Seed Grant Program

Eligibility and requirements

*Letter of Intent due: Dec. 6, 2021
Full proposal due (all TAEs): Feb. 1, 2022

Submit proposals online.

Notification: April 1, 2022
Award start: June 1, 2022
Award end: May 31, 2023

* IMPORTANT: A preliminary letter of intent (LOI) is now REQUIRED for any seed grant proposal requesting more than $15,000, and it is strongly recommended for all other proposals. For more, see the “Letter of intent” section below. 

Overview

The Transdisciplinary Areas of Excellence Seed Grant Program provides one year of initial support for collaborative research projects with the potential to attract external funding, create new partnerships and develop innovative scholarship or creative activities. Faculty teams are invited to submit proposals to one of the six TAEs, where they will be evaluated by an interdisciplinary panel of experts (for more on TAEs and selection criteria, see below). Projects funded by this grant employ diverse methods and bodies of knowledge to address a central problem. They develop novel methods, apply theories or methods to new substantive areas or translate among previously unrelated theoretical perspectives. As a seed grant, supported projects are expected to lead to new scholarly or creative activities and additional proposals for external support; this program is not a bridge fund. It should not be used to support research in lieu of external grant funds or to recruit new students.

Eligibility

  • All Binghamton University personnel are eligible to apply.
  • Projects must include two or more principal investigators.
  • Proposals that involve faculty from more than one department are strongly encouraged.
  • Collaborators may include individuals from off campus, but funding is restricted to Binghamton University personnel unless otherwise justified.
  • There is no restriction on the number of collaborations any individual may join; however, proposals for the same project cannot be submitted to multiple TAEs in the same cycle, and projects funded by one TAE are not eligible for funding from other TAEs in subsequent years.
  • Faculty teams with projects that may fit under more than one TAE should reach out to relevant TAE chairs to discuss the best placement for their proposal.
  • Applicants should contact the TAE chair in advance of application (usually the December prior to the February application deadline) to learn of any additional requirements for their specific TAE.Applications that do not conform to all TAE requirements may be returned without review.

Award information

The number and amount of seed grant awards vary by TAE and by grant cycle depending on the size and strength of the proposal pool, the needs of individual projects and available funds. Most awards range from $3,000 to $15,000, though some TAEs may elect to make awards over $15,000. Teams proposing awards over $15,000 should discuss their project with the relevant TAE chair prior to submission. Additional guidance, if applicable, is available on websites for individual TAEs (see “Contacts” below).

The award period begins on June 1, 2022, and goes through May 31, 2023. All funds must be spent within this time period. Reporting requirements are listed below.

Letter of Intent

Teams requesting more than $15,000 must submit a letter intent (LOI) by 5 p.m. Monday, Dec. 6, 2021 using the online TAE Seed Grant LOI Form (https://forms.gle/DhvyPgUofGUy11318). All other proposers are strongly encouraged to submit an LOI.

This form will provide TAE Steering Committees with information on the proposed project's investigators, title, objective, project description and external funding target(s). They will use this process to evaluate project feasibility and provide comments to the investigators regarding the project scope, team composition and overall approach, with the aim of helping applicants improve their proposals prior to submission. Proposals submitted through the LOI process are typically more competitive in the general pool, especially for first-time applicants. Please note that the details outlined in the LOI do not prohibit adjustments to the project in the full proposal.

Proposal preparation

Proposals must contain the following elements combined in a single PDF document. A template Word file can be found at the end of this document, and also as a separate attachment in the program announcement email. Format and requirements for LOIs should be discussed with the Data Science or Sustainable Communities chair.

All materials must be submitted using the online TAE Seed Grant portal by 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022 (see announcement email for link). In the title of your document, list the initials of the TAE you are submitting to (see chart on p. 4), the last name of the submitting PI and the seed grant cycle (2022-23 Seed Grant), all separated by underscores (ex. “MVW_Ortega_2022-23 Seed Grant.pdf”, “DS_Lang_2022-23 Seed Grant.pdf”).

You must include the following:

A. Cover page

Use the Proposal Cover Page template found at the right side of this page.

B. Project narrative

Provide an overview of the work to be performed, its impacts and how it meets the goals of the TAE Seed Grant Program. Your narrative should be written for an audience of non-specialist experts (i.e., the TAE Steering Committee) and should not exceed three single-spaced pages (11-point or larger font, 1” margins). Applicants are encouraged to submit non-proprietary content and clearly mark proprietary information. In your narrative, you should describe the following:

  • the project, its significance and its future impact(s);
  • the relationship of the project to the TAE to which you are submitting;
  • the contributions that the PIs and collaborators will make to the project and, if applicable, how undergraduates, graduate students or post-docs will participate in the project;
  • the benefits this collaboration will bring to the University, including how it will increase the visibility and/or fundability of the work being proposed; and
  • current and future plans for securing external support for this project, including a list of potential sponsors and timelines for proposal preparation.
C. Literature cited

Provide key citations that relate directly to this project.

D. Budget

Use the budget template found at the right side of this page to identify all costs to be covered by the seed grant, and provide a brief justification for the proposed budget. All costs must fall within the award period (June 1, 2022 to May 31, 2023). Eligible costs include salaries, wages, tuition and fringe for personnel (undergraduates, graduate students and other staff), travel, materials and supplies, and other expenses. First-time applicants are encouraged to discuss budgets with the Office of Sponsored Programs (see “Contacts”)

Additional rules:

  • Hourly workers must be paid at or above the federal or NYS minimum wage.
  • Graduate student appointments during fall or spring terms require tuition be budgeted ($6,000 per student per semester), unless waived by dean or provost. Graduate students can only be hired as hourly workers during summer or winter terms, not during the academic year.
  • Summer salary, fellowships and/or course buyouts for faculty are not allowed.
E. Biographical sketches

Provide a 2–3 page biographical sketch (i.e., abbreviated CV, biosketch, etc.) for each investigator.

Proposal evaluation

All proposals will be reviewed by the program-specific TAE Steering Committee. The following general criteria are used to evaluate proposals:
1) relationship of the proposed research to the directed TAE
2) originality, significance, quality and future impact of the proposed research
3) capacity to attract future federal, state, philanthropic or private funding
4) strength of team members’ achievements

*Note that individual TAEs may apply additional criteria and/or weigh evaluation elements differently. Applicants should contact the TAE chair and consult the relevant TAE websites for more specific guidance.

Reporting

The lead PI will be expected to provide a mid-year update to the committee as well as a final report summarizing project outcomes to date, including any presentations, publications, proposal submissions, invention disclosures, exhibitions or other applicable activities. Final reports must also include additional plans for submitting proposals to external funding agencies. Be aware that basic information on awarded projects (title, team members and abstract) will be posted to TAE websites. 

Contacts and additional information

Questions about proposal placement (i.e., which TAE best fits your project), TAE-specific evaluation criteria, post-award reporting and other proposal-related questions should be directed to the chair of the relevant TAE(s). Links for each TAE website can be found below.

TAE chairs

Citizenship, Rights, and Cultural Belonging, Code CRCB
Alexandra Moore, amoore@binghamton.edu

Data Science, Code DS
Xingye Qiao, qiao@binghamton.edu

Health Sciences, Code HS
Gail Rattinger, gratting@binghamton.edu

Material and Visual Worlds, Code MVW
Daniel Davis, dtdavis@binghamton.edu

Smart Energy, Code SE
Mark Poliks, mpoliks@binghamton.edu

Sustainable Communities, Code SC
Carl Lipo, clipo@binghamton.edu

Questions about PI eligibility, budget preparation and allowable costs should be directed to the Office of Sponsored Programs. All other questions can be directed to the TAE Seed Grant Program administrator for the Provost's Office, Amy Keough.