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Developing a Library Research Platform for 21st Century Scholars

The direct intersection between university libraries and academic research has significantly diminished in the past two decades. For continued relevance on campus academic libraries need to develop a new approach to working within the research endeavour.

Subgrant Competition

Libraries and Cultural Resources invites submissions of letters of intent for the Academic Research and University Libraries: Creating a New Model for Collaboration sub-granting competition.

This internal sub-granting competition, funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, targets multidisciplinary research projects (involving a research team from two or more different departments) in the thematic areas of Smart CitiesArctic Studies, and Cultural Discourse as part of a research project, led by Principal Investigator Thomas Hickerson.

The sub-grants support scholar-led research while informing the evolution of a library research platform—defined as a suite of common services, such as digitization and metadata support, technical infrastructure, such as visualization and collaborative spaces, and expertise, in areas including data management and rights management— to support multidisciplinary research. However, there are likely services, technologies and expertise that the library needs to develop which will be informed through this competition targeting research projects in the thematic areas of Smart Cities, Arctic Studies, and Cultural Discourse.  Subgrants may request up to $40,000 of funding.

This is the final round of sub-grants.  Important dates:

  • Letter of intent due July 15, 2018
  • Letter of intent adjudication notifications will be made the first week of August 2018
  • Full proposals due September 16, 2018
  • Proposal adjudication notifications will be made the first week of October 2018
  • Start of funded projects November 1, 2018
  • Completion of projects July 15, 2019

Academic Research and University Libraries:  Creating a New Model for Collaboration

Value $40,000
Duration 8.5 months

Letter of Intent deadline

July 15, 2018
Letter of Intent results announced First week of August 2018
Proposal deadline September 16, 2018
Results announced First week of October 2018
Research Projects conducted November 1, 2018 - July 15, 2019

The internal sub-granting competition is part of a research project led by Principal Investigator Thomas Hickerson and funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The sub-grants are designed to establish a research platform—defined as a suite of common services, such as digitization and metadata support, technical infrastructure such as visualization and collaborative spaces, and expertise, in areas including data management and rights management—delivered by the Library to support multidisciplinary research. However, there are likely services, technologies and expertise that Libraries and Cultural Resources needs to develop which will be informed through this competition targeting scholars working in the thematic areas of Smart Cities, Arctic Studies, and Cultural Discourse.

Proposals must be a multidisciplinary response to one of three research themes:

  • Smart Cities: supports investigations into creating sustainable, resilient, secure, and culturally dynamic cities
  • Arctic Studies: supports research of the North American and the circumpolar Arctic through the environmental and social sciences, the arts, and the humanities
  • Cultural Discourse: supports multidisciplinary inquiry into the various aspects of artistic expression, communication modes, and societal traditions and norms

Proposals may involve but are not limited to case studies, pilot initiatives, critical analysis of existing research, knowledge translation, etc.


Proposals are expected to respond to the following objectives:

  • To carry out innovative, multidisciplinary research in the areas of Smart Cities, Arctic Studies, or Cultural Discourse
  • To work closely with and outline the services, technologies and/or expertise required from the Library to support the research


  • Proposals must be submitted by a team of multidisciplinary researchers involving faculty from two or more different departments.
  • Proposals must be led by tenured or tenure-track faculty at the University of Calgary.
  • While it is encouraged that library personnel be closely engaged with the proposed projects, to avoid any potential conflict of interest, personnel from Libraries and Cultural Resources may not be listed as principal or co-investigators.
  • Unsuccessful applicants from the 2017 subgrants are welcome to submit a revised version of their previous project or an entirely new project.
  • Researchers may not submit more than one proposal.


Budget information at the LOI stage does not need to include quotes and may consist of rough figures.  At the proposal stage quotes and justifications of costs are required.  In both case the budgets should limit themselves to only include:  

  1. Salaries and Benefits
    • Co-applicants may not be paid as part of the grant (e.g., post-doctoral fellows may be either co-investigators or paid from grant funds).
    • When budgeting student hours please specify an hourly rate that includes benefits and vacation as well as the estimated number of hours.  For assistance with rates or job classifications please contact your HR partner/advisor.  If you believe it is necessary to exceed the suggested rates below it is essential that you provide explicit justification for this need.
      • Undergraduates:  can be hired as AUPE student hourly or casual hourly phase 1 (phase 1 is used for student hires).  The suggested rate is $18.25/h (based mid-value of RSO’s SSHRC guidance).  This totals to $21.35/h including 17% for overhead (10.4% for benefits and vacation and 6.6% for EI & CPP employer-paid deductions).  If an undergraduate is classified as specialist/advisor (please include justification for this classification) the suggested rate is $28.00/h which totals to $32.76/h when including the 17% for overhead.
      • With graduate students the GSA minimum is $18.03/h but the suggested rate is $22.50/h (mid-value of RSO’s SSHRC guidance) which totals to $24.19/h including 7.5% for employer-paid deductions.
  2. Services and Consultants
    • Justify these costs and how they benefit the library or campus research capacity
  3. Equipment and Software
    • Personal computing devices are not an eligible expense
    • At the conclusion of the grant, purchased equipment will be transferred to the library to support future research across campus
  4. Travel
    • Travel for data collection or other project-specific activities is eligible
    • Travel costs to bring in expertise to build local knowledge are eligible
  5. Events and Meetings
  6. Dissemination
    • Dissemination costs are not an eligible expense (e.g., conferences or attending workshops)
    • Dissemination is supported by Libraries and Cultural Resources through: 
      • The Open Access Authors Fund ( for costs associated with eligible open access article or monographic publishing.
      • The University's digital repository PRISM (
  7. Library Services
    • Libraries and Cultural Resources will not charge for services that are currently provided without charge (e.g., meeting spaces, consulting, placing items in repositories, data management planning, etc.)
    • Libraries and Cultural Resources will charge for the following services on a cost-recovery basis:
      • Support of creating project-specific metadata by library staff or through training and supervising students
      • Digitization of materials by staff or supervision/quality assurance of students digitizing materials
      • Technology services such as support for web design, database creation, and data curation.
      • For rates contact

Please contact for any questions about expense eligibility or budgeting.

Evaluation and Adjudication

Letters of Intent and Proposals are adjudicated and awarded by an Adjudication Committee. 

Proposals will be judged on research significance, feasibility, and the likelihood of benefit to the development of the research platform, which is comprised of services, technologies and expertise that the library needs to develop to support scholars.  The library currently provides digitization, metadata services, visualization, data management, rights management, web development, and collaborative spaces for research incubation.  

Criteria and Scoring

  1. Alignment with and support for the library research platform  30%
    1. Partnership with the library
    2. Efforts that explore existing or entirely novel services, expertise, and infrastructure within the library
    3. Expected use of and contribution to the library research platform
  2. Concept  40%
    1. Strength of the proposal in meeting the objectives of the internal sub-granting competition
    2. Theoretical or conceptual approach to the research
    3. Strength of alignment with the research theme(s)
  3. Methodology, Feasibility, & Budgeting  30%
    1. Soundness and appropriateness of the methodology and outcome deliverables
    2. Probability that the objectives will be met within the timeline proposed
    3. At the full application stage, appropriateness and accuracy of the requested budget and the justification of proposed costs
    4. The applicant’s research and publication record or, in the case of new scholars, their potential

Submission Process

Information Sessions

For more information about the subgrant process, the Academic Research and University Libraries project, or for the opportunity to discuss potential projects with library staff we will be holding drop-in information sessions at the Taylor Family Digital Library's Gallery Hall.  These will happen:

  • June 27 from 11-12
  • July 6 from 1-2

Letter of Intent

The letter of intent is open to all University of Calgary scholars meeting the criteria above.  To submit an LOI please fill out the word document at and when complete email it to

Each LOI will be evaluated by the Adjudication Committee.  After this review, successful LOIs will proceed to the full proposal stage.

Deadline: July 15, 2018

Full Proposal

The Project Coordinator will meet and work with the research teams of successful LOIs to inform the development of full proposals.  Full proposals are expected to engage with existing functional components of the research platform and to identify where new components can be added.

For the full proposal please use this application form.  The project budget should be compiled in this spreadsheet.  When completed the proposal, budget, and quotes (where applicable) for budget items should be emailed to

Each Proposal will be evaluated by the Adjudication Committee.  Successful project teams will be notified on or before October 12 and the sub-grant projects will begin November 1.

Deadline:  September 16, 2018

For more information email or contact your research and learning or liaison librarian.

Availability of Research Outputs and Intellectual Property

Funded research projects are expected to adhere to the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications ( as well as the Tri-Agency Statement of Principles on Digital Data Management (

The terms of the funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation require that intellectual property rights for all produced software and digital copies be assigned to the University of Calgary.  The University of Calgary will be responsible for ensuring that this IP is openly and freely available and that the creators of this content are acknowledged as such and retain royalty-free, non-exclusive license to use this material for non-commercial educational, scholarly, and/or charitable purposes.  The contract that all members of the research team will be required to sign is available at