The 2019 application deadline has passed for the opportunity below. 


The University of Iowa's (UI) Office of the Vice President for Research and Iowa State University's (ISU) Office of the Vice President for Research 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.



  • 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 one principal investigator (PI) from UI and one principal investigator (PI) from ISU.  
  • 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.
  • Applications are required to address one or more of the four areas below that are consistent with the TEConomy-2017 Iowa Bioscience platforms:
    • Medical Devices
    • Biobased Chemicals
    • Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics
    • Precision and Digital Agriculture
  • The area of scholarship should be of interest to more than one funding agency. Investigators are asked to specifically identify potential programs at various funding agencies for follow-on funding.
  • 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


Faculty from all disciplines may apply for the UI-ISU Partnership Seed Grant Program. Applicants must be assistant, associate, or full professors; adjunct, instructional-track, or visiting faculty are not eligible. Faculty may not be on more than one proposal in a given funding cycle.

Teams that received a UI-ISU Partnership Seed Grant Program award in 2018 are not eligible for the 2019 funding cycle.


In a change from 2018, UI and ISU are offering a matchmaking platform to help PIs identify collaborators for a proposal.  UI faculty interested in finding an ISU collaborator should fill out the form linked here.  The list of UI and ISU faculty interested in collaborating on the UI-ISU Partnership Seed Grant Program can be found here.  Faculty who add their names to the list can also opt in to receive a weekly email update.

Review Criteria

A committee of faculty from both UI and ISU 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?
  • 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?
  • Does the application articulate a plan and specify agencies for securing extramural funding?


The maximum award for the UI-ISU Seed Grant Program (combined UI and ISU components) is $50,000 over a period of up to 2 years. Using the budget template (excel), complete the budget categories for both the UI component and ISU component. Provide the combined total budget. Salary for the PIs and Investigator(s) is not allowed. Over expenditures of the budget will be the responsibility of the department. See additional details under the following Proposal Guidelines section.

Proposal Guidelines

Proposals must include the following 5 components:

  1. Narrative of no more than five single space pages of text (12 pt+ font, 1" margins) 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 UI and ISU (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 make 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. It is expected that the narrative will address the review criteria in appropriate sections of the application. UPDATE: References are included in the five-page limit.
  2. Timeline for the implementation plan (no more than one page in length -- does not count against the narrative page limitation)
  3. Plan for seeking external funding: include details about the agencies, programs and solicitations and why the project would be competitive for these programs (no more than one page in length -- does not count against the narrative page limitation).
  4. Budget and budget justification (salary for the PIs and Investigators is not allowed). Use budget template for calculations and provide justification in a separate document (justification should be no more than one page in length -- does not count against the narrative page limitation).
  5. Two-page biosketch for both the UI and ISU PI and Investigator(s) (Does not count against the narrative page limitation)

Application Process

The complete application is submitted to either UI or ISU but not both.  If the lead PI is from the University of Iowa, they should submit their application according to the following instructions. If the lead PI is from Iowa State University, they should submit their application to ISU.  Do not submit an application to both universities.

UI Applicants: log in to with your HawkID and password for additional details and to submit your application--including all components (narrative, timeline, budget, funding plan, and biosketches). Contact / 319-384-3332, with questions.

Deadline for Applications: 5:00 p.m. CT, Friday, March 8, 2019

Reviews Completed by: May 2019

Awards Announced by: May 31, 2019 

Funds available by: July 1, 2019



Rich Hichwa ( or 319-335-2106), University of Iowa Senior Associate Vice President for Research, with program questions.