Professional Development Grants for Retirees

The Professional Development Grants for Retirees Program, working with the Office for the Vice President for Research, makes grants of up to $5,000 available to UMN retirees for professional development or research.  This UMRA committee of retirees, appointed by Frances Lawrenz, Associate Vice President for Research, reviews and recommends applications for Professional Development Grants for Retirees to help retirees pursue projects related to their scholarship. The guidelines for applying will be sent to UMRA members via email and  may be downloaded at 2016 rfp for 2017-2018 projects.

All faculty members, professional and administrative, and civil service retirees from the Twin Cities and Coordinate Campuses of the University are eligible to apply for the grants (up to $5,000).  The deadline for applications is normally in December. Awards will be announced on March 1, commence April 1, and end June 30 of the following year. 

Eligible expenses include travel and per diem costs related to research trips and conference attendance, stipends for undergraduate and/or graduate research assistants, photocopying, the purchase of books, computer, software, and other relevant costs of scholarship. Ineligible expenses include salary for the applicant and institutional overhead charges. UROP, the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, has agreed to fund the cost of undergraduate assistants who work with grantees. Details about the UROP opportunity are in the guidelines.

If you have questions, please contact the Chair, Janice Hogan ( or committee members: Judson Sheridan, Richard Caldecott, Calvin Kendall, Kim Munholland, Joanne Eicher, Russell Hobbie, Craig Swan, John Adams, Paul Quie, Hal Miller, and John Howe. Contact information is listed in the grant guidelines.


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 created a program of annual Professional Development Grants intended to support faculty, P&A 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.


The UMRA Grants Committee has begun an ambitious plan with the goal of building a reserve fund for our Professional Development Grants for Retirees program. The grants program has been funded by the offices of the University President, Vice Presidents, and Deans. While we have the assurance of several more years of funding from Central Administration, we must prepare for the possibility of a future funding shortfall.

In the fall of 2011, the UMRA Board approved a campaign to raise funds, beginning with an appeal to UMRA members, former recipients of grants, and then to all University faculty and P&A retirees. All of the Board and the Committee members have contributed to the fund. With 41 contributions to date, including the Board's initial $10,000 investment, we have raised $32,270, a sum now resting securely in our U of M Foundation account. 

We encourage UMRA members who have not yet made a contribution to do so, and if you have already made a contribution or pledge, please consider adding to it. You may give by credit card online at the website or by check payable to the University of Minnesota Foundation [CM 3854, PO Box 70870, St. Paul, MN 55170-3854]. Indicate UMRA Fund 4867. And you can 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 Jan Hogan, chair of the fund raising initiative.

For lists of annual awardees, see Previous PDG Awards.

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