The Innovative Seed Grant Program (ISGP) is designed to help faculty launch innovative and collaborative research, scholarship, and creative works. Since the first ISGP competition in 2006, seed grants of up to $50,000 have been awarded to 261 faculty researchers and research teams. To date, more than $11 million in grants have been awarded through this program. The promising results from ISGP funded faculty include important research findings, new partnerships, publications, workshops, exhibits, and seminars.

Several millions in public and private funding have been awarded to further develop the research programs that were seeded by ISGP funds. For instance, five projects from the 2015 ISGP that received a combined $249,985 in seed funding have already received more than $6.5 million in additional funding, equating to $25.08 for every $1 invested by the program. An additional eight projects are still underway and likely to add to these already significant outcomes.

As these figures reflect, the return on this investment in the sheer quantity and quality of research findings has been outstanding.

Highlights from ISGP Recipient successes:

This seed grant was instrumental in developing a new area of research within my group. Specifically, with the seed grant, I was able to expand our current scope of work while generating preliminary results necessary for an NIH proposal, which was funded. Joel Kaar, Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering

The research enabled by the IGP award was the basis on which the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry recently appointed me as a Research Assistant Professor. Subhadeep Roy, Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry

The seed grant funding allowed me to secure (as PI) a major interdisciplinary grant on a cutting-edge topic. Abby Liel, Associate Professor of Structural Engineering & Structural Mechanics

The seed grant was instrumental in developing the preliminary data for a grant submitted to the NIH. This grant was recently funded. Loren Hough, Assistant Professor of Physics

This grant has enabled the establishment of a new collaboration with NSF postdoc Dr. Iris Levin.  Iris came to my lab with a NSF postdoctoral fellowship; the SEED grant funds were essential for purchasing proximity tags for our collaborative research on social networks.  This research collaborative has been extremely productive; Levin and I were invited to submit two NSF grants in August 2016. Rebecca Safran, Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

"ONR has awarded myself (PI) and Won Park $599k for a period of three years, an award that could be in part attributed to the $50k IGP award that Won and I received on 6/22/07. As of yesterday (Sept. 3, 2008), NSF has decided $1.05M for a three year period to myself and Dejan Filipovic, Won Park, Li Shang and Manish Vachharajani. This award can also be at least in part attributed to the 6/22/07 IGP. This makes a total of $1.65M of Nanotechnology research funds that the University has now received with me as PI due (in part) to a University seed of $50k. This is a 33 times (3.3k%) return on the original investment. We also gave three conference presentations in the summer of 2008 on aspects of this work.

I hope that this helps the IGP program as well as the University Nanotechnology Program. Thanks for all of your help." —Alan Mickelson, Associate Professor of Electrical, Computer, & Energy Engineering

"Already this grant has helped to create additional funding opportunities, collaborations and innovationswe're delighted to be part of the program and its mission." —Sarel van Vuuren, Associate Professor of Institute of Cognitive Science

"My grant on "Diffraction Unlimited Photolithography" has been a great success. Some measures of that:

  • The first conference presentation won the "Best Student Paper" award. The details are: B. A. Kowalski, R. R. McLeod, T. F. Scott, "A two-color photopolymer system for high-capacity multilayer optical data storage," International Symposium on Optical Memory & Optical Data Storage, July 2008
  • We were invited by an editor of Science to submit a manuscript on the topic, October 2008: T. F. Scott, C. N. Bowman, B. A. Kowalski, A. C. Sullivan, C.N. Bowman, R. R. McLeod, "Single Photon Photoinitiation-Photoinhibition for Diffraction-Unlimited Photolithography."
  • Based on this milestone, we have a meeting set up with Intel to continue the funding.
  • A set of proposals to the NSF will follow in January 2009.
  • The work was one of the cornerstones of a $19M NSF Materials Center proposal." —Robert McLeod, Chair of Electrical, Computer, & Energy Engineering

"Our IGP-funded work on using satellites to seek out water sources has resulted in:

  • Funding from NSF ATM for $113,128 in April 2008: Collaborative Research: Development of GPS as a Soil Moisture Instrument / ATM Climate & Large-Scale Dynamics, Instrumentation & Facilities. Kristine Larson, PI; Eric Small (GEOL) and Penina Axelrad (ASEN) Co-PIs.
  • A co-PI from UCAR (John Braun) being awarded $37,793 at the same time.
  • A grant to NOAA under consideration.
  • Two publications:
    • Larson, K. M., E. E. Small, E. Gutmann, A. Bilich, P. Axelrad, and J. Braun, Using GPS multipath to measure soil moisture fluctuations: initial results, GPS Solutions, Vol 12 (3), July, 2008, 173-177.
    • Larson, K. M., E.E. Small, E. Gutmann, A. Bilich, J. Braun, V. Zavorotny, Use of GPS receivers as a soil moisture network for water cycle studies, Geophys. Res. Lett, acceptance pending revision." —Kristine Larson, Professor of Aerospace Engineering Sciences 

"My IGP award helped us secure the following major award from NASA: 'Cerro Negro, Nicaragua: An analog for Assessing the Potential for Life on Early Mars (PI-Hynek), NASA-Exobiology Program, 6/1/08-5/31/11, $451,986. We have also proposed to continue this research as part of the new NASA Astrobiology Institute proposal that was submitted in the spring (PI-Mojzsis). We've yet to hear if that one is funded. So, yes, the IGP is a very useful program. Please continue it!" —Brian Hynek, Assistant Professor Department of Geological Sciences, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics