Applications open for seed funding to stimulate global research partnerships

Tze-Ying Wu, an assistant professor in the UK College of Fine Arts School of Music, coaches Ionian University string students as part of UKinSPIRE-funded work in Greece in October 2023. Photo provided.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 7, 2023) — UKinSPIRE (Seeding Partnerships for International Research Engagement), an internal funding opportunity for University of Kentucky faculty, is now accepting applications for FY24-25 with a deadline of March 1, 2024.

Funded jointly by the Office of the Vice President for Research and the UK International Center (UKIC), UKinSPIRE seed funding is specifically aimed at creating a strong foundation for sustained, globally engaged, collaborative research. 

The goal of UKinSPIRE is to stimulate high-impact research projects in any discipline linking UK faculty and international collaborators, and to establish collaborations with new international partner institutions or add greater depth to existing institutional partnerships. 

Tim Barnes, executive director of partnerships and research in the UKIC, said, “There is a very well-documented link between scholarly publications with co-authors based in two or more countries and significantly increased citation counts and field-weighted impact factors. International co-authorship — and the collaborations that produce such publications — lead to better science and scholarship, with broader reach, greater visibility and higher impact. The UKinSPIRE fund is intended to jump-start productive international research collaborations among our faculty by providing seed funding for travel, hosting researchers here on our campus, initial data gathering and proof-of-concept work, and help pulling together proposals for external funding to sustain the collaborations.”

UKinSPIRE project proposals will be required to demonstrate a significant international collaboration component (the projects should propose something that could not be easily accomplished working alone) and identify at least one collaborator or co-principal investigator (PI) primarily affiliated with a research or higher education institution outside the United States. All projects selected for funding will be required to include sustainability plans for the collaboration beyond the initial seed fund allocation (extramural research funding potential, ongoing college/unit support).

Preference will be given to projects that:

  • Are multidisciplinary, in that they involve co-PIs from different disciplines, either from the University of Kentucky or from the partnering institution, or both.
  • Develop or expand collaborations with existing international partners of the University of Kentucky.
  • Include plans for campus engagement events, at UK and/or at partner institutions, that highlight the collaboration and the benefits of global engagement to the campus communities.
  • Include some commitment of cost-sharing, as appropriate given available resources, from the proposed partner institution.
  • Include some commitment of cost-sharing from the home department/college of the UK PI.
  • Explicitly address or align with one or more of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, with the understanding that the projects may address these goals in local, regional, national and/or transnational contexts.

UKinSPIRE will award between $10,000-$20,000 per project, for one fiscal year, beginning in FY24-25 (July 1, 2024 through June 30, 2025). Five or more projects will be funded each year, and submissions will be accepted from all departments, colleges and units at UK. To learn more, visit the UKinSPIRE site.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.