2023 DEIJ Microgrant Call for Applications
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Program Overview

The UMN College of Biological Sciences (CBS) requests proposals for microgrants to promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ), recognizing that the College has room to improve in each of these areas. Historically, many members of the CBS community have held undeserved privilege. We seek to achieve inclusion for all students, faculty, and staff; we are committed to the foundational scientific practice of examining assumptions and biases. We believe that a self-aware science community, active institutional efforts, and individual advocacy will help remove barriers for the success of all community members across differences, including race, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, geography, and socioeconomic status or background.

The CBS Dean's Office has allocated $75,000 of strategic initiative funds to support Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) (see definitions below) microgrants, with the goal of recognizing and advancing the grassroots DEIJ work happening throughout the College. 

Microgrant Scope and Goals

The CBS DEIJ microgrants aim to fund innovative work serving our traditionally underrepresented and/or marginalized groups (see definitions below). Microgrants should target people who identify with marginalized groups in ways that promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice in the extended CBS community. 

We welcome proposals for all types of projects. We especially encourage projects that align with the  CBS anti-racism working group recommendations and the Office of Equity and Diversity's strategic priorities, which seek to (1) increase representational diversity; (2) improve campus climate; and (3) build, support, and align partnerships that are inclusive and supportive of diversity.

Some examples:

  • Dismantling barriers that prohibit people within CBS from reaching their full potential.
  • Expanding the understanding of issues affecting marginalized communities.
  • Increasing access and equity of marginalized populations.
  • Encouraging a welcoming and inclusive environment.

See also the 2022 CBS DEIJ microgrant funded proposals.

Consider projects that embody these types of actions: develop, perform a gap analysis, connect, support, increase diversity, create, review, align, formalize, and build.

See the Proposal Review and Evaluation Criteria section of this call for notes on allowable expenses.

Application Deadline

  • Applications received by Friday, February 3, 2023, will be given first priority.
  • Applications received after February 3, 2023, will be evaluated as long as funds remain.
  • Notification of grant awards will begin on April 3, 2023.

Questions. Please direct questions about this solicitation to: cbsdcop@umn.edu(link sends e-mail)


Who may apply: Members of the CBS community, including undergraduate and graduate students, postdocs, staff, and faculty.

Student submissions: Please note that student submissions will be compared to other student submissions and not faculty or staff submissions. For feedback on writing, connect with Student Writing Support from the UMN Center for Writing.


Microgrants will be awarded at four different levels:


Anticipated number of awards for each tier

Tier 1  - $1-$500 30 or more awards, totaling $15,000
Tier 2 - $501-2,000 10-40 awards, totaling $20,000
Tier 3 - $2,001-5,000 4-10 awards, totaling $20,000

Tier 4 - $5,001-10,000

2-4 awards, totaling $20,000

*Proposals for more than $10,000 are welcomed; applications of this type must fully elucidate how the funding will significantly impact the extended CBS community.

See the Proposal Review and Evaluation Criteria section of this call for notes on allowable expenses.

Awards will be made in the 2022-2023 fiscal year (deadline of June 30, 2023), but the awards may support work happening through the 2023-24 academic year.


Due date: Friday, February 3, 2023

  1. Complete the online application form.

    1. The application form includes a proposal narrative field, with a maximum of 5,000 characters (with spaces). The proposal narrative should address: 
      1. a description of the project and how it addresses the stated focus;
      2. the tactics that will be employed to meet the stated focus and outcomes;
      3. the members of CBS [and/or external communities] who are intended to benefit from the work;
      4. how progress will be measured, identifying specific benchmarks and/or metrics and the timetable for achieving these benchmarks;
      5. who, specifically, will be carrying out the project and measuring progress to the stated outcomes; and
      6. [Optional] a description of any money already received to support the proposed project.
  2. Upload supporting materials as one PDF file via the online application form. Supporting materials must include your budget and may also include figures, reference list, etc. Supporting materials do not count towards the 5,000 characters for the proposal narrative.

Proposal Review and Evaluation Criteria 

All proposals will be reviewed by at least three and up to four reviewers. Each set of reviewers will include CBS Diversity Community of Practice members and one or two external reviewers. Applications will be scored based on:

  1. The CBS DEIJ microgrant evaluation rubric.
  2. Adherence to application instructions—all materials and requested details provided. 

Please reach out to cbsdcop@umn.edu(link sends e-mail), if you would like feedback on your microgrant budget and fiscal eligibility ahead of submission.

Notification of grant awards will begin on April 3, 2023.

Allowable expenses notes:

  1. Professional development initiatives which only serve the individual applicant will not be considered; however, requests for a sole individual’s training which serves the extended CBS community (see definition below) will be considered. 
  2. Funding for salary/fringe for any internal student, staff or faculty individual will not be considered. Please note that this does not apply to visiting scholar travel and/or honoraria, which are allowed.
  3. Guidance for honoraria: Budgets should consider the time for preparation, time speaking, and career level to determine cost. Honoria paid by units in the UMN system range from $100-$1,000. If you have questions, please email cbsdcop@umn.edu(link sends e-mail).
  4. DEIJ efforts should fall within faculty and staff job responsibilities and expectations. For faculty, this would be considered service, or potentially, depending on the project, scholarship. If there are concerns about the time needed to participate in DEIJ work exceeding a staff member's standard work hours, they should first consult with their supervisor.
  5. This grant could be used to pay undergraduate and graduate students for their time and effort supporting the DEIJ microgrant work. If it is on-going work, it would be best to set these up as student employment positions. However, if most will be short term, we can work with HR and finance to determine the most appropriate payment method (stipend, honorarium etc.).
  6. Compensation would be appropriate for individuals with 9-month appointments, in which the work would take place outside of the contract period. The application should contain clear expectations on deliverables that match the amount of time spent.
  7. Funding may be requested to supplement existing initiatives.
  8. Microgrants may incorporate outreach, as long as the outcome of that outreach benefits the extended CBS community.

Reporting requirements

By June 30, 2024, micro-grant recipients must submit:

  1. A one-page summary report which outlines: 
    1. Budget versus actual expenditures of the project and a justification for any changes to the proposed budget.
    2. Project outcomes, activities involved, benefits, and recommended improvements. 
  2. One PowerPoint slide communicating the activities and outcomes of the project. Completed slides will be shared with the extended CBS community. A template will be provided.


Definitions provided in this section are based on the Equity and Inclusion Strategy & Implementation Plan by the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs. The definition for diversity also follows that of the University of Minnesota's Office of Equity and Diversity.

Diversity. A diverse community equitably includes all people. Creating and maintaining a diverse community often requires addressing systemic barriers that have historically underrepresented, marginalized, or excluded some people more than others, including:

  • American Indians and other Indigenous populations
  • People of color, including underrepresented groups and new immigrant populations
  • People with both apparent and non-apparent disabilities
  • People who identify as women
  • People of various gender and sexual identities and expressions
  • First-generation students

We also recognize issues of access and climate for individuals who might encounter barriers based on their religious expression, age, socioeconomic class, national origin, ethnicity, or veteran status. Furthermore, we recognize the intersectionality of multiple dimensions of identities.

Equity. Seeking to establish systems and practices that are fair and just, based on a recognition of individual differences and sociopolitical contexts that disproportionately impact some people more than others.

Inclusion. Creating an environment where all people have an opportunity to learn and contribute, and where all individuals are invited and feel welcome. We seek to include multiple and potentially divergent perspectives into a common community of research and learning.

Justice. Acknowledging the ways in which our community, institutional and societal history has shaped our present, and committing to using that recognition to proactively undo harms and work towards a better future. 

Extended CBS Community. The following groups should consider themselves part of the extended CBS community:

  • Students with a major or minor in CBS
  • Employees working in CBS, including staff, faculty, and postdoctoral researchers
  • People and groups outside the University who partner with members of CBS
  • Members of a club under CBS leadership or funding