Overview – Internal UNC Small Research Grants

The Kenan Institute’s Small Research Grant Program funds UNC-Chapel Hill research projects that align with the Institute’s mission to advance the understanding of entrepreneurship, economic development, and global commerce for the public good.

The aim of the program is to support pilot research projects or promising research that is not a candidate for typical funding sources (i.e., federal grants or foundation support). Preference is given to researchers from UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, and researchers who are sponsored by one of the Institute’s affiliated centers; however all UNC-Chapel Hill researchers are eligible. Learn more about the Kenan Institute and its affiliated Centers.

Proposals are accepted on a rolling basis. The Institute will support up to 50% of project costs with a minimum project budget of $3,000 required before the proposal will be considered for support. There is a maximum award amount of $15,000 per project and grants are provided on a matching basis in conjunction with other funding.

Additionally, projects with a global business component are eligible for matching funds from the Global Business Center for up to $1,000. Such projects may, for example, study firms’ globalization processes, compare global business practices, or explore the impact of globalization on firms. Other global business topics are welcome. These matching funds provided by the Global Business Center are only available to Kenan-Flagler faculty and doctoral students. Please see “Funding Amounts and Restrictions” for more information.

Additional details on the grant requirements are outlined below.

  • Applicants must be UNC-Chapel Hill faculty, postdocs, or PhD candidates with preferences given to those with Kenan-Flagler affiliation.
  • Non-Kenan-Flagler affiliated researchers from UNC must include a letter of support from one of the Kenan Institute’s affiliated centers or the Global Business Center in their proposals to show alignment with the Institute’s research goals. Learn more about the affiliated centers.
  • Although the research project does not have to be complete, the PI must have a preliminary analysis suitable for sharing via a white paper or report within 18-months of being funded.
If your research project receives a Kenan Institute small research grant, you will be expected to:

  • Allow the Kenan Institute to post the research project abstract on our website and other outreach channels;
  • Provide brief, written quarterly updates on project progress;
  • Acknowledge Kenan Institute funding when appropriate including on any final work products;
  • Submit a final report, white paper, or working paper suitable for distribution within 18 months of receiving the grant. This report does not need to be a completed academic paper, but at least 10 pages of summary results to date, implications, next steps, etc.
  • Purchase of datasets
  • Dedicated hourly research support (i.e. research assistant)
  • Travel related to research activities (i.e. to conduct interviews, etc.)
    Award amounts are for up to 50% of a project’s budget with a required minimum budget of $3,000 before it will be considered. The maximum award amount is $15,000 (for projects with a $30,000+ budget). The Kenan Institute Small Research Grants are matching grants that require the PI to contribute additional funding (ex. departmental research contributions) for the remainder of the project costs. The Small Research Grant funding cannot be used toward salary support or course buyout nor can a researcher’s salary be used as a matching component of the grant. A PI can only have one active Kenan Institute Small Research Grant at a time.

    Matching Funds

    Matching funds can come from a variety of sources including personal research funds (RATS accounts), other grants, or departmental support. Additionally, the Global Business Center has a small bucket of available matching funds. See below for details.

    Global Business Center Matching Grant Support

    If your proposal has a global business component, you are eligible for up to $1,000 in matching funds from the Global Business Center. To apply for these matching funds, include “Global Business Center Matching Funds applicant” and the amount you are requesting (up to $1,000) to your title page. Then, in the proposal narrative, include one paragraph on how your research is applicable to global business, broadly defined. If you elect these matching funds, then a member of the Global Business Center will be on your review committee and the grant proposal plus matching funds will be reviewed together. The Global Business Center Matching funds are limited, and distributed on a rolling basis until funds run out.

Please submit a proposal and email it to Ashley_Brown@Kenan-Flagler.unc.edu with the subject line “Small Research Grant Proposal.”

Please submit proposals in a PDF document that includes a cover page, three page-long maximum proposal narrative, short budget justification, updated resume or CV for PI, and any letters of support from a Kenan-Institute affiliated center (if applicable).

The title page should include:

  • Name, email address, phone number, UNC Status (i.e., professorial title, PhD Student, Postdoc); departmental and college affiliation
  • Proposal title
  • Date of submission
  • Total dollar amount of project including itemized list of expenses
  • The source and amount of funds to be matched

The proposal narrative should not exceed three pages, should be single-spaced, and include:

  • A one-paragraph abstract written in the third-person for posting on the Kenan Institute website,
    if the project is funded
  • A comprehensive description of proposed activities, including details about the research design
  • Short description of how the project aligns with the mission of the Kenan Institute and/or one of its affiliated centers
Proposals are accepted on a rolling basis. All proposals are evaluated by an internal committee using the following criteria:

  • Quality of research objectives and proposed design
  • Alignment with Kenan Institute’s mission and research goals
  • Innovativeness and whether the work is likely to inspire future research
  • Appropriateness of budget

We also consider the likelihood of the research resulting in publication in peer-reviewed journals. The PI will receive notice about whether the project will be funded within four weeks of submission.

Supporting pilot research projects or promising research that is not a candidate for typical funding sources

Submit a Proposal