How to Apply for a Seed Grant

The next call for Seed proposals is anticipated to be Summer 2016. This Seed call will focus on high-risk, high-impact projects that could substantially redirect an existing IRG effort and/or potentially expand into a new team-level effort by nucleating a new sub-field of research. If you have an idea for a Seed proposal that relates organically to one of the existing IRGs, you are strongly encouraged to consult with the membership of that IRG. 

A Seed proposal contain three parts: (1) a project description, not to exceed 5 pages total (12 point font, 1" margins; the page limit does not apply to references), (2) a brief budget description, and (3) CV's of the principal investigators, of any reasonable length. The format of the budget statement is flexible and may include user fees. Support of graduate students is encouraged. Further details on submissions deadlines and where to submit will be posted in early Summer, 2016.

The 5-page project description should include a short paragraph that describes any overlap with current research supported by the nationwide NSF MRSEC program. Note that the NSF prefers to avoid substantial overlap between the research topics within its stable of MRSEC IRGs, so overlap with an existing MRSEC IRG elsewhere is a significant negative. Information about these programs can be found at

Seed projects will be funded at approximately $50K in direct costs for 12-18 months. There are no indirect costs.

The MRSEC Executive Committee will coordinate the review of the proposals. The Executive Committee will solicit the advice of anonymous reviewers through an online proposal evaluation system. Criteria for support include:

  • Promise for transformative advances in basic science beyond that possible for single-investigator efforts.
  • Compelling coupling of theory, measurement, and new materials synthesis or fabrication.
  • Qualifications of the investigators