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France-UT Endowed Excellence Fund

Established as a partnership with the Embassy of France in the United States, the France-UT Endowed Excellence Fund program supports scholarly collaborations in all disciplines between The University of Texas at Austin and institutions of higher learning in France. 


The endowment fund has a two-fold mission:

  • To support research collaborations between faculty at UT Austin and institutions in France; and
  • To facilitate awareness and connections across the UT Austin community for French culture, workforce, and education. 

The France-UT endowment is named in honor of Dr. Cécile DeWitt-Morette. Dr. DeWitt-Morette’s storied career, her efforts to improve global relations for the science community, and her reputation as a determined innovator embody the spirit of the Dr. Cécile DeWitt-Morette France-UT Endowed Excellence Fund. This endowment solidifies the commitment between France and The University of Texas at Austin to support faculty and students who exemplify some of Dr. DeWitt-Morette’s finest qualities: creativity, determination, passion, and vision. These individual qualities, supported by the rich cultural heritage of innovation and the resources provided by the endowment, will lead to generations of joint discoveries and deeper ties between the people of France and Texas.

Faculty and researchers may apply for one of six awards of up to $10,000 in seed funding for bi-national collaborations. All fields of study are welcome in both themes A and B (e.g.: qualitative and/or quantitative analyses, mathematical modeling, computer simulations, multi-disciplinary and integrative approaches).


2020-2021 Themes

The Environment and Global Health 

In response to France’s “Make our Planet Great Again” initiative and UT’s “Bridging Barriers: Planet Texas 2050”, we seek applicants interested in submitting proposals that address topics such as:

  • Meeting basic needs for a growing human population in a stressed ecosystem
  • Human health and well-being, demography, economic strategies and their associations with sustainable production and consumption, urbanization, new technologies and processes, energy and governance for global sustainability and climate change induced stress
  • Concepts associated with the flexibility of population/economic needs and consumption habits in the perspective of an accelerated energy transition
  • Aging populations and societal impact
  • Use or development of adaptive technologies to overcome social barriers to health access 

The Future of Democracy

As we enter a new decade, we are poised to reflect on past representations of democracy and its current trajectory. Interdisciplinary proposals focused on the connection between the preservation of democracy and the following topics will be considered:

  • Human rights
  • Civic engagement
  • Economics
  • Technological advances
  • Communication trends and privacy
  • Optimizing democratic processes


  • This opportunity is open to all tenured and tenure-track faculty as well as permanent researchers with UT Austin PI status 
  • UT Austin PI must collaborate with a professor, associate professor, or permanent researcher at a public research institution or institution of higher learning in France
  • Each UT PI may submit a maximum of one application per funding round

Activities Supported

Proposals must foster research and academic cooperation between The University of Texas at Austin and institutions of higher learning in France. Activities do not need to take place in the United States or France. However, proposed research should intersect with US/French-related materials, entities and individuals. 

Eligible activities include

  • UT faculty/student travel to provide access to primary sources and/or collaboration opportunities
  • Joint research projects between UT faculty/students and faculty/students from higher education and research institutions throughout France
  • Workshops or symposia development
  • Public lectures
  • Travel and meeting costs to facilitate international projects and collaboration

Ineligible Activities

  • Faculty development – activities such as learning a new technique, language, methodology or completing a thesis or dissertation
  • Public service and consulting
  • Departmental curriculum development, such as the preparation of curriculum materials, curriculum modifications, and student interest surveys


RFP Announcement

February 13, 2020

Deadline for Proposal Submission

April 10, 2020

Proposal Review

April - June 2020

Announce Winners for 2020-2021 Awards

July 1, 2020

Grantee Period of Performance

September 1, 2020 - August 31, 2021

Submission Instructions

Submit a complete, signed application along with all required documents via InfoReady Review.

Application deadline: Friday, April 10, 2020 by 5:00pm CST.

Proposal Process and Materials

Proposals must include the materials below in a single .pdf document. 

  • Non-technical project abstract (200 words maximum)
  • Write for a general audience and avoid disciplinary jargon
    • Clearly identify the project’s significance
  • Full Project Summary (5 pages maximum)
  • Detailed budget (1 page maximum plus a 1-page budget justification)
    • Proposed budget not to exceed $10,000
    • Include all additional funding sources (including in-kind support)
  • Curriculum Vitae (2-page maximum per CV)
    • Include for both UT and French PIs in outline form, listing no more than five recent publications relevant to the proposed project

Note:  Patentable ideas, copyrightable software, or any confidential information, disclosure of which may harm the proposer, should not generally be included in proposals.  If such information is necessary to convey an understanding of the proposed project, it must be clearly marked in the proposal and appropriately labeled with a legend such as, “The following is proprietary or confidential information that (name of PI) requests to be released only to the review committee for the sole purpose of review and evaluation”.


Allowable Costs

  • Short term travel and meeting costs to facilitate international projects and collaboration. Travel must follow University of Texas Travel Guidelines 
  • Research or project associated travel 
  • Research supplies and materials
  • GRA or consultant salaries 
  • Workshop/symposia-related costs, such as the following:
    • Space/facility rental
    • Travel and lodging
    • Supplies
    • Meals
    • Equipment rentals
  • Publication expenses

Unallowable Costs 

  • Payment for class release
  • Coverage of UT or French PI salaries
  • Purchase of equipment except for project-specific supplies that will be consumed over the course of the project
  • Payment of student or postdoc salaries
  • Coverage of everyday living expenses

Proposal Review

Proposals will be evaluated by both US and French experts as well as an Executive Committee comprised of an equal number of representatives from UT Austin and France. All proposals will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Qualifications of the PIs, team, or organization to conduct the proposed activities;
  • Project alignment with the France-UT Endowed Excellence Fund mission, clear rationale for a balanced collaboration of participating PIs/teams during the grant period and beyond; 
  • Extent to which the proposed activities explore creative, original, or potentially transformative concepts;
  • Potential for the proposed activity to advance knowledge and understanding within its own field or across different fields;
  • Proposed activities are well-reasoned, well-organized, and incorporate a mechanism to assess success
  • Participation of undergraduate and/or graduate student from both institutions, as necessary.

Award Reporting Requirements

A final project report will be due by November 30, 2021. This report will include the following:

  • Summary of results during the course of the project and how they addressed the goals stated in the application.   
  • Budget report outlining utilization of funds. 
  • Resulting publications, performances, conferences, exhibits, including titles, dates, venues, bibliographic information. 
  • Progress in applying for external funding, including titles, agencies, date submitted (past and future), amounts requested, status, awarded amount. 
  • Recognition: awards, honors, prizes, reviews.

Additional follow‐up information may be requested outside of the progress report to determine the ongoing efficacy of the Dr. Cécile DeWitt-Morette France-UT Endowed Excellence Fund program.


Contact Laurie Young, Director of Special Initiatives, at lauriebyoung@austin.utexas.edu