Professional Development Grants for Retirees

We are still driven to discover.

The Professional Development Grants for Retirees (PDGR) program, working with the Office for the Vice President for Research (OVPR), makes grants available to University of Minnesota retirees for professional development and research. Because of COVID-19 and University budget reductions made necessary by the pandemic, the total to be awarded in 2021 will be $20,000 which is less than in most previous years. To compensate we have started a crowdfunding campaign.  Read more about it.

A financial contribution to PDGR grants can be made through crowd-funding. We welcome your support!
—John Bantle, MD, chair, PDGR Committee

All University of Minnesota retirees from the Twin Cities and Coordinate Campuses who are eligible for University retirement benefits and who will be fully retired by the time of their award may apply for grants of any amount up to $4,000. A PDGR Committee reviews applications and makes recommendations regarding funding.

Allowed expenses include travel and per diem costs related to research trips and conference attendance; stipends for undergraduate and/or graduate research assistants; the purchase of books, computers, and software; photocopying; and other relevant costs of scholarship. Ineligible expenses include salary for the applicant and institutional overhead charges.

Applicants are encouraged to engage undergraduate students in their projects as this is a good way for applicants to contribute to the overall University mission. Stipends for undergraduate research assistants may be fully covered by the University. See details in the Application Instructions below.

One may review a list of grants that have been awarded since 2009 at Previous PDGR Awards. A summary of some of the things accomplished by these awards can be found at PDGR Impact Study.

Grant Cycle

The Professional Development Grants for Retirees program is an annual competition. The competition in 2020 opens on October 15. The deadline for applications is December 11. Approved proposals will announced in March, 2021 and grants will start on April 1, 2021 and extend to June 30 of the following year.

How to Apply

Application Instructions

The Application Instructions provide information about funding requirements and how to apply. Applications may be submitted by email or as paper copies as explained in the instructions.


In 2007, the UMRA Board appointed a committee to explore a program of financial assistance to retirees who wish to continue their professional work and research projects. With a commitment of $10,000 seed money from UMRA, the committee gained support from the University and the Graduate School in launching a pilot program. In 2008, the Office of the Vice President for Research and the University of Minnesota Retirees Association jointly announced a program of annual professional development grants intended to support faculty and civil service retirees wishing to pursue projects related to their research, instruction, or other work history and that contribute to the educational, scholarly and academic reputation of the University.


In the fall of 2011, the UMRA Board approved a campaign to raise funds, beginning with an appeal to UMRA members and all University faculty and retirees to contribute. The grants program was also funded by the offices of the University President, Vice Presidents, and Deans but budget reductions related to the COVID-19 pandemic will prevent that this year. We hope University contributions will resume in the future.

UMRA recently initiated an ambitious campaign with the goal of building a substantial reserve fund for our PDGR program. A generous and long-time supporter of the PDGR program has offered to match the first $10,000 in contributions to this fund with a $10,000 gift. One can make a contribution which will be matched at We encourage UMRA members who have not yet made a contribution to do so and, if members have already made a contribution or pledge, to consider adding to it. After the matching program is completed, one may contribute by credit card online at or by check payable to the University of Minnesota Foundation (CM 3854, PO Box 70870, St. Paul, MN 55170-3854). Please indicate UMRA Fund 4867. One can also support this fund with a future estate gift. For more information or if you have questions, please contact Lynn Praska, Planned Giving Officer, U of M foundation (612-624-4158;

We hope you will join us in making a tax deductible gift. Anyone with questions or suggestions should contact John Bantle, MD, Chair of the Grants Committee.


Jan Hogan talks about the Professional Development Research Grant -- the PDRG