Application Preparation 

Project Description

A complete proposal consists of a submitted and approved PSC-CUNY online application, and includes an attached project description. The project description should place the project in the perspective of the discipline and provide a detailed description of the project's method and importance. Supplementary materials may be included in the creative, visual, and performing arts fields and must be included for creative writing proposals.

Project Descriptions must be attached to all applications as either a Microsoft Word document or an Adobe Acrobat PDF file. The project description, including tables and references, is limited to 3 pages for the Traditional A and 5 pages for the Traditional B and Enhanced Awards. The Project Description may be either single or double-spaced but must have one-inch margins and use 10-12 point font. If the project description exceeds the page length, the application will be rejected.

Review Panel Designation

All applications must be submitted to one of the 18 discipline-based Review Panels. Each Panel will be composed of a Chair and four or more additional faculty members. Traditional A and B Award applications are subject to review only by the discipline-based Review Panel to which they are submitted. Enhanced Award applications will receive two expert reviews, with the final selection to be made by the University Committee on Research Awards (UCRA), which is comprised of the Review Panel Chairs.

PIs must choose one discipline-based Review Panel to which the PI will submit his/her application; however, UCRA reserves the right to transfer an application to a different Review Panel as it deems appropriate. Applicants should consult with their Grants Officer or the Program Administrator at the Research Foundation if they have questions about the Review Panels.


Applicants may apply jointly with a Co-Principal Investigator. Co-PIs must create an account through the online application system and complete the My Profile section including identifying their college. PIs may then add a "Co-PI" in the Applicants section of the online application. CoPIs are not eligible for summer salary or released time.

Human and Animal Subjects Research

Applicants who plan to use Human or Animal Subjects in their research must check the applicable boxes on the application form. The program will only accept related project expenditures incurred during the period when the project's IRB/IACUC approval period and budget period overlap. All grant activity involving human or animal subject use (purchases, arrangments, orders, expenses, travel, etc.) must be made during the current grant period and the active IRB/IACUC approval period.

Should Human Subject Use and/or Animal Subject use be applicable to the research, any related expenses which are made outside of the IRB/IACUC approval period will not be covered by the grant and will be the responsibility of the PI.

Supplementary Materials

Supplementary materials, such as slides or CDs, may be submitted only in the creative, visual and performing arts fields. If you plan to submit such materials, please check off Supplementary Material on the application form. The applicant can choose to attach the materials (2MB limit) or mail them to the Research Foundation.  If mailed, the applicant must submit two identical sets of slides, photographs, CD recordings or musical scores of his/her previous work to RFCUNY.

Published or unpublished work must be attached to creative writing proposals.

Please do not submit original or unique items, as these materials may not be returned. If you are submitting non-text materials, please send them to PSC-CUNY Research Award Program, Research Foundation/CUNY, 230 West 41st St., 7th Fl., New York, NY 10036.


Investigators should submit a list of their relevant publications and experience over the past five years. A curriculum vitae should not be attached.

Other Funding

In the Research Awards section, applicants should provide a complete list of awards and grants received over the past five years. These should include past PSC-CUNY Awards, current external grants/awards, external grants/awards resulting from PSC-CUNY funding and external awards/grants under review or in preparation. Please state the start and end-date, title and funding source, amount and your role on the grant. The PSC-CUNY Research Award Program is not intended to replace external funding for projects; applicants are expected to attempt to secure other sources of support.


Applicants for Enhanced Awards may submit names of people whom they would not recommend as reviewers of their proposals.

Budget Preparation

Budget Justification

Budget requests must be justified on the basis of the project's objectives and anticipated results. In applications for Traditional A and B Awards, the rationale for each budget item must be included in the space provided on the online application. Applications for Enhanced Awards must attach a separate one-page Budget Justification. As budget requests are not subject to modification by the Review Panels, the relatedness of the budget justification to the proposal is an important evaluation criterion. Applications that do not appropriately link the proposed work to the funding request will not be approved.

Consult with your grants officer for guidance on all matters of budget preparation.

Supplies and Materials

All items costing $1,000 or less should be budgeted as supplies.

Funds may be requested for relevant books, publications, and conference proceedings required for conducting the funded research. Detailed bibliographic information must be provided in the budget justification.

Limited funds will be allowed for photocopies, microfilms, etc. of materials not easily obtainable or readily available.

Funding may not be requested for journal subscriptions, Internet service, memberships in professional organizations or any item or service that serves an ongoing need.


Equipment purchases should be directly related to the applicant's research project and should not be for the purpose of equipping department laboratories. Only single items costing $1,000 or more should be budgeted as equipment. Equipment requested should be itemized on the budget form and in the budget justification.

When requesting items of equipment costing $2,500 or more, the applicant must list the manufacturer and model number, and clearly explain the need for the particular model in the budget justification.

Applicants whose budgets allocate funds mainly for general-purpose equipment will be given low priority for funding. Costs related to renovations or office furniture will not be allowed. Please note that equipment purchased with PSC-CUNY funds remains the property of CUNY.

Individual colleges are expected to provide computer time and facilities to faculty members without charge. If an applicant is unable to use a City University computer facility, and therefore wishes to purchase computer equipment, an explanation of the circumstances is necessary. In general, such requests should be limited to laptop or desktop computer with special capabilities for the project, and should not be made for personal storage devices that serve an ongoing need.


Proposed travel must be essential to the project and requires a detailed justification including: an itinerary with proposed dates, the duration at each location, transportation costs, estimated per diem expenses, and any other anticipated travel-related expenses. When foreign travel is proposed, the Principal Investigator must demonstrate that collections and/or resources are not available in the United States. Travel for assistants must be specified and justified. Changes in travel plans require prior approval by the Program Administrator.

The applicant is expected to choose the lowest practical fare appropriate to the length of time traveling, and to select economical accommodations wherever possible. Current New York State travel guidelines, described in the General Travel Guidelines (PI login required), are the basis for travel reimbursement. No more than two months' travel (60 days) will be covered. Note that the per diem allowance covers both meals and lodging and the lodging costs will have to be documented by receipts. The amount requested should be based on the applicant's best estimate of what the true cost will be as inappropriately high requests will not be funded.

For awards beginning 7/1/2018 (Cycle 49), the Program will allow for the purchase of travel items awarded in the approved budget as of 5/1/2018, however actual travel must occur within the budget period (7/1/2018- 6/30/2019).

Publication and Manuscript Preparation Costs

Costs of preparing manuscripts resulting from a PSC-CUNY Award and costs of publishing those manuscripts in journals (e.g., page charges and reprints) may be requested as part of the regular budget request. If funds allocated in this category are not likely to be expended within the grant period, the applicant is eligible to apply, before the grant expires, for one six-month extension of the time period to use the funds awarded.

All publications whose completion was supported by a PSC -CUNY Award must include the following acknowledgement: "Support for this project was provided by a PSC-CUNY Award, jointly funded by The Professional Staff Congress and The City University of New York."

Summer Salary

Summer salary may be budgeted to compensate Principal Investigators for time spent during the summer months conducting research or engaging in scholarly or creative activity. The investigator is not eligible for summer salary during any month in which he/she is teaching classes. Principal Investigators who are paid on a 12-month basis are not eligible to receive summer salary.

A maximum of $3,500 may be awarded per grant. However, the applicant's gross academic year salary plus summer salary may not exceed the top salary of the associate professor scale, not including longevity steps, of the PSC-CUNY contract in effect at the time of the application ($106,700.00 for the academic year). Calculations should be based on salary levels as of January 1, 2018 for the summer of 2018, with the exception of faculty on sabbatical.

Faculty on sabbatical or scholar incentive leave may be awarded summer salary support to conduct research or creative projects during either calendar year that falls within the award period.

Normally, summer salary is awarded for the first summer of the award period. Faculty on leave may conduct their research or creative projects during the first summer of the award period or the following summer, if they are deemed eligible for the summer salary in the second calendar year.

Released Time Salary

Applicants for Traditional B Awards or Enhanced Awards may request a fixed amount of $4,530.00 for three credits of released time, i.e. $3,000 for salary and 51.0% fringe benefits. PIs requesting released time must obtain approval from their Provost/Dean prior to including it in their budget proposals. Librarians requesting released time must obtain approval from their Chief Librarian prior to including it in their budget proposals. An explanation for the need for released time must be included in the budget justification. Instructional staff in non-faculty titles are not eligible for released time.

Research Staff

The award may be used to support Research Assistants and Post-doctoral Assistants. The UCRA defines a Post-doctoral Assistant as someone who has recently received a doctoral degree but has not held a full-time faculty appointment for one academic year or more. Principal Investigators should consult with the Program Administrator regarding employment protocols.

Fringe Benefits

Principal Investigators receiving summer salary may be eligible for a contribution to the TIAA annuity program. Eligibility will be determined in accordance with Research Foundation policies. The fringe benefit rate for the Principal Investigator's summer salary is 26%. The current fringe benefit rate for released time is 51%. The fringe benefit rate for Research Assistants working 19 hours or less is 9%. For Research Assistants working over 19 hours per week, the rate is 37%. These rates are subject to change.