ONLINE SUBMISSION OPENS:  Thursday, September 1, 2011
DEADLINE: Friday, September 30, 2011

Access UIRIS to submit an application 

Awards | Program Timeline | PI Eligibility | Eligible Expenses  | Budget | Project Timeline  | Proposal Guidelines | Proposal Format | Evaluation Criteria | DEO Endorsement | Application Review Committee | Conflict of Interest in Research | Project Reporting



The Iowa Centers for Enterprise (ICE), in conjunction with the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR), is pleased to announce seed funding that is designed to expand the commercialization of UI technology. The seed fund program is supported by Iowa Economic Development appropriations to the Board of Regents under the "Grow Iowa Values Fund" (GIVF).

The funds are to support the development of innovations with commercial potential, with the result that more UI technology reaches the marketplace. The funding is intended to support a wide-range of stages in technology development, from initial concept (prior to intellectual property disclosure), to proof of concept, to licensing and commercialization. Existing industry connections are not a prerequisite for funding; however, all projects should have a clear commercial benefit or potential for the state of Iowa, including but not limited to

  • Growth in the Iowa employment base,
  • Creation of an Iowa company, or
  • Licensing to an existing Iowa company.

Interdisciplinary proposals are encouraged. Applications that do not have a clear connection with commercialization and/or technology development will not be considered responsive to this call for proposals and will not be reviewed.


A total of $250,000 in grant funding will be available. Funding per project is expected to range from $10,000 to $50,000. (Note these amounts may change with any significant change in State of Iowa budgets.)

Program Timeline

  • On-line Application Opens: Thursday, September 1, 2011
  • Applications Due: Friday, September 30, 2011
  • Reviews: October 12 – 19, 2011. 
  • Notification: Awards will be announced in the first week of November 2011.

Applicants will be notified if these dates change significantly.

Principal Investigator (PI) Eligibility

All tenure-track or tenured faculty, clinical faculty, research track faculty, research scientists, research engineers, associates, and other staff members for whom research and scholarship are assigned as one of their primary job responsibilities and have at least a 50% university appointment during the year of the project are eligible to apply. These individuals are designated as PI-eligible applicants. The proposal may have as many co-PIs as appropriate.

Visiting faculty, lecturers, postdoctoral associates, fellowship trainees, medical residents, graduate students, and undergraduate students are not eligible.

The proposal can be one that was previously submitted to other programs, but must satisfy the requirements and objectives of the GIVF Seed Grant.

Eligible Expenses

Eligible budget items may include: PI salary, research assistant salary, post doc salary, undergraduate stipends, and graduate student stipends (fringe benefits and graduate student tuition costs must be included in the budget), external consultants and partners, equipment, supplies, animal care costs, payment to subjects, computer services, and any other costs relevant to the project. Travel expenses are eligible only when the travel is required to conduct the project.

Travel to attend conferences or present findings is not eligible.

"Bridging" support to maintain research operations for interim periods between grant termination and funding renewal is not allowed. Contact OVPR for information to specifically request bridging support.


While project activities may run through June 30, 2012, all award funds must be spent, not just encumbered, by May 15, 2012.  No extensions to expend funds after May 15, 2012, will be permitted.  If project costs exceed the amount requested on the budget, other confirmed sources of funding must be identified and shown on the budget. The DEO must endorse the availability and projected use of any additional funds required. Justification must be included in the on-line form as to why each item of the budget is necessary for the project.

Enter budget items, costs and justification in appropriate areas of the on-line form.

Budget categories are: 

  • Salary: Salary + fringe for all eligible personnel on project (e.g., research staff, graduate students, undergraduate students). Note: graduate student tuition costs must also be included as a budget expense.
  • External Consultants and Partners: May include content experts, both scientific and commercial, as well as any required contract services.
  • Equipment:  Amount requested for equipment only. Specify each item.
  • Supplies: Amount requested for project supplies, such as purchase of CDs, books, animals, animal care per diem costs, glassware, sera, etc. Specify all major categories.
  • Related Services: Amount requested for services performed by non-academic units. Examples include costs to utilize the Small Animal Imaging Facility, DNA Facility, Central Microscopy Facility, etc.
  • Travel: Amount requested for all travel-related costs (e.g., airfare, lodging, meals, long-term housing, etc.).  Specify each trip.  Only travel directly related to the conduct of the proposed project will be considered. Travel expenses to attend conferences and to report results are not eligible.
  • Other: Amount for costs not covered in other budget categories. If you believe an item does not fall within any of the categories listed, enter it under “other” and justify it in the text box provided.

If you have questions about the eligibility of budget items, contact Zev Sunleaf (319) 335-4155.

Project Timeline

Project activities are to be completed by June 30, 2012, and award funds must be spent, not just encumbered, by May 15, 2012.  No extensions to expend funds after May 15, 2012, will be permitted.

Proposal Guidelines

All internal funding proposals must be submitted electronically via UIRIS website.  The application site will be open for submission on Thursday, September 1, 2011. This is a secure site. To gain access to it, you must use your HawkID and password. If you are having difficulties creating the required PDF document, contact OVPR staff at 384-3332. It is strongly suggested to do so in advance of the Friday, September 30, 2011, deadline in the event that OVPR staff is unable to provide assistance in a timely fashion.

It is essential that applicants write their proposals so that the project is comprehensible to non-specialists. All too often the PI writes the proposal in complex technical language with a significant number of abbreviations, formulas and symbols. The PI is strongly advised to write in more straight forward language that emphasizes why the area of investigation is important and how the team will conduct the project. To that end, limit the amount of highly discipline specific jargon used. Minimize the number of abbreviations used. Restrict description of overly technical components of your project. Remember that most reviewers will not be experts in your field of study. Your objective is to assist the reviewer in understanding the goals, merits and feasibility of your project.

Proposal Format

The application must contain the following sections in the order indicated, with each section being clearly identified. Type font must be 11-point Times, Times New Roman or Arial, lines can be single-spaced, and margins must be at least .75 inches.

  1. Cover Page (maximum: 1 page): Include the project title, the names and contact information of participants, and a project summary of 200 words or less.
  2. Innovation (maximum: 1 page):
    1. What is novel and/or new about the research proposed?
    2. What is its current state of development?
    3. What is the most directly comparable product or service currently available?
      1. What differentiates your technology from other solutions?
  3.  Project Description (maximum: 2 pages):
    1. Provide an explanation of the purpose of the project.  Provide convincing arguments as to the significance of the proposed project.
    2. Describe project aims.
      1. Describe project endpoints of these aims.
      2. Discuss what level of endpoints, preferably as a quantitative measure, is required for commercial significance.  If levels for comparable products are available, please discuss.
    3. If there are deliverables other than the aims and endpoints, describe them.
  4. Feasibility of the Project (maximum: 1/2 page):  The aim(s) of the project should be well correlated with the time and funding limitations of the award. Provide a candid assessment of the likelihood of completing the proposed project.
  5. Describe Potential Pitfalls of the Proposed Project (maximum: 1/2 page):  List possible problems and difficulties that may arise with the methods and approach described in the proposal. List possible ways to circumvent these pitfalls.
  6. Budget (maximum: 1 page):  A budget justification should detail the planned expenditures and the amount and sources of matching funds. It is not necessary to show or include indirect costs.
  7. Attachments:
    1. CV: A 2-page CV or an NIH biosketch must be included for PI and all co-investigators or collaborators (PI-eligible personnel).
    2. Bibliographical references
    3. Relevant Papers (maximum of 3)

Potential applicants that would like to discuss the award or who seek assistance should contact Zev Sunleaf (319) 335-4155. Proposals missing the required information or not meeting these formatting standards will automatically be rejected.

Evaluation Criteria

Proposals will be evaluated for their potential to grow and enhance Iowa's economy with UI technology. Each project will be ranked according to the following criteria (listed in order of importance).

  • Commercial Viability: How likely is it that, if the project is successful, there is a viable commercial development path?
  • Technological Viability:  How likely is it that, if the project is successful, there is a continuing and viable technological development path?
  • Project Viability: How likely is it that the project endpoints can be achieved within budget and 5-month timeframe?


DEO/Chair Endorsement

The applicant’s DEO/Chair will be sent an email message from the Office of the Vice President for Research requesting the endorsement of the proposal shortly after the proposal is submitted. The endorsement must be received electronically from the DEO/Chair by the due date indicated on the email. If the DEO is submitting a proposal, the review will occur at the collegiate level.

Application Review Committee

Proposals will be reviewed by an Application Review Committee that is comprised of faculty and staff involved in economic development and commercialization activities at UI as well as representatives of the external community experienced in evaluating new technology.  The committee’s recommendations will be submitted to the Vice President for Research, who will make the final determination of awards.

Review meetings will be scheduled during the week of October 12-19, 2011, to discuss submissions and make recommendations for awards.  The applicant or a representative of the research team may be required to make a presentation to the review committee during that time.

Conflict of Interest in Research

At the time you submit a request for these funds, you should also submit a Financial Interest Disclosure Form if you (or your spouse or dependent children) have any of the following related to your proposed research:

  1. An issued patent or a copyright (whether  licensed or not)
  2. A licensing agreement related to a patent application, issued patent, or copyright that is generating personal income to you in excess of $10,000 in the past year or expected in the upcoming year
  3. Equity in a non-publicly traded company
  4. Equity in a publicly-traded company valued in excess of $10,000 or more than 5% of the company
  5. A company position giving rise to a fiduciary duty (such as director, officer, partner, trustee, employee, or other management position), whether paid or unpaid

Keep in mind that this also applies to other members of your study team.

Log in to UIRIS to access the Financial Interest Disclosure Form.

If you have any questions, please contact Charlotte Talman, Director, Conflict of Interest in Research Office, at 5-8892.

Project Reporting

Interim Status Report: In mid-April, 2012, awardees will meet with ICE to discuss the project. A one-page status report discussing progress on the project aims must be submitted prior to the meeting. This status report should address two questions:

  1. Are you on track to spend all project funds by May 15, 2012?  If not, please comment as appropriate.
  2. Are you on track to complete all project work by June 30, 2012? If not, please comment as appropriate.

Final Report and Meeting: In August 2012 a final meeting with awardees will be held to discuss results of the project. A written report is required 3 days prior to the meeting date. Format of the report is flexible, but there should be a focus on endpoints and their commercial significance.

Failure to comply with reporting will make the PI ineligible for any future OVPR internal funding programs.