Seed Grant Program

The RCHSS Seed Grant Program supports grant proposal development, pilot research, and other activities that advance faculty research projects to the point where they can attract extramural funding. Recipients of seed grant support commit to developing their project for major grant or foundation submission within (6 months) of seed funding’s conclusion.

The program invites proposals on a range of topics. However, in line with this year’s emphasis on sustainability, research proposals that engage the topic of “sustainability” (broadly understood) are eligible for additional funding beyond the above noted funding caps. Proposals will be considered on a case-by-case basis.  Those that seek the additional level of funding must make a clear and compelling case for how the project addresses sustainability and the value-added of the increased funding requested.

The RCHSS seed program is not a small grant program. Funding will not be awarded to proposals that do not describe plans to secure extramural funding.


  • Eligibility: RCHSS full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty
  • Funding: Up to $7,500 (for single investigator) or up to $15,000 (for 2+ Investigators)
  • Focus: Early-stage research leading to a proposal for extramural funding
  • Application: Proposals received by September 15 will receive priority consideration.  Applications accepted from September 1 – February 1, 2024 (subject to available funding)


  • Applicants must be tenured or tenure-track faculty members in RCHSS, with preference given to assistant and associate professors.
  • Applications may be individual or collaborative projects. Applicants are encouraged to collaborate with faculty from outside RCHSS, but only RCHSS faculty can receive funding.
  • Faculty may receive RCHSS Seed Grant funding at the same time as other internal funding, but may not use it for the same stage of the project. This distinction must be addressed and acknowledged in the application narrative.
  • There is a limit of one (1) award per fiscal year.  

Allowable Expenses & Limitations

  • Funds may be used for equipment, materials, and technology purchases essential to the project. See end of document for more details.
  • Funds may be used to hire a GRA to support research efforts.
  • Funds may be used for travel, including flights, mileage, lodging, per diems, or other costs associated with eligible travel.
  • Funds may not be used to attend conferences or other destinations not directly related to project research.
  • Funds may be used for June compensation, but for no more than one (1) member of a research team. The award will be inclusive of fringes (23%) and is subject to 33 1/3% summer compensation limit. [Note: Budgets that include only summer compensation will not be as competitive as those that engage students or include research equipment and supplies.]
  • Funds may not be used for faculty salaries or to secure course reassignments during fall or spring semesters.

NOTE: Funds must be expensed during the fiscal year and must observe RCHSS year-end purchasing deadlines. RCHSS plans its annual budget sweep for March 31, 2024. All award funding not encumbered by that date will revert to the college.

Application Procedure

The application should be composed in an MS-Word compatible format using 12-point fonts and 1” margins. Text shall be double-spaced. Each Roman-numerated section should begin on a new page. Proposals that do not meet the formatting expectations will be returned unreviewed.

  1. Cover Page: Project title, name(s) of principal investigator(s), department/school(s), contact information.
  2. Abstract (1 page max): Describe the primary objectives of the research project or creative activity, the significance of the project/activity, and key deliverables.
  3. Project Narrative (3 pages max): The narrative should include the following in clearly identifiable sections.
    • Background Statement: What is the research question? Why is the project significant? Include a brief statement on current approaches to the topic, identify existing challenges or limitations of the current approaches, and explain how the proposed research or creative activity addresses those challenges.
    • Statement of Objectives: What do you plan to achieve? Explain the objective of your project. Avoiding unnecessary jargon, identify and explain the methodological approach and the anticipated results. 
    • Plan of Work: What is the project timeline? Provide a plan for meeting objectives, with an explanation of procedures, activities, risks, timeline, and milestones. If appropriate, explain the plan for human/animal use and safety. For multi-PI proposals, identify the contribution of each PI and provide a clear plan of collaboration. Be sure to distinguish between activities funded by the seed grant program and project for which you will seek external funding.
  4. Selected Bibliography (1 page max).
  5. Budget with Justification (1 page max). Explain how funds will be used. List major equipment and materials to be purchased and describe how they are necessary to carry out the proposed project. Explain how travel funds are necessary to meet project objectives and will be used to conduct the project.  
  6. CV or Biographical Sketch(es) (@ 2 pages max): Each PI should provide a current CV or biographical sketch.  Applicants are encouraged to follow NSF or NIH format.  A one-page summary of other key personnel may also be included (if applicable).
  7. Plans for Obtaining Extramural Funding (1 page max): Identify your plans to secure extramural funding. The plan should include:  1) Name of funding agency (include URL), 2) title of the funding program, 3) a description of how your project relates to the RFP or program’s goals, 4) an estimate of the funding to be requested from the agency/foundation, and 5) an indication of any interactions you have had with granting agency (if applicable).  If considering multiple funding agencies, please provide above information for each. 
  8. Statement on Human Subjects: All research involving human subjects must have IRB approval. While proposal that have not yet undergone review will be considered for funding, no funds will be disbursed until the project is approved.

Submissions will “open” on September 1, 2023, and “close” on February 1, 2024: Materials should be submitted via email to  The email subject line should read “RCHSS Seed Proposal”.  

NOTE: Proposal will be reviewed on a rolling basis and awards offered until the available funding has been exhausted.


Proposals will be evaluated on the basis of: project feasibility; intellectual merit; clarity of objectives, methods, and anticipated results; reasonableness of costs; qualifications of personnel, including familiarity with the relevant literature, data, and methods to be used; and the potential for outputs to serve as the foundation for a larger-scale, externally funded project. Secondary criteria include the extent to which the research is interdisciplinary or involves collaboration.

Award Expectations

  • Funded investigators commit to submitting an End of Year Report (see below).
  • Funded investigators commit to present their research at a seminar, workshop, or other event, if requested.
  • Funded investigators agree to have research summarized in an RCHSS publication, if requested.
  • Funded investigators agree to participate in follow-on activities such as efforts to support future awardees (including serving as a reviewer), if requested.
  • Funded investigators commit to acknowledge RCHSS support in any papers and publication ensuing from the research.
  • Funded investigators commit to providing copies of articles, chapters, or other scholarly outputs supported by the award, including any publicity materials, press clippings, or reviews.

Final Reporting Requirements

  • An “End of Year” report is due by June 30, 2024.  
  • The report should be completed using the appropriate template and follow the directions found thereupon.
  • The report should be submitted via email to
  • The report shall include proof of proposal submission to an extramural funding agency.  If the investigator has not submitted a grant proposal by the report date, the investigator should provide a clear timeline for submission.  
  • A project cannot be “closed” until the report has been received.  An investigator with an “open” project is not eligible for additional RCHSS research funding.