Pop-Up Institutes FAQ
- What is the UT Pop-up Institutes program?Show More
Pop-Up Institutes are a hybrid planning and seed funding mechanism that supports interdisciplinary research teams to rally around a research format that’s intermediate in both scale and cost between short conferences and permanent organized research structures.
Funded Pop-Up teams will spend the academic year preparing for a burst of activity focused on a specific area of research. Their Institute then "pops up" for one month in early summer, providing dedicated resources, time and space for researchers across campus to combine their unique perspectives and distinct skill sets in pursuit of a common goal. Each Pop-Up is expected to produce a research product based on its in-depth preparation for a larger future research initiative.
- Are there particular research topics that will receive priority for Pop-Up Institute funding? Are there particular topics that you will not fund?Show More
We invite proposals for Pop-Up Institutes that focus on any area of scholarly inquiry. Priority will be given to topics that have not already been the focus of previous years’ Pop-Ups (see the list of previously funded Pop-Ups here). The focus must be on research. Pop-Up Institutes may not be used to support curriculum transformation, revamping of graduate education programs, or other academic/instructional goals. They also may not be used to support administrative program development, faculty salaries, or research scientist salaries.
- What do successful Pop-Ups have in common?Show More
Some attributes that are common to successful Pop-Ups include:
- Many opportunities for real time, in-person exchange of ideas and discussion
- Cross-disciplinary or inter-disciplinary collaboration: participants cross college boundaries
- Experts from outside UT are convened: to meet with Pop-Up participants, and to provide depth and breadth to the discussion
- Definite research-related goals that explore a problem or an idea. For instance:
- the outline of a short-term project
- laying the groundwork for a long-term research partnership
- ways to share data among traditionally siloed groups
- working to solve a problem that affects different areas of the population
- Are there eligibility requirements?Show More
- UT Austin faculty (tenured/tenure-track or non-tenure track) and permanent, senior-level staff researchers are eligible to serve as Pop-Up Institute leaders. An individual may be named as an Institute leader on only one proposal, but may contribute resources to multiple proposals.
- We encourage proposals in any area of scholarly endeavor.
- Pop-Up Institute focus areas and activities must be research-related.
- Institutes must be interdisciplinary.
- One or more tangible deliverables (e.g. a draft proposal, a technical report, a software tool, a journal article draft, a completed compendium) must result from an Institute – this is not a month-long conference or a curriculum development exercise.
- A core of Institute participants must work together throughout the Institute’s run in a shared physical space on campus. The VPR office will help the selected groups obtain space for this purpose. Institutes cannot be “virtual” or decentralized with members participating remotely from their usual offices, labs, etc.
- The Institute must serve some strategic purpose for one or more of the units that contribute participants.
- Participation by non-UT researchers is welcome if their membership in the Institute supports its plans. No more than 25% of the participants, however, can be from outside UT Austin.
- Who can apply?Show More
Departments, Colleges, and Organized Research units with more than 5 faculty members and/or Senior Research Scientist/Engineers (or equivalent senior research titles) are eligible to submit, via one PI, one proposal as lead but may contribute members or resources to any number of proposals.
- Can Research Scientists apply as Pop-Up leaders?Show More
Yes. Titles that have PI status are eligible. Salaried tenured or tenure-track academic or research faculty may apply. Also eligible are certain non-academic titles that can be granted PI status. Visit the Office of Sponsored Projects website for more information.
- What is the role of the Pop-up Leader?Show More
The Institute Leader will be responsible for the research leadership and the development of the research product of the Institute. The VPR’s office will lead the logistical and administrative aspects of the institute. The Leader will develop the Institute format together with the VPR’s office following best practices learned from past Pop-Up Institutes and other interdisciplinary research programs.
- What is the time commitment for this project?Show More
For the institute to work, the leader plus a core of essential participants must be physically present over most of its duration. For a four-week institute, this might mean 3 of the 4 weeks, or 4 days per week for the whole time. We are leaving this flexible but want to make clear that the size and firmness of the participant commitments will be significant factors in a decision about which institutes to fund.
- What type of expenditures are allowed?Show More
Allowable Costs. All Institute costs, including space/facility rental, travel and lodging, supplies, meals, equipment rentals, etc. are allowed. No salary costs are permitted except for institute-specific graduate student stipends.
The VPR will contribute up to $50,000 of the Pop-Up Institute’s total cost. Pop-Up teams may provide additional funding or in-kind contributions from their home units or departments in support of the Pop-Up effort; such additional contributions will be considered favorably in the review process.
Required Contingency. An amount equivalent to 10% of the total Institute cost must be reserved for contingency, to cover unanticipated costs. The contingency is to be expended only with permission by the VPR office. Example: For a total institute budget of $80,000, with a Pop-Up contribution of $30,000 and VPR contribution of $50,000, the contingency would be calculated as 10% of $80k, such that $42,000 (of the $50k) is considered categorized expenses and $8,000 (10% of $80K) are “contingency” funds.
Other In-Kind Contributions. In-kind contributions include materials, equipment or services that are given without charge to the program or organization. These items should not be included in the budget of cash revenues and cash expenditures submitted with proposals. However, in-kind contributions should be noted in the budget justification.
- Am I allowed to pay staff (i.e. administrative associates) using Pop-Up funds?Show More
No; administrative support is considered an in-kind contribution. In addition to providing cash support, VPR office staff will provide a share of the administrative support staff effort to be shared with an equivalent position assigned on the Pop-Up side, for purposes such as: scheduling meetings, arranging catering, and advertising/promoting Pop-Up events through the VPR website and distribution lists.
- Can graduate research assistants be covered during the Pop-Up planning period (the year preceding the Pop-Up)?Show More
Yes; this expenditure is allowed any time after the award, as long as there’s written rationale supporting the need included in the proposal.
- Can GRA line items include tuition and fees?Show More
Yes; but PIs can also opt for adding just stipends in the budget if they wish to employ existing GRAs.
- How do I secure financial support from my department/college?Show More
Intent to apply should be communicated to the department or unit head in order to secure financial support. The unit head should then provide a letter declaring the financial support to be included with the application.
- What do I include in the application package? Show More
Upload the following items to UT's online submission portal.
- Proposal Cover Page
List the institute title, a single Institute Leader and all faculty/Senior Researchers who have made a participation commitment, together with their department/unit affiliations.
- Non-technical Abstract
This abstract must be <300 words and should communicate the significance and impact of the Institute in terms that a non-expert can understand. The abstract text does not count toward the 4-page limit for the scholarly justification statement (see Item #3, below).
- Scholarly Justification (Main Proposal Text)
May be up to 4 pages long, single-spaced in at least 12 point font with at least 1 inch margins. The justification should address the following:
- Description of the Pop-Up Institute’s focus areas and research-related activities. In other words, what takes place during your one-month Pop-Up Institute?
- Rationale for including the disciplines involved.
- Description of the tangible deliverables (e.g. a draft proposal, a technical report, a software tool, a journal article draft, a completed compendium) that will result from the Institute.
- A work plan and schedule that outlines work to be done during the 2019-2020 academic year to prepare for the Summer 2020 Institute. To get some idea of the types of organizing activities that Pop-Up Institutes undertake during the academic year, visit existing Pop-Up Institutes’ websites at https://research.utexas.edu/vpr-initiatives/pop-up/.
- References (optional)
Up to one additional page may be provided for references.
- Letters of Financial and/or In-Kind Contributions (optional)
Include the following in the proposal:
- Letters of financial support (include account numbers if available).
- Commitment of in-kind contributions (such as administrative support staff).
- Letters of Time Commitment
Letters of time commitment from principal participants including explicit commitments to be present for some stated amount of time must be included with the proposal. Note that the extent and firmness of these commitments will be a factor in rating proposals, as will an openness to accepting members beyond the proposing group. The letters of commitment and references do not count toward the 4-page limit for the scholarly justification statement.
- Budget Spreadsheet (must use Pop-Up Institute Excel template)
Use the provided Excel template to provide a categorized budget.
- Budget Justification
Submit a budget justification (not to exceed 2 pages, single-spaced in 12-point font) explaining the basis for the proposed costs. Letters of financial support (item #5, above) should confirm any expenses to be paid by the participating units/departments/colleges.
- Proposal Cover Page
- Does the abstract count towards my 4-page scholarly justification limit?Show More
No. The abstract can be a separate page, but must contain less than 300 words. The optional sections, the budget, the letters of commitment are counted in addition to the abstract and the 4-page scholarly justification statement.
- Can I see an example of a successful Pop-Up Institute proposal?Show More
The VPR office can put you in touch with our previously funded Pop-Up Institute leaders, so that you can ask them questions about their proposal strategy or request a proposal from them directly. Contact us for more information.
- Is a final report required?Show More
Yes. A final report on the Pop-Up’s activities, participants, and outcomes is due to the VP for Research Office no later than October.
- What is the program’s timeline?Show More
Date Activity April 13, 2020
Extended to April 17, 2020
Pop-Up Institute Proposal deadline. Proposals will be peer-reviewed and ranked by a group of senior researchers. Late April 2020 The VPR office will invite the top-ranked proposals’ Institute Leaders to meet in person to elaborate on or answer any questions about their plans. Early May 2020 Final selection of 2021 Pop-Up Institutes will be announced. November 2020 2021 Pop-Up Institute dates, room reservations and outside participant invitations need to be finalized. May-August 2021 Pop-Up Institutes "pop-up" for their one-month burst of activity October 2021 Pop-Up Institute reports are due to the VP for Research.
- What if my question isn’t answered here?Show More
Contact the VP for Research office if you have any other questions about the UT Pop-Up Institutes.