Peder Sather Grant Application Guidelines 2017-2018

Background and Purpose

The primary mission of the Peder Sather Center for Advanced Study (the Center) is to strengthen ongoing research collaborations and foster the development of new research collaborations between faculty at the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) and from the consortium of nine participating Norwegian academic institutions. The Center’s funding enables UC Berkeley faculty to conduct exploratory and cutting-edge research in tandem with leading researchers from the following nine Norwegian institutions of higher education in collaboration with The Norwegian Research Council:

BI Norwegian Business School (BI)
Norwegian School of Economics (NHH)
Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)
Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)
University of Agder (UiA)
University of Bergen (UiB)
University of Oslo (UiO)
University of Stavanger (UiS)
UIT The Arctic University of Norway

The Center will select projects for support and also serve as an administrative hub for these partnerships. The Center will also use its financial resources to support activities such as workshops, mini-conferences, virtual intellectual exchanges, graduate student exchanges, postdoctoral fellow exchanges, the undertaking of exploratory and pilot studies, and the undertaking of core research activities such as data collection and analysis.

Funding Areas

Applications from all fields and disciplines are welcomed. No field will be excluded from consideration.

Projects selected for support can be based in the arts, the humanities, the social sciences, education, business, law, engineering, design, urban planning, mathematical sciences, physical sciences, life sciences, medical sciences, biology, as well as other professional fields.

Funding Packages 

The Center will make approximately $400,000 available for projects each year and offers grants of between $10K and $25K. Funds are made available for one academic year. Grants can support activities such as workshops, mini-conferences, virtual intellectual exchanges, the undertaking of exploratory and pilot studies, activities such as PhD student exchanges, longer-term stays for principal investigators, the collection and analysis of data, and other core research activities.

Funding Terms and Fundable Activities

  • Each grant will be awarded jointly to the principal investigators as a team. Grant funds are transferred to the UC Berkeley principal investigator’s home department for administration. Given that the Peder Sather Center is a UC Berkeley-housed entity, the UC Berkeley principal investigator will be responsible for approving the grant funds to his or her team members at Berkeley and in Norway. At the end of the grant period, any remaining funds must be returned to the Sather Center.
  • Funds may be used to defray the following kinds of expenses:
  • Travel and living expenses for eligible PIs and team members related directly to the undertaking of projects.
  • Support to hire or provide stipends to team members beyond the joint PI’s (such as graduate students and postdoctoral fellows). Stipends to research team members (not the Primary Investigators) are limited to $10K at the University of California, Berkeley.
  • Costs incurred in the course of executing pilot studies or exploratory studies.
  • Funds may not be used to defray the following kinds of expenses:
  • Salary or stipends for faculty members involved in projects (including the Principal Investigators).
  • Purchase of equipment used to carry out projects (engaging in rental agreements and/or contracting with external vendors is allowed, however).
  • Costs incurred in the publication or dissemination of results.
  • Expenses related to family members who accompany researchers on research trips
  • Expenses that normally would not be covered in Norway, will normally not be covered at Berkeley either.

Funding Eligibility 

  • Eligible collaborating applicants from both UC Berkeley and Norwegian consortium institutions must be in contact with one another prior to applying for funds, and have a letter of collaboration commitment signed by both parties.
  • There must be at least one Principal Investigator from UC Berkeley and one from a Norwegian consortium institution.
  • Principal Investigators from UC Berkeley must be ladder-rank faculty (i.e. hold Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Professor titles); no substitutions may be made.
  • Principal Investigators from Norwegian consortium institutions must hold the position of either postdoktor (on the condition that the individual is able to document consistent employment at the consortium institution for the duration of the project), førsteamanuensis or professor (i.e. hold positions equivalent to Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Professor titles in the US).
  • Members of research teams who are not Principal Investigators themselves can hold other positions such as lecturer, visiting scholar, postdoctoral fellow, or graduate student. In order to receive indirect funding, however, research team members must be affiliated in some way with the participating institutions. Nonaffiliated team members are not eligible to receive direct or indirect support from the Center.

Selection Criteria 

The Center’s executive committee (five members from UC Berkeley and five members from the participating Norwegian institutions) will evaluate the proposals with input from experts drawn from the participating institutions. The primary selection criterion will be scholarly and/or scientific merit as determined by the executive committee in conjunction with subject-matter experts where appropriate. Scholarly and scientific merit includes the following three components:

  1. An explanation of the promise of the proposed project (i.e. how the project will contribute to the advancement of scholarly knowledge and/or scientific inquiry).
  • The project has the potential to enhance our understanding of common problems and issues.
  • It demonstrates originality.
  • The merits of the co-PIs are commensurate with the project’s goals.

2. The feasibility of executing the proposed study within the proposed time frame.

  • The project is, at once, ambitious in terms of its scholarly goals, and at the same time, is realistic for the scope the proposal encompasses.
  • The project is well-organized; the timeline is sound; and there are adequate resources in place for the plans it articulates.
  • The stage of the project reflects the mission and purpose of the Peder Sather Center Program; preference will be given to projects in their early and exploratory phases.

3. Impact of the project.

  • The project has the potential to make a significant contribution to a field of knowledge.
  • It represents a true collaboration between UC Berkeley and Norway, which has the potential to grow/expand over time.
  • The project has a high degree of likelihood of obtaining complementary funding from other sources beyond the Center and/or the potential for “spinoff” projects.

In addition, while the proposals will be judged equally on their merits, one or more of the following criteria may be applied in the selection process:

  • The career stage of the Principal Investigators (projects including team members in an early stage of their careers [i.e. PhD students and postdoctoral fellows], will be given preference);
  • The reasonable distribution of Principal Investigators among the Norwegian consortium institutions;
  • The extent to which the project creates new synergies between the Norwegian academic communities and the academic community at UC Berkeley; and
  • Previous support from the Peder Sather Center may be taken into consideration.

Application Timeline

  • October 1, 2016 – Online application available.
  • March 1, 2017 – Grant application deadline.
  • March 2 – June 15, 2017– Evaluation of proposals.
  • June 15, 2017 – Grant decisions announced.
  • July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018 – Grant funds are available for use.

As the Center’s resources are limited and many projects require substantial funds, we ask that applicants indicate whether they have applied for funding for the same project from other sources at the time of application. If applicants receive funding during the evaluation period, they are asked to update us regarding this additional funding.

Application Instructions 

The application is available at: Peder Sather Grant Program

Questions regarding the application process should be directed to Robert Gleeson, Executive Director, at robertgleeson@berkeley.edu