Office of Research, UC Riverside
Research Development

Collaborative Seed Grant Program

The Office of Research and Economic Development (RED) is pleased to announce the continuation of the collaborative seed grant program. The grants are internal funds for UCR faculty teams to collaborate and publish in advance of proposing multi-investigator projects and centers to external agencies. Teams with seed funding who generate preliminary results and gain experience working jointly have proven more successful when they later compete for multi-investigator and/or multidisciplinary grants.


Serving as a catalyst for UCR faculty to form new teams, the seed grant program is intended to initiate new intellectual directions for faculty and to make UCR more competitive for multidisciplinary grants. Selection criteria for seed grants reward projects that create new relationships and synergies across schools, departments or centers. Key considerations include whether the project can be leveraged toward new externally-funded research, and whether the project cannot be otherwise initiated using regular department or school resources. An ideal project would apply for external funding within 6-10 months following seed funding.


  • Large Project Seed Grants: Enable a team of two or more UCR faculty to obtain initial results or data to prepare for a center grant, defined as at least 3 UCR faculty and 4 UCR graduate students. Examples include NIH program project (P-50) grants, NSF Science and Technology Centers, NSF Engineering Research Centers, DOE Manufacturing Centers, NEH Summer Institutes, or USDA/NIFA Coordinated Agricultural Project, etc. Large Project seed grants have a maximum budget of $65,000 and funds may be spent from April 1, 2020 – March 31, 2021.  The collaboration must involve faculty from two or more different departments.
  • Small Project Seed Grants: Enable a team of two or more UCR faculty to obtain initial results or data that will make them more competitive for any peer-reviewed federal program. A typical Small Project grant would include summer support for a graduate student plus supplies. Small Project seed grants have a maximum budget of $10,000 and funds may be spent from April 1, 2020 – October 1, 2021.  The collaboration must involve faculty from two or more different departments.


Proposals are invited from all UCR individuals eligible to serve as a Principal Investigator. (For additional information on PI eligibility see Policy #527-3.) Although external collaborations with universities or companies are encouraged, seed funded projects must involve at least two UCR faculty (a PI and at least one UCR co-PI) and funds may not be used to support outside institutions. A faculty member may participate as PI or CoPI on only one seed grant. A faculty PI on an award made through the Large or Small Collaborative Seed Grant Program in, 2017 or 2018 cannot be a PI or CoPI on a seed grant in 2018, unless they have been awarded a grant as a result of the prior seed grant or applied three times for funding based on the seed grant.


Funds may be used for any activity directly related to the conduct of the research, e.g. salaries and benefits for students, postdocs, or research scientists, research supplies, equipment/facility recharge, etc. Funds may not be used for faculty summer salaries, administrative staff, course buyouts, seminar speakers, consultants, conferences, or travel, except to federal agencies or proposer workshops. Small project seed grants will receive all funding at the start of the project. Large project seed grants will receive 50% of funds to initiate the project, with the remainder made available upon completion and approval of a brief report on project status. All funds must be expended by the end of the project period. To focus on projects that can make rapid progress, unexpended funds will be returned.


The internal proposal deadline for both Large and Small Seed Grants is October 10, 2019.


Awardees of Large Grants are required to submit both a brief interim report to release the remaining 50% of the funds and a final project report within 60 days of the award period end. Small Grant awardees are required only to submit a final project report within 60 days. The final project report should include the results of the research, a financial statement and plans or efforts underway to obtain external funding. Lack of timely reporting may result in exclusion from future award opportunities.


Proposals will be reviewed by UCR faculty with comments returned to explain funding decisions. The alignment of projects with the goals of innovation and high impact, and the feasibility of completing the project and submitting a collaborative grant proposal are evaluation priorities. Proposals that are disruptive, use technology in new ways, or launch entirely novel approaches are specifically encouraged. The assessment will consider the extent of inter-disciplinary and inter-departmental collaboration as well as the potential for subsequent extramural funding. Deans of the PI and co-PIs also will be asked for input on the importance of the project for their school.


Bearing in mind that not all reviewers will have an extensive knowledge of their field of inquiry, faculty should use proposal language accessible to the most faculty. Both types of Seed Grant proposals use the same application format:

  1. Application Form (pdf)
  2. Research Plan - No more than 3 pages, single-spaced, 12 point font with one-inch margins. Typical proposals should include: a brief introduction and one-year objectives, research plan - specific aims and methodology, and anticipated results.
  3. External Funding Target: What specific federal funding opportunity will be targeted for subsequent funding? What is the proposed timeline for applying for external funding? Projects that do not indicate a specific opportunity will be returned without review.
  4. Budget with breakdown of cost categories.
  5. CVs (no more than 2 pages for each investigator).
  6. Results of prior seed grant(s).


Applications should be submitted through the "EasyChair" system at (link active by Jan 1)

Questions on the EasyChair application system should be directed to Bri Cates at or 951-827-4800