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 Royalty Research Fund 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%.

Purpose

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.

Eligibility

  • Faculty and professional staff with PI status (as determined by their dean) are eligible to apply.
  • Eligible faculty ranks include (but are not limited to): Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, Research Professor, Research Associate Professor, and Research Assistant Professor. A co-PI must also hold one of the eligible ranks.
  • All applicants must hold an eligible rank at the time of submission and the appointment must be active in Workday.
  • 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. Seattle Children’s or Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center), all of his/her 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.

Those with acting, affiliate, visiting, postdoctoral, or temporary (including limited duration) appointments are ineligible for the RRF program.

Guidelines

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 webpage, Matching Fund Requests 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). Proposal can be submitted a maximum of three times.

Deadlines & How to Apply

Fall Round

  • Applications are available approximately mid-June
  • Submissions are due 5:00 pm the last Monday in September
  • Awards will be announced by January 15th

Spring Round

  • Applications are available in mid-January
  • Submissions are due 5:00 pm the first Monday in March
  • Awards will be announced by June 15th

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 primary criterion is the merit of the proposal. Secondary criteria include suitability to the goals of the RRF and available opportunities and timeliness of the proposal for obtaining subsequent funding. 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 support a genuinely new direction in the applicant’s research and/or career development,  provide a unique opportunity to compete for subsequent one-time (or infrequently offered) funding, or 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 may understand it. Although technical field-specific information will be expected, the major features of the proposal should also be accessible to non-specialists.

Questions