• Research Development
Page content relevant to:

Convergence Awards for Research in Interdisciplinary Centers (CARIC)

CARIC is an initiative of the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) that supports the development of collaborative interdisciplinary teams to bid for major (>$5M) federally funded initiatives, such as research centers. CARIC provides funding for planning, outreach to strategic partners, and proof-of-concept research activities that will prepare the team to bid competitively for these prestigious federal awards. All applications must demonstrate that the teams proposed are new collaborations that cross traditional disciplinary boundaries or include a significant expansion/deepening of existing interdisciplinary collaborations. The federal funding initiative being targeted must be identified explicitly.  It is expected that proposed teams be diverse, including investigators from underrepresented groups and a mixture of early-career and more senior investigators. It is also expected that the planning activities proposed include activities that prepare for future work that will have significant broader impacts.


  • Full proposals due annually on December 15 by 12 noon.
  • Submissions should be made via the UConn Quest portal.
  • Award notices expected by March 1.  Award setup will begin immediate after notice, pending the completion of compliance review.

Program/Award Details:

  • The OVPR plans to make up to 2 new CARIC awards per year.
  • Each award will begin with an initial one year award period, and each will be eligible for an additional year of funding pending a competitive renewal process and completion of project milestones.
  • Proposals should include plans for the full duration of the intended effort (not just the initial one-year award period).
  • Budgets for the initial award period should reflect the needs of the project for that year.
    • Year 1 award budgets for previously awarded projects have ranged from $100K-$150K.
    • Budget outlines are requested as part of the application package.  Detailed final budget documents will be requested from finalists.  Final budget targets for awards will be set at this stage.
    • Budgets larger than $150K will be considered only in unique circumstances and with compelling justification of need.
  • Proposals will be reviewed by a committee of faculty and administrators from the schools and colleges involved and award decisions will be made by the Vice President for Research, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship.  External reviewers may be engaged if necessary.
  • If the targeted mechanism is a limited submission opportunity, a CARIC-awarded team will be granted one competition-free opportunity for submission for that mechanism only. Teams may apply for other related mechanisms, but they will not have automatic submission priority. If a team wishes to resubmit for a targeted mechanism after receiving feedback, the OVPR Limited Submission Resubmission Policy will apply.


  • Primary Appointment:
    • PIs must be full-time faculty whose primary appointment is at UConn/UConn Health.
    • Investigators with primary appointments to CCMC, Jackson Labs, TIP companies, or other institutions are not eligible to lead projects, but they may be named as Co-PIs, collaborators, or consultants on an eligible PI’s project.
    • Proposals that include external Co-PIs should be careful to describe how responsibility for the project will be divided between institutions, and ideally they will include cost-sharing commitments from external partners
  • Effort and Salary:
    • Although no minimum effort level is required for CARIC projects, a UConn/UConn Health PI/Co-PI must have departmental research time available during the award period.
    • Research Professors / those whose positions are contingent on grant-funding (soft money positions) serving as co-PI must include details about their institutionally-funded research time as part of the budget justification to confirm eligibility to participate.  Faculty salary is not an allowable cost on CARIC awards.
    • PIs/Co-PIs must each make significant and distinct intellectual contributions to the design and direction of the project.
  • Eligible Faculty Ranks:
    • As CARIC awards are intended to seed major externally-funded research centers, they require lead PIs who have the research and administrative experience needed to successfully lead such large-scale efforts. Accordingly, to be eligible for a CARIC award, lead PIs must be tenured Full Professors with a strong record of accomplishments in these areas.
  • Application Limits: Eligible faculty may only submit one proposal per year as PI or Co-PI. Investigators may serve as collaborator on multiple projects.

Proposal Guidelines

CARIC applications consist of 2 forms and several pdf file uploads.

Faculty Applicant Information Form (some information may pre-populate into the form):

  • Submitting PI Name
  • Home Department
  • School/College
  • Email
  • Phone
  • Faculty/Academic Rank
  • Primary Employer
  • Question - is your position contingent on grant funding?

CARIC Application Form

  • Federal Opportunity Targeted: Please name the Federal funder and specific mechanism your team will be targeting. Please include the mechanism's award range and the date you are targeting for submission
  • Size of Team: 0-8
  • Key Personnel: Co-PIs, department affiliation, role on project
  • Project Title:
  • Project Abstract / Lay Summary: Succinctly state (for a non-specialist audience) your project's key activities and major goals.
  • Results from prior OVPR-funded projects: If you've received funding in the past from OVPR internal seed grants or commercialization grants, please give a brief account of the outcomes of those projects and any research products generated.
  • Keywords: List 4-5 keywords relevant to project

Project Plan and Supporting Documents (PDF Uploads)

Project Plans for CARIC Awards should contain the following elements and follow the structure and guidelines indicated.  All length guidelines assume 1” margins, 11-12pt fonts, single spacing and single side pages.
  • Cover Page: Title of Project, Principal investigator(s) with contact information, List of other team members, Specific funding mechanism targeted, Target submission date
  • Abstract: A lay summary of the project activities and major goals (no more than 1 page)
  • Project Plans: Describe the project, how it will be conducted, and anticipated outcomes. Project plans should address the following areas and should not exceed 10 pages in length.  References should be included and do not count against the page limit.
    • Core Research Questions to be addressed and their significance
    • Summary of proposed externally-funded center/major research project (approach / novelty / organization / anticipated impact on research question)
    • Currently available resources and personnel and how they will support the project
    • Proposed activities under CARIC Award and how they will improve competitiveness for targeted mechanism
    • Management plan describing how resources and personnel will be organized to prepare for external submission
    • Timeline indicating major development milestones leading to submission. This must include milestones being targeted for the end of year 1.
  • Budget describing and justifying use of CARIC funds.  You can use this budget template.
  • Biosketches / CVs for all PIs and Co-PIs: Please include an updated biosketch consistent with NIH (max 5 pg)/NSF (max 2 pg) format.  If your field is not typically funded by NSF/NIH, please include a brief CV following your discipline’s conventions.
  • NSF/NIH-style Letters of support from any facilities providing support during the CARIC award period

Budget Guidelines

Please see the general budget guidelines for the OVPR Research Development Internal Funding awards. Given the unique nature of the CARIC mechanism, we understand that these guidelines may not include all budget items that are necessary to enhance competitiveness for your targeted external mechanism.  If you have a budget need that does not fit within these guidelines, you may include it, but we ask that you provide strong justification in support of the request.

Review Criteria

  • Targeted Future Activities
    • Significance/Merit—Does the team being formed aim to address significant scientific questions / technical problems in the proposed research area?  Is the proposed approach promising and methodologically sound?  Does this work require sustained, interdisciplinary efforts?
    • Innovation/Novelty – Does this project approach the problem/research area in a new/innovative way?
    • Environment/Resources – Are available resources/facilities sufficient to successfully complete the work?
    • PI/Team qualifications – Who will be working on this project, and how are they uniquely suited to accomplish this work?  Does the team have the required expertise to be successful?  Does the team demonstrate interdisciplinary and diversity?
  • Proposed CARIC Activities
    • Significance/Merit—are the proposed research and development activities well-designed/conceptualized?  Do they build on existing collaborations and extend them in ways that expand the capacity of the team?
    • Feasibility of Approach – are the proposed research and development plans feasible and likely to succeed?
    • Outcome – will the activities proposed adequately prepare the team to achieve their scientific and broader impact goals and to be competitive for the external funding opportunities they have targeted?
    • Assessment – Does the project have a reasonable plan for measuring and determining success?
    • Budget – Are funds to be used efficiently and effectively to achieve project goals?

Reporting and Renewal

  • Reporting requirements: PIs will need to prepare a brief report summarizing project progress every six months. At the end of each award year, progress will be evaluated to determine if extension / renewal of the award is justified.
    • Six month Progress Reports (target length 1-3 pages) should include:
      • An account of project activities in the first half of the award period, with an overview of results and achievements realized so far.
      • An overview of the project activities (with revised timeline, if needed) you intend for the final six months of the award period and the milestones you plan to achieve.
      • A basic fiscal update indicating how funds have been spent thus far in each of the approved budget categories.  Details of specific expenditures are not required.
      • Reports should be uploaded to the Quest Portal in PDF format.
  • Renewal:  the CARIC program is designed to provide multiple (in most cases up to three) years of funding support for projects that will enable UConn teams to be competitive for large federal funding mechanisms in the near future.  Year 1 awards are given on the strength of initial proposals, and subsequent years of funding can be awarded on the basis of strong results from prior funding years and on the presentation of compelling plans for future activities.  These future plans must demonstrate that further work is needed to achieve competitiveness, and that the activities proposed are necessary for enabling future external funding success.
    • Applications for CARIC renewal should be submitted according to these guidelines:
      • A report on the prior years' activities, results, and accomplishments and how that work has improved the team’s competitiveness for the targeted external opportunity.
      • A project plan for the next year that presents the new aims and timeline, describes how this work will build on prior results to reach larger project goals, and further enable competitiveness for external award.
      • New budget form with justifications.
      • Updated Biosketches for all PI/Co-PI or personnel with key expertise for project success
      • Renewal Applications are limited to 10 pages, plus references, budget, and biosketches.
    • Awardees will receive an invitation to submit a renewal NOI one month before the close of their current funding period.
    • Renewal applications can be accepted any time after NOI completion and will be due no later than 15 days after the end of the current funding period.
    • Note: CARIC awards cannot be renewed to support project activities after the targeted external submission has been made.
  • Post-award reporting requirements:
    • PIs will need to prepare a brief report, using this Award Report Template to summarize project progress at the end of the award period.
    • Further reports on project outcomes may be requested in the future to track return on investment.

    Program Contacts

    • Administrative contact: Charlotte Nelson, OVPR Internal Funding Coordinator, research@uconn.edu