SWAT Small Grants Program

Request for Proposals

Submission Deadline: May 1

Sponsored by The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Southwestern Academy of Teachers (SWAT)

Project Purpose

The purpose of the SWAT Small Grants Program is to promote education research and innovation in the UT Southwestern Medical Center educational community. SWAT is an organization of faculty from UT Southwestern’s three degree-granting schools whose mission is to promote excellent education on our campus. The SWAT Small Grants Program will be administered by the SWAT Small Grants Committee. The committee will perform the peer review and selection of the Small Grants Program awardees.

2021 Awardees

Kyle Blackburn, M.D.
Implementation of an interactive, self-directed module about safe use of immunotherapies for neurology trainees

Sarah Bradley, M.D., Ph.D.
Proposal to introduce hands on simulation instruction in ultrasound-assisted lumbar puncture to the UTSW Pediatric Hospital Medicine Neurology inpatient curriculum

Joseph Fixler, M.D.
Simulation to Improve Resident and Medical Student Operative Vaginal Delivery Knowledge and Skills

Denisse Holcomb, M.D.
Implementing a Curriculum on Trauma-Informed Care and Chaperoning Sensitive Exams

Ranier Reyes M.D.
Death by Neurological Criteria (Brain Death) Education for Post-Graduate Learners

Jessica White, M.M.S., PA-C
Evaluating the Benefits of a High-Fidelity Simulation Workshop for Head and Neck Examination Skills


This program will make small awards (up to $3,500 per project) to faculty members at UT Southwestern. UT Southwestern trainees are also eligible to apply in active collaboration with a UT Southwestern faculty member as a faculty sponsor.

Applications from faculty and trainees with a faculty sponsor will be accepted from all UT Southwestern schools. Eligible applicants should submit an education-research project that relates to the education priorities at the UT Southwestern schools. Collaboration between or among groups or schools is strongly encouraged where possible. Multiyear projects should be identified in the initial proposal.

SWAT Education-Research Fund (SERF)

The SWAT Education-Research Fund (SERF) is intended for UT Southwestern junior faculty, advanced faculty, and trainees with a faculty sponsor of any level. The goals of the SERF are to promote junior faculty growth and development by defraying costs to faculty for early-stage education research-related activities, to assist in developing, or learning about, new educational methods, technologies, or techniques for which no other funding sources are available, and advance the educational mission of the institution in alignment with institutional priorities. Projects demonstrating a direct, measurable, positive impact on the outcomes of health education will be most competitive for the award.

What the SERF will fund

Eligible projects include, but are not necessarily limited to, education research and education program development. These projects may involve, but are not limited to, curriculum development, instruction, evaluation methods, faculty development, or use of technology.

Funding is available to support education-research costs other than faculty time. These costs may include materials, relevant travel, software, equipment, or statistical assistance, all of which should be uniquely essential for the development of the research project. The funds may also be used to cover costs for local programs, travel and registration support for educational meetings where the faculty member is presenting educational work, or purchase of materials involved in, or required for, education-research and education program development.

SERF funds may also be used to support matching funds to enable eligibility or competitiveness for external sources of educational research funding such as from charitable foundations supporting research in education. In those cases, the applicant should discuss the matching-fund parameters from the outside funding agency in making the proposal to the educational grant project.

Finally, SERF funds may be combined with other grant funding sources to expand, continue, or refine a UT Southwestern educational grant project. In these cases, the proposal should explain the need for supplemental funds, the components of an existing project to which these funds are needed, and how the proposed components fit into the larger educational project or parent study.

What the SERF will not fund

The SERF is not intended to defray the costs of educational development from departmental or center budgets. Funding may not be used to support faculty time (effort). The funds are not intended for materials, equipment, or software that are not uniquely essential for the project. For example, funding to purchase a computer for a project is not appropriate for the program because the computer is not uniquely essential to a particular educational project.

Projects exclusively focusing on employee, patient, or community education are not eligible.

Content for Proposals

Applicants are required to submit a written proposal and budget for a project that strives to improve education on the UT Southwestern setting by innovative approaches.

Proposal structure

All proposals must be submitted via email as a single PDF (Adobe Portable Document Format). The proposal must include the following:

  • Page 1: Title page including principal investigator (faculty member) and collaborators, UT Southwestern school and department, contact information for primary investigator/faculty member. If the principal investigator is a trainee, you must include the name and contact information of the faculty sponsor.
  • Page 2: Abstract of no more than 250 words
  • Page 3: Specific Aims. (This is the most important page of your application)
    • This one-page summary of your proposal should be structured as you would for any NIH proposal.
    • Introductory paragraph, brief background, aims/hypothesis, summary paragraph.
  • Pages 4-5: Significance, Innovation, Approach, and Dissemination. You may provide up to two additional pages that include relevant details to support your specific aims.
    • Significance: Explain why this is important and how it builds upon what is already known.
    • Innovation (1-2 paragraphs) on why this is innovative.
    • Approach (methods): Provide details on how you will complete the project. This may be in the form of step-by-step instructions.
    • Dissemination: A brief statement on how and where you plan to share the findings from your project.
  • Page 6: Budget.
    • Provide a budget with details on how you will spend the allotted funds.
    • Include a brief budget justification paragraph.
  • Attachments (not included in six-page limit) must include:
    • Letter of support from Department Chair
    • Biographical sketch of the principal investigator and any major collaborators.
      • Please use the NIH format for your biosketch
    • Tables and figures (optional): Although not required, you may provide relevant figures or tables as an attachment

What makes a competitive proposal?

Factors considered in judging SERF proposals include:

  • Overall merit
  • Potential for wide applicability to UT Southwestern education programs
  • Relevance to the growth of UT Southwestern junior faculty as educators.
  • Feasibility
  • Originality or creativity (innovation)
  • Rigor of research design
  • A plan for dissemination of findings
  • Plans for applying the findings and future research

Award Notification

Applicants will be notified of their award status on or before June 15. For the purposes of the grant cycle, the date of starting a project is the date of the award notification. End-of year reports are due by June 30 the following year after the award.

Award Amounts

Proposals for funding may range up to $3,500, and funding will be awarded to the most competitive proposals as judged by the peer review process. Projects costing more than $3,500 will be considered for Education-Research Fund proposals that involve matching funds, although the SERF total amount cannot exceed $3,500. In these cases, the applicant should clearly state the need for the larger amount of matching funds. All decisions by the Awards Committee will be final.

All awarded funds must be used or sourced (allocated) within one-year from the date the funds become available. A one-year extension may be applied for if necessary and will require submission of a progress report and an updated budget. Funds not used within a maximum of two years from the date of receipt will be reclaimed by the Small Grants Committee.

Written Report and Presentation

All awardees will submit a brief, but formal written report (one to two pages) at the conclusion of their projects (by June 1 of the year following the award date) detailing project processes, outcomes, use of funding, potential for further funding, and dissemination possibilities or results. All awardees will be expected to present a poster of their project findings at an annual SWAT Symposium.

Structure of annual progress report

  • Page 1. Summary of work completed
    • Restate your specific aims and summarize your findings.
    • Identify specifically what portions of your project have been completed, are in progress, or have not yet been initiated. (justify any work that is incomplete).
    • Conclusion: A short paragraph on the contribution of this work to education research.
  • Page 2. Summary of Expenses and Dissemination
    • Identify where and how you have spent the allocated funds
    • Identify any unspent funds and how you plan to use or return the remaining funds.
    • Identify any manuscripts, abstracts, or presentations that have been produced by the work (published, accepted, or under consideration).
    • Identify any published or planned: manuscripts, abstracts, or presentations stemming from the work.

Proposal Deadline: May 1

Only applications submitted electronically will be accepted for consideration for the SWAT Small Grants Program. All application materials including letters of support must be submitted as a PDF (Adobe Portable Document Format). Submit the application packet (as a single PDF) electronically by midnight May 1 to:

DaiWai M. Olson, Ph.D., R.N., FNCS
Phone: 919-699-3122