Sciences IT Tech Tryout Grant 2020-21


Sciences IT is redirecting a portion of ETF funds that were originally planned for physical computer replacements this year in recognition of changes in the way courses are being delivered. 


This program is intended to help faculty experiment with or acquire needed software or other technology to support student learning for remote or hybrid/hyflex instructional delivery in Spring and/or Summer 2021. 

Goals of program

This program is designed to:

  • Support faculty innovation and student success by providing an opportunity to try new methods or to extend currently successful methods to support student learning using technology
  • Enable Sciences IT to identify successful and unsuccessful tools from the perspective of those using them
  • Allow Sciences IT to investigate future funding possibilities for supporting the continued use of effective tools
  • Assess the effectiveness of using a grant program as a tool to support teaching and student learning in the future

Eligibility Requirements

College of Sciences faculty members who are teaching a remote or hybrid course in Spring 2021 or Summer 2021 are eligible. Graduate TAs and postdocs are not eligible.


Faculty must complete the Tech Tryout Grant Application and provide the requested information. This will include a summary of no more than 1250 characters (about 100 words) about how the grant funds will be used to benefit student learning and what the expected outcomes are. This information will be to ensure the proposal is eligible for ETF funds and later to assess whether the technology was successful or not. This is not a merit-based competitive award, so no extensive justification is required.

Award Allocations

Sciences IT has set aside $30,800 that we had originally prioritized to replace outdated computers and provide physical improvements in classrooms this year, in recognition that most instruction is online and different tools may be needed. 

  • These are ETF funds so must be used in accordance with ETF guidelines. 
  • Faculty may apply for $50 to $600.
  • We have set aside $1,800 per department to ensure that faculty from all disciplines can be represented.
  • The remaining $20,000 will be awarded without regard to the faculty member’s department.
  • In all cases, awards are first-come, first served. This is not a merit-based competition.

One Time Award

This grant should be considered one time funding and is not a commitment of ongoing support. 

If a purchase has recurring costs, such as a software subscription, the awardee is responsible for either cancelling the subscription or for arranging to cover any costs that are incurred after June 15, 2021. Any unused funds will revert to Sciences IT at that time. 

Overages will be charged to the awardee’s department’s ETF project. Departments may choose not to cover the charges.

Participation Requirements

One of the goals of this grant is to assess the usefulness of the technology in achieving the faculty member’s expected outcomes as listed on the application, so the awardee’s feedback is necessary.

Required Feedback

Faculty will be asked to provide feedback at 2 points during the term the course(s) are being taught. Feedback will be related to the effectiveness of the tools for accomplishing the faculty member’s stated outcome goals.

Participation requires that the faculty member agree to:

  • Provide a response to a survey at mid-term for courses taught in the Spring 2021 regular semester. 
    • The survey will be sent out March 8th and must be completed by March 22nd
  • Provide a response to a survey at the end of the term for courses taught in Spring/Summer 2021. 
    • For Spring 2021 regular semester courses, the end-of-term survey will be sent out April 30th and must be completed by May 15th
    • For Spring 2021 8-week session 1, the  end-of-term survey will be sent out March 3rd and must be completed by March 17th
    • For Spring 2021 8-week session 2, the  end-of-term survey will be sent out April 25th and must be completed by May 9th
    • Once the schedule has been established for Maymester, Summer I and Summer II 2021, dates will be updated and communicated.
  • Surveys should take no more than 15-20 minutes to complete. Alternatively, you can schedule a 15-20 minute face-to-face discussion to provide the requested feedback.

Sharing feedback

Feedback about the technology purchased in this grant program may be shared with other units or organizations at NC State or other educational institutions for the purpose of sharing knowledge, coordinating purchases, providing feedback to central units, and seeking funding for successful tools. 


There are a number of compliance requirements for ETF and IT purchases at the university. Sciences IT will help you ensure that all purchases are compliant. We will work with OIT on your behalf to request approvals or exceptions if needed. For your reference, the compliance requirements we have to observe are below.

ETF Compliance

These funds are ETF and must be used in compliance with ETF requirements. Faculty must certify that the funds will be used for technology that is used for instructional purposes to benefit students directly during Spring and/or Summer 2021 semesters. Sciences IT will review to ensure that proposed expenditures are in compliance with university ETF requirements. These awards are for technology only.

Purchasing Compliance

University purchasing requirements continue to apply to all purchases made from university funds, including ETF. Funds will not be disbursed for purchases that do not meet all university purchasing requirements. 

Security, Licensing, and Accessibility Compliance

Software and cloud services must meet the university’s security, software licensing, and accessibility requirements. Sciences IT will coordinate with OIT to ensure approvals can be made as quickly as possible.

Endpoint Security Standard Compliance

All Windows and Mac computers and iPads will be set up to comply with the university’s Endpoint Security Standard rule. Sciences IT will take care of this and will also make exception requests to OIT Security & Compliance if needed.

CPI Compliance

The Combined Purchasing Initiative is a UNC System policy that requires the university to purchase PCs from approved vendors and configurations. Sciences IT will ensure that purchases meet this requirement. 

Purchasing Processes

Once your award is approved, the awardee will need to follow the purchasing process below. We will check to ensure that planned purchases meet all compliance requirements and help if they don’t. In general you will follow your department’s normal purchasing processes after approval is received.

Initiating purchases

Once the proposal is approved and an award letter is issued, Sciences IT will review the grant  budget. The awardee will receive a “Tech Tryout Purchase Process” email within 1 business day of the award letter to note whether it’s OK to go ahead with the purchases or if there is any coordination that will be needed prior to purchase, such as obtaining any compliance-related approvals or exceptions.

If you make a purchase before receiving the “Tech Tryout Purchase Process” email, your purchase may not be funded and you will have to work with your department to cover your costs. Unapproved purchases may not be covered by the department.

Recommendations and suggestions

Sciences IT will assist with recommendations upon request, and may make suggestions to assist you.

Computer and tablet purchases

If equipment is required to be compliant with the Endpoint Protection Standard, Sciences IT will place the order on the awardee’s behalf, set it up and deliver it to the faculty member’s campus work location within 3 business days of receiving the equipment. This would apply to Windows, Mac, and iOS (iPad) purchases.

Software licenses and cloud services purchases

Sciences IT will ensure that software, apps and cloud services purchases are in compliance with university PRRs and that purchases are not duplicated if the software is already licensed. If a site license is viable, Sciences IT will place the order for that purchase. 

Recurring charges

  • If it is possible to pay for the service on an annual basis rather than being billed monthly, this is strongly preferred.
  • No reimbursements will be made for services charged to a non-university credit card. There are no exceptions to this.
  • Purchases that incur a monthly charge should be charged to a faculty member’s or department’s PCard, and appropriate documentation will need to be provided as with any PCard purchase. 
  • Failure to provide timely receipts for PCard reconciliation will result in the discontinuation of the award and will require the cancellation of the subscription or service. Check with your Departmental Business Officer for the due dates and correct process to follow.
  • Purchases that require an individual user to set up their own account and provide payment at the time of purchase should use the faculty member’s or department’s PCard. This must be coordinated with the cardholder.