructions for Preparing an RRF Proposal are available here. There are two RRF opportunities: the standard RRF Program, and the RRF Scholar Program which funds the investigator’s release time from teaching. Application materials are the same for both programs. To review funded proposals, please contact past awardees directly.

Proposal Review Process

Proposals are reviewed by a faculty committee that recommends funding priorities to the Office of Research. The committee members solicit reviews from other UW faculty peers who provide comments and evaluate proposals based on explicit written criteria:

  • The merit of the proposal.
  • Suitability of the proposal to further the goals of the RRF.
  • Available opportunities and timeliness of the proposal for obtaining subsequent funding.
  • Potential for the proposal to have broader impacts such as: activities that are aimed at increasing diversity and inclusion in the field; supporting and mentoring BIPOC students, post-docs, and/or early-career colleagues; or conducting research that benefits underrepresented or underserved communities.

In disciplines for which applicants may also be eligible to compete for federal funding (e.g., NIH, NSF), preference is given to junior faculty. Similarly, among proposals of comparable merit, preference is given to junior faculty. Proposals from senior faculty are funded only when they a) support a genuinely new direction in the applicant’s research and/or career development, b) provide a unique opportunity (competing for subsequent one-time or infrequently-offered funding, undertaking research that is inherently time-sensitive/time-limited), or c) originate in a discipline for which external funding opportunities are minimal. Because reviewers may not be specialists in the applicant’s subfield, applicants should craft proposals so that researchers from a wider audience will understand it. Although technical field-specific information is expected, the major features of the proposal should also be accessible to non-specialists.