Criteria, Eligibility, and Funding Policies

Selection Criteria

The STUDIO administers the Frank-Ratchye Fund for Art @ the Frontier — an endowment to encourage the creation of innovative artworks by the faculty, staff and students of Carnegie Mellon. With this fund, the STUDIO seeks to develop a cache of groundbreaking projects created at CMU — works that can be described as “thinking at the edges” of the intersection of disciplines. Grants range from $100 to $10,000. Proposals are evaluated twice annually, though proposals for Microgrants (under $500) are evaluated on a rolling basis. Any faculty, student or staffperson actively affiliated with Carnegie Mellon University is eligible to apply, regardless of their home department.

Proposals are competitively evaluated based on:
  • The vision, originality, quality and potential impact of the proposed project
  • The professional, artistic, and/or technical capabilities of the applicant(s)
  • The feasibility of the project
  • The potential impact of our funding and services on the project and for the artist(s)
  • The extent to which the proposed work “pushes the envelope” — fulfilling the specific mission of the FRFAF grant program, to support interdisciplinary art(s) “at the frontier”.

Application forms for Frank-Ratchye grants can be found here. Please be sure to read the proposal guidelines and to familiarize yourself with the application process.

Successful applicants will be asked to sign the FRFAF Grant Agreement (doc, pdf).

Eligibility Requirements

Regular faculty and full-time students of Carnegie Mellon University are intended to be the primary recipients of the fund. However, applications are accepted from individuals, who are actively affiliated with CMU, with any of the following designations:

  • Graduate and undergraduate students, currently enrolled in a degree-granting program at Carnegie Mellon, and in good academic standing (not on probation, leave of absence or suspension)
  • Student organizations
  • Fellows of the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry
  • Tenure-track faculty
  • Teaching-track faculty
  • Special faculty, including visiting faculty (Visiting Assistant Prof., etc.), postdoctoral visitors, research special faculty, instructional special faculty
  • Project Scientists or similar Research staff
  • Adjunct faculty (who may be Special Faculty or Instructional Staff), in active employment. (For applications over $500, such persons are expected to have been employed at the University for at least one year.)
  • Staff, with the unanimous consent of the review committee, consistent with the spirit and intent of the Frank-Ratchye Fund’s objectives of furthering the creation of groundbreaking interdisciplinary artworks at Carnegie Mellon and by members of the Carnegie Mellon community.

The Frank-Ratchye Fund for Art @ the Frontier has been modeled on related internal grant programs within Carnegie Mellon University, including SURG (for undergraduate students), GuSH (for graduate students), and the Berkman Faculty Development Fund (for professors and research staff) and The College of Fine Arts Fund for Research and Creativity (for full-time faculty). Other potentially applicable sources of funding at CMU include the President’s various ProSEED grant programs, the Henry Armero Award for Inclusive Creativity managed by the BXA Office of Intercollege Degree Programs, and various student awards from the School of Art. FRFAF applicants seeking additional support for their projects should consider applying to these sources, as well, if applicable.

Recipients of FRFAF Grants from previous award cycles are eligible to apply for new or repeat funding, on the strict condition that all reporting requirements for prior support (including Microgrants) have been satisfactorily met. In the interest of supporting a diverse range of work, no project may receive a regular FRFAF Grant more than twice. Please note that alumni are not eligible to receive grants from the FRFAF program.

Funding Policies

Applicants can request support from the Fund to obtain materials, hire student assistants or outside contractors, purchase equipment, rent time in a recording studio, etc., as required to create the work. Collaborative projects are welcome, and partnerships across disciplines are encouraged. The endowment cannot be used to support conference fees or travel expenses, except where such travel is an integral part of making and/or realizing a project supported by the Fund. Grants are given as cash awards for materials and supplies related to your project only, and will not affect student financial aid. Works are to be “owned” by the artist/s.

FRFAF Grants and Microgrants are awarded per project and not per applicant. Thus, for example, the funding limit for two students seeking a Microgrant for a collaborative project is still $500, and not $1000.

Acknowledgement of Support

Wherever the works are exhibited it is to be noted that “the work was supported in part by funding from the Carnegie Mellon University Frank-Ratchye Fund For Art @ the Frontier” as part of the work’s provenance. When possible, the logo of the Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry (linked below) should be used in conjunction with this credit line.