College of Engineering

Seed Funding

College of Engineering Cross-cutting Initiative

Multiple $50,000 Seed Grants

Stage 1 Proposals

Due October 1, 2018 (one-page max), $5,000; identifies possible nucleus team, and focal area of research. Intent to complete application is implied. Funds transferred to originator’s IRAD account (or split as desired); in support of travel, logistics, etc.

Stage 2 Proposals

Due November 1, 2018 (up to five pages, elaborates on plan, includes budget justification, the team, their qualifications and track record for pursuing and receiving funding (past funding not required, but relevant). This document refines the focal area and identifies intended funding targets. Include a section that explains how your project is transdisciplinary. Up to $45,000 available; your budget can be intermediate or full level (which does not affect funding likelihood). The intent in this call is to create an incentive for new connections, for example with scientists/engineers who you have not extensively collaborated with already. If you have already collaborated with a proposed team member, explicitly state how this effort is different or new. Please include an appendix (can go beyond five pages) that delineates your funding track record (grants received) and that of your collaborators. Formatting for this appendix section should please include title of grant, funding level received, funding source, and co-collaborators on the grant. This section must also include prior track record of seed grants from Michigan Tech (for example, REF), if any, and subsequent grants obtained as a result of the investment, as appropriate.


To provide seed funding to tackle a research problem that requires an interdisciplinary team to address, and to foster new connections between and across faculty members, both within Michigan Tech and beyond.


To promote new collaborations between researchers with a focus on transdisciplinary initiatives that are aggressively forward-looking. Where is your field going, and how can you position yourselves with seed funding so as to be ready for current and future major federal RFPs? Within the surety of being in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (think digital, and for reference refer to Klaus Schwab’s book, The Fourth Industrial Revolution), how can you align your research strengths within the fourth industrial revolution, with forward-looking transdisciplinarity, collaborative thrusts, using these seed funds?


Increasingly, federal agencies such as NSF, NIH, etc. are funding research that involves experts from multiple disciplines to solve complex problems. The reason for this is that “The grand challenges of today—protecting human health; understanding the food, energy, water nexus; exploring the universe at all scaleswill not be solved by one discipline alone. They require convergence: the merging of ideas, approaches and technologies from widely diverse fields of knowledge to stimulate innovation and discovery.” []

Evaluation Criteria

Stage 2 proposals will be judged on the following five criteria:

  1. Funding track record of the PI/team
  2. Likelyhood of funding (is it a good idea with potential funding sources)
  3. Interdisciplinarity/transdisciplinarity of the project
  4. Potential amount of funding (potential to increase the CoE research expenditures)
  5. Newness of the interdisciplinary team


A team of individuals (three or more) who commit to working together to develop at least one full proposal submission within 18 months (by 5/1/2020). These team members may be at Michigan Tech, across the nation and across the world. Including a social scientist enhances an NSF submission.

Stage 1 funding may be used for needed travel or meetings (e.g. to meet in personyou might invite a collaborator here to give a talk, meet with your research group, etc.). Funding may not be used for summer salary. Funding may be used in support of a graduate student or other needed staff to develop preliminary data.

Stage 1: $5,000 for a one-page short proposal identifying the potential nucleus team (which may not have yet agreed to the proposition), and outlining the plan for developing the Stage 2 proposal. How is this team new, cross-cutting, transdisciplinary, etc.?

Stage 2: Up to $45,000 in support of preliminary research associated with the project (to show proof of concept, support students, preliminary data, needed travel, etc.) Funding period “ends” Nov. 15, 2019.

Final Report is required, due May 15, 2020. This report will consist of a short one-page summary of your activity, and an official copy of the grant or grants you submitted, via email to Associate Dean Leonard Bohmann,

How do I submit?

Email your Stage 1 proposal with the subject heading: Stage 1 (or 2) Seed Grant SHORTNAME to Associate Dean Leonard Bohmann,


"The grand challenges of today—protecting human health; understanding the food, energy, water nexus; exploring the universe at all scales—will not be solved by one discipline alone."

NSF's 10 Big Ideas