Iowa State University’s (ISU) Office of the Vice President for Research and University of Iowa’s (UI) Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development will provide seed funds to support UI and ISU researchers in developing innovative, ambitious, interdisciplinary programs that have the potential to synergistically advance both institutions’ research profiles, as well as lead to sponsored funding from government agencies, corporations, and/or foundations.  Seed funds may be used to develop new initiatives or expand existing collaborations.

Deadline for Applications

Wednesday, March 21, 2018, 5:00 pm

Application Process

Applications should be submitted as a single, complete PDF file.  If the lead PI is from the University of Iowa, they should submit their complete PDF package to  If the lead PI is from Iowa State University, they should submit their complete PDF package to ISU.  Do not submit the PDF package to both universities.

Availability of Funds

June 1, 2018 at both UI and ISU 

Contact Rich Hichwa ( / 319-335-2106), Senior Associate Vice President for Research, with questions.


  • The purpose of these seed grants is to foster and build strong, meaningful collaborations between UI and ISU researchers that will lead to research projects that synergistically advance both institutions’ research portfolios and opportunities for funding that would otherwise not be possible.  
  • Each team will have Co-Principal Investigators (Co-PIs): one from UI and one from ISU.  The Co-PIs must be tenured associate or full professors at their university.  
  • Teams are expected to define an integrated (preferably interdisciplinary) research effort distinguished by intellectual excellence and driven by a clear vision of fundamental advances, new discoveries, or technological developments having state, national, and global economic and societal impact. 
  • Only applications that address one of the following four areas will be considered:
    • Antimicrobial Research
    • Vaccines & Immunotherapy 
    • Brain Science 
    • Medical Devices
  • The area of scholarship should be of interest to more than one funding agency and investigators are required to identify potential programs at various funding agencies.
  • Teams that receive these seed funds are expected to obtain new external funding.  Project activities may include (but are not limited to): 
    • Collection of preliminary data needed for external proposal submission 
    • Workshops on emerging interdisciplinary research areas or high-level seminar series to help establish the research teams and partnerships
    • Identification and recruitment of industrial, academic and/or government partnerships and/or promotion of research collaborations with these institutions 
    • Travel to establish partnerships and to interact with program officers 
    • Creation and support of resources such as websites, research collaboration sites or social networking tools to facilitate large-scale research programs

Proposals will be evaluated on the intellectual merit and innovation of the proposed project, on the project’s organization and effective use of funds, and on the plausibility of the researcher’s plan for seeking outside funding.


Faculty from all disciplines may apply for the ISU-UI Partnership Seed Program. Applicants must be tenured associate or full professors. Faculty may not be on more than one proposal in a given funding cycle.

Review Criteria

A committee of faculty from both ISU and UI will review proposals utilizing the following criteria: 

  • Does the proposal articulate a well-integrated, (preferably interdisciplinary) research program driven by a vision that could lead to major advances, discoveries, and technologies? 
  • Does the proposal clearly specify a plan to form a strong and sustained research team, and to secure extramural funding? 
  • Are the benefits of a multi-institutional team clearly presented?  Is there a compelling argument for the formation of this inter-institutional team? 
  • Is there value added to both universities? 
  • Does the research team have the required qualifications, accomplishments, and track record to accomplish the proposed work? 


The VPR Seed Program funding is a maximum of $50,000 per project, over a period of up to 2 years.

Proposal Guidelines

  1. Proposal narrative of no more than five single space pages of text (12+ font) that provides the technical details of the project including methodology and approach.  The narrative should (i) highlight the innovative, novel, and intellectual merits of the proposed work; (ii) the value gained by the collaboration between ISU and UI (examples include joint publications, conference posters/presentations and submission of grant proposals that demonstrate synergy and innovativeness beyond the independent capabilities of each institution ); (iii) the anticipated barriers or technical difficulties that makes it a high-risk, but high pay-off project; (iv) how the seed funds would mitigate these challenges and position the team to seek external funds; and (v) expected outcomes and impacts. 
  2. Timeline for the implementation plan 
  3. Budget and budget justification (salary for the PI/Co-PI is not allowed) 
  4. Plan for seeking external funding: include details about the agencies, programs and solicitations and why the project would be competitive for these programs 
  5. Two-page resume for each investigator

Contact Rich Hichwa ( / 319-335-2106), Senior Associate Vice President for Research, with questions.