Professional Development Grants for Retirees

We are still driven to discover.

The Professional Development Grants for Retirees Program (PDGR), working with the Office for the Vice President for Research (OVPR), makes grants of up to $5,000 available to UMN retirees for professional development or research. This UMRA committee of retirees, reviews and recommends applications for Professional Development Grants for Retirees to help retirees pursue projects related to their scholarship.

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 July 1, 2021 may apply for the grants (for any amount up to $5,000)

Allowed 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.

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

You may also review a list of previous grants that have been awarded since 2009, and also the abstracts of each at Previous PDGR Awards.

If you have any questions about this program, please contact the Chair, John Bantle, MD,

Grant Cycle

The Professional Development Grants for Retirees Program is an annual competition. Competition in 2019 opens on October 15th and must be submitted  by December 13th, at midnight. Approved proposals will announced in March and the grant will start on April 1 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. The application and review system has been revised for this grant cycle to help encourage more applicants. 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 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  contributions to date, including the Board's initial $10,000 investment, we have raised over $25,000, 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 by check payable to the University of Minnesota Foundation [CM 3854, PO Box 70870, St. Paul, MN 55170-3854]. Be sure to 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 John Bantle, MD, chair of the Grants Committee.

For lists of annual awardees, see Previous PDGR Awards.


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