How It Works


Developed by the Office of the Vice President for Research, 3 Cavaliers unites three faculty members around a new research idea and provides seed funding of $60,000 or $15,000.

The 3 Cavaliers process

  1. Log in. Log in using your UVA ID to build or edit your faculty profile, follow along with peer research and create a project.
  2. Create or join a project. Start your own project and invite collaborators to participate, or search the site to find a project to join.
  3. Project Owner must have two other tokens submitted to be able to accept them (for a total of 3). Token holders invite other faculty to participate in a project or ask to join a project that is being formed. You must have two pending tokens to accept them (cannot accept one at a time).
  4. Form a trio. Once three tokens have been committed to a project, the project is called a trio. You do not need to do any other actions until you are notified if your project is funded. NOTE: You need to fill out all four of the project fields: Summary, Description, Desired Outcomes and Student Engagement
  5. Funds awarded. Projects are checked to verify they meet requirements and funded in random order until all funds are allocated. September 17, 2018. If you need a no cost extension- email Cheryl Wagner ( ALL AWARDS MUST END BY Dec 31, 2019.
  6. Funds distributed. Project creators are notified of the award and funds are set up for immediate use.
  7. Research conducted. Research is conducted over a period of one year, with a possible six-month extension.
  8. Attend symposium. The final project report is submitted and participation in the annual symposium is required. The symposium will be held on December 12, 2019 in Nau Hall.

2018-2019 Round is closed. Next possible funding applications Fall 2020.

Guidelines and Eligibility by school

Read more about guidelines and eligibility by school.

Learn the lingo


A project is a new research idea shared by a faculty member on 3 Cavaliers. Projects are eligible for funding once three tokens have been committed and a trio has formed.

There is no peer review requirement of projects. The mutual agreement of faculty members to join a project functions as the peer review step. 3 Cavaliers administration will check to ensure that the requirements of the program are being met and that projects are weighted to account for portfolio diversity. Projects will not be reviewed for scientific merit prior to funding.

Administrative checks for projects:

  • The project must be new research. A project cannot be a continuation of a project you have already started. A project cannot extend current projects or be used as a source of funding to continue a project that has been previously funded.
  • An “interdisciplinary” team is one involving faculty members from two or more units and composed of faculty who are not currently funded or working together on the topic. Faculty are strongly encouraged to look beyond their school boundaries for research partners. The project must bring together three experts from diverse fields to address new research problems.


At least 50% of the trio’s funding must be used to support UVA undergraduate students, graduate students or postdocs (someone in a “training role”).

The remaining 50% of the funds can be used for equipment, supplies, lab fees, subject incentives, staff support, and travel. Other items may be allowed by request. Faculty salaries are not allowable expenses.

Projects are for $60K (or $15K for mini) in seed funding per research project. The lead PI of the project  (owner) determines how the funds are spent for the project working with their collaborators.  It is not intended as 3 $20K projects.

If you need a no cost extension- email Cheryl Wagner ( ALL AWARDS MUST END BY Dec 31, 2019.


A token is a virtual voucher that can be exchanged for matching funds for a project. Each unit (school) provides faculty members with a set number of tokens, which authorizes faculty to participate in a project and commits a portion of matching funds to that project.

Each faculty member may use only one token. A token is equal to $5,000 or $20,000.

Tokens must be redeemed in groups of three to form a trio. You cannot accept them one at a time.

If you, or your unit do not have a token available, you may self-fund your token. Each token is supported

1/3 by a unit ($6,667) and 2/3 by VPR office ($13,333) total $20,000  or if using the smaller tokens

1/3 by a unit ($1,667) and 2/3 by VPR office ($3,333) total $5,000

If you would like to use this option as either a way to acquire a token or to back stop one (in case your unit runs out of tokens during the funding process). Place a statement at the end of your project description "I am willing to self-fund my token, your name" if all three members of trio want to use this option, you would need this statement three times so we know who is willing to fund.  If you have questions, please contact us, we are glad to help.


A trio is an interdisciplinary group of three faculty members committed to a project. Each trio must contain tokens from at least two different units.

Faculty members can choose one of two funding levels for a trio. A trio is worth $60,000 (3 faculty members x $20,000), and a mini-trio is worth $15,000 (3 faculty members x $5,000).

A trio represents new research. At the time of submission, all three faculty members cannot be simultaneously on an existing sponsored research project. The funds cannot be used for extending existing externally funded projects or for projects with sufficient preliminary results that could be competitive for funding by external agencies (e.g., NIH, NSF).

A trio must support students or postdocs. At least 50% of the trio’s funding must be used to support UVA undergraduate students, graduate students or postdocs. The remaining 50% of funds can be used for equipment, supplies, lab fees, subject incentives, staff support, publication costs and travel. Faculty member salaries are not allowable expenses.

Funded trios have 12 months to spend the funds. If you need a no cost extension- email Cheryl Wagner ( ALL AWARDS MUST END BY Dec 31, 2019.


A unit typically represents a school or college at UVA. If you are unsure if your trio will qualify, check with your associate dean or email Read more about each schools’ guidelines.

Units determine how many tokens they want to invest in and which faculty categories are eligible to receive a token.

How do I form or join a project trio?

1. Create a new project from your projects page. You are then the "owner"  of the project.

2. You need to find two partners. At least one of the three of you will need to be from a separate unit. You can ask them to join or they can ask you.  NOTE: If you "star" a project they know someone is watching the project, but not who. It will then show up on your projects page. If you "follow" a project the owner will be notified you are following their project (also makes it show up on your projects page).

3. Ask them to submit their token to your project.

4. Once you have at least two people who have submitted their tokens to your project, you can select them (click on their name) and accept their tokens. NOTE: Once a token is submitted it can be pending for up to 7 days, if not confirmed by then, it releases it.


The symposium is an event for faculty members to present all funded 3 Cavaliers projects. This year's event will include videos and short talks, and is planned for December 12, 2019.

SAVE THE DATE                                                                                                                                                     December12, 2019                                                                                                                                                     3:00 –5:00 pm Nau Hall  Welcome by Jim Ryan, Keynote by Provost Liz Magill

5:00-6:30 Reception Nau Hall Lobby

The VPR office will be contacting each of the funded projects to make a short video on their project.


  • A brief final report is required for each project.
  • At least one member of the trio must participate in the symposium.
  • All trios are expected to submit a minimum of one proposal to an external funding agency and/or demonstrate progress toward the gold standard of scholarly excellence in their field.