UF announces $250,000 in awards for UF-City of Gainesville research

By on March 1, 2017


UF’s Office of the Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer recently announced it is seeking proposals from faculty for research projects that utilize the campus and greater Gainesville community as a living laboratory to address real-world problems in our local community.

“As part of our Strategic Development Plan, we are working on ways that more of the great research here at UF can connect to real-world problems,” said UF Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Charlie Lane. “Many challenges that exist in our local community are mirrored on the national stage. Offering solutions to those challenges is just another way UF can reinforce its status as a preeminent university.”

The Strategic Development Plan, announced late last year, supports UF’s preeminent status and lays the groundwork for a new partnership between UF and the Gainesville community. Last month, UF and Gainesville solidified their commitment to the alliance with the signing of a memorandum of understanding by UF President Kent Fuchs and Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe at the State of the City address.

The plan includes four major initatives: The New American City, Proximity, Strong Neighborhoods and Stewardship. Read more about the plan here.

Proposals may be for research to shape policy and practice, or projects that demonstrate methods or pilot programs. Proposals should include a research statement including problem identification and the question to be explored, tested or modeled.

The following is a list of possible research topics that should be viewed as examples of the scope and subject matter, but not as an exhaustive list of all relevant topics:

  • Use of urban informatics and Smart Cities technology in local decision-making and improving the lives of Gainesville’s citizens
  • Barriers to urban redevelopment in Gainesville and how can they best be overcome
  • Housing models and programs that ensure housing is affordable and accessible across all demographics in order to combat the clustering effect of poverty while also increasing the availability of higher-end housing in the urban core
  • Best practices that may be employed in the implementation of Wild Spaces Public Places program priorities and projects
  • Effect of land use on business development
  • Readiness and capacity of local government staff and systems to respond to innovation
  • Community health and vitality measurement at the neighborhood level
  • Local governance structures that incorporate user experience (UX) in local service delivery
  • Community policing, crime reduction and criminal justice
  • Cooperative models of business ownership and potential for local promotion
  • History of Gainesville’s urban neighborhoods
  • Urban redevelopment and gentrification
  • Private investment following public infrastructure investment such as Main Street reconstruction and Innovation Square
  • Public K-12 education and innovative educational community outreach
  • Innovative transportation solutions serving compact urban areas including technologies such as autonomous vehicles and fixed route transit
  • Innovation economy and jobs
  • Issues examined in the recent GNV4All initiative including
    • Criminal justice
    • Housing and Transportation
    • Jobs and Families
    • Education

Proposals will be evaluated by a team of practitioners, policy-makers, community leaders and faculty. The key selection criteria will be the practical application of the research toward solving a local problem or achieving an outcome outlined in the UF Strategic Development Plan. Additional weight will be given to projects that also do any of the following:

  • Increase student opportunities for project-based and service learning
  • Leverage existing research and research funding
  • Demonstrate the potential for community impact

The amounts awarded will be varied, but awards are limited to a maximum of $50,000 per project. The total funding available is $250,000. Funds may be restricted from purchase of certain equipment, supplies, or software deemed to be part of indirect costs.

Proposals may be submitted by any University of Florida faculty member who serves as principal investigator (PI) and is eligible to submit a proposal to an external funding agency.  Courtesy, adjunct, visiting and OPS faculty; assistants in, associates in, senior associates in; research associates; and postdoctoral associates are not eligible to be PIs for these research awards but may participate as co-PIs or co-investigators.

Proposals should provide a budget and timeline, including the specified use of the funds such as faculty buy-out or salary, graduate assistants, materials, etc.

The deadline for submission of a proposal with a detailed budget is 5 p.m. EST, Wednesday, March 15, 2017. The proposal and all questions regarding this solicitation should be sent to Linda Dixon at sdpresearch@connect.ufl.edu. Applicants will be notified of the award no later than Friday, April 7, 2017. Research projects, including a final project report, must be completed no later than May 10, 2018.

Additional information on key issues in the Gainesville community can be found at:

Gainesville Sun’s GNV4ALL initiative at: http://www.gainesville.com/news/20161103/gnv4all-initiative-to-tackle-racial-and-social-problems

City of Gainesville’s Strategic Plan at: http://www.cityofgainesville.org/CityManager/StrategicPlanning/CityStrategicPlan.aspx