The College of Education's Support Program for Advancing Research and Collaboration (SPARC) is a competitive grant program for new assistant professors and doctoral candidates. There are two types of grants, New Assistant Professors and Doctoral Graduate Students.

SPARC is a responsibility of the Associate Dean for Research, Innovation, and Partnerships. 

  • Fall Term: October 8, 2021
  • Spring Term: March 4, 2022
Funds Available:
  • Fall Term: $5,000.00
  • Spring Term: $5,000.00
  • Maximum Award: $1,000.00
Eligibility:  Doctoral students in good standing who are planning to advance to candidacy or have advanced to candidacy are eligible to apply.  Only research that has been approved by the student's advisor will be supported. A doctoral student may receive only one award.
Purpose of the program SPARC funds are intended to support the student’s dissertation research.   

Application Materials
Applicants will find application materials and submit thier proposals through UMD's Infoready portal.  

Downloads (also available through Grant Portal link):
New Assistant Professors:
  • Deadline: November 5, 2021
  • Funds Available: $60,000.00
  • Maximum Award: $15,000.00
Eligibility: Full-time tenure track Assistant Professors who are within two years of their appointment are eligible to apply.

Purpose of the program: SPARC awards are intended to “spark” a new faculty member’s funded research.  Research that may be funded include small scale pilot studies or other exploratory studies designed to lead to development and submission of larger for grant proposals.  Proposals must indicate how the research study will directly link to future proposal development. Faculty may  receive only one SPARC award.  See application for additional information and restrictions on use of funds.

Assistant Faculty Award Application Materials:
Applications: Submit applications electronically through InfoReady



Applications will be reviewed by 3 faculty members representing each of the departments. All applications will be screened by the Associate Dean’s office prior to review by the committee, verifying that each application is complete and meets all application requirements; those not meeting pre-review requirements may be disqualified from that cycle. Proposals sent to the committee will be reviewed according to the criteria specified in the proposal guidelines.

Assistant Professor Awards:  Awards made in a given semester are expected to start the following semester unless otherwise specified and approved in the proposal budget. Award money will be transferred to the department by the Assistant Dean for Finance and Administration. All reimbursements are the responsibility of the award recipient’s department and must be consistent with campus and College rules and regulations and departmental procedures for expending funds.

Doctoral Candidates Awards: Awards made in a given semester are expected to start the semester awarded unless otherwise specified and approved in the proposal budget.  All funds will be distributed into the Student Account via the Student Award System (SAS) within two weeks of receipt of the signed acceptance agreement form.  Once the funds are processed, the awardee will be responsible for expending funds according to the budget proposed in the SPARC grant application.

All SPARC award recipients must provide a final report to the Associate Dean for Research, Innovation, and Partnerships within 90 days after completion of their research project. The report must include a description of findings and for faculty awards specify how the awardee will obtain future funding and/or what funding has been secured. Students must provide a statement of progress made toward degree signed by the student’s advisor.

Failure to meet one or more of the general requirements or requirements specific to an award category may result in a transfer of both expended and unencumbered award funds from the department back to the College SPARC account.

SPARC Coordinator: