Grant Program and Application

The Center for Security Research and Education (CSRE) at Penn State offers grants to support interdisciplinary research, curricular development, or educational activities addressing the broad range of security challenges confronting society.


CSRE grant applications may be submitted by any full-time Penn State faculty member.

Grant Amounts

CSRE will offer three types of grants:

  1. Level 1 Multipurpose Grants, which may be awarded by the CSRE director in amounts not to exceed $1,000. Level 1 grants are designed primarily to support interdisciplinary security-related public programs and may be submitted on a rolling basis throughout the year.
  2. Level 2 Education Grants, which may be awarded by a selection committee in amounts not to exceed $2,500. Level 2 grants are designed to support interdisciplinary security-related curricular or educational program development and are awarded twice annually per the schedule below.
  3. Level 3 Research Grants, which may be awarded by a selection committee in amounts not to exceed $15,000. Level 3 grants are designed to assist applicants in obtaining external funding and awarded twice annually per the schedule below.

Grant Criteria

Applicants may seek funding to address the threats currently facing individuals, families, physical and electronic infrastructure, food and water supplies, public health, the natural environment, as well as the implications of society’s responses to these threats on economic well-being, civil liberties, and culture.

  1. All proposals must:
    • Clearly reflect the interdisciplinary nature of contemporary security challenges by incorporating expertise from multiple, diverse disciplines (e.g., the physical sciences and social sciences) and, ideally, involve collaboration among multiple units – additionally, the fact that a proposal involves faculty from different Penn State academic units is not “interdisciplinary” if the faculty members are from the same academic discipline;
    • Clearly describe the objectives to be achieved, including clear data collection and analysis plans where applicable;
    • Provide a proposed budget for how CSRE funds will be used;
    • If the applicant has received a previous CSRE grant, provide a status update if work is still in progress, or, evidence of positive outcomes if the grant is completed.
  2. Proposals will receive additional favorable consideration if they:
    • Include commitments for matching funds from one or more departments, Colleges, or Institutes;
      Note: Deans and directors of CSRE member units may be willing to provide additional funding to encourage applications for CSRE grants. Interested faculty should inquire within their college or relevant CSRE-member institute;
    • Include a clearly delineated role for Assistant Professors, Assistant Research Professors, or Assistant Teaching Professors;
    • Include a clearly delineated role for specific graduate or undergraduate research assistants;
    • Are submitted by a principal investigator from a CSRE contributing unit.
  3. Level 2 Education Grants must clearly describe why CSRE support will provide unique value to innovative interdisciplinary curriculum development and an endorsement from the applicant’s and co-applicant’s department head, dean, or chancellor that the curriculum has the potential for lasting impact.
  4. Level 3 Research Grants must:
    • Describe in as much detail as possible how the grant will lead to additional external funding, to include potential funding sources, submission deadlines, and subject matter;
    • If the applicant intends to use CSRE funding in conjunction with funds obtained from other grant sources, include a commitment to use CSRE funding only for the express purposes described in the proposal;
    • Include an endorsement from the applicant’s and co-applicant’s department head, dean or chancellor.

Allowable Expenses

Allowable expenses include:

  1. Salary for undergraduate or graduate research assistants;
  2. Purchase of research materials including books (note: purchases of IT equipment are not permitted);
  3. Funds to support operating expenses for a public event;
  4. Travel for research;
  5. Travel to present research findings or testimony to government or international agency groups.

Expectations of Grant Recipients

As a condition of accepting CSRE funds, recipients agree to the following:

  1. Recipients are expected to provide a report upon completing the project or no later than 13 months from the date of the initial award date, whichever is earlier. The report should address:
    • The major findings of funded research.
    • External funding arising from the grant.
    • Any difficulties encountered that interfered with project completion or acquisition of external funding.
    • CSRE grant funds not been used within 12 months of the initial award date.
  2. Recipients must appropriately acknowledge CSRE support in relevant publications, speaking, and promotional activities. Information on public display of the CSRE logo may be obtained from
  3. Upon request, recipients must be willing to participate in reviewing future CSRE grant proposals and are encouraged to participate in CSRE-sponsored events.

Application and Selection Process

  1. Selection Committee and Process. Level 2 and 3 grant applications will be evaluated by an interdisciplinary committee of three or more CSRE representatives. All proposals must satisfy CSRE eligibility criteria. In addition, proposals submitted within the same application cycle will be evaluated comparatively to determine which is most worthy of receiving finite CSRE grant funding. Under these procedures, it is possible that a fully qualified proposal may not be among the best qualified to receive funding.
  2. Level 2 and 3 grant applications must be received no later than February 15, 2019 (with CSRE decision by March 22, 2019).
  3. Applications should be submitted at:
  4. Interested faculty with questions may contact CSRE Associate Director Herbert Wolfe.