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Funding Incentive Seed Grant Program

Proposal Deadlines February 15 and August 20 by 5 pm

Committee Decisions Received 


May 20 (February)

November 20 (August) 

Funding Starts

January 1 of following year (August)

July 1 (February)

Please note that if the deadline falls on a weekend or holiday, proposals are due the following business day.

Program Description

The Funding Incentive Seed Grant Program will support only new areas of research for a principal investigator. Research that is already supported by other sources will not be approved for funding. Gap funding to bridge support between external grants or contracts will not be considered. The applicant must clearly and convincingly demonstrate that the proposed project represents a new research direction in an area likely to generate extramural funding. Thus, the proposal must not overlap with any existing grants (i.e. you cannot receive funding from the URC and the SEED Grant mechanisms for the same, or a similar project).  Seed funding under this program is to be used to successfully compete for extramural funds to support the project in the long term.  Awards will be up to $35,000 for one year only.

Preference will be given to proposals that:

  1. Have a high potential for extramural funding.
  2. Have significant merit.
  3. Represent a new direction for the PI.
  4. Build or strengthen cross-disciplinary research partnerships.

Only one proposal per applicant will be accepted in any application cycle. An applicant may not apply for more than one proposal during an application period. The Seed grant will no longer allow for "co-PI's".  

PIs must be either be:

  •  Tenure track faculty with an appointment that is at least 0.75 FTE.
  • Research faculty of at least 0.75 FTE with a minimum of a two-year residency, in rank, at the University of Utah.  
  • Clinical faculty with a combined appointment at the University of Utah and/or the VA of at least 0.75 FTE.  (Note: Clinical faculty who do not normally have research time built into their appointments should indicate in the proposal narrative how much time they expect the seed and external research would take, and should indicate how this time commitment can be supported by their current appointment.  If any changes in effort would be needed during either the seed or external research, a letter from their chair should be included indicating they are in support of these changes.)
  • PIs must be in residence or on sabbatical at the University of Utah at the time of application. 

Additional collaborators (as many as needed to accomplish the work) may be included and should be listed in the proposal narrative.  There are no restrictions on collaborators.  These can be on campus, off campus, faculty/clinical/post docs/industrial collaborators, etc.

Each PI may submit only one proposal (as PI) during each proposal cycle. There is no limit on the number of proposals a person may collaborate on, and someone who submits a proposal as a PI may serve as a collaborator on other proposals. 

Proposals that have already been submitted to an extramural agency or those already reviewed and found non-competitive by an extramural agency will not be reviewed. One exception to this restriction is proposals previously submitted to an extramural agency that were declined on the basis of insufficient preliminary data. In that case, an executive summary statement or official letter/email from the agency specifically stating the deficiency or absence of preliminary data should be submitted along with the application.

If the review panel has turned down an application, the PI is allowed one re-submission of a revised proposal on the same subject. Revised proposals must indicate changes from previous proposal and responses to reviewer comments.

In the case where an application is funded, the PI is not eligible to compete as a PI in future grant cycles for three years from the original submission date of the successful proposal.

Proposals are submitted using the InfoReady System. (This is the new system, if you have any questions regarding how to use it, contact Whitney Reid (801-581-7237)). 

PLEASE NOTE:  One copy of the proposal must be attached ELECTRONICALLY, along with the Document Summary Sheet, to the Office of Sponsored Projects through eProposal (log into CIS). If human subjects or animal research is involved, provide one copy of the IRB or IACUC confirmation.  

If granted SEED funding, applications to the IRB and IACUC must be made and approved prior to funds being released.

The application must include the following:

  1. Abstract of the proposal & aims: 1 page
  2. Technical Proposal: limited to 3 pages (If this is a resubmission, ONE additional page to address reviewers concerns is allowed).
  3. References: limited to 1 additional page
  4. Plan for extramural support: 1 page
  5. Budget (PDF) - (Excel Format)
  6. Current and Pending Support: list yearly direct funds for each grant, also include any awards you've have received from the University of Utah.
  7. Biographical sketch: limit 5 pages
  8. Letter of support from department chair (if you are the Chair of your Dept., your letter should come from the Dean of your college)
  9. List of 4 potential reviewers: 2 may be within your department and 2 outside your department, but must be full-time University of Utah faculty who are senior investigators experienced in grantsmanship. Any faculty with whom you collaborate on research are ineligible so please DO NOT list them.  Department chairs are also ineligible. It may also be helpful to mention to potential reviewers that you have listed them. This way they can anticipate a review request. 

YOU are responsible for hitting the "submit" button after completion.  If that isn't done, your grant may not be reviewed.  If any information items requested above are not included at the time of submission, the proposal may not be reviewed.

All submissions are done via the InfoReady system. (This is the new system, if you have any questions regarding how to use it, contact Whitney Reid (801-581-7237)).

Call the Office of the Vice President for Research (581-7237) if you have problems either completing the forms or printing the application.

For all documents, please keep the font at 12 pt and 1" margins.

Apply Now Online

  1. Choose program to which you are applying (Seed Grant).
  2. Project budget should be for one year and not exceed $35,000. See “Budget” below.

1. Abstract

Abstract of the proposal and aims. Must use the form provided.

2. Project Description

The project description must include, in this order:

  • General background.
  • Technical significance of the research. Include how this project is a new direction from your existing research efforts and the potential impact of this new direction.
  • Impact of this research on society and application areas where this research can or will be applied.
  • Specific goals, objectives and anticipated results.
  • Description of methods including anticipated barriers or technical difficulties. Also specify the resources needed for this project (equipment, materials, etc.) and indicate their availability.
  • Other faculty with whom you will be collaborating and their role in the project.

The project description must be concise, limited to three typed, single-spaced pages with a font size of 12 points.  One-inch margins must be maintained. If you feel additional information is important to submit, an appendix may be included but there is no obligation for reviewers to read it. A violation of this format will result in your proposal not being reviewed.

NOTE: It is important that you consult the Technology Venture & Commercialization before disclosing details of any research that may be patentable. Any confidential information in this proposal must be clearly identified by marking as "Confidential" at the top and bottom of each page where the confidential information appears.

3. Key references (One page maximum)

4. Extramural Support (One page maximum)

Provide a specific plan for development of the extramural proposal. This proposal serves as the final report for the project and must be completed within one year of completion of the seed grant.

  • Program: Indicate from which extramural support programs you will be seeking support. List specific programs and why you anticipate that the research supported by this seed grant will leverage external support. Which grant submission deadline will you be targeting?
  • Objectives: What will be the thrust of the proposal and how is this specifically supported by this seed funding? What is the application area you will be targeting, and what is the societal impact of the work you will be proposing?
  • Team: Who will be involved at this university and others? Briefly describe their skills related to the project. More people can be involved in your final proposal team than are included on the seed grant.
  • Pre-review: Who will read and comment on your proposal before it is submitted to an external funding source? Having a colleague pre-review your grant significantly increases its' likelihood of being funded.

If this project has previously been submitted for external support, a copy of the executive summary of the review from the agency it was submitted to must be included with your application.

5. Budgets

Budget Page (PDF Format) (Excel Format)

Awards will be up to $35,000 for one year only.

Funding is available for salaries and fringe benefits of post doctoral fellows, students, technicians, and other non-faculty project personnel, technical supplies, equipment and miscellaneous expenses.

Grant funds cannot be used for: faculty salaries (summer or academic year); travel that is not directly related to project research (e.g., conferences cannot be supported by this grant), consultants, or office equipment (including computers) unless specifically justified.

Personnel time is limited to 12 months of any combination of post doc, technician, or graduate student. An additional 12 months of graduate student time may be budgeted when the application is from multiple departments/programs.

PI may transfer up to 25% of the award into different categories of spending without written permission from the VP for Research Office, as long as the category is in the original budget approved by the Seed Grant Committee.

Projects that are predominantly equipment budgets should be submitted to the University of Utah Research Instrumentation Program.

6. Current and Pending Support

Complete for principal investigator. List yearly direct funds and include any internal awards received.

7. Biographical Sketch/Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Complete for principal investigator. Do not exceed 5 pages. (We only need it for the PI, we don't a CV from the collaborator(s) on the PI's proposal.)

8. Letter of Support

Each copy of the application must include a letter of support to the Vice President for Research from the department chair or equivalent (if you are the Chair of your Dept., your letter should come from the Dean of your College). At a minimum, this letter must include an assurance that the PI will be present at the University for the duration of the grant period; that the department will be responsible for faculty salary during the grant period; and if appropriate, any support the department is willing to give to the faculty member in pursuing this new research direction. If this research is part of a larger research vision in the department or college, please describe how this proposal relates to that broader picture. The letter is part of the proposal packet that will be reviewed by panel members.

The application must also include the name of a colleague who will assist in reviewing the final external grant proposal that results from this seed grant research.

9. Resubmissions

If you are submitting a revised proposal, you may/should have one additional page to address previous reviewer concerns.

No information other than what is asked for above will be reviewed.


  • If you are submitting a revised proposal, you may/should have one additional page to address previous reviewer concerns.
  • Also, the committee will be using the same reviewers from your previous submission, so if you can, please list your reviewer suggestions from your initial submission. 

The proposal evaluation is online in the InfoReady system. (This is the new system, if you have any questions regarding how to use it, contact Whitney Reid (801-581-7237)).

Applications will be reviewed by the Seed Grant Committee. This faculty committee is appointed by the University President, upon the recommendation of the Vice President for Research, in consultation with the Personnel and Elections Committee of the Academic Senate. Additional faculty members may be added on an ad hoc basis by the Vice President for Research.

Applicants will be informed of the panel's recommendations on or about May 20 and November 20, respectively, for the February and August cycles.

Funding for the February deadline will begin July 1 and January 1, of the following year, for the August deadline.

Proposals will be evaluated using the following criteria:

  1. If the proposed research is completed, does the proposal have a high chance at leveraging extramural support?
  2. Are the significance and merit of the research clearly documented?
  3. Does the PI provide information necessary to determine if this is a new direction and that the research does not overlap with existing funded projects?
  4. Does the PI have the experience necessary to determine if this is a new direction and that the research does not overlap with existing funded projects?
  5. Have potential barriers or technical difficulties been identified?
  6. Does the PI (and collaborators) have the experience necessary to carry out the project?
  7. Are the goals, objectives and expected results stated clearly and are they reasonable, given the funds and time provided?
  8. Are the methods outlined and do they reflect the goals and objectives stated in the proposal?
Have extramural opportunities been identified and are they reasonable? 
The Principal Investigator is responsible for the administration of grant funds. In particular, he/she must be certain that over-expenditures do not occur. Capital equipment purchased is the property of the University of Utah. 
If the work cannot be completed in the initial 12-month period, the principal investigator may request one 6-month extension by sending a request to the Vice President for Research at least one month prior to the end of the project. Please send requests to the Office of Vice President for Research at and include: 
  1. The PI’s name
  2. The original end date
  3. The new requested end date
  4. The project number
  5. Title of the project
  6. Justification for the extension
If asking for 2nd extension, include 1st round approval documentation.
Successful applicants must produce a new proposal for extramural funding as the final report within one year of completion of the project.


Please include:

1. PI's Name

2. Title of SEED Grant application

3. The PI's award period for their SEED Grant. 

4. The title of the PI's extramural proposal that they applied for. 

5. If awarded funding from an extramural agency, please include: a copy of the proposal, the funding number, title of grant, dates active (start and finish), and the total amount awarded in direct costs.

In exceptional cases, where seed funding may prove the project to be ultimately non-competitive, a waiver of the extramural application requirement may be requested to and granted by the Office of the Vice President for Research. If neither an application or letter of explanation is submitted, no new funds will be made available to the PI until the letter or application is submitted.

Please send your final reports to


If you have any questions about the Funding Incentive Seed Grant Program, please contact Whitney Reid (801-581-7237), the Project Coordinator for the Office of the Vice President for Research. 

Last Updated: 8/18/17