Inquiry and Research Curriculum Planning Grant

Fund information:

up to $10,000 for one year (up to $5,000 for planning and up to $5,000 for inquiry-based learning course pilot), non-renewable

Rice University’s Inquiry and Research Fund awards competitive grants of up to $10,000 to departments/units that oversee the curriculum of a major, area major, or interdisciplinary major/minor. Grants are intended to fund integration of experiential inquiry and research into the undergraduate curriculum of a major, area major, or interdisciplinary major/minor. Planning Grants are for departments that need time and resources to evaluate curriculum and identify gaps in the scaffolding of inquiry and research. Departments may submit a budget of up to $5,000 to be used for planning and assessment and an additional budget of up to $5,000 to pilot an inquiry-based learning (IBL) course.

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 the Office of Undergraduate Research and Inquiry and other relevant academic support centers (Center for Teaching Excellence, Program in Writing and Communication, and Fondren Library) to design a curricular scaffold. Funded departments will collaborate with OURI during the year of their grant to customize an assessment rubric and use this rubric to establish a baseline for assessment of the curricular scaffold and student learning outcomes.

Allowable Costs:

Up to $5,000 for planning and assessment:

  • Planning process: graduate student TA or RA (department responsible for fringe) to support the planning process or to provide relief of duties to allow for faculty time to engage in the process; summer salary to NTT faculty for assessment of curriculum and planning
  • Graduate fellows: graduate students with training available from OURI to support assessment of inquiry-based learning and design of inquiry curriculum scaffold (budgeted at $20/hr up to ten hours per week)
  • Faculty development: attendance at conferences or workshops that support curricular development and assessment, pedagogical consultants brought to campus

Up to $5,000 for pilot curricular initiative:

  • Course development and implementation: materials, supplies, software, undergraduate or graduate TAs, and honoraria to support inquiry-based activities, summer salary to NTT faculty for substantiative course development
  • Off-campus learning: student travel, meals, and lodging associated with learning off campus; travel and meetings associated with working with off-campus partners

Funding cannot be used to cover the following: overhead or indirect costs, equipment, academic term salary for faculty, summer salary for tenured/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. Teams must meet with the Office of Undergraduate Research and Inquiry during proposal preparation; email to schedule.

Review Process:

OURI 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 of the program
  • Commitment to developing inquiry-based curriculum map that identifies strengths and gaps in supporting OURI student learning outcomes
  • Commitment to revising department program learning outcomes published in the General Announcements to address the OURI learning outcomes if not sought already
  • Plan to conduct baseline assessment of learning outcomes using the OURI rubrics
  • Attention to issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion when developing inquiry activities within courses
  • 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. 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 do the goals for your curricular assessment and change efforts align with the OURI learning outcomes?
    • What are proposed changes/pilots, and how will they contribute to the inquiry-based experience for all students?
    • How do you demonstrate the departmental commitment to curricular change and assessment using the OURI rubrics?
  2. A budget indicating how the requested funds would be expended and listing resources sought or acquired from other sources;
  3. A letter of support from the Chair of the department.

For questions or feedback, please contact Liz Eich (