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Endowment Grants Program





Funded by the Stengl-Wyer Endowment, the Stengl-Wyer Endowment Grants Program (Grants Program) supports initiatives in research, educational activities, and research-driven enhancements to facilities and collections.  The 2021 Endowment Grant Awardees have been announced and are listed below.

Initiative 1: Research

Research grants will be awarded to faculty for new high-impact research projects.  Support of ongoing, large-scale operation of a research program is not within the scope of the program.  Research grants are limited to 1 year and no more than $100,000. Small budget projects are welcome, and the budget may be considered in award selections.

Initiative 2: Educational activities

The Grants Program will support educational activities such as 1) innovative models for support of graduate students to study the diversity of life and interactions between organisms and their natural environments, and 2) undergraduate summer research summer fellowships and streams within the Freshman Research Initiative. Educational activity programs may be proposed for up to 3 years with a maximum total budget of $150,000.

Initiative 3: Research-directed enhancements to facilities and collections

The Grants Program will support research-directed enhancements of the college’s biological field stations, the college’s natural sciences collections, including the Biodiversity Collection. Enhancement programs may be proposed for up to 3 years with a maximum total budget of $150,000.


  • Tenure track and non-tenure track CNS faculty, and those with active Principal Investigator status in CNS are eligible to apply.
  • A Principal Investigator (PI) previously awarded a Research grant may apply for a subsequent Research grant. However, funding of research projects by the same PI in consecutive years is not intended. Co-PIs with limited roles on Research grants are not affected.
  • A PI previously awarded a grant for an Educational Activity or Enhancement is eligible to apply for a Research grant but is discouraged to apply for a subsequent Educational Activity or Enhancement grant during the period of performance of the awarded project or program.
  • Non-awarded applicants from previous cycles may resubmit their proposals once for a total of two submissions.


All application documents should be formatted using 1-inch margins and no smaller than 11-point font. Recommended fonts are Arial, Georgia, Helvetica, and Times New Roman. The following documents are all required and must be submitted by the application deadline of 4:59 PM CST on June 14, 2021:

  1. Lay Summary. In 200 words or less describe for a general audience the proposed project and its potential impact on the study of the diversity of life and interactions between organisms and their natural environments.
  2. Research/Program Plan. Limit to three (3) pages. Organize the proposal in the specified order using the section headings (Rationale and Vision, Participants) and the following instructions:
    • Rationale and vision. Explain the innovative and transformative nature of the proposed project, and how it supports one or more of the Stengl-Wyer Endowment Grant Program initiatives.
    • List participating project members providing a clear explanation of each member’s role in the project.
  3. Bibliography/References. List sources in a document separate from the proposal. No page limit.
  4. External Funding Leveraging. Limit to one (1) page. Describe your plan to leverage the funding requested from the Stengl-Wyer Endowment Grant Program with external funding sources. Include an anticipated timeline with milestones for development of external proposals, names of potential sponsoring agencies, and relevant deadlines for those agencies.
  5. Budget and Budget Justification. No page limit. Submit a detailed budget outlining expenditures in appropriate categories. Budgets may include tuition and stipends for graduate students. Budgets should not include faculty salary (e.g., summer salary) or indirect costs/facilities & administrative fees. Funding levels for maintenance and operations (M&O) for the field stations and the collections are being determined separately, and should not be included in the research proposals. Other resources that will be committed to the effort, such as support from academic units, should also be outlined. Clearly justify each major expense. Budgets for multi-year proposals (educational or enhancement only) should show costs for each year proposed.
  6. Biosketches/CVs and Current and Pending Support. Submit biosketches/CVs and Current and Pending Support documents for all participating faculty.


Applications must be submitted through CompetitionSpace, UT-Austin’s online submission interface, by 4:59PM CST on June 14, 2021. All required application components (listed in the Application Components section above) should be combined and uploaded as a single pdf. To apply:

  1. Click the “Apply Now” button at the top right of this page or go to https://utexas.infoready4.com/#competitionDetail/1839933.
  2. Click the “Apply” button on the CompetitionSpace page.
  3. This will take you to a login screen. Click “University of Texas login” to enter your UT EID and password.
  4. You will be taken to an online application form. Complete the application form, upload the required application components, and click “Submit Application” at the bottom of the page. You also have the option to save a draft application and return later to submit it.


The following competitive review process will be used to determine specific activities and funding levels:

  1. Faculty (individual or in small teams) submit proposals describing their vision for a research project, educational activity, or enhancement within the budget and duration specified in the Overview section of this request for applications.
  2. A committee of three faculty (separate from the Stengl-Wyer Endowment Committee) will evaluate the submitted proposals to identify the projects and programs that will have the greatest potential to advance the study of the diversity of life and interactions between organisms and their natural environments.
  3. The committee will present their recommendations to the Stengl-Wyer Endowment Committee for final approval.


Announcement of awardees: August 2021 (previously August 1, 2021)

Award Start Date:  September 1, 2021


Program website: https://cns.utexas.edu/swe/endowment-programs

Program questions should be directed to the Stengl-Wyer Endowment Program Directors: swe@austin.utexas.edu.

Application submission interface questions should be directed to CNS Strategic Research Initiatives: CNS_SRI@austin.utexas.edu.


The form and timing of Stengl-Wyer Endowment Grant awards is subject to change in subsequent years. The content of this announcement is relevant only for the 2021 competition cycle.


2021 stengl-wyer endowment grant awardees

Research-driven enhancements of field stations

1. Brian Sedio: "Leveraging big data science for ecological research in an era of global change: A Forest Global Earth Observatory (ForestGEO) plot at Stengl Lost Pines Biological Station"

2. Robert Plowes: "Establishment of an Experimental Garden and Associated Infrastructure at Stengl Lost Pines Biological Station"

Educational support

1.  Timothy Keitt: "Undergraduate Biodiversity Scholars: A proposal for a need-based program to fund undergraduate students to take field classes at UT Austin"

2. Jo-anne Holley: "A CURE for the Biodiversity Crisis: Integrating Biodiversity Research with Education to Increase Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology"

3. Kasia Dinkeloo: "FRI Bioprospecting ImPRInt (Impact of Plastics on Rhizosphere Interactions)"

4. Becca Young: "EvoDevOmics: a Freshman Research Initiative Stream"

Research grants

1. Kristin Nielsen "Danger Downstream? Investigating indirect mechanisms of urban runoff toxicity using a whole ecosystem approach"

2. Amy Wolf: "Probing the mechanisms of enhanced ecosystem functioning from diversity: resource acquisition, trophic interaction, and phylogenetic diversity within plant communities"

3. Felicty Muth: "Examining the function of an insect neurohormone found in plants"


previous stengl-wyer endowment grant awardees