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Types of grants

The Research Sector (RS) provides funding support to projects under 10 distinct grant categories. Each grant category is intended for a specific purpose, and involves relevant procedures and facilities. All types of grants are subject to standard rules and regulations within the RS Research Support System, providing the legislative framework governing the grant-award process at Kuwait University (KU). These grants include:

1. University Research Projects (URP) -- Awarded for original, comprehensive, well-defined proposals, with clear objectives, invariably leading to results of potential significance, generating new knowledge and contributing to scientific advancement.

2. Priority Research Projects (PRP) -- Aimed at addressing key issues of priority significance, strategic to Kuwait, environment, industry and the society. Such issues are periodically identified through faculty-wide surveys, with the 2012survey resulting in 15 newly defined areas of priority research, listed on RS Website. These areas are currently valid and being implemented across faculties, however, emerging realties and changing scientific scenarios would necessitate revalidation and recognition of a new set of priorities through the next Priority survey round.

3. National Research Projects (NRP) -- These grants advocate research in areas of national significance through well-defined proposals, strategic to national, social and community concern. The projects involve commissioning of specialized studies, involving teams of experts, from Kuwait University, public and private sectors.

4. Research Initiation Grant (RIG) -- Meant for new Kuwaiti faculty members at Assistant Professor’s level, who have yet to complete two years in this position, with RIG grants encouraging and enlisting their participation in scientific research. Such grants are awarded as incentives to facilitate newly appointed Kuwaiti faculty members for initiating their research activity, marking their initial step towards more advanced, comprehensive, and mainstream research.

5. General Facility Projects (GFP) -- Earmarked for developing KU research infrastructure, labs and resources, GF grants are aimed at creating a climate and culture for high quality research at KU. Such grants are meant for strengthening faculties resources, establishing model labs and facilities, equipped with hi-tech instruments, advanced equipment and technology that is world-class, enabling faculties to implement and accomplish experimental, analytical and in-depth studies.

6. External Research Projects (ERP) -- These grants promote collaborative research, pursued in partnership with external institutions through large-scale, multidisciplinary studies that require national and international collaboration, expertise and resources. Such projects invariably involve inter-institutional understandings and agreements for jointly addressing outstanding scientific concerns complexities, and challenges that need scientifically driven solutions through collaborative input, shared expertise, resources and scientific exchange.

7. Graduate Research Projects (GRP) -- Instituted in 2003, these grants are primarily meant for developing postgraduate and scholarly studies at Kuwait University through the provision of research grants awarded to Master's and Ph.D. students. These grants are intended to develop graduate students caliber, skills and potentialities for scientific research, and as institutional move towards generating a cadre of budding scientists, scholars and entrepreneurs of tomorrow, and as a basis for developing a potential reservoir of national scientific talent.

8. University Service Projects (USP) -- These grants are developmental in nature, and aimed at enhancing institutional services and facilities as a continuous process of development. Such grants are offered to faculties, departments and university sectors to optimize institutional functionality and capabilities. The objective is to develop faculties R & D capabilities.

9. Joint Research Projects (GCC) -- These grants are aimed at joint studies and research in coordination with GCC universities and research centers. Such projects are jointly conceived and implemented for addressing key concerns, problems and challenges dominating the Gulf Region and societies.

10. Specialized Research Units & Laboratories (SRUL) -- These grants are aimed at developing specialized and advanced lab culture at KU, which is competitive, theme-oriented, and elevates institutional resources and facilities to international levels of credibility and sophistication. Specialized labs and units are advanced and world-class, have specialized focus, and enhance institutional capacity and capabilities for high quality, specialized, internationally competitive research, with a potential for evolving into Centers of Research Excellence.


Funding Levels

RS research support system is governed by a set of principles and procedures, which regulate the grant of awards to researchers, based on proposals submitted under the established grant support categories, with clearly stated levels of funding support required. The funding levels have recently been reviewed  and revised,  in view of  the raised mission allowance,  approved by the University Council in its meeting held on  July 6, 2011,  necessitating requisite  adjustments in the Funding levels, which in addition to a project’s   budgetary  needs,  also determine its refereeing requirements, to facilitate research review, evaluation  and implementation.  The funding levels are universally applicable to almost all grant categories,   with RIG and Graduate Students Grants being the exceptions, governed as they are with their own clearly defined funding limitations.

The newly established funding levels facilitate   award of research grants under three distinct levels of support, as follows:
New Funding levels

• Projects with budget up to KD 4,000 such projects have limited objectives, shorter span and are reviewed by one internal referee, selected by the VDR or RS (as per VDR’s desire), with  the PI  having the option for an external or internal referee.

• Projects with budget ranging from KD 4,000 to 10,000 are relatively larger in scope and objectives, have longer duration, and  are refereed by two external referees, selected by RS.

• Projects with budget above KD 10,000 are comprehensive, have generally three years duration, and are reviewed by three external referees, selected by RS.

• For RIG grants the maximum funding limit is KD 2,000. For Graduate Students Awards the budgetary allocation is determined by the nature of graduate program,  which for  Master’s students projects  amount to KD 6,000, and for Ph.D. students projects  confined to the maximum budgetary limit of   KD 18,000.

The allocation of  grants are subject to research review and evaluation, qualifying a project for research support,   with funding decisions taken  during the course of  RS Implementation  and Funding Committee Meetings, the latter  involving VDRs of all faculties to discuss projects requiring large funding support. These meetings invariably result in the approval, modification or rejection of a project.


Proposal Processing

RS's processing procedures are aimed at ascertaining two critical elements in rendering research support. These include firstly, compliance to university regulations, and secondly, upholding values of quality assurance and scientific merit of proposed research. These elements predominate the application of processing procedures to a research proposal, critically involving following three procedural stages:

1. Review Process: All research support applications undergo standard review procedures, depending upon the funding-level requested. The projects are refereed and evaluated as per latest rules and regulations governing the research support system (see 2008, Version 1.0), with priority accorded to research proposal's  originality, relevancy and expected output.  The review process also ensures research quality, scientific merit, and the proposed research’s ability in contributing to scientific advancement,   resolution of  problems, and its  potential benefit  to Kuwait, Gulf, society and the community. Since all projects must qualify for grant award through standard refereeing activity,  RS widened, updated and developed its referees database, enlisting experts from around the  world, including professors, scientists and scholars from Arab Universities, and research centers. The online submission of projects for electronic refereeing is being evolved for reducing the processing time, and accelerating research implementation.

2. Implementation Process: Standard procedures and guidelines are in place to facilitate researchers in implementing their research.   The implementation process involves critical research-related resources and requirements, essentially needed by researchers to pursue the goals of their projects. These concern project budgets, equipment, running cost, travel and manpower, including missions and inviting visiting experts. The manpower hiring and purchase processes have been reformed as part of continuous improvements, simplification and procedural regulations to facilitate researchers in rapid clearance and implementation of their proposals in a congenial environment. Detailed guidelines governing each of these requirements  for project implementation are available in RS's manual of Research Support Rules & Regulations, 2008, Version (1.0), a copy of which could be accessed online by researchers through the research portal facility.

3. Research Reports: It is mandatory for the PIs to submit Annual Progress Report of their ongoing projects, and a comprehensive Final Report on its completion. Without Final Report, no project is considered complete. Both, Progress and Final reports are submitted to  a standard refereeing process to assess a project’s rating, a project achieving less than good is indicative of the need for revisions/reformations as per referees'  comments.

Research outputs published in refereed journals are considered a project's productivity. It is mandatory to publish at least one paper per project awarded, except RIG grants. All publications and reports generated as a result of RS’s grant support, must categorically   acknowledge RS's sponsorship.

Latest regulations governing research reports and research productivity are included in Chapter XI of the Research Support Rules & Regulations, 2008, Version (1.0), to facilitate researchers in submitting reports as per the stated requirements to expedite the research reports review process.

The above processing procedures are aimed at unified application of rules and regulations for research review, assessment and funding decisions, leading to the award of grants.