Research Sprints

Research Sprints, hosted by the University of Virginia Library, offer faculty and staff actively engaged in research the opportunity to partner with a team of expert librarians on a specific project or a component of a broader project. These sprints extend beyond one-time consultations, offering deeper interaction and extended time commitment. During the sprints, faculty or staff will work intensively with librarians for three full working days. The goal is to work without distractions during that period to produce a tangible product or outcome.

The program supports projects at any phase of the scholarly lifecycle.  It is ideal for those looking to initiate a new project or overcome hurdles in an ongoing one. For instance, startup projects could benefit from extensive literature reviews, facilitated brainstorming sessions, or the design of a technology application roadmap for research or teaching. in-progress projects might require help on information or data organization or curation.For projects nearing completion, the program can offer support in managing scholarly communications, designing programs, or addressing intellectual property and copyright issues. We welcome proposals for projects that are exploratory and experimental, as well as those that are well advanced. 

For the 2024 program, we are experimenting with expanding our invitation to include not only faculty but also staff members involved in research projects. These include projects undertaken in partnership with community organizations.

Potential project areas include, but are not limited to, the following areas in which we have in-house expertise: 

  • Archival research
  • Data and metadata creation, management, analysis, and preservation
  • Literature reviews
  • Intellectual property/copyright
  • Digital humanities scoping or planning
  • Application of technology to a research or teaching problem
  • Productive use of AI-based research tools and strategies
  • Grant proposals
  • Program planning
  • Collaborative or interdisciplinary team start-up
  • Open educational resource adoption or creation (open textbooks, teaching videos, etc.)
  • Pedagogy and instructional design (course assignment redesign, creation of learning objects, etc.)
  • Preservation of scholarly work
  • Publication proposal or journal creation


  • Sprint timeframe: Two sessions - May 8-10 and May 13-15, with a mandatory report-out for both sessions on May 16. 
  • Teams will work intensively for three days. 
  • Thursday 5/16, 9:30-12:30 is reserved for an in-person cohort meeting and report-out, attendance required.
  • Other one-day sprint sessions might be available for summer 2023 based on faculty and staff availability.
  • The exact daily schedule is flexible based on project needs.
  • Virtual or in-person meetings are both acceptable, although we recommend at least one in-person meeting during the sprint.
  • Each team will hold a pre-sprint orientation meeting, date determined by project team.

Who is eligible? How do I apply?

  • This program is open to: 
    • Anyone with a faculty appointment (tenure-eligible or general faculty)
    • Senior professional research staff
    • New for 2024, as a pilot: University staff engaged in research related to their jobs, including those engaged in research in partnership with community organizations  
    • The program is restricted to those at the University of Virginia who expect to be employed by the University during the school year of 2024-25. Awardees who become aware in the spring that they will not be returning to the University for the fall 2024 semester should decline their award.
  • Individuals or teams may apply. For team proposals one member (faculty, senior professional research staff, or lead staff member) should serve as the project director and should submit the application. Graduate students or community members may participate as team members.
  • Application deadline: February 18, 2024
  • Notifications: the week of March 17, 2024

What are the selection criteria?

  • The proposed work can be completed in three days.
  • The project will have an impact on the applicant’s research or teaching, or on their work with the community.
  • The project has a convincing rationale for partnering with the library to accomplish the project goals, with a vision for how library staff will contribute to this work.
  • Staff with the necessary skills are available to support the project.  

What are the expectations of the recipients?

  • Attend a pre-sprint orientation meeting to clarify goals for the sprint and familiarize library staff with research.
  • Attend all sprint sessions within the targeted week.
  • Acknowledge library contributions in published or presented work.
  • Submit a written reflection on your experience in the program during the final sprint day.
  • Brief the group on your project during the final in-person report-out.

Other considerations

  • This program cannot promise additional resources (e.g., software, systems, project maintenance) after the sprint has ended.  However, we will advise on strategies for achieving long-term project goals.
  • We recommend that all project proposers, especially those whose projects involve the application of technology to research or teaching, consult with a staff member before submitting an application.  Please contact Judith Thomas at for a referral.
  • You may be contacted by the selection committee with additional questions.

Learn more