SPARC Travel Funding Rubric


IEMBER’s Supported Preliminary Award for Research Collaboration (SPARC) travel funds are intended to promote collaboration of new interdisciplinary teams with the goal of generating impactful, original scholarship that advances knowledge on inclusive, supportive and engaging environments in bioscience education and training. These funds are for participant support to promote collaboration leading to pilot studies, manuscripts, and grant proposals. The SPARC Travel Funding proposal must be a reflection of iEMBER’s objectives which are to coordinate the interdisciplinary research efforts of education, biology, social science, and policy/administration stakeholders with interests in diversity, equity and inclusion. The iEMBER network focuses on expanding an understanding of how to create inclusive, supportive and engaging environments to foster the success of students, particularly those from underrepresented groups, such as racial and ethnic minorities, women, students with disabilities, students identifying as LGBTQPIA+. While the network targets bioscience education and research, new metrics and paradigms developed by iEMBER collaborators are expected to be broadly applicable to other science, technology engineering and math (STEM) disciplines.

The SPARC Travel Funding proposal should be a narrative of no more than two single-spaced pages. The first page should be a project summary which includes the projects goals and objectives, significance and methods. The second page should be a collaboration plan which includes the objective, project management and team details, project sustainability, and funding request.

The Project Summary should

  • Identify the goals and objectives of the research project, explaining how they are novel and advance knowledge.

  • Be supported by prior work/data (e.g. if the project is on low rates of persistence for a particular group the proposal may cite NSF, college, or other statistics describing the current situation; if the project is on academic climate, the proposal may include the type of climate previous research has shown students of interest to encounter).

  • Explain the significance of the project in terms of benefit to society and advancing knowledge with a special focus on how the research addresses iEMBER goals (i.e., the research is interdisciplinary, the research expands understanding on the creation of inclusive, supportive and engaging environments to foster the success of underrepresented students, and the work is focused on undergraduate bioscience education and training but may be applicable to other contexts).

  • Describe potential research methods, recruitment methods, measures, variables, and samples, including potential limitations.

  • Be the 1st page of the 2-page proposal

The Collaboration Plan should

  • Include an objective for the collaboration (i.e. collect pilot data, design a research project, write a grant)

  • Include a diversity of perspectives section for the team (e.g. members from different backgrounds; multiple career groups: grad student - early-career professor -established professor - non-academic professional - high school educator; multiple institutions/schools)

  • Include a management section with roles/responsibilities for each team member, accountability, and a 1-year timeline of activities. (i.e. this may be in the format of a team-charter or may simply designate the team leader, roles for other team members, how/how often the team will meet, etc.)

  • Include a section on sustainability that describes plans beyond the initial iEMBER- supported collaboration time. (e.g. will the team apply for external or internal funding? Will team members support graduate or undergraduate researchers through institutional funds? Will the project be the primary focus of institutional promotion for one or more members?)

  • Include a budget table that details requested funds and other (institutional) funds available for each team member. The budget section should include specific details of the spending request (up to $3200 per team), and may include travel support (lodging, meals, etc.) for team members as well as a small supply budget (poster-printing, etc.) Please note teams may meet at a conference or at a team member’s institution, and funds may be distributed equally or unequally among team members.

  • Be the 2nd page of the 2-page proposal

  • Be saved with the project summary as one .pdf file

  • Be uploaded using the link on the "Working Groups" page



SPARC Travel Funding Criteria Rubric:

  • The collaboration addresses inclusive and supportive environments in a way that will influence teaching, training, and/or learning.

  • The collaboration objective is clear, measurable, and attainable within the organizational structure and the proposed timeline.

  • The sustainability plan is likely to continue to support collaboration among members with diverse perspectives and is well aligned with the needs and career stages of the team members

  • The funding request fulfills a need to allow collaboration that likely would be unmet if members relied only on other (institutional) funds