Faculty and students at the University of Arkansas will be able to apply for innovation grants totaling up to $1 million through a new university program funded mostly with television revenue related to the airing of UA sporting events.
“The university will invest up to $1 million in this fund annually to support cutting-edge ideas and collaborations. The fund will provide support for a number of new research, discovery, and creative activity opportunities that have not been possible before,” Chancellor Joe Steinmetz said in a statement released Monday by the university.
The Chancellor’s Discovery, Creativity, Innovation and Collaboration Fund may award between 10 to 15 grants annually, according to the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, with the first awards likely to be announced this fall. The fund will support campus-wide priorities established under Steinmetz’ leadership that include enhancing research, promoting teaching innovation and strengthening graduate education.
In announcing the fund, UA stated that the “bulk of the funding” will come from SEC Network and television revenues, with money also coming from other university sources. The SEC Network, a television network, in 2014 began airing collegiate sporting events featuring Southeastern Conference members.
UA spokesman Kevin Trainor said the school’s athletic department expects to contribute about $750,000 annually to the fund, with the money coming in addition to more than $3 million provided yearly by the athletics department to support other academic initiatives and programs.
Trainor said the university’s athletic department received approximately $29 million from media rights during the 2015-16 fiscal year.