Project SAGES

President Havidan Rodríguez

Diversifying our faculty—particularly in the STEM fields—is a key component of UAlbany’s core priority of Diversity and Inclusion. This award will help accelerate our progress toward creating a faculty that more closely mirrors our highly diverse undergraduate student population. As the principal investigator of an NSF ADVANCE grant at my former institution, I can attest to the transformational power of these initiatives as it relates to diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as to significantly impacting the institution’s climate and culture.
– President Havidán Rodríguez


The University at Albany is a doctoral institution with a strong commitment to research excellence. It boasts a highly diverse undergraduate population and strives to excel as a diverse and inclusive campus community; yet, women and women of color are underrepresented in the faculty ranks of STEM departments.

The goal of Project SAGES is to create an environment in which women of all backgrounds and identities can thrive and develop their careers to their fullest potential. To accomplish this goal, Project SAGES seeks to increase the number of women scientists in STEM fields through proactive recruitment and unbiased hiring procedures and retain them by creating a climate and culture in which women feel supported, thrive; and advance in their careers from assistant to associate to full professor.

NSF Advance

ADVANCE encourages institutions of higher education and the broader science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) community, including professional societies and other STEM-related not-for-profit organizations, to address various aspects of STEM academic culture and institutional structure that may differentially affect women faculty and academic administrators. As such, ADVANCE is an integral part of the NSF's multifaceted strategy to broaden participation in the STEM workforce, and supports the critical role of the Foundation in advancing the status of women in academic science and engineering.

Co-PI and Project Director
Marlene Belfort
Distinguished Professor, Senior Advisor of RNA Institute
Christine K. Wagner
Associate Vice Provost for Faculty Development; Professor
Senior Personnel

External Advisory Board

Karen Horton, PhD, Professor of Mechanical Engineering Technology, University of Maine

Kelly Mack, PhD, Vice President for Undergraduate STEM Education and Executive Director of Project Kaleidoscope, Associate of American Colleges and Universities (AAAC&U)

Marie Mora, PhD, Associate Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives, University of Missouri – St. Louis

Bruce Stillman, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer, and William J. Matheson Professor of Cancer Biology, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Virginia Valian, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Psychology, Hunter College-CUNY

Internal Steering Committee

Andrew Berglund, Professor, Biological Sciences and Director of The RNA Institute

Pinka Chatterji, Professor, Economics

Jose Cruz, Professor, Political Science

Karin Reinhold, Associate Professor, Mathematics and Statistics

Yanna Liang, Professor and Chair, Environmental and Sustainable Engineering

Marina Petrukhina, Carla Rizzo Delray Professor of Chemistry, Chemistry

Ryan Torn, Professor and Chair, Atmospheric & Environmental Sciences

SAGES NSF-sponsored Seed Grant Program

The UAlbany Women in Science and Health (WISH) announces a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the SAGES Seed Grant Program

With funds from the NSF ADVANCE Project SAGES and support from the Offices of the President and Vice President for Research, WISH is providing pilot funding to build diverse collaborative teams in the STEM fields. The goal of this program is to maximize women and minoritized women scientists’ success in the tenure and promotion process and catalyze and support UA faculty in the pursuit of external grants. 

The award: WISH will award three seed grants per year to research teams, with a maximum of $15,000 per award.

Eligibility: Each research team must include at least two investigators, including one female tenure-track assistant professor, tenured associate professor or research scientist on a permanent track, who has a primary appointment in a department or institute at UAlbany in one of the STEM fields, and who serves as the PI. The STEM fields, as defined by NSF, include mathematics, natural sciences, engineering, computer and information sciences, psychology, economics, sociology, and political science. Co-Investigators can have a primary appointment outside UAlbany, but only UAlbany investigators will be eligible to receive funds.

Final Submissions Instructions: Proposals should include a one-page specific aims page, a two-page research plan, biosketches for all investigators and a budget. The specific aims page should provide a short background, the goals of the project, a description of the project team, and a description of how the project will lead to a federal proposal. The research plan must present a timeline that includes plans to submit a federal proposal within two years. Biosketches should be provided in the NSF 2-page format NSF Fillable PDF. References should be included with the proposal but are not counted in the page limit. Please find budget template and instructions attached.

Format: The research proposal and specific aims should be formatted with 0.5 inch margins on all sides. Single-spaced 11 point font of Times New Roman or Arial (or similar) should be used.

Budget: The maximum budget is $15,000. All expenses must be justified. More than 50% of the funds must be allocated to female researchers, and all funds must be awarded to researchers with a primary appointment at UAlbany. Funds can be used to purchase supplies, fund student researchers, or cover other justified research expenses. 

Reporting: A one-page progress report will be due at six months and a one-page specific aims for a federal proposal will be due at one year after the start date of the award. Awardees must agree to submit one federal grant application within two years of receiving the SAGES funds.

Review: The award proposals will be reviewed by a diverse, multidisciplinary team that includes experienced grant reviewers for federal agencies and members of the SAGES’s Internal Steering Committee. Priority will be given to proposals that facilitate the acquisition of critical data that result in publications and support efforts to obtain federal funding. 

The proposal submission deadline is December 15, 2021, at 5:00 p.m. EST. Awards will be made by the first day of the 2022 spring semester. Proposals must be submitted via email as a single pdf file to [email protected] with the reference “SAGES Seed Grant” in the subject line.

Questions? Contact Melinda Larsen [email protected]


Postdoctoral Visitation Program

As part of Project SAGES, STEM and SBS departments will be encouraged to develop a Postdoctoral Visitation Program. Departments will identify promising postdoctoral fellows who are women or women of color and invite them to campus to give a research seminar. The purpose of the invitation is for faculty to assess the postdoc’s potential and for the postdoc to be given an opportunity to meet the faculty and develop a favorable impression of UAlbany. After such visits, departments will proactively maintain contact with promising candidates and, when a search is authorized, will invite them to apply. This program is intended to increase the number of women in the applicant pool and to enhance chances that women are hired. 

To assist with this initiative, departments may apply for Project SAGES funds via the Women in Science and Health organization (WISH). Project SAGES will support up to four in-person visits each year. Departments are encouraged to supplement visits with departmental resources and also to seek additional sources of funding. 

External Sponsor Program

The program is designed to allow junior female faculty members to develop a scientific relationship with a prominent expert in their field, who will support and mentor them and provide an intellectual sounding board.  The sponsor will also assist with networking and the visibility of women beyond the UAlbany campus. Sponsors will receive an honorarium of $2500 per semester, with the initial award being for the full academic year, pending the successful partnership in the first semester.  The application process is described below, with a deadline of 5 pm on December 9th.  There will be three awards made initially, starting at the beginning of the Spring semester 2022.

Eligibility:  Junior tenure-track female faculty or research scientists on a permanent track, must be full-time UAlbany employees to be eligible to apply. They need to be in a STEM field, as defined by NSF (computer and information sciences, mathematics, natural sciences, engineering, economics, psychology, political science or sociology.)

The Sponsor and Travel:  Sponsors must be experts in their field of research (male or female) who are highly engaged in professional activities, such as national societies, editorial boards, and grant review panels. They cannot have served as a previous mentor to the applicant during their training.  Sponsors will be approved by the department chair or institute director of the applicant, in consultation with the Project SAGES Internal Steering Committee. An agreement articulating the responsibilities of both sponsor and applicant will be signed by both parties. In addition to the sponsor honorarium of $2,500 per semester, funds are available during the second semester for the sponsor to visit campus to interact with the junior faculty in person, and for the faculty in turn to visit the sponsor’s institution.

Process:  One of the co-PIs of Project SAGES will contact a given sponsor on behalf of the applicant.  Once they have agreed to serve as sponsor they will interact with the junior faculty by phone or Zoom at least once per month, to ensure ongoing guidance specific to best strategies for funding, vetting of research ideas, review of manuscripts and grant proposals, and guidance concerning tenure and promotion from the viewpoint of an experienced external tenure reviewer. The sponsored faculty members will provide a written report each semester on the advice they have received, how their actions may have been affected by that advice, and what outcomes they have achieved and would like to achieve going forward.  When visiting UAlbany, the sponsor will give a well-publicized seminar, for which the junior faculty member will serve as host, providing them with campus networking opportunities and recognition beyond their home departments.  The sponsor will see their laboratory in action, speak with their graduate students and postdocs, and review the faculty member’s progress. Following the visit, the sponsor will provide a letter to the faculty member identifying strengths and weaknesses and providing advice on specific strategies for advancement. Additionally, sponsored faculty will be invited to the sponsor’s institution to give a seminar and develop more extensive networking opportunities.

Application: Use the form below to provide the names and affiliations of the applicant and sponsor and the name of the UAlbany department chair. Send the following materials to [email protected]: a letter from the department chair approving the sponsor, the applicant’s CV, a link to the sponsors website, and a statement of anticipated benefits from establishing a relationship with the sponsor (500-word limit). Application deadline is 5 pm on December 9th 2021.

Download the Sponsor and Sponsoring Agreement

Questions:  Contact Marlene Belfort [email protected]