Inquiry and Research Curriculum Enhancement Grant

Fund information:

up to $30,000 for one year with opportunity for renewal

Rice University’s Inquiry and Research Fund awards competitive grants of up to $30,000 to departments/units that oversee the curriculum of a major, area major, or interdisciplinary major/minor. Grants are intended to fund integration of inquiry and research into the undergraduate curriculum of a major, area major, or interdisciplinary major/minor. Enhancement Grants are for departments that have already used assessment to identify the strengths and weaknesses of their curricular inquiry and research scaffold. Grants can be used to support new initiatives that fill a gap in the scaffold or to enhance an existing initiative. Proposals should make inquiry-based experiences accessible to all students within a major and promote the inclusion of diverse students in inquiry skill development at the capstone level.

Funds awarded will be for academic year 2023-2024 and cannot carry over to a second year. Awarded departments/units agree to meet regularly with OURI and other relevant academic support centers (Center for Teaching Excellence, Program in Writing and Communication, and Fondren Library) to design and implement curricular initiatives. Funded departments will collaborate with OURI during the year of their grant to customize an assessment rubric and use this rubric to assess the curricular scaffold and student learning outcomes.

Allowable Costs:

  • Course development and implementation: materials, supplies, software, TAs, and honoraria to support inquiry-based activities in courses, summer salary to NTT faculty for substantiative course/curriculum development
  • Off-campus learning: student travel, meals, and lodging associated with learning off campus; travel and meetings associated with working with off-campus partners
  • Co-curricular support: student conference travel, stipends for undergraduate research that supports grant activities
  • Graduate fellows: graduate students to support development and implementation of experiential inquiry and research into the curriculum (budgeted at $20/hr up to ten hours per week)
  • Assessment: tools, student incentives

Funding cannot be used to cover the following: overhead or indirect costs, equipment, academic term salary for faculty, summer salary for tenure/tenure-track faculty, or capital projects.

Departments are encouraged to seek additional funding for course development by applying for the Brown Teaching Grant and/or for a grant from the Program in Writing and Communication (PWC). The PWC is eager to work with departments that are interested in integrating writing, speaking, or visual assignments into courses as part of their OURI proposal. For more information, contact Jennifer Wilson (, Director of the PWC.


  • Teams with a minimum of three full-time faculty of mixed rank who have authority over a major, area major, or interdisciplinary major/minor are eligible to apply.
  • Department program learning outcomes published in the General Announcements address at least three OURI student learning outcomes.
  • During proposal preparation, teams meet with the Office of Undergraduate Research and Inquiry; email to schedule.

Review Process:

Office of Inquiry-Based Learning and the Faculty Advisory Committee will review proposals and consult with relevant Deans in making final award decisions.

Selection Criteria:

Proposals will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Identification of a department leadership team of tenured/tenure track and NTT faculty with influence and commitment to lead undergraduate curricular change and to carry out regular assessment
  • Evidence of assessment that reveals strength and weaknesses in map of current curricular scaffold in experiential inquiry and research (see the inquiry scaffold)
  • Proposed impact of the initiative on the curricular scaffold
  • Proposed impact on and relevance of curricular change to OURI student learning outcomes
  • Commitment to including all OURI learning outcomes in department learning outcomes if they are not present already
  • Plan for using OURI rubrics to assess learning outcomes
  • Attention to issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion when developing inquiry activities within courses
  • Innovation of curricular change
  • Justification for proposed budget and plan for sustaining the curricular changes beyond the period of the grant award
  • Statement of departmental resources to support curricular change (e.g., funding, faculty time, materials)

How to Apply:

Proposals should be prepared using student learning outcomes and materials to support inquiry-based curriculum development at Proposals must be submitted as a single PDF to Liz Eich by April 1, 2023 deadline. Proposals should include the following:

  1. A project description of no more than three pages (in 12-point type) that answers the following questions:
    • How does the curriculum map and assessment of inquiry in the curriculum inform your assessment of the needs for curricular change?
    • What are the proposed changes and how will they scaffold inquiry-based learning experiences for all students?
    • How do you demonstrate the departmental commitment to curricular change and plan for using OURI rubrics to assess OURI student learning outcomes?
  2. Curriculum map that demonstrates scaffolded experiential inquiry and research in major, area major, or interdisciplinary major/minor
  3. A budget indicating how the requested funds would be expended and listing resources sought or acquired from other sources
  4. A letter of support from the Chair of the department.

For questions or feedback, please contact Liz Eich (