Research Catalyst Grants


iUTAH RCG researcher conducting field work at the Great Salt Lake

iUTAH’s Research Catalyst Grant (RCG) program addresses several key goals of our project. RCGs stimulate research at primarily undergraduate institutions (PUIs) across the state of Utah, building our state’s STEM capacity by (1) engaging undergraduate students in hands-on research; and (2) growing a network of collaboration between PUIs, research universities, and local, state, and federal agencies and other stakeholders.  In this way it allows us to provide big payoffs for relatively small investments.


Now in its fifth year, iUTAH has awarded 20 grants totaling more than $300,000 through a competitive application process. To be considered for funding, prospective principal investigators (PIs) must be based at a PUI, and proposals must target research questions that fall broadly within one or more of iUTAH’s research focus areas. In addition, undergraduate student engagement—while not required—is strongly encouraged, and most successful proposals have included a comprehensive undergraduate research component. Awardees are also encouraged to collaborate on proposals with researchers at Utah’s three research universities, thereby helping to strengthen iUTAH’s collaborative research network.


Of course, the ultimate goal of RCGs is to catalyze further research.  Some Year 1 (2013) RCGs have already resulted in new, successful grant proposals co-authored by PUI and research university faculty.  This has set the stage for RCG awardees to enter a virtuous cycle: the initial RCG enhances the PI’s capacity to compete for additional research funding, which further builds the institution’s capacity to grow the Utah STEM enterprise.


2017 Grantees

Frank J. BlackFrank J. Black

Westminster College

Wildfire ash and Great Salt Lake dust as sources of heavy metals to Utah’s aquatic ecosystems


Bridget E. HilbigBridget E. Hilbig

Weber State University

Enhancing soil biological complexity to conserve water in urban agriculture


Jacqualine GrantJacqualine Grant

Southern Utah University

Green infrastructure for water quality and pollinator community improvement


S. McKenzie SkilesS. McKenzie Skiles

Utah Valley University

Constraining physical controls on snow hydrology along the Wasatch Front






Research Catalyst Grant Highlights:


Legend for photos (clockwise from top left): "SUU students Don Long and Coral Gardner taking water chemistry samples of the Cedar City irrigation system. Westminster College undergraduate students Josh Schmidt and Chris Mansfield conduct field work examining mercury levels in the Great Salt Lake. Chris Mansfield (faculty mentor: Frank Black) gives a presentation of his iUTAH-funded research to the Friends of the Great Salt Lake."