Proposal Review Criteria

FRCAC uses a multiple track system to select proposals for funding.  
  1. Initial Review by multiple FRCAC members within the subcommittee; FRCAC reviews social sciences and physical sciences by separate subcommittees.
  2. A Final Vote by All the Members


At least two reviewers will be initially assigned to each proposal. Once the reviewers will use the same ruberic to assess and rank the proposals using the following general criteria:

Specific Aims, Background & Significance (this is the core issue)

  1. Are the objective(s) and goal(s) of the proposed research clearly stated?
  2. Is the background leading to the current application clearly summarized?
  3. Has the existing knowledge in the field been clearly evaluated?
  4. Is the importance of the project clearly explained?
  5. How will scientific knowledge or creative pursuits be advanced if the Specific Aims are achieved?

Research Design/Methodology or Creative Medium

  1. Is the research design and/or conceptual framework described in terms understandable by educated peers not familiar with the area?
  2. Have any potentially novel concepts, approaches, tools, or technologies been described?
  3. Are preliminary studies presented that support the feasibility of the approach?
  4. Is the plan for data collection, analysis, and interpretation clearly defined and have copies of all survey instruments been included?
  5. Have any potential problems or limitations in the proposed approach been delineated?
  6. Is a tentative sequence or timetable provided for completion of the project?

Resources and Budget Justification

  1. Are the resources (space, equipment, etc.) needed to complete the project adequately described and has permission to use resources been obtained if necessary?
  2. Has documentation been provided for any collaborative agreements with entities outside of MTSU?
  3. Will requested equipment purchases replicate currently available equipment?
  4. Is the budget sufficiently justified?


What is the Likelihood of dissemination of the results and is the projected mode of dissemination appropriate (presentation, journal article, review article, book chapter or book, monograph, production, audio or video recording, etc.)?
Other funding opportunities
  1. Are there any alternative funding sources available or is FRCAC the only likely source?
  2. Is achievement of the Specific Aims likely to lead to pursuit of external funding?

Significance & Scholarship

  1. Is the proposal innovative and original; or is it a mere reproduction of PI's current ongoing research
  2. What new direction of research does the proposal leads to? This is particularly important for senior faculty members who have an established research program.
  3. What is the long-term future for the study and how feasible is the possibility of a publication/book, creative media or external funding?
  4. What are the impacts on MTSU's research & teaching missions


  1. Is the investigator qualified (education and/or experience) to successfully complete the project as proposed?
  2. Does the investigator have a record of research and/or creative accomplishments during the past five years?
  3. If the investigator previously received FRCAC funding, is the currently proposed project new or continuing?

Quality of Proposal

  1. Does the proposal comply with all stated format specifications and guidelines?
  2. Is the submission package complete with all supporting attachments, as applicable?


The subcommittees will meet independently to discuss the value and merit of each proposal.  The memberrs will debate and will arrive at a priority ranking. Subsequently, the FRCAC Chair and the subcommittee chairs will convene to generate a merged priority ranking.  Once a merged ranking has been completed, FRCAC will meet as a full committee to make a final determination.  Each proposal will then be discussed briefly at this meeting and a final vote will be taken whether to fund a certain proposal or not.  
All FRCAC decisions are final and not subject to appeal. However, FRCAC recognizes that no system is perfect; there may be instances where a promising new research direction may have been ignored and a lackluster proposal may have received the nod.  Nonethtless, the members are committed to a transparent and consistent review process that would hold all of the proposals to the same intellectual standard.  It should also be pointed out that FRCAC also perseveres to recognize all of the MTSU colleges.  Therefore, the funding priorities may be influenced by the availability of funds for a certain award year combined with the number of proposals.  Therefore, the applicants are strongly urged to revise and resubmit their proposal in the subsequent funding session(s) after addressing the reviewers' comments.  

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