Important Information for Concept Paper Authors

Expectations of a Concept Paper Submission

  1. 4 single-spaced pages (12-pt font, 1 inch margins) with following desired structure:
    • Overview
    • Alignment with Societal Need(s) and ISU Vision/Mission/Strategic Plan
    • Planned Collaboration(s)
    • Plan for Use of Funds and Estimated 5-Year Cost (broad categories; no line items expected)
    • Conclusion
          Note: Concept papers can also include a 5th page of references.

  2. 1 page supplement describing how up to $4,000 in seed money would be used over the summer to develop a full proposal (e.g., visits to other institutions with known excellence in topical area, bringing consultants to campus, etc.). Note that seed funding may not be used for grant writing stipends.
  4. Concept Paper Routing Form with author signature(s), department chair of primary author’s unit, and dean of primary academic unit. Department chair and dean signatures indicate awareness of proposed idea.

How to Submit a Concept Paper

Concept papers with all three items described above are due by 4:30pm on March 31. Submissions may be made by email attachment to (with signed routing form scanned and saved as a pdf; please hold on electronic submission until after 3/29, account being set up now) or hand delivered anytime before deadline to the Office of Sponsored Programs (Erickson 511). Confirmation of complete submission will be emailed to primary contact on routing form.

Evaluative Criteria

  1. How well concept paper proposal advances institutional distinction through its contribution to addressing a specified societal need(s).
  3. How well concept paper proposal contributes to the vision and mission of the university through teaching, research, creative activity and/or service.
  5. How well concept paper proposal aligns with the strategic plan of the institution by its contributions to (1) increasing enrollment and student success, (2) advancing experiential learning, (3) enhancing community engagement, (4) building new revenue streams, and/or (5) recruiting and retaining great faculty and staff.
  7. For submissions in the Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration category (see routing form), how well the concept paper proposal evidences crossing traditional disciplinary or institutional boundaries in support of the success of the proposal.
  9. How well the concept paper proposal evidences a plan for use of funds to achieve measurable outcomes related to (1), (2), and (3) above. Considerations in evaluating the plan will include assessments of (a) timeline quality & feasibility, (b) selection of benchmarks & measurable outcomes, and (c) evidence of leveraging resources beyond funding.

Review Process

There are 3 Concept Paper review committees, a Faculty Senate appointed committee, the Dean’s Council, and the UP Committee. The Faculty Senate appointed committee includes 2 representatives from each college including the Library as well as 2 students appointed by the Student Government Association.

Each review committee will independently prepare formative feedback on each concept paper and a recommendation for (1) an invitation for full proposal submission, (2) consideration of merging with another concept paper(s) for a full proposal submission, or (3) decline for further consideration via the UP mechanism for funding. Members of the Faculty Senate appointed committee and the UP Committee will recuse themselves from evaluating any proposal for which they might have a conflict of interest.

Once the reviews are completed by the three committees, the Faculty Senate appointed committee and the Dean’s Council will forward their reports to the UP Committee. The UP Committee will prepare a cover letter summarizing the three sets of reviews and advance along with each committee’s report to the Provost and President. The Provost and President will announce the outcome on or about May 2. The formative feedback from each committee will be provided via singular email to the primary contact on the routing form.

Additional Points

All concept papers will be posted to the UP website by April 6. The intent is broad awareness of the ideas reflected in proposals and to further potential for collaboration.

The formative feedback of all three committees on each proposal will be posted publically on the UP website on or around May 9. The intent is both transparency of process and a mechanism for idea development/refinement both within and outside the framework of the UP initiative (i.e., authors of concept papers invited for full proposal submission can see the range of feedback provided and authors of concept papers not invited for full proposal submission can consider ways that their idea might be changed/refined for development in a different way and another source of support).

Recognizing that more good ideas may emerge from this process than can realistically be funded with UP resources, the UP Committee is collaborating with the ISU Foundation to ensure their awareness of all proposal submissions.

A planned Open Forum for the presentation of submissions will occur at the full proposal submission phase this fall and not at this time with concept papers.


Back to Unbounded Possibilities Main Page