Online Application Guidance & Requirements

The online application has a number of required text boxes, dropdown selections and check boxes that need to be completed. The required text boxes have defined character limits (including spaces). An applicant must adhere to the character limits or they will not be able to complete the respective question. All components of the application are completed online except for those sections that require an uploaded PDF document.

Be sure to have open ONLY one browser and one tab at a time when you are in the online application portal when completing your application. Multiple browsers or multiple tabs (within one browser) logged into the online application portal at the same time may result in your application entries not being captured/saved.

Below are the seven (7) required sections for the PIFRS Online Grants Application Portal that must be completed for a successful application submission.

Click links below to learn more about the required sections.

1. Program Eligibility & Acknowledgements

  • Faculty Title / Rank
  • Other Title (if applicable)
  • Outside Researchers/Scholars (if applicable)
  • Acknowledgements
    • Proposal Requirements Affirmation
    • Ineligible Proposals Affirmation

2. Program Summary Information

  • Proposal Title
  • Research Team – Number of Faculty/Investigators
  • Principal Investigator – Name/Summary Background
  • Co-Principal Investigator – Name/Summary Background
  • Research Collaborators – Name/Summary Background
  • Project Narrative (2-3 sentences)
  • Research Focus Area (select one)
    • Liberal Arts and Humanities
    • Life Sciences & Biomedical Research
    • Health Disparities
    • Engineering, Applied Sciences & Advanced Data Analytics
    • Homeland Security, Extreme Weather Resiliency, Forensics & Cyber Security
  • Award Category
  • Funding Requested
  • Other Sources of Funding (if applicable)
  • 2015 PIFRS Program (last year)
    • If you are the Principal Investigator of a 2016-17 proposal, and were awarded a PIFRS grant in 2015-16 (Year 1) as the Principal Investigator, upload your Final Progress Report for Year 1 of the PIFRS program. Include both the narrative and performance measures. You may update the Progress Report if new developments and progress has been realized. Progress Reports of Year 1 grantees will be considered during the PIFRS review/evaluation process.
  • Past Proposal Submissions for Extramural Funding of the PI and Co-PI (Past 2 years)
    • Faculty Member: Name and Role (i.e. PI or Co-PI)
    • Name of Proposal
    • Name of Sponsor & Program
    • Funding Request
    • Length of Project
    • Outcome (Awarded, Not Funded, Pending)
  • Uniqueness of PIFRS Proposal from past Proposals/Projects

3. Research Plan

  • Start Date / End Date
  • Project Abstract (3/4 page)
  • Project Description (4 pages maximum) – see below for “Additional Guidance”
  • Research Compliance
  • Strategic Plan to Attract Extramural Funding (1 page maximum)
  • Broader Impact (1/2 page maximum)
  • Strength of Research Team (1/2 page maximum)
  • Timeline (1/2 page maximum)

Extensions will not be permitted unless there are demonstrated extraordinary circumstances.

Specific Guidance for Research Plan

Project Abstract:

Provide a 1/2 page proposal abstract describing the proposed objectives, activities and methods to be employed. The proposal abstract should summarize the intellectual merit, the broader impacts, and the extramural funding potential of the research proposal. The proposal abstract should be informative to other persons working in the same or related fields and, insofar as possible, understandable to a scientifically or technically literate lay reader.

Proposal Description
Describe the intellectual merit and transformative nature of the proposal including:

  • Scientific, scholarly and/or artistic creation challenge(s)/question(s) to be addressed
  • Innovative, creative and transformational concept/idea
  • Contributions to the scientific discipline(s)/field(s) of study
  • Well-reasoned, well-organized

Formatting guidelines:

  • Length: 4-page maximum including all images, tables, and references.
  • Acceptable Typefaces: Only Arial, Helvetica, Palatino Linotype or Georgia are permitted
  • Font Size: Use 11 point font size or larger
  • Line Spacing: Must use at least single spacing
  • Margins: At least one inch in all directions
  • Headers & Footers: Not permitted except for page numbers

Upload Project Description in a PDF format:

  • After finalizing the project description, upload a PDF document by clicking on the UPLOAD A FILE button for Project Description under the Research Plan Tab in the application portal.

Research Compliance
Certain research projects may require campus compliance committee review and oversight. Indicate if your proposal includes the following:

  • Human Subjects
  • Human Subject Payment
  • Use of Animals
  • Biohazardous Materials
  • Radioactive Materials

NOTE – If you should have any questions regarding research compliance, email

Strategic Plan to Attract Extramural Funding
Provide a 1-page strategic plan to leverage a prospective Presidential Innovation Fund award to attract federal, state, international and/or private extramural funding, particularly at the federal level. Include in your plan a detailed description of each extramural funding opportunity you intend to pursue by identifying:

  • Name of sponsor(s)
  • Name of funding program(s) (include weblink(s) if available)
  • Due date(s) for each funding opportunity announcement(s)
  • Brief overview of aims/objectives of extramural research/scholarly/creative works pursuit(s)
  • Your timeline to apply for extramural funding
  • Describe what is preventing you from applying to this extramural funding program(s) at this time.

Strength of Research Team
Provide a 1/2 page description of the strength of the research team including the principal investigator, co-principal investigators and/or co-investigators/research collaborators. Include in your description how the research team is ideally suited to address the proposed research, scholarship, or creative works project.

4. Biosketches

    Upload biosketches in PDF format for the principal investigator, co-principal investigators, and other members of the research team (as applicable). NOTE: Upload only one (1) document for each category (i.e. PI, Co-PI, Co-Is).

    NSF or NIH style is permitted. View the NSF or NIH style guidelines:

5. Budget and Budget Justification

Budget Components

  • Detailed Budget Form
    • Complete the budget template for your project found here: Click to Download Budget Form
    • Upload the Budget Form in PDF format in your online application by clicking on the UPLOAD A FILE button for Budget Forum under the "Budget Section" in the online PIFRS grants application portal.
  • Budget Justification
    • The budget justification should include a narrative explaining how the costs were estimated, along with a justification of planned spending (1 page maximum)
  • Other Sources Of Funding
    • Other Sources of Funding to enhance a PIFRS proposal are not required; however, consideration during the review process will be given to proposals with other internal and/or external funding commitments (i.e., direct financial contributions) in support of the proposed PIFRS research, scholarly, or creative works project.
    • Other Sources of Funding – both internal and external – must be a new commitments in support of the PIFRS proposal. Internal or external financial commitments for existing or previously funded research, scholarly, or creative works projects are not allowed.
    • Indicate amount of Other Internal Sources of Funding (if applicable)
    • Indicate amount of Other External Sources of Funding (if applicable)
    • Letter of Financial Commitment by Sponsor
      • Must include the amount of financial support, the activities to be supported, and the time period of the commitment (must be within the time period of the PIFRS proposal).
      • Must be signed by the sponsor of the financial support (academic department, college/school, government or industry sponsor)
  • Summary of Budget Expenditure by Category
    • From the Detailed Budget Form, enter each "cost" category to be supported by a Presidential Innovation Fund award (Include activity supported by other sources of funding).

Budget Guidance

  • The budget may include salaries for students, post-doctoral associates, supplies, travel, equipment, instrumentation, core facilities fees, and publication costs.
  • Faculty academic year salary, summer salary, course buy-outs and extra service for faculty/staff are not permitted.
  • NOTE - Staff costs are not encouraged and will only be allowable when there is a justified need to support a research, scholarly, and creative works project. The applicant must seek an opinion prior to submission at
  • Administrative overhead (facilities and administrative costs) is prohibited.
  • Funding to non-UAlbany researchers is not allowable – even if such collaborations are approved by the Division for Research following a gap identified in the research project (See “Outside Researchers/Scholars” under “Program Eligibility” for more information).
  • PIFRS funding is one-time in nature.
  • PIFRS funding will not be available for multi-year awards.
  • PIFRS funding must be expended within the life of the project (maximum of 12 months).
  • Extensions will not be permitted unless there are demonstrated extraordinary circumstances.
  • QUESTIONS – All questions regarding "eligible costs" can be emailed to

6. Projected Impacts and Outcomes

Provide the impact numbers for the below measures that you expect to realize from your 2016-17 PIFRS proposal if it were funded:

  • Federal Applications (Projected within 3 Years)
  • Federal Funding Pursuits (Projected within 3 Years)
  • State Applications (Projected within 3 Years)
  • Private Foundations and Other Sponsors (Projected within 3 Years)
  • Major Projects (Projected within 3 Years)
  • Interdisciplinary Collaborators (At Time Of Submission)
  • Interdisciplinary Collaborators (Projected within 3 Years)
  • Community Engagement (At Time Of Submission)
  • Community Engagement (Projected within 3 Years):
  • Books - Authored / Edited (Projected within 3 Years)
  • Book Chapters - Authored / Edited (Projected within 3 Years)
  • Publications (Projected within 3 Years)
  • Creative Works / Artistic Creations (Projected within 3 Years)
  • Seminars/Conferences (Projected within 3 Years)
  • Intellectual Property / Commercialization (Projected within 3 Years)
  • Other Projected Outcomes (Projected within 3 Years)

7. Letter of Commitment

LOC Guidance

  • Complete and upload the Letter of Commitment (LOC) in a PDF format through the grants application portal. A sample LOC for your reference and use can be found here: Click to Download Sample Letter of Commitment
  • The LOC must be signed by the principal investigator, the co-principal investigator(s) and any collaborating investigator(s) on the research/scholarly project team.
  • The LOC must include an expression of commitment by the researchers and scholars who are participating in the proposed research, scholarship, and/or creative works initiative.
  • The LOC must be signed by the members of the research team including:
    • Principal Investigator (PI)
    • Co-Principal Investigator(s) (Co-PI)
    • Research Collaborator(s)/Co-investigator(s) (Co-I).
  • Beyond the above requirements, additional summary proposal information may be included but is not required.
  • There is no preferred format for the “Letter of Commitment.”
  • The LOC should not exceed two (2) pages.

Documents to be uploaded:

  • Research Description (required)
  • Detailed Budget Form (required)
  • Biosketches (required)
  • Letter of Commitment from Members serving on PIFRS proposal (required)
  • Letter of Financial Commitment (only required if proposal has Other Sources of Funding)
  • PIFRS Year 1 Progress Reports (only required if applicant is a Year 1 PIFRS grantee)

Important Applicant Information

  • Please Note: Your application automatically saves with each entry. Accordingly, you can leave the online grants application portal and return at a later time to continue working on your proposal.
  • However, once you submit your application you will not be able to make changes so please carefully finalize your application before submitting.
  • If you have a question regarding the Presidential Innovation Fund for Research and Scholarship, you can:
    -Send an email:
    -Contact your Research Administrator