Call for proposals

Faculty Research Sprints, sponsored by the University Libraries (UL), offer faculty the opportunity to partner with a team of expert librarians on a specific project, or component of a broader project. Sprints differ from one-time consultations in their timing and depth of interaction. The intent is for the entire team—faculty and librarians—to work for four days without distractions to create a specific product or outcome.

Potential project areas include, but are not limited to:

  • Archival research
  • Data and metadata creation, management, analysis, and preservation
  • Digital scholarship project development (GIS mapping, data visualization, etc.)
  • Grant proposals
  • Open educational resource creation (open textbooks, teaching videos, etc.)
  • Pedagogy and instructional design (course assignment redesign, learning objects, etc.)
  • Publication proposal or journal creation
  • Systematic literature reviews, scoping reviews, or annotated bibliographies

2020 Sprints - Canceled

In light of the uncertainty surrounding the end of the Spring 2020 semester during the COVID-19 crisis, the University Libraries has made the difficult decision to cancel the Research Sprints this year. We are reaching out to all 2020 applicants with more information. We hope current applicants consider re-submitting an application for the 2021 Research Sprints. The call for proposals will be sent out in January 2021.

Learn more

Informational office-hour sessions for the 2020 Faculty Research Sprints were held on February 7, 2020 from 11:30am - 1:00pm. Interested faculty were invited to drop-in to learn more about the program, discuss the application process, and share their project ideas.

Please email Sarah Jane Brown ( with any questions or for more information.


Eligibility is limited to tenured, tenure-track, or clinical faculty members at the University of Minnesota. The expectation is that the faculty members will be present for the entire duration of the Sprints, and they are welcome to invite graduate students to participate on teams.


Proposals should be for a project that can be completed in the one-week timeframe. We will work to match faculty members with the appropriate areas of expertise from across the University Libraries in alignment with the needs of the project. Acceptance will be determined by the justification for and feasibility of the project, as well as the availability of library resources and staff to contribute to the project. 

Applications for the 2021 Research Sprints will be posted here in early 2021.

What are examples of sprint projects? 

Some example research sprints from UMN are listed below. You can view more on the cross-institutional Research Sprints website

Tom Michaels, Horticulture (Spring 2019)

  • Goal: The challenge was to find diverse populations of feral hemp in the state of Minnesota. The objective was to find private and public lands where there is a high probability of finding feral hemp plants and then map those locations.
  • End products: Set up a Zotero bibliography, researched Kentucky hemp cultivars, and scoured archival records for pre-1950s hemp farms in Minnesota; mapped locations of hemp farms into an ArcGIS StoryMap.
  • Libraries Team: Shane Nackerud, Kristen Cooper, Marlys McGuire, Kathy Allen, Julie Kelly, Kristen Mastel, Ryan Mattke, and Colin Jones (Grad RA)

Jigna Desai, Gender, Women, Sexuality Studies (Spring 2019)

  • Goal: To normalize and prepare data collected on women's faculty positions from a variety of online venues for research purposes.
  • End products: cleaned data sources across worksheets; matched hiring institutions with unique IDs from IPEDS; demonstrated data storage, visualization, and collaboration platforms, and created a project README file.
  • Libraries Team: Emma Molls, Kim Clarke, Wanda Marsolek, Andrea Simenstad, with a visit from Alicia Hofelich Mohr (LATIS)

Lisa Channer, Theatre Arts and Dance (Spring 2018)

  • Goal: This sprint served as the research backbone for the writing of a new play with music about the history of denim jeans, their connection to the gold rush and the ways in which jeans have become a metaphor (accurately or not) around the world for ideas of American democracy and classlessness.
  • The library team searched, collected, and curated a Zotero library of pertinent historical and archival materials to serve as background and inspiration for the writing process. The library team also identified archives of particular interest to the researchers, oriented the researchers to on-site archival research, and assisted in the planning of an upcoming trip to California.
  • Libraries Team: Sarah Jane Brown, Kate Hujda, Linnea Anderson, Rafael Tarrago, and Nancy Herther; With RAs: Matt Boerst (Theatre), Lena Figlear (Theatre), David Melendez (PhD student, Dramaturg), Savannah Reich (Playwright), and Dan Dukich (Composer).

Betsy Wattenberg, School of Public Health (Spring 2018)

  • Goals: To create a website of open-access educational resources for international Public Health students.
  • End products: The team curated freely available public health resources on 8 different topics and organized them on an open access website that we created. We also located or created many tutorials on finding open access information and developing professional skills. We hope that public health students and professionals who do not have access to expensive subscriptions will find the information on our website useful.
  • Libraries Team: Shanda Hunt, Kristi Jensen, Andrew Palahniuk; Research Assistants: Nancy Ching

Karen Mary Davalos, Chicano & Latino Studies (Spring 2017)

Karen Donohue, Carlson School of Management (Spring 2017)