Policies for Award Approval

These policies will be used by the Research & Publications Committee when considering your application for research support.

Grant Periods and Award Money

RPC limits monetary awards to a maximum of $5,000 per applicant per fiscal year (July 1-June 30).  This amount is available as a single large award, or as smaller awards for multiple successful applications submitted by the same researcher(s) throughout the year.  The award amount is determined by RPC, dependent upon alignment with “Funding Priorities” and “Categories Typically Funded by RPC Funds” as outlined below, as well as the available RPC funds at the time of application.

Awards must be used within one year. If the entire grant is not used within a year the unused funds will revert to the RPC unless an extension request is received by the Chair before the end of the original grant period. Awards cannot be made retroactively for work already accomplished or for expenses already incurred.

Funding Priorities

Awards are made on the basis of anticipated scholarly contribution of the proposed project. First preference is given to tenure-track permanent full-time faculty, followed by tenured faculty. Visiting faculty, and post-doctoral fellows are eligible to compete for funding in the spring semester, if funds permit. Academic professionals and civil service professionals are eligible for RPC grants.  Other library staff are not eligible for funding.

Use Of Human Subjects

A proposal for research that involves human subjects must be reviewed by the UIUC Institutional Review Board (IRB).  Such projects include research that uses surveys, questionnaires, focus groups, interviews, etc.  While most projects will be exempt from a full review by the IRB, all projects involving human subjects will need to be sent to the IRB for that determination.  Please refer to the IRB website for more information such as deadlines, special considerations for survey research,  and for the IRB submission form.  Be sure to allow enough time for this mandatory review.

Categories Typically Funded by RPC Funds


RPC supports travel costs directly related to research and publication, including airfare, reimbursement of automobile mileage, conference registration fees, taxis, trains, buses, subways, business telephone calls, business expenses, toll road charges, parking charges, meals, and lodging in accordance with University and State policies.  Applicants requesting registration and/or travel funds to conference destinations must submit a clear research plan to be executed at the destination, or must be scheduled to present a completed scholarly work that will appear in the official published conference proceedings, in order to be considered for funding.  However, applicants are expected to consider options for working remotely through Skype, email, or other means before requesting travel support, and should have exhausted other options for support (such as Scholars’ Travel Fund) before requesting RPC support to travel to present research that will be published in a conference’s official proceedings.  In determining the amount of awards for domestic and foreign travel, RPC attempts to follow the guidelines set forth in the Scholars’ Travel Fund policies for award amounts for particular destinations.  RPC also funds travel to destinations less than 200 miles.


Under normal circumstances, RPC does not support in house digitization due to the availability of free scanners in library units. However, RPC will support the cost for Digital Content Creation to provide high quality scans of materials if there is a justifiable need (i.e., scans for publication). Applicants with a demonstrable need may use the RPC Short Form Application.

Poster Printing:

RPC will attempt to cover the costs of poster printing for research presentations at conferences as funds allow. Prior requests for funding for these purposes will be taken into account. Applications for this purpose may use the RPC Short Form Application. 

Indexing or Other Publication Production Costs:

RPC may fund professional indexing and copyediting tasks for book manuscript production. However, authors should inquire into their publisher’s rates for completing these tasks, since they may have a lower rate than other options. In some cases, these expenses might be expected to be paid for by advances or profits the author receives from book sales. Under limited circumstances, RPC may fund article processing charges (APCs) for open access publications.

Hiring Student Assistants:

Undergraduate students: Undergraduate student hourly help is recommended for filing, photocopying, typing, collating, mailing, and data entry.

Graduate students: Graduate students may be hired on an hourly basis.  Graduate student assistance is appropriate for handling research-oriented tasks, including foreign language translation, bibliographic searching, statistical analysis, and interviewing. However, they cannot be paid on RPC fund for time authoring a work should the appointment lead to coauthorship. If you need a graduate research assistantship, we suggest you draft a justification proposal and send it to the Library Budget Committee, or consider a Campus Research Board application.

Suggestions for hiring graduate student assistants: The burden of finding a suitable assistant rests with the person receiving RPC funds. If requested, the Library Personnel Office will post the research assistant position with the appropriate office. The assistant chosen should report to the Library Personnel Office to complete employment forms.  If the student is already the recipient of and assistantship or fellowship, he or she may be restricted from other employment by the terms of the award.  Be certain that the student checks this with their college.

Salaries and wages: Please check with the Library Personnel Office to obtain the most recent minimum rates for graduate student hourly and undergraduate student hourly employees.

Technology Equipment and Services :

RPC will consider requests for technology purchases up to $5,000 as long as the request demonstrates that the technology will be used substantially in support of the proposed research.  Investigators are strongly encouraged to explore the availability of similar technology in the Library or elsewhere on campus, and are required to demonstrate in their request that the technology is either 1) not available elsewhere on campus; or 2) not available to the extent that the investigator needs it to support her/his research.

Other Research Expenditures That Have Received Funding:

Please contact the RPC Chair before requesting RPC funding for a publication subvention.

Items Not Normally Funded by the RPC

RPC does not normally provide research funds for the following:

  • Writing and manuscript preparation. RPC does not pay for time spent writing or for manuscript preparation (indexing, copyediting, etc.) by the author(s). Under limited circumstances RPC may fund indexing, copyediting, article processing charges (APCs) for open access publications, or related expenses performed by others (see the relevant section above).
  • Non-research travel, including travel to meetings, conferences, or to present papers or posters, except as specifically outlined above. The traveler should apply elsewhere, for example to the Scholar’s Travel Fund. Requests for training will only be considered in exceptional circumstances, if there is a clear relationship to a discrete research project.
  • Graduate assistantships.  Due to the high cost of supporting GAships, the RPC can only fund hourly student wage requests.
  • Prolonged research spanning years of investigation. RPC’s policy is to provide initial funding for research inquiry. RPC’s support for preliminary study should improve the candidate’s potential for attracting external research support. The RPC may encourage applicants to apply to the Campus Research Board and/or to national foundations to pursue their long term projects.
  • Postage, telephone costs, and ordinary office supplies.
  • Additions to the collection, including research material.  RPC will lend support to your requests for this material from the University Librarian.
  • Retroactive expenses The RPC can not retroactively award funds for expenses already incurred (e.g., for travel) or for services already performed.
  • Library administrative work The RPC does not have the funds to support work that falls in the category of “running the library”.  On the other hand, application could be made to the RPC for funds to develop new methodology for accomplishing a work project such as to fund a prototype project or to analyze data from a work-related project.  In all cases the “research” component should be stressed in the application. If you’re not sure whether your project is library work or research, please inquire. Projects that involve assessment of local library activities may be eligible for funding from the Library Assessment Committee, regardless of whether the assessment activities lead to publication.
  • Standard Configuration Computer Workstations or Laptops.   Similar to the Campus Research Board policy (https://crb.research.illinois.edu/programs/research-support-awards), the RPC will NOT support the purchase of standard configuration computer workstations or laptops, which are purchased and supported by Library IT.  Investigators who need to use a workstation in order to run technology equipment for their research should work with Library IT to identify an existing workstation to support the need.  RPC will consider supporting the cost of any additional equipment (e.g., RAM, storage, video card) and software that is required to perform the research. Library IT procures technology equipment and services on behalf of the investigator, so that they will be inventoried and tracked as state property.

Acknowledgement of RPC Funds

Any public presentation of the results of your work funded by the RPC, whether a conference paper, journal article, or book should acknowledge RPC support by use of the following statement:

The author wishes to acknowledge the Research and Publication Committee of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, which provided support for the completion of this research.


The Committee requires that you submit a brief narrative report and an accounting of the funds expended one year after the grant is awarded.  If the project is completed early, with funds still remaining, please report this to the RPC Chair, so the encumbered funds can be returned to the RPC pool and awarded to someone else.  The Committee may ask you to offer the Library faculty a short presentation on your project.

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