Program Overview

Auburn University is committed to sustaining and supporting diversity in all its forms toward advancing the institutional academic and land grant mission. In that regard, the Office of Inclusion and Diversity in collaboration with the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development (OVPRED) is administering the Office of Inclusion and Diversity Exploratory Grants Program.

This program is the inaugural cycle of funding to foster the development and growth of innovative and transformational scholarly and creative efforts that are exploratory toward successful proposals for larger external grants that center on broadly defined topics of diversity, equity, inclusion, inclusive excellence, justice, and other related concepts. Agencies that may align with this approach include, but are not limited to, Sloan, National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Mellon Foundation, Lumina Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and other funding agencies.

Funds will be distributed through internal Investment Grants managed by the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development (OVPRED).

For additional assistance, please contact

Principal Investigator Eligibility

Eligibility follows the University's Statement of Principal Investigator Eligibility.

Each eligible faculty member may serve as a PI on only one proposal per year but can serve as a Co-I on an unlimited number of grants.

Call for Proposals

The Office of Inclusion and Diversity and the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development (OVPRED) announce the inaugural call for proposals for the Office of Inclusion and Diversity Exploratory Grant Program. Proposals are due by 4:45 p.m. on January 19, 2023. Proposals will undergo a thorough external evaluation. Scores and recommendations will be presented to the Vice President and Associate Provost for Inclusion and Diversity and the Vice President for Research and Economic Development.

We expect to fund ten (10) or more projects with activity periods of six (6) months to two (2) years, and with budgets between $3,000 and $10,000, with a clearly defined budget justification to complete the research project. This program will fund external reviews for up to five (5) proposals from each constituent college that participates in the program.

Proposals will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

Are the project's goals, hypothesis(es), intellectual question(s) or problem the proposer is trying to solve clearly articulated? (i.e., does the proposal clearly describe what is intended by the PI, how the PI intends to reach objectives, and anticipated implications of the project's findings/contributions?) Does the proposed project logically lead to future expanded projects supported by external funding opportunities or valuable partnerships? Is it clear and specific who could benefit and what the impact will be if the project is successful? Is the audience for the proposal clearly identified? Does the audience include professional practitioners in relevant disciplines? Include specific comments on the strengths or weaknesses of the stated project goals.

Does the project incorporate methods/an approach appropriate to the goals, objectives, or proposed contribution? Does the proposal suggest modified procedures in response to changing circumstances? Does the project effectively apply its stated methods/approach? Is the proposed analytic strategy appropriate for the aims of the project? Is the proposed solution relevant to/applicable in real-world situations? Will the project fill a potential need or function that is currently unfilled? Include any comments that could help the PI improve the proposal.

Is the budget realistic and commensurate with both the project needs and time frame? Are project team member(s) clearly identified, along with work experience, in the proposal? Does the project's team possess the skills uniquely qualifying them to complete the proposed scope of work?

Has the investigator/team identified a credible sponsor/funding opportunity related to this work? Does the application make it clear that the investigator/team has a strong understanding of what is required to be successful in pursuing that opportunity? How appropriate is that funding target for the type of work being proposed? What is the likelihood that funding this project will lead to a competitive proposal in response to one or more of such opportunities? For proposals with large budgets, does the external funding potential justify the size of the investment?

Provide a brief summary of your overall impressions of this proposal. Please comment on the overall competitiveness/relevance of the work and how the work may contribute to the broader field of study.


  • August 18, 2022 | Meeting ADRs

  • September 7, 2022 | AU News Release Regarding Grant

  • September 22, 2022 | RFP Opens

  • September 29, 2022 | Interest Session Hosted by OID and OVPRED

  • November 4, 2022 | Submit a mandatory, non-binding Letter of Intent via InfoReady

  • January 19, 2023 | Proposals Due (no later than 4:45 pm)

  • January 20, 2023 | Internal Proposal Review Begins

  • February 8, 2023 | Internal Proposal Review Ends

  • February 23, 2023 | Final Proposal Due

  • March 20, 2023 | External Review Complete

  • April 2023 | Final Review Period and Award Notification(s); information embargoed

  • April 19, 2023 | Campus Notification of Awards

Letter of Intent (LOI) Instructions and Format

The LOI will allow us to identify and enlist appropriate reviewers to help evaluate your proposal. Please provide the following information, as a good faith estimate of what you intend to propose; if necessary, some details can be changed in the actual proposal.

  •  Project Title
  • Contact Principal Investigator (PI): Name, Title, and Academic Dept. individual to lead the project. For proposals involving multiple investigators, the Contact PI will be the point of contact for communication with the project team, administering funds on behalf of the team, and submitting reports for the team.

  • Co-Investigators (Co-PIs) (optional): Name, Title, and Dept. of any additional investigators (AU faculty or staff) to play significant roles on the project.

  • Other Significant Collaborators (optional): Name, Title, and Dept. of any additional participants with specific roles on the project. If AU students (encouraged) or non-AU personnel will significantly contribute to the project, list them here as well.

  • Keywords: Up to four words or short phrases

  • Project Overview: Up to 250 words describing the activities you intend to propose for the investment grant, including any short-term (1-3 years) outcomes anticipated

  • External Funding Target: Up to 100 words listing the sponsor(s) and/or funding opportunities to be targeted for follow-on funding (if any)

  • Estimated Budget: Approximate total budget

Last updated: 02/28/2024