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IACS Seed Grants

The purpose of the IACS Seed Grant program is to support innovation, to accelerate the translation of ideas into funded projects, to foster a more entrepreneurial approach to securing external research funds, and to advance the mission of IACS.

Competitive seed grant applications must provide strong evidence that the proposed research topic is aligned with existing research themes at the institute. 

  • This program is open to IACS core and affiliate faculty who are not currently receiving seed funding from elsewhere on campus.
  • Applicants are welcome to submit proposals to more than one seed grant opportunity on campus, but they will be restricted to accepting only one award.
  • The types of projects proposed can range from proof-of-concept or feasibility studies to the development of new interdisciplinary teams leading to the formation of large collaborative research projects. 
  • Applicants can be single PI or multiple PIs, and the typical project length should be 12-18 months.  
  • Proposals should provide a proposed timeline to the submission of a proposal to an external sponsor within 1 year after the funding expires.
  • Awards will range up to $25K, with an increase up to $50K possible with special justification.
  • The submission process will open annually on January 1.
  • Deadline for application receipt is annually on February 15, for a start date of the following summer or fall.
  • All applications not awarded will receive a written critique from the review committee.
  • PIs on the winning awards will be expected to actively participate in the life of IACS, i.e. giving seminars, brown bag lunches, training opportunities, etc.
  • Submissions should be an all-in-one pdf document emailed to with the subject line to read: IACS Seed Grant proposal.


Application process

Applications should include:

  • Project description (max – 2 pages not including a cover: includes project goals/objectives and how they align with the institute’s mission along with a detailed description of possible external sponsorship and a timeline for obtaining funding – see template). Note: There is no requirement to use this exact template. It is only provided as a guide.
  • If you have previously applied to an external funding source using the ideas in this proposal but have been turned down and received comments for improvement, the reviewers’ responses can be included as a supplementary document in the application package.
  • References (This section should consist of full citations including authors, year of publication, title, journal, and inclusive pages. Do not include any abstracts, summaries, or other annotations.)
  • Budget with budget justification ( draft template provided) - tuition and F&A not included
  • Current and Pending for all PIs and Co-PIs
  • CV (NSF-style) required for all PIs and Co-PIs

Progress Reports: Awarded projects will be required to submit a final report at the end of the grant. (A template will be provided.)

Answers to an annual follow-up survey will be required in the two years after the grant is concluded to track return-on-investment.


Review process:

  • No more than 20 applications will be accepted each year, and each will be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Review criteria:
    1. Scientific innovation and excellence
    2. Strength of the research team
    3. Clarity and efficiency of the budget
    4. Opportunities created by the project for attracting external funding
    5. Potential to advance the institute’s mission


Review Committee

  • There will be an overall standing committee, made up of all core IACS faculty, who make the final award decisions.
  • There will be a three-person committee to review each proposal: two IACS core faculty who don’t have conflicts and one faculty member picked by the Dean from the PI’s college.
  • A conflict of interest is anyone who has an active collaboration with a PI or Co-PI: i.e. sharing an active grant or co-authoring a paper or proposal within the last 18 months.
  • Application submissions will start to be accepted January 1. The deadline for application submission is February 15. Four-person committee ratings are due back to the standing committee in the last week of March. The standing committee will meet to discuss ratings and will down-select by the last week of April. Notifications go out to award winners in early May.
  • Each reviewer will be asked to review about four proposals.