Funding Policies and Proposal Guidelines

The Frank-Ratchye Fund for Art @ the Frontier strives to be a flexible, responsive source of support for projects pushing the edge of disciplines. Please carefully review our proposal guidelines and funding policies prior to submitting your application. 

For questions about our process or to request a meeting to review your proposal, please contact STUDIO Associate Director Tom Hughes.


  • Deadlines
  • Eligibility
  • Selection Criteria and Review Process
  • Proposal Guidelines
  • Reporting Requirements
  • FAQs



Regular Grants (>$500)

Status: OPEN
Submission Deadline: October 1st, 2019 @ 11:59PM

Status: OPEN
Submission Deadline: December 3rd, 2019 @ 11:59PM

Microgrants (<$500)

Status: OPEN
Submission Deadline: Microgrants proposals are accepted on a rolling basis until funding for the semester has run out.

Status: CLOSED (Spring microgrant funding will become available 1/20/2020)
Submission Deadline: Microgrants proposals are accepted on a rolling basis until funding for the semester has run out.


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.

Selection Criteria and Review Process

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 (docpdf).

Full Grant Review Committee

Grantees of the Frank-Ratchye Fund for Art @ the Frontier are selected by the STUDIO Director in consultation with a committee comprised of the following:

  • the Head of the CMU School of Art;
  • a College of Fine Arts faculty member outside of the STUDIO and the School of Art;
  • a faculty member outside of the College of Fine Arts who has a demonstrated interest in the intersection of their discipline and art;
  • and at least one highly respected representative from the greater Pittsburgh art community.


Proposal Guidelines

Reporting Requirements

Reporting Requirements

Final reports are due within one month of project completion and should include the following:

  • A narrative summarizing the project’s process and outcome
  • Documentation of the supported project, which could include any combination of photographs, video, and/or audio recordings. Please note that videos should be delivered as high-resolution movie files (.mov, .avi, .mp4, etc.) and not as links to streaming services such as YouTube or Vime0.
  • Where appropriate, source code bundles or links to source code repositories
  • A financial report itemizing all income and expenses for the project

Final reports can be submitted through our online form here: [Link Submission Page]

Final reports and documentation of all work will be archived on The Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry website. If requested by the selection committee, recipients of grants larger than $500 may be asked to provide interim (“milestone”) project reports. The committee may adjust award amounts based on this interim review process. Grant recipients may be asked to present their work at an annual exhibition and/or presentation of all work supported that year by the Frank-Ratchye Fund for Art @ the Frontier.