Research Seed Funding Program

Program Description


The 2019-20 UCI Research Seed Funding Program is aimed at investing in promising research directions where internal seed level investment can lead to externally funded “center-scale” research programs. The UCI strategic plan identifies convergence research as one of the keys to achieving the vision of research growth that makes a difference. Here convergence refers to deep integration of knowledge bases, tools, techniques, and ways of thinking from physical sciences, life sciences, engineering, computing and social sciences, and reaching out to humanities, arts, business and law to address major societal challenges.

Accordingly, seed funding proposals are invited from multidisciplinary teams that can compete for extramural funding. Seed funding can be used for planning, capacity building, and research development activities. Examples of extramural opportunities that teams can target include the NIH P30, P50, PPG and SPORE programs, the NSF ERC, STC, MRSEC, CCI, and Expeditions programs, the DOD MURI program, the DOE EFRC program, the DHS S&T COE program and large grants offered by the NEH, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Ford Foundation. It should be noted that this is not an exhaustive list, but is meant to be illustrative.

Seed funding may be requested for a period of up to two years, and it is anticipated that 5 - 8 awards of up to $150,000 each will be given.


UC Irvine faculty members who are eligible to serve as Principal Investigators may apply. Only multi-investigator, multi-disciplinary teams and proposals are eligible.

Deliverables and Use of Funds

The key deliverable for awards will be leveraging the work accomplished through the Seed Funding Program to submit one or more center proposals to extramural funding agencies, including to federal agencies (NIH, DOE, DOD, NSF, DHS, NASA, NEA, NEH, etc.), state agencies and non-profit foundations (e.g., American Cancer Society, Keck Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, etc.) Letters of intent or white papers do not satisfy the deliverable requirement. The targeted funding opportunities to which proposals will be submitted must be provided at the time of application. Proposals that are vague on this point will be scored lower than those that can identify a specific opportunity.

This seed funding opportunity will not support the acquisition of an equipment grant or the development of a clinical trial.

Funds will be provided for one-time awards that may be used up to two years from the time that they are awarded. Funds can be used for meetings, supplies, students or post-doctoral fellows, equipment, travel, or other common research uses. Funds may also be used to support staff that are instrumental in the team’s efforts in pursuing external funding, but may not be used for faculty salaries. As these are internal campus funds, no indirect costs will be charged.

Guiding Principles and Funding Priorities

The overall goal of the Seed Funding Program is to stimulate successful extramural research proposals. Applications will be competitively evaluated based on the likelihood that the proposed work plan will result in robust preliminary data to support strong proposals for center-scale extramural funding. Other important considerations include the intellectual merit, overall feasibility of the proposed plan, the track record of success of the research team, and the effective use of the requested resources.

Review Process

A review committee, composed of faculty members representing a wide range of disciplines, including representatives from the Academic Senate Council on Research, Computing and Libraries (CORCL), and key Office of Research (OR) staff members, will review the applications and provide a ranked list to the Vice Chancellor for Research (VCR). Feedback for each proposal will be provided in a timely manner after final funding decisions have been made by the VCR.


Applications are strictly limited to the cover page information and a total of 5 additional pages, plus CVs/Biosketches. The full application packet includes the following items:

  • Cover Page including the project title; Principal Investigator’s (PI) name and contact information; any co-investigators’ names and contact information, and the administering unit and financial management contact for this project, if awarded. In addition, this section should list targeted external funding opportunities and submission deadlines. Information in this section will be entered directly into the "UCI Review" online submission system. The remaining items will be uploaded into a single PDF document:

    • Research and Collaboration Plan not to exceed 3 pages (References do not count toward this page count and can be included on additional pages).

    • Rough Budget not to exceed 1 page. The budget should state the total amount requested from the Research Seed Funding Program, as well as the level of external funding that the research team will pursue.  (see Use of Funds section above).
    • Letter of Support from the Dean, Chair, or Director of the administering unit, including their agreement to receive and manage the award, if approved, not to exceed 1 page. Regarding the content of this letter: at most, we are seeking acknowledgement from the administering unit that it is aware of and supports the project proposal.

    • CV or biosketches of the collaborating investigators, not to exceed 2 pages each.

Proposal Development Resources

During the proposal development process for this the Convergence Research Seed Funding Program, the Office of Research encourages teams to schedule a consultation with the UCI-based, Team Scholarship Acceleration Lab (TSAL).  TSAL will work with teams on developing a strategic plan for their research (including developing and aligning goals), team communication and on creating team scholarship management plans.  To schedule a consultation, please contact Dr. Maritza Salazar Campo at,

Oversight and Reporting for Award Recipients

A brief interim progress report will be requested after year 1, with a final report detailing the work accomplished through the Research Seed Funding Program to be submitted within 3 months of the completion of the award period. This final report should include a financial report indicating the use of the awarded funds, and information on the proposal(s) submitted or planned for submission, including the targeted call/FOA/RFA/RFP (titles and program number), and their submittal due date(s).



Hung Fan, Associate Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives, 949-824-3079 or

Michael Gallo, Director of Research Development, 949-824-3752, or

Greg Ruth, Communications Manager, 949-824-0372 or

Please visit our past-awards page to view previous seed funding awards and recipients.

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