Guidelines

Overview

The Buffalo Blue Sky program intends to support motivated UB researchers in their efforts to pursue high impact research. To this end, Buffalo Blue Sky will provide each eligible investigator a Blue Sky Coin. Three types of coins, valued at $5,000, $10,000, or $25,000, will be issued to each eligible investigator depending on their sponsored program productivity. Coins may be redeemed via five pathways: (A) Coins may be redeemed when combined with Coins from one or two other investigators outside their department to fund a new multidisciplinary project. The collaborative trio (cT) will be able to use the funding to begin to tackle grand challenge problems that are too complex for a single disciplinary approach. (B) Coins may be redeemed when combined by groups of three or more faculty, from two or more departments, where pooled funds support the purchase of new equipment. The equipment must have a purchase price greater than $150,000, and enable the submission of new multidisciplinary projects. Blue Sky funding may be used to support no more than 50% of the purchase price of the equipment, with the remaining portion provided by participating departments and units. (C) Coins may be redeemed to fund research relating to COVID-19. (D) Coins may be redeemed for projects and activities leading to the population of the UB Biorepository with clinical or pre-clinical research samples. (E) Coins may be redeemed to provide support for projects relating to the pursuit of programmatic funding from NIH or from NSF.

Elligibility

To be eligible for a Blue Sky Coin, a UB investigator must rank within the top 100 UB faculty with respect to proposal submissions OR grant expenditures OR indirect costs for the two year period of 7/1/2018 – 6/30/2020. Faculty who rank within the top 100 in all three metrics qualify for a $25,000 coin; faculty who rank within the top 100 in proposal submissions and either grant expenditures OR indirect costs qualify for a $10,000 coin; faculty who rank within the top 100 in one of the metrics qualify for a $5,000 coin.

Blue Sky coins will be issued by February 1, 2021 and are available for redemption until August 31, 2022.

Coin-Redemption

Collaborative Trio

In order to redeem the Coins for funding a Collaborative Trio (cT) project, a brief project description and the confirmed participation of three team members must be submitted. Projects will not be peer-reviewed, and will be funded if: 1) the proposal includes Coin-holders from two or more different departments; 2) the proposed inter-disciplinary project(s) is/are distinct from the participants’ externally funded projects; and 3) each Coin-holder has at least one active award in which they have 20% credit at the time of redemption.

Of note, three types of cT will be supported:

  1. Three Coin-holders from two or more departments who collaborate to submit a project description.
  2. Two Coin-holders from different departments and a new investigator whose UB appointment date is after July 1, 2018.
  3. Two Coin-holders from fields pertaining to basic science, technology, engineering, or mathematics and an investigator from a field pertaining to social sciences.

If these conditions are met, an RF account will be established to fund the project. Depending on the value of the Coins held by the investigators of a given cT, project funding will range from $10,000 to $75,000. While project funding is limited to the Coin values of the investigators contributing the Coins, other non-Coin-holding investigators can participate in the project.

Shared Equipment

To redeem Coins to support the purchase of shared equipment, faculty must provide: (a) a brief description of the shared equipment, (b) the confirmed participation of three or more team members, (c) a current quotation indicating the purchase price, and (d) letters from relevant Deans and/or Department Chairs to document their contribution to the purchase. Description of the equipment and names of team members must be submitted via the web interface. Support letters and quotes must be submitted as email attachments to: buffalobluesky@buffalo.edu. Projects will not be peer-reviewed, and will be funded if: 1) all submission requirements (defined above) have been met; and 2) each Coin-holder has at least one active award in which they have 20% credit at the time of redemption.

Please note that for this funding option, the equipment must have a purchase price greater than $150,000 and Blue Sky funding may be used to support no more than 50% of the purchase price of the equipment (with the remaining portion provided by participating departments and units).

COVID-19 Research

To redeem Coins to support projects relating to COVID-19, faculty must provide a brief description of the project, including description of relevance to COVID-19. Description of the project must be submitted via the web interface. Projects will not be peer-reviewed, and will be funded if the submitting coin-holder has at least one active award in which they have 20% credit at the time of redemption. Please note that there is no requirement for formation of a collaborative trio for projects relating to COVID-19. Nonetheless, if desired, COVID-19 research may be pursued through formation of cT, following the collaborative trio pathway requirements.

Biorepository Research

To redeem Coins for projects or activities leading to the population of the UB Biorepository, faculty must provide a brief description of the project/activity, including description of the number and nature of samples to be transferred to the biorepository. Description of the project/activity, including a description of the budget planned for biorepository fees and services, must be submitted via the web interface. Projects will not be peer-reviewed, and will be funded if the submitting coin-holder has at least one active award in which they have 20% credit at the time of redemption and if the biorepository budget entails >50% of the value of the redeemed coin(s). Please note that there is no requirement for formation of a collaborative trio for biorepository projects.

Programmatic Funding

It is in the interest of the University to support the development of NIH- and NSF-supported training programs (e.g., via the T32 mechanism), center grants, program projects, and research project cooperative agreements. In many cases, it is helpful to include institutional support within applications for programmatic funding, to support seed projects, training in grantsmanship, and administrative costs associated with project planning. Blue Sky coins may be redeemed by participating faculty to pursue these efforts. To redeem Coins to support projects seeking programmatic funding, faculty must provide a brief description of the NIH or NSF program under development, description of the proposed use of Blue Sky coins, and a list of coin-holders who wish to contribute their coins. Description of the project and coinholders must be submitted via the web interface. Projects will not be peer-reviewed, and will be funded if the participating coin-holders have at least one active award in which they have 20% credit at the time of redemption.

Coin Redemption Additional Notes

Investigators may only use their Coin on one project during the Buffalo Blue Sky funding cycle of February 1, 2021 to August 31, 2022. Unless special arrangements are requested and approved by OVPRED, all project funds must be spent within 18 months of the funding initiation date.

Funding for cT, COVID-19, or programmatic funding projects may be used to support reasonable and necessary costs for the execution of the proposed project such as collection of research data or proposal planning and development. Expenditures for faculty/staff salaries (either summer or academic year) are not permitted.

Project Deliverables

Each funded project must participate in Buffalo Blue Sky symposia, which will be held in the fall semester of 2021 and 2022, to showcase Buffalo Blue Sky projects to the UB community.

Questions?

Contact Joseph Balthasar at buffalobluesky@buffalo.edu.

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Buffalo Blue Sky © 2021