Faculty Seed Grants
Important Note: Our Faculty Seed Grant program is currently on hiatus. We expect to update this page before the start of the 2023–2024 academic year.
The IRiSS seed grant program supports proposal development, pilot research, and other activities that advance faculty research projects to the point where they can attract external funding.
The program rewards high-risk, high-return research proposals, including projects that:
- develop new methods
- apply theories or methods to new research areas
- translate among previously unrelated theoretical perspectives
Support is offered for a maximum of five grants of up to $10,000 and one grant of up to $25,000. Please see the Program Guidelines for current support amounts.
Preference is given to supporting proposals from assistant and associate professors. Eligibility is limited to faculty with appointments in one of the six social science departments in the School of Humanities & Sciences. Faculty who have received 2 grants during the past 5 years are ineligible. Please see the Program Guidelines for current eligibility information.
Funding after the seed grant
Since the start of the program, nearly all of the projects have led to subsequent funding proposals, many of which have been awarded external support from agencies such as the NSF, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
Past & present seed grant recipients
Read about previous projects in our seed grant archive.
Faculty are invited to apply here to the IRiSS Faculty Seed Grant Application when the link is active. For deadlines and details, see the most recent call for proposals for this program below.
For further questions please contact ybarra [at] stanford.edu (Carolyn Ybarra).
[For reference] 2020 Call for Proposals
The IRiSS seed grant program supports proposal development, pilot research, and other activities that advance faculty research projects to the point where they can attract external funding. The program rewards high-risk, high-return research proposals, including work that develops new methods, applies theories or methods to new substantive areas, or translates among previously unrelated theoretical perspectives.
Eligibility is limited to faculty with appointments in one of the six social science departments in the School of Humanities & Sciences, with a preference given to supporting proposals from assistant and associate professors. Faculty who have been funded twice by this program during the past five years are not eligible for additional grants.
The seed grant program is not a small grant program. Grants will typically not be awarded to proposals that request funding for a stand-alone project, that do not describe plans for obtaining external funding, or that poorly justify their budget. Non-research support such as training or conference attendance will not be funded.
Deadline for submission is Friday, February 14, 2020. The application link will be available January 6, from the IRiSS website:
A single document – pdf or Word doc (file name to include your surname) containing:
Cover Page – Project title, applicant name(s), and a one-paragraph research abstract (suitable for public reports and IRiSS publicity)
Project narrative - Include research question(s), theoretical foundations, empirical facets of the research (if applicable), and the significance of the eventual project that the seed grant will help to develop. Be sure to distinguish between the seeded research and the eventual project for which you will obtain external funding. Excluding references, the narrative may be no more than four (4) single-spaced pages with a font size of 11 points or larger.
Plan for Obtaining External Funding (Appendix A): Please include: a) what government agencies or foundations you may approach, and why; b) what conversations or applications you have already had with these agencies, if any; c) when you expect to apply for funds; d) the expected scale of the eventual project; and e) how the activities funded by the seed grant will help to attract further external support. Also, list current or pending grant applications that are related to the project, including funds requested or received from sources both internal and external to Stanford University. The maximum length for Appendix A is one page.
Relation of Proposed Activities to Existing Research (Appendix B): If the seed grant is related to ongoing, funded research, describe the relationship including: a) how the activities funded by the seed grant will benefit the existing project; and b) how the existing project will benefit the activities supported by the seed grant. Appendix B should not exceed one page.
Budget and Justification: A maximum of five grants of $10,000 and one grant of $25,000 will be awarded. Provide a clear budget indicating expenses by category (such as personnel, materials, equipment, etc.) and the total. Please provide a brief budget justification, addressing each category as well as the overall budget rationale.
Curriculum Vitae: For each investigator listed, provide a current curriculum vitae.
Proposals are reviewed by the IRiSS Executive Committee. The most important evaluation criteria are intellectual merit and the promise of innovation, as well as the potential for attracting further funding. Secondary criteria may include the extent to which the research is interdisciplinary, or involves collaboration.
Grant awards will be announced by late March.
Requirements of Grant Recipients
Research projects involving human subjects must maintain Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval. While proposals that have not yet undergone review will be considered for funding, no funds will be disbursed until the project is approved by the IRB.
Recipients of seed grants are obliged to report on the activities to which the grant is being applied, as well as on progress toward obtaining external support for the project. The reporting schedule is December 1st and June 1st in the first year following the award of the grant, and May 1st thereafter as long as the seed grant remains active.
Investigators who receive external grants based on seeded research are expected to administer those grants through IRiSS, as well as to acknowledge IRiSS support in any papers and publications ensuing from the research.
Contact: Carolyn Ybarra, Program Coordinator
Institute for Research in the Social Sciences (IRiSS)
ybarra [at] stanford.edu