Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Research & Innovation

Academic Research Solicitation

Annual Request for Proposals (RFP) - CY2023/FY2025

The 2023 MnDOT/LRRB Academic Research RFP is now closed.

Please see instructions below and at right for how to respond to a future Research Need Statement or submit an unsolicited proposal.

Who is eligible?

This solicitation is open to the following qualified universities*:

  • Auburn University
  • Iowa State University
  • Marquette University
  • Michigan State University
  • Michigan Technological University
  • Minnesota State Colleges and Universities
  • North Dakota State University
  • Oklahoma State University
  • Texas State University
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • University of Minnesota
  • University of New Hampshire
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Wayne State University
  • West Virginia University

The solicitation is also open to the MnDOT Office of Materials and Road Research.

*Please note that an active master contract must be in place as of December 1, 2020 to be selected.

What research is being requested?

Each year, MnDOT and the Local Road Research Board (LRRB) seek research proposals. These proposals attempt to address the research needs and ideas of Minnesota city, county and state transportation practitioners.

MnDOT collects research ideas from various sources, including MnDOT staff and city/county engineers throughout the year. These ideas are developed into Research Need Statements. Researchers are asked to submit proposals to address these research needs, and are encouraged to work with the Technical Liaison (TL) listed for a particular research need statement when developing the research proposal.

Researchers are reminded to follow and organize each research project according to the terms of their University Master Contract with MnDOT, and the Technical Advisory Panel (TAP) Guidelines (PDF). Researchers should be familiar with this research process prior to submitting research proposals.  Also, research proposals submitted must allocate more than 50 percent of the budget to the Master Agreement University, State University, or the MnDOT Office of Materials and Road Research.

How to Submit a Proposal

Proposals must:

  • Be formed around the high-priority research needs for MnDOT and the LRRB.  
  • Use the MnDOT/LRRB Proposal Form. (Note: They are limited to 14 pages.)
  • Researchers should coordinate with their university research contact for internal due dates. (Universities will collate and coordinate each University submittal to MnDOT.)
    • MnDOT will not accept proposals directly from proposing researchers.
  • University research contacts must submit their proposals in MS Word format to the MnDOT Office of Research & Innovation by Sept. 12, 2023 (due at 4:30 p.m. CST), along with the Proposal Summary (Excel) of all their proposals.

Unsolicited Proposals (Proposals Not Responding to a Need Statement)

Sometimes a researcher and/or project champion will pursue a research topic by submitting an unsolicited proposal. This may happen when an important MnDOT research need was not captured in the need statements and/or a principal investigator with known specialized knowledge in a topic area has an idea. While it is not the primary pathway for funding academic research, MnDOT and the LRRB accept unsolicited proposals from qualified universities during the annual academic research solicitation.

Unsolicited proposals must identify a champion for the project in order to be considered for funding. This can be a Minnesota Local Agency, MnDOT Office Director, MnDOT District, or MnDOT staff member. The proposal must include a letter/email of support from this project champion. After identification of a project champion, submittal deadlines and process are the same as that for RFP responses.

Research Funding Levels and Duration

Researchers are encouraged to review both the MnDOT Research & Innovation and LRRB websites for examples of previous research efforts. Project-level details for MnDOT and LRRB research projects, organized by fiscal year, can be found in our annual At-A-Glance publications.

When will proposals be selected for funding?

The selection process is documented on the Research & Innovation website:

  • Early November 2023: Submitters are notified if a presentation is requested by MnDOT/LRRB. If you are not contacted by this time, your proposal is not moving forward for funding consideration by MnDOT/LRRB.
  • November 29-30, 2023: Presentations made to MnDOT.
  • December 6-7, 2023: Presentations are made to the LRRB.
  • January 2024: Funding decisions will be posted.
  • July 1, 2024: Funding becomes available. Earlier start dates may be approved depending on the circumstances.

Last updated: July 2023