Criteria and process for applying for P3 grants to be released later this semester

Any UI campus community member can apply for a P3 grant with a project that supports the UI strategic plan, and the criteria for applying will be released later this semester.


David Harmantas

Steam swirls around the University of Iowa Power Plant on the evening of Monday, Jan. 14, 2019.

Natalie Dunlap, News Reporter

Applications for campus grants from the University of Iowa’s public-private partnership — expected to garner the UI $15 million every year to fund strategic initiatives — will be available for campus to apply for later this semester. That timeframe was delayed because of the pandemic, according to a Thursday release from the UI.

After the commercial close of the University of Iowa’s billion-dollar utility public-private partnership in December 2019 and the financial close in March 2020, the process and criteria to apply for P3 grants is being finalized by the UI Path Forward Steering Committee.

The UI Office of Strategic Communication announced on Thursday that the criteria and process for applying for the grants will be released later this semester. 

Grants last up to five years, and anyone at the UI can apply for a grant as long as the proposed project supports the UI strategic plan

“It is no secret that public, four-year higher education is and will be facing significant challenges over the next decade,” Interim Executive Vice President and Provost Kevin Kregel said in the announcement. “Investment in the success of students, faculty, and staff will position the UI to succeed in the face of challenges such as demographic shifts in the Midwest and Northeast. Cementing the UI as a destination university—a university that is the first choice for students, faculty, and staff—will be crucial to a bright future.”

Kregel co-chairs the UI Path Forward Steering Committee with Vice President for Research Marty Scholtz. 

The partnership between the UI, the French conglomerate ENGIE, and Paris-based investment firm Meridiam was approved by the Board of Regents in December of last year, as previously reported by The Daily Iowan. 

The public-private partnership was developed after Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds advised the Board of Regents in a letter to Regent President Mike Richards to “leverage their assets — tangible and intangible — to further invest in higher education.”

In April, The DI reported proposals that further values outlined in the UI’s strategic plan — student success and engagement; research and discovery; and diversity, equity, and inclusion—will be prioritized by the university. 

The university planned to distribute $7.5 million of the partnership proceeds in fiscal 2021. The UI expects to distribute $15 million annually from the endowment beginning in the fiscal year 2022. 

In an interview with DI staff members in May, Harreld said the pandemic would not affect returns the UI would see from the deal following its financial close in March.

“We closed on that transaction on March 10, amazingly. What timing. That’s all sitting there in cash. We have almost a little less than a billion dollars left in cash,” Harreld said. “You can go back and look at the market’s crash just a few days after that. And so the market has been down substantially since then. When you have that degree of money and you immediately put it into investments. And the short-term investments have held up pretty well.”

In Thursday’s announcement, the UI Office of Strategic Communication said since the investment process began in March, the market value of the investment increased from $985.88 million to $1.056 billion.