Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Research & Innovation

Academic Research Solicitation

Academic Research Solicitation

The timeline below describes our annual academic research solicitation process from idea development to project funding.

March: Ideas Due (Ideas collected year-round from local agencies, researchers, and MnDOT staff at meetings and IdeaScale.) April-June: Idea Review (Ideas are prioritized by practitioners and selected by research governing boards for need statement development.) July: RFP Issued (Eligible universities invited to respond to need statements with written proposals. Universities may also submit unsolicited proposals.) Sept. - Oct.: Proposal Review (MnDOT and LRRB technical experts evaluate proposals. Boards select proposals for presentation.) Dec.: Presentations (MnDOT and LRRB hear presentations.) Dec. - Jan.: Funding Awards (MnDOT and LRRB announce projects for funding.)

Step 1: Idea Submission

Ideas due: March 15, 2023

Minnesota transportation practitioners submit research project ideas to the Research & Innovation office via the Ideascale website or at a MnDOT State Aid Prescreening Meeting (cities and counties-only).

Ideas are collated and reviewed by the MnDOT Research Steering Committee and the Local Road Research Board (LRRB). The ideas that best meet MnDOT and local transportation research priorities are used to develop research need statements.

The Research & Innovation office works with idea-submitters to complete a MnDOT Need Statement Form or LRRB Need Statement Form with a MnDOT, county or city champion.

Questions? Email research.dot@state.mn.us or call 651-366-3780.

Step 2: Idea Prioritization

MnDOT: March 16 - April 27, 2023
LRRB: March 1-22, 2023

Members of the MnDOT Research Steering Committee and LRRB review and select ideas to promote for the academic research requests for proposal (RFP).

Step 3: Request for Proposal

Prioritized needs released: July 31, 2023
Proposals due: Sept. 12, 2023

Qualified universities are invited to submit proposals based on the research need statements that address the research need as described with the tasks, costs, deliverables, and schedule.

Step 4: Proposal Review

Proposal screening: Sept. 13 - Oct. 6, 2023
LRRB, MnDOT review: Oct. 9-24, 2023

Following an evaluation by the project champions,  the MnDOT Research Steering Committee and the LRRB review and select proposals for presentation. If a need statement receives multiple proposals, they are reviewed and compared using the criteria in the Multiple Proposal Review Form.

Step 5: Selection

MnDOT meeting: Nov. 29-30, 2023
LRRB meeting: Dec. 6-7, 2023

The MnDOT Research Steering Committee and the LRRB hold separate meetings to hear presentations and select projects for funding. Funding awards are announced in late December. Note that MnDOT and the LRRB can also fund projects off-cycle as needed.

Step 6: Work Plan Development

Jan. 1 - April 1, 2024

Technical Advisory Panels (TAPs) are formed to guide the development of work plans and oversee future work. Learn more about TAPs and TAP member roles by viewing the guidelines.

There are several types of workplan. The one you use will depend on your institution and the nature of your research. The University Research Work Plan is the most commonly used. The workplan templates are listed at right.

Step 7: Contracting

April 1 - June 30, 2024
Contracts in place by July 1, 2024

Contracts must be in place before research may begin. Tasks and deliverables are defined based on the workplans prepared in Step 6.