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Organized Research and Creative Activities (ORCA) Program

ORCA Program Overview

The ORCA program provides small project grants to Tenured and Tenure-Track faculty to support research, scholarship, and creative activities. Each year, the Office of the Provost and the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) oversee the distribution of internal funds to awardees based on a peer review process involving a university-level review committee. Proposals for ORCA are accepted through the first Monday of October for each academic year. Details regarding the process can be found in the ORCA policy.

ORCA Call for Proposals FY 25

The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) and the Office of the Provost are issuing a call to all full-time, tenured, and tenure-track faculty for proposals to support their research/creative activities for Academic Year 2024-2025 (FY25) via the Organized Research and Creative Activities (ORCA) Program.

Interested tenured/tenure-track faculty should review the current PS 06.A.08 Organized Research and Creative (ORCA) Program for detailed information about:

  1. Proposal requirements
  2. Criteria for proposal evaluation
  3. Eligibility requirements
  4. Grant and expenditure of funds
  5. Post-funding reports

Faculty interested in requesting a course release should budget $3,200 to cover re-assigned time and $896 for fringe benefits ($4,096 total) and discuss with their department chair to ensure adequate course coverage. Funded release time may be taken in Spring 2025, Summer 2025, Fall 2025, or Spring 2026 for this funding cycle.

Please note that faculty taking release time for funded research/scholarship/creative activities should not engage in teaching overloads during the period of the release.

Faculty who serve on the University ORCA Committee are not eligible for funding in the academic year in which they serve on those committees.

Funding for any single proposal may not exceed 10% of the available funds. The funding limit for a single proposal in the previous funding cycle was $11,800. The funding limit for the current call will be communicated at the beginning of the Fall 2024 semester.

Important dates:

  • Monday, May 6, 2024 – Department ORCA committees will be formed, and a chair selected and announced. The name of the chair of the Department ORCA committee should be sent to the AVP-FAFD.
  • Monday, September 9, 2024 – Faculty submit proposals to their respective Departmental ORCA Committee for review.
  • Monday, September 9, 2024 – The name of the University ORCA Committee chair is submitted to the AVP-FAFD.
  • Monday, October 7, 2024 – Faculty members submit their final proposal to the online proposal system.
  • Thursday, October 10, 2024 – The Department ORCA Committee provides a recommendation on the proposal in the online proposal system.
  • Monday, October 21, 2024– The Department Chair provides a recommendation on the proposal in the online proposal system.
  • Monday, October 28, 2024 – The Dean provides their recommendation on the proposal in the online proposal system.
  • Monday, December 2, 2024 – AVP-FAFD will inform each proposer, the Chair of the University ORCA Committee, department chairs, and college deans of funding decisions. 
  • Monday, December 9, 2024 – AVP-FAFD will post the names and project titles of all ORCA Grant Awardees on the Academic Affairs webpage.

The online proposal system will be open for submissions no later than Monday, September 9, 2024, and a link to the proposal system will be sent out at this time. Applicants should submit their initial proposal drafts to their department committees before this date using the process and procedures decided upon in the department. The proposal system is only used for final versions of the proposal once the department committee has provided feedback, and the applicant has had the opportunity to review the feedback and make changes.

We encourage all eligible faculty to review PS 06.A.08 Organized Research and Creative (ORCA) Program to find the format for the proposal and required documents before applying for funding.

If you are unsure as to whether or not your proposal idea falls within the scope of the ORCA funding mechanism, or if you have additional questions, please feel free to reach out to Judith Quander, AVP Faculty Affairs and Faculty Development.

A reminder of this call for proposals will be sent during the first week of the Fall 2024 semester.

Past ORCA Winners

2023-2024 ORCA Winners


ORCA Report

Per section 3.6 of the ORCA Policy, recipients are required to submit a final report summarizing the results of the funded project. This report must be submitted within 18 months of the end of the semester in which the ORCA grant is received. (Example: ORCA grant was awarded in December 2022, the report is due by June 2024). Please note that failure to submit this report may render an applicant ineligible for future ORCA grants.

Please submit your report on the link below:

ORCA Final Report


ORCA Research Symposium

The ORCA Research Symposium is an annual event that takes place during the spring semester. ORCA awardees present their funded projects to the larger UHD faculty community. The symposium provides an opportunity for faculty to learn more about each other’s scholarship as well as to encourage faculty to submit proposals to the ORCA program. The call for proposals for the symposium typically goes out in March of each year. If you are a past ORCA awardee, please consider submitting a proposal to present your funded work.


ORCA Research Symposium Spring 2024

Missed the event? No worries! Find out more details at The Source.

PowerPoint Slides

Session Descriptions


image of ORCA presenters
image of ORCA presenters
image of ORCA presenters
image of ORCA presenters

ORCA Symposium Spring 2023