Encouraging Innovative Research in Our Community

Saint Mary's University of Minnesota, in honor of the 300-year anniversary of the entrance into eternal life of Saint John Baptist de La Salle, announces the Ignite 300 Mini Grant Program. 

While the focus of the Ignite 300 mini grants is to provide support and encouragement for scholarly and creative work, these grants also seek to promote the next 300 years of Lasallian charism through the community’s scholarly and creative engagement with the twelve Lasallian Virtues. Applicants should engage the twelve Lasallian Virtues and think about how their scholarly and creative work arises from, extends, or influences the next 300 years of the Lasallian education mission of the University. These mini grants are designed to assist faculty in conducting original research that may be pilot in nature or to further a strand of current research efforts.

Father James P. Burns is pleased to announce the selection of the recipients of the Ignite 300 Mini Grant Program. With 19 applications and 26 participants, this competitive program will fund innovative research and performance topics across the university. A committee of eight from SGPP and Winona evaluated the applications based on the previously published rubric.  Of the 10 applications and 14 applicants that were selected for funding, the topics ranged from original music compositions to neural mapping to artificial intelligence. Each project builds on the foundation of 300 years of Lasallian virtues, while being equally forward thinking and mindful of its place in the next 300 years of Lasallian excellence.

Read the abstracts 

Project Overview

Up to 10 Ignite 300 Mini Grant opportunities will be available to all full-time faculty based in Winona and core faculty and program directors based in Minneapolis. The program provides up to $4,500 in funds to full-time faculty wishing to participate in research grant projects. These funds may be used for a course release (pending dean approval) or to finance a project budget (or part of a budget) for the planned research. The purpose of Ignite 300 is to foster original research, along with larger grant projects, within our community. Successful applicants will be able to demonstrate novel research ideas that include an appreciation for the 12 virtues of Saint John Baptist de La Salle and a willingness to apply for additional external grant funding to further this research.

Project Timeline

The Ignite 300 Mini Grants are for use during the 2019-2020 academic year. The application window opens August 2 and review of the applications by the Ignite 300 committee will begin on September 20, with decisions to applicants by October 20, 2019.

Final reports of activities will be due August 3, 2020.

Those who are eligible include:

  • tenured and tenure-track faculty
  • core faculty
  • program directors

Principal investigators may apply to only one mini grant per year but may collaborate and apply as a co-principal investigator on an additional application within the same year

Applicants engaged in research must provide a clear plan and timeline to submit completed manuscripts or presentation proposals of their project to peer-reviewed publications or discipline-related professional conferences. The plan must be thorough, including the name of the intended journal or conference, and should include contingency plans for alternate peer-reviewed journals or conferences if the initial submission is not successful.

Applicants engaged in creative works must provide a clear plan and timeline for dissemination of their creative works (exhibitions, performances, artistic production, readings, or publications). The plan must be thorough, identifying the venue for dissemination and contingent plans if the initial plan is not successful.  

Maximum word counts allowed listed for each section below

  1. Name of the principal investigator:
  2. Optional: Name of a co-principal investigator or creator (please make special note if this project utilizes investigators or partners from multiple campus locations):
  3. Title of project
  4. Provide an overview of the project
    1. Describe the project. Include the research question, ideas, problems, or artistic expressions to be explored through this project. Identify one or two Lasallian virtues that exist within or connect to your project (example: The study seeks to explore the lens of reserve and humility for perpetrators of domestic violence who are participating in group therapy). Describe how the project has arisen from, extended, or will influence the next 300 years of the Lasallian education mission of the university (please evidence your understanding of your research’s place in the Lasallian Catholic tradition and within the university mission). (500-750 words) 
    2. Describe how the project serves as a start for a larger project or extends a current project. How is the project innovative? (250 words) 
    3. Describe the research plan (data sources, data collection, analysis practices, etc.) or artistic work plan for the project. (250 words)
    4. What are the outcomes for the project (please state three), and how does the project lead to their achievement? (100 words for each outcome) Examples include: 
  5. The results of this project will demonstrate a more complex understanding of bee’s relationship to pollinator gardens on major highways. 
  6. The project will create stronger collaboration between the business and chemistry department. 
  7. The project will provide three undergraduate and one graduate student with the opportunity to engage in company-based organizational theory research. 
  8. The project provides a deeper understanding, new ideas, and insights connected to the identified Lasallian virtue.
    1. What is your plan to secure external grant funding to continue the work of this project (please list, including contingencies and URLs, organization name, due date, and potential award size of all grants you intend to complete)? (100 words)
    2. What is your dissemination plan to share your research or creative project within your discipline? If a research project, please include a timeline for manuscript or proposal completion, the names of peer-reviewed journals, discipline-related professional conferences, books, or book chapters. If a creative project, please include a timeline and details for readings, performances, creative works, or exhibitions of the completed work. (100 words)
  9. If the project involves human subjects, it must be reviewed by the IRB. If the project has already been approved by the IRB, please include the date of approval and the IRB protocol ID. If it has not, please describe your timeline for seeking approval. (50 words)
  10. Total amount sought from the Ignite 300 mini grant (up to $4,500 for an individual project or $9,000 on a collaborative project). Please include a simple budget and a short budget justification (explain the budget and demonstrate the necessity of each budget request). Also, please indicate if you intend to use the funds for course release time (dean’s approval for the course release is required). (150 words)

You are welcome to attach any PDF documents you believe to be relevant for the committee.

Scope of Work

While collaboration is allowed, even encouraged, generally only one mini grant is available per project, unless it can be shown that a unique interdisciplinary project will substantively advance the respective fields of inquiry (in which case only two grants can be combined at most for any project). In the event of a collaborative project, each team will designate a principal investigator (PI) and a co-investigator. The PI will need to submit a proposal for review by the Ignite 300 Mini Grants board. Ultimately, the plan must include a research element and a plan to submit an external grant application for additional support for the research. Interested faculty should contact the Grants Office, Mr. Brandon Gustafson [link to email], for help locating viable external grant applications to support their research.

Criteria for Selection

Successful applications of the Ignite 300 Mini Grants will be recommended by a panel of faculty and administrators appointed from the Winona and SGPP campuses. Final approval will be given by the senior vice president of Finance and Operations, provost, and the president. Successful applications will outline innovative and novel approaches to research, identify how the Lasallian virtue(s) have been integrated, provide a clear path to an external grant application, and at least four concrete outcomes or deliverables for the conclusion of the project, including broad dissemination plan of findings. The evaluation panel may request additional information, and interested faculty should contact the Grants Office to solicit help as needed. Please direct questions to Mr. Brandon Gustafson at bgustafs@smumn.edu.


Rating Category: Innovative and novel projects

Ready for funding (3)

The proposal presents innovative research that serves as a clear pilot or performance that initiates or builds upon, but does not duplicate, previous research efforts.

Adequate (2)

The proposal builds upon but does not duplicate previous research or performance efforts..

Unacceptable for funding (1)

The proposal presents research or performance that is not new to the applicant(s).

Rating Category: Lasallian virtue integration

Ready for funding (3)

The proposal is grounded in particular Lasallian virtues of teaching. It identifies one or two of the 12 Lasallian virtues that inform the research question or project.

Adequate (2)

The proposal references the 12 Lasallian virtues of teaching without being grounded in them.

Unacceptable for funding (1)

The proposal does not reference the Lasallian virtues of teaching.

Rating Category: Outcomes

Ready for funding (3)

Three concrete outcomes are identified that clearly describe the outcomes of the study. Examples of outcomes:

  • Intellectual discovery
  • Stronger collaboration between University departments
  • Student learning opportunity
  • Deeper understanding, new ideas, insights connected to the identified Lasallian virtue.

Adequate (2)

Less than three outcomes are identified or outcomes are not concretely defined.

Unacceptable for funding (1)

No coherent outcomes are identified.

Rating Category: Project Design

Ready for funding (3)

The project description is detailed and shows a logical plan to meet the identified project outcomes.

Adequate (2)

The project description is somewhat detailed and creates some questions as to how the project will lead to the identified outcomes.

Unacceptable for funding (1)

The project description is vague and the project will not lead to the identified outcomes.

Rating Category: Plans for dissemination

Ready for funding (3)

The applicant provides a clear plan and timeline

  • If a research project: for submission of completed manuscripts or presentation proposals to clearly identified (name) peer-reviewed publications and or discipline/professional conferences with a contingency plan.
  • if a creative project: for how the creative project will be disseminated, including specifics as to where and how.

Adequate (2)

A plan for dissemination is included but somewhat vague.

Unacceptable for funding (1)

No plan for dissemination is included in the proposal.

Rating Category: Path to external grants

Ready for funding (3)

A clear path to a specific external grant with specific details (see application for information) is identified in the proposal.

Adequate (2)

A path to a specific external grant is identified in the proposal.

Unacceptable for funding (1)

A path to a specific external grant is not identified in the proposal.