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ORCA Acceleration Grants (OAG)




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  • Application Due Date: March 27, 2023 (by 11:59pm)
  • Announcement of Awards: May 2023
  • Project Start/Funding Date: June 2023 



The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Creative Activities (ORCA) is pleased to announce a new grant funding program, the ORCA Acceleration Grants (OAG). As a public research university, UCLA’s mission is “the creation, dissemination, preservation and application of knowledge for the betterment of our global society.” These grants build on ORCA’s commitment to this mission. They are intended to support research and creative activities that expand our knowledge in meaningful ways and drive positive change in society. With this mission, the OAG program complements ORCA’s Public Impact Research (PIR) Awards, which recognize faculty whose research or other creative work has had a significant beneficial public impact. While both programs address the impact of research and creative activities, the OA Grants are positioned at a much earlier stage in realizing that impact, catalyzing activities that could eventually be recognized with a PIR Award.

For the purpose of the ORCA Acceleration Grants, the term “impact” is defined broadly to include any research and/or creative activities positioned to have a demonstrable effect and/or influence on the betterment of society. Examples of this include (but are not limited to):

  • Deploying knowledge for public benefit (such as policy or behavioral change)
  • Expanding or deepening the impact of a field of knowledge 
  • Generating/disseminating knowledge in novel ways
  • Challenging existing conventions to improve opportunities, access, equity, and/or justice
  • Bridging divides between traditional fields of study
  • Expanding access to and/or preservation of knowledge
  • Creating new audiences for knowledge and/or creative activities 
  • Impacting local, national, and/or global communities

Grants may be used to advance work-in-progress or to begin a new endeavor. In all cases, there should be a clear articulation of the anticipated outcomes and the effects they will have. Recognizing that impact may not look the same across disciplines, the degree of impact should be contextualized within the given field. In addition, there should be a clear case for why the proposed work is unlikely to be funded (or funded sufficiently) through another source.


PI / Co-PI Eligibility

  • Projects must have one lead principal investigator (PI) 
    • The PI must hold a UCLA academic faculty or academic administrator appointment (individuals in the senate, lecturer, adjunct, other non-senate, or academic administrator series are all eligible). 
  • Projects may have up to three Co-PIs
    • The Co-PI(s) must hold a UCLA academic faculty or academic administrator appointment (individuals in the senate, lecturer, adjunct, other non-senate, or academic administrator series are all eligible). 
  • Visiting faculty, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and individuals without UCLA appointments are not eligible to serve as the PI or Co-PI, although they may serve as collaborators.   

Limit on Number of Applications per PI

  • Each faculty member is limited to one application as lead PI, but may serve as a Co-PI or collaborator on more than one application.  

Current Funding

  • Currently funded activities are not eligible for consideration. Should any aspect of a proposal receive alternative funding, the primary applicant must notify the program contact ( within 5 business days.
  • Proposals that build off other funded work are eligible, but the application should describe how the proposal is distinct from existing funded work.

Other ORCA Funding Programs

  • PIs, co-PIs, and team members may apply for other funding through ORCA (such as the Racial and Social Justice Seed Grants, the Latinx Studies Seed Grants, or the Arts Initiative Grants) provided that the applications are for distinct projects and comply with any application restrictions of the other programs
    • In other words, the same project is not eligible to apply for more than one ORCA funding opportunity. 
    • If you are unsure which funding opportunity makes the most sense for your project, please contact
  • Applicants with current/past funding through other ORCA mechanisms are eligible to apply for OAG funding for a different project. However, reviewers may take into consideration whether an applicant has received funding through an ORCA program in the past.

Program Preferences

Preference will be given to projects led by a PI with a primary appointment in a department or unit affiliated with one of the following Divisions or Schools:

  • Anderson School of Management
  • School of Education & Information Studies
  • Herb Alpert School of Music
  • Humanities Division
  • Luskin School of Public Affairs  
  • School of the Arts & Architecture  
  • School of Law
  • School of Theater, Film & Television
  • Social Sciences Division


Available Funds

It is anticipated that about 8 projects will be funded, with a maximum award of $30,000 per project.

Period of Funding

Funds will be available for distribution approximately 4-6 weeks following the announcement of the awards, so long as the research team provides all requested information including IRB/ARC approvals, if applicable, in a timely manner. All funds should be expended within approximately 12 months of the fund transfer. PIs/Project Directors will be permitted to apply for one no-cost extension of an additional 12 months.

Allowable Expenses

Funds must be used for direct research costs such as materials, supplies, personnel (including staff and student salaries/fee remissions), and travel to the extent that such expenses are directly related to the proposed project.

Open Access publishing fees of up to $7,000 may be included.

If proposals involve compensating non-UCLA affiliated personnel, then an explanation of why this expertise or service is critical for the success of the project must be included in the project narrative.

Proposed activities and expenditures must comply with all applicable university policies and procedures. 

Funding Restrictions

Funds may not be used for UCLA-based faculty/investigator salaries or support including teaching buy-outs or summer ninths, or departmental overhead costs (indirect costs). 

The following activities are not eligible for funding under this mechanism:

  • Seminars, courses, or curricular development
  • Conferences or conference support, workshops, or training programs
  • Publishing subventions (Open Access publishing fees of up to $7,000 may be included.)


Proposal Elements

All proposals must be submitted through the OAG application portal and include the following elements:

To be entered in the appropriate fields in the application form in the portal:

  • Proposal Title
  • Name, email, and school/department affiliation of the PI and up to three Co-PIs.
  • A project abstract (150-word maximum), which may be used in announcing recipients of the grants.
  • Funding amount requested
  • NOTE: The information above does not need to be included in the Project Narrative document.

To be uploaded in the application form in the portal:

  • Project Narrative (6-page maximum, 12 pt. font minimum Update: Additional pages beyond the 6-page maximum may be included for citations). Please address the following elements and indicate each topic section with a header.
    • Research Questions/Creative Activities: Statement of question/issue to be addressed, current state of knowledge, and general approach to be used
    • Impact: Describe the impact of the proposed activities. Contextualize the degree of impact within the affected areas
    • Funding Possibilities: Summarize why the project is unlikely to be sufficiently funded from another source. If unsuccessful funding attempts have been made, please include this information and any context for the funder’s rejection.
    • Timeline and Outcomes: Timeline of activities and anticipated outcomes 
    • NOTE: Project descriptions should be written in plain English, understandable by reviewers from a variety of disciplines.
  • Budget. Please provide a listing of the projected expenses, along with written justifications, using the budget template form
  • Biosketches for PI and any Co-PIs (2 pages maximum per investigator, including professional appointments/affiliations, awards/honors, and publications). Please combine all of the biosketches into a single PDF, placing the PI's biosketch first.

Animal Activities/Human Subject Review

Projects involving animal or human subjects require appropriate review board(s) approval prior to the release of funds. The approvals or waivers will need to reference the applicable funding mechanism. Note: Do not seek IRB/ARC approval for any work to be funded by the OAG program until after successful award notification. 

Animal Activities – Research activities involving animals must receive approval from the Animal Research Committee (ARC)

Human Subjects – Please be sure to determine whether human subjects are involved in your project, and hence the need for Institutional Review Board (IRB) review. For information about submission requirements, available training, and applicable policies and procedures, please refer to the Office of the Human Research Protection Program website

Submission Process

All submissions are due by 11:59 p.m. on March 27, 2023. Each proposal and all corresponding information must be submitted through the OAG application portal.


Each proposal will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Impact: The application articulates clearly how the proposed research/creative activities will have a demonstrable effect and/or influence within (and/or beyond) a given area.
  • Benefit of Impact: The application has a well-considered justification for why this impact would be of benefit. 
  • Extent of Impact: Taking into account the context of the proposed work, the potential extent of the impact is significant.
  • Fundability: The proposal makes a compelling case for why this work cannot be funded elsewhere. 
  • Qualifications: The PI, any Co-PIs, and the key collaborators possess the necessary expertise to carry out the proposed work.
  • Feasibility: The proposed project is feasible given the amount of funding and time available.
  • Use of Funds: The proposed use of funds aligns with the aims of the project.
    • NOTE: The review panel may elect to disallow certain proposed expenditures.


PIs will be responsible for submitting a final report outlining the outcomes of the project. Shortly after the completion of the award period, program staff will contact PIs with additional information regarding the final report requirements.

The UCLA Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research & Creative Activities and the ORCA Acceleration Grants program must be credited in any work product resulting from this funding.


For questions regarding the program, please email