Diversity and Community Engagement
The University of Mississippi

Achieving Equity Grant

Program Description 

The Achieving Equity Grants Program was first introduced in 2019 and is jointly administered by the Office of the Provost, the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP), and the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement. The principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion are central to the University of Mississippi’s mission of transformative teaching, learning, research, and service. This seed grant program is intended to support innovative scholarly and creative efforts at UM that advance knowledge on topics of diversity, equity, and inclusion.  

The most competitive proposals will position the project in the context of challenges common to the University of Mississippi, the state of Mississippi, and beyond. Ideally, the knowledge gained from these projects will explore and broaden our understanding on issues of equity/inequity in institutions, academia, and/or broader society within and across academic disciplines. In order to maximize the impact of this important work, consideration should be given to how this internally-funded seed project can lead to larger externally-funded initiatives. ORSP is committed to working with the investigators to seek the level of external funding required to expand these seed projects into highly impactful programs.  

Responsive ideas from any discipline(s) will be considered. Projects with potential contributions to advancing the Institutional DEI Strategic Plan are highly encouraged.

While diversity, equity, and inclusion have been defined in different ways, we will adopt the University of Mississippi institutional definition for the purposes of this solicitation: 

Diversity is an affirmation of the intersecting individual, social and organizational identities that make our community vibrant and transformational. We commit to openly increasing, embracing and recognizing the full spectrum of diversity at all levels of our institution.

Equity is directly addressing the social, institutional, organizational and systemic barriers that prevent members of marginalized groups from thriving in our community. We commit to be both proactive and responsive in mitigating barriers so that all members of our institution are able to reach their full potential.

Inclusion is actively and intentionally creating a welcoming campus where all individuals feel they have a supportive and affirming space to learn, grow and engage. We commit to fostering a campus environment that fully supports, values and engages the intersectional identities of every member of our community.

Review Process and Criteria 

In consultation with the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, ORSP Research Development will enlist ad-hoc reviewers from among: UM scholars or leaders; non-UM scholars who have published peer-reviewed research related to DEI topics; DEI leaders from other institutions, or organizations, or sectors; or others with diverse experience or expertise in topics related to DEI and/or grantsmanship. Each reviewer will be asked to carefully read each assigned proposal and, to the best of their ability given their own expertise and experience, provide thoughtful comments (strengths and weaknesses) in each of the following criteria, as well as an overall funding recommendation. Informed by the comments and recommendations, and the limited funds available, funding decisions will be made jointly by the Vice Chancellor for Research and Sponsored Programs and the Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Community Engagement.  

  1. Relevance: How well does the proposed project fit within the scope of this grant?  
  2. Intellectual Merit: What is the potential of the project to advance knowledge and scholarship within the scope of this grant, resulting in peer-reviewed publications, presentations at national scholarly conferences, or other scholarly outcomes for the investigator/team?  
  3. Impacts: Beyond the creation of scholarship and the advancement of knowledge, how will the preliminary and eventual follow-on projects contribute to the betterment of the University of Mississippi, other universities or communities, the State of Mississippi, the Nation, or the World? Examples may include, but need not be limited to, the broader impacts articulated by the National Science Foundation.  
  4. External Funding Target: For proposals where an anticipated follow-on project involves an external funding proposal, has the investigator/team identified a credible sponsor/funding opportunity related to this work? Does the application make it clear that the investigator/team has a strong understanding of what is required to be successful in pursuing that opportunity? How appropriate is that funding target for the type of work being proposed? What is the likelihood that funding this project will lead to a competitive proposal in response to one or more of such opportunities? For proposals with large budgets, does the external funding potential justify the size of the investment? 
  5. Soundness of Plan: How well-considered is the plan to conduct the project? How specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound are the objectives? Have enough specifics been provided to convince the reviewer that there the investigator/team will be able to complete the project and achieve the objectives? Is there a realistic timeline?  
  6. Qualifications, Resources, and Environment: How qualified is the investigator/team to conduct the proposed study? Has the team established knowledge of what has been published in this area previously? Does the investigator/team have a history of published scholarship on this topic? How adequate are the available resources to conduct the study?  
  7. Overall Recommendation: All things considered, what is your recommendation for funding, considering the potential of this project, and the anticipated follow-on project(s), to lead to significant advancements in knowledge about, and/or improvements to, diversity, equity, and/or inclusion, at UM, in Mississippi, in the U.S., or in the world.

    – Recommended – Highest Priority (3 points)
    – Recommended – Medium Priority (2 points)
    – Recommended – Low Priority (1 point)
    – Recommended with Reservations (0 points)
    – Not Recommended ( -1 point)

The confidentiality review process will be protected, and all involved in the review process will be required to disclose conflicts of interest and certify their understanding of confidentiality expectations in reviewing proposals

Application Process and Requirements 

To apply, please complete this online application form via InfoReady Portal and submit the following documents:

  • Letter of Intent (LOI) Instructions and Format 

The LOI will allow us to identify and enlist appropriate reviewers to help evaluate your proposal. Please provide the following information, as a good faith estimate of what you intend to propose; if necessary, some details can be changed in the actual proposal. 

  • Project Title 
  • Contact Principal Investigator (PI): Name, Title, and Depart. of UM individual to lead the project. For proposals involving multiple investigators, the Contact PI will be the point of contact for communication with the project team, administering funds on behalf of the team, and submitting reports for the team. 
  • Co-Investigators (Co-PIs) (optional): Name, Title, and Dept. of any additional investigators (UM faculty or staff) to play significant roles on the project.  
  • Other Significant Collaborators (optional): Name, Title, and Dept. of any additional participants with specific roles on the project. If UM students (encouraged) or non-UM personnel will significantly contribute to the project, list them here as well.  
  • Keywords:  Up to four words or short phrases 
  • Project Overview: Up to 250 words describing the activities you intend to propose for the investment grant, including any short-term (1-3 years) outcomes anticipated 
  • External Funding Target (optional): Up to 100 words listing the sponsor(s) and/or funding opportunities to be targeted for follow-on funding (if any) 
  • Estimated Budget: Approximate total budget 
  • Proposal Instructions and Format 

  • Project Title 
  • Contact Principal Investigator (PI): Name, Title, and Depart. of UM individual to lead the project. For proposals involving multiple investigators, the Contact PI will be the point of contact for communication with the project team, administering funds on behalf of the team, and submitting reports for the team. 
  • Co-Investigators (Co-PIs) (optional): Name, Title, and Dept. of any additional investigators (UM faculty or staff) to play significant roles on the project.  
  • Other Significant Collaborators (optional): Name, Title, and Dept. of any additional participants with specific roles on the project.   
  • Keywords:  Up to four words or short phrases 
  • Project Summary: NSF-style project summary (1 page) 
  • Project Description: Up to 4 single-spaced pages describing: the knowledge gap or problem to be addressed (goal); how it fits within topics related to diversity, equity, and/or inclusion (relevance); the rationale or unique approach to be taken; the objectives to be achieved during the preliminary project period1; the activities proposed to meet those objectives; a timeline; the roles of the Investigators and Collaborators (and expertise to perform those roles); an assessment plan (if appropriate); and a summary of the intellectual merit and anticipated broader impacts.  
  • Follow-On Project Vision: Up to 2 pages charting a course for how this project should lead to a follow-on project to advance knowledge on a larger scale and have a greater impact. How will the preliminary project set the stage for a successful follow-on project? If the follow-on project requires additional funding, include the plan for obtaining that funding. For example, if an external grant will be pursued, identify the sponsor(s) and/or funding opportunities to be targeted, and give the rationale, plan, and timeline for leveraging the preliminary project into a competitive proposal for that opportunity.  
  • Detailed Budget: Use ORSP Achieving Equity Budget template from Web announcement2 
  • Budget Justification: Narrative justification of budget (1 page) 
  • Biographical Sketch(es): An abbreviated biographical sketch or resume/CV (1 page) 
  • References: References cited in proposal (no page limit) 

Funding Stipulations 

The Provost’s Office has allocated $50,000 for this year’s competition. Funds will be distributed through internal Investment Grants managed by the ORSP Division of Research Development. No transmittal will be required, nor will facilities and administrative (indirect or overhead) costs apply—all allocated funds are to be used on direct project costs only.  

We expect to fund several projects with activity periods of 6 months to 2 years, and with budgets between $1,000 and $10,000.  Within this range, each investigator/team should ask for as much as (and no more than) they need (and can clearly justify) to complete a research project that will lay the groundwork for a larger, possibly externally-sponsored, follow-on project. Projects outside of this suggested budget range may be considered, but will be more heavily scrutinized, relative to their demonstrated potential for leveraging large external funding mechanisms or achieving extraordinary impacts. 

Funds can be requested for all of the usual grant categories; however, due to the limited funds available, requests for salaries/wages of faculty/staff-level investigators are not expected or encouraged; where included, such requests should be strongly justified in terms of their necessity for completing the project. We welcome proposed preliminary projects that can be completed entirely within the research portion of investigator/team members’ regular 9-month or 12-month appointments.  


1/14/2022 Call for Proposals Announced 

2/2/2022 Zoom Information Session (Click here to view a recording of the information session.)

3/4/2022 Required by non-binding LOIs due via InfoReady Review Portal 

3/18/2022 Application due via InfoReady Review Portal 

April 2022 Award decisions announced 

May 2022 Grant accounts created and funded 

05/02/2022 Earliest anticipated project start date 

08/15/2022 Latest anticipated project start date 

05/30/2023 Latest due date for mid-term project report 

05/30/2024 Latest due date for final project report  

Project Report 

Project PI is required to submit an interim and a final project completion reports as a condition of the award. Please use this Qualtrics form to submit each report.

Achieving Equity Grant Reporting Form

Please email DiversityEducation@olemiss.edu if you have any questions regarding this form or reporting requirements.

Point of Contact 

Direct questions on proposal preparation, competition/review process, or resources to support proposal development at DiversityEducation@olemiss.edu 

Yashwant Prakash Vyas

Diversity Education and Strategic Initiatives Director 

Division of Diversity and Community Engagement 

Jason Hale 

Director of Research Development 

Office of Research and Sponsored Programs 

Past Awards  

2022 Achieving Equity Grant Recipients

2021 Achieving Equity Grant Recipients

2020 Achieving Equity Grant Recipients