The purpose of the 2024 Research Advancement Seed (RAS) funds is to support early to mid-career faculty to accelerate their research by thoughtfully building partnerships and pursing large transdisciplinary extramural funding. The infusion of RAS funds is intended to support eligible faculty as they develop their research leadership, accelerate or scale-up their research activity, and broaden their research impacts. Faculty recipients are expected to work across disciplines and/or colleges and with external partners to produce viable products such as white papers, research agendas, preliminary datasets, and submit-ready proposals by the end of the award period. Outcomes should advance transdisciplinary science and address critical societal needs. 

Applications will be submitted via InfoReady this portal will open by February 1, 2024. 

DRAFT as of December 12, 2023 - please note guidelines are not yet finalized. 

Seed funding applications for the current RAA cohort will open in spring 2024.


Research Advancement Academy (RAA) Fellows are eligible for 2024 RAS funds. Fellows must be in good standing with the RAA program, which includes demonstration of progress toward RAA goals and engaged participation in academy sessions and processes. All Fellows must have communicated with and negotiated the terms of matching funds with college leadership, including the Associate Dean for Research in the college(s) of one’s faculty appointment and the unit head to which the applicant reports (if applicable). The Office for Research Advancement (ORA) will publish guidelines for a seed funds available to the broader campus community by February 1, 2024. 

Seed Fund Amounts

Applicants are encouraged to ask for the amount they need (up to $50,000) to make significant progress toward their research leadership goals in one year. The below information is intended to help applicants estimate the appropriate amount for a seed fund request based on their planned work.    

Fellows seeking to build a transdisciplinary team, conduct front-end analytical work and/or stakeholder and partner engagement to better understand the problem space in which they are working from both scientific and societal points of view are encouraged to consider applying for the amount needed to complete this work ~$20 to 30K. Team building may include hosting gatherings, travel to connect with stakeholders and partners, facilitated meetings to develop shared vision, development of a research agenda or white paper that better defines a critical societal or scientific challenge and/or identifies gaps in knowledge that would benefit from a transdisciplinary approach. This may include activities related to securing future funding such as meeting with agency or foundation program officers and exploring new funding options. Team building budgets are anticipated at ~$20,000 to $30,000. Depending on scope of work and justification, requests for seed funds may be more or less.   

Fellows who have already have made significant progress developing a core team and in clarifying the problem from both scientific and societal points of view should plan on working toward submission of one or more large transdisciplinary proposals for extramural funding within 12-14 months of requesting seed funds. Fellows requesting amounts approaching or equal to $50K are expected to submit or make significant progress toward submitting a large proposal with an annual budget of > $1M/year (note that significantly smaller total proposal submissions may be appropriate depending on discipline). The scope of work should result in evidence of a diverse and functioning team, completion of minimum viable products such as a white paper, early results, new tested methods, and/or a submit ready proposal. Team building may be incorporated early in the timeline of such a project. If a large-scale proposal is already secured or close to submission, seed funds can be used to improve and resubmit, and/or reconfigure the proposal for a different source of funds (if allowable), or to develop spin-off or scale-up proposals that add value to ongoing work and build the applicants leadership in the domain.  Proposal submission budgets are anticipated at ~$40,000 to $50,000. Depending on scope of work and justification, the request for seed funds may be less, but may not exceed $50,000.   

Important Dates  
  • April 4, 2024, Pitch Development Time Office Hours (by appointment)

  • April 5, 2024, Pitch Development Time Office Hours (by appointment)

  • February 1, 2024 – InfoReady application portal open for submissions 

  • April 18, 2024, 5:00 p.m. -- Written narrative request for seed funds due

  • April 23, 2024, 5:00 p.m. -- Pitch slides must be submitted in .ppt and .pdf form to  

  • April 25, 2024, 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., MU Horizon Room, Public Pitch Session, (applicants must be present to deliver a pitch presentation, illness related accommodations will be made if necessary) 

  • May 15, 2024 - Awards announced 

  • July 1, 2024 – Seed fund project start date 



Review Process

Reviewers will consider the full application package which includes the oral Pitch (see next section) a written narrative plan for seed funds, budget, and budget justification. The written portions of the application (narrative, budget, and budget justification) must be approved by the appropriate college leadership (generally an ADR and unit lead or direct supervisor) through info ready. Applications will then be reviewed by ORA to ensure the applicant is in good standing and application materials are complete and of high quality. Each remaining application will be reviewed by at least two members of the RAA Advisory Committee. Reviewers will be selected to minimize conflicts of interests and optimize capacity to provide actionable feedback to applicants. Reviewers will complete a rubric providing both quantitative scores and qualitative explanations in the following categories.  

  • Applicant clearly describes the possible and intended short-term, mid-term and long-term impacts of success including how short-term success (during the RAS period) will be measured and assessed.   

  • Plan provides a compelling rationale and proposes to make meaningful progress in a critical area of that both advances transdisciplinary science and meets societal needs.  

  • Plan includes appropriate development or cultivation of a transdisciplinary team matched to the scope of work and topic of research. 

  • Partners and team members are adequately and equitably compensated for their development roles.   

  • Applicant demonstrates a readiness to complete the proposed scope of work and has adequately justified expenditures.    

  • Scope of work is well-reasoned and situated within longer-term goals for developing research leadership.   

Pitch Structure

Oral Presentation: Applicants will provide a 3-minute timed oral presentation to an audience of their faculty peers, graduate students and postgraduate trainees, program advisors, and university leadership. This presentation should focus on why the applicant wants to lead in the domain and provide a compelling narrative that describes the impacts possible with success over the next 5-10 years. It should answer the question how will the world (and specific populations/stakeholders) benefit. It should inform the audience about the partners and stakeholders who are, or will be, involved and why they are motivated to engage. Presentations should avoid all technical language or jargon.  

Optional additions:  Applicants may include a maximum of two power point slides (submitted as both .ppt and .pdf documents no later than April 23, 2024 at 5:00 p.m.). Slides are encouraged only if they add value and enhance understanding of the planned presentation. One slide is preferable to two. The most effective visuals include imagery of the place and/or people/animals/things connected to the impact your work can have. Visuals shall not be used to provide text, technical or graphical supplements to the information provided orally. Visuals should not use jargon and should not require disciplinary or technical context to interpret. Audio, video, or props may be used; however, applicants are required to provide all equipment and technical support needed to effectively use these.  Additional presentation time is not available to accommodate the use of additional technology. Committed collaborates may have a role in the oral presentation. Please consider possible and distracting logistical implications of including these options in a 3-minute presentation. 

The panel of reviewers will be seated in the front row, special guests from university leadership will also be invited to attend. Fellows will present in clusters of 4-5 with a few minutes for questions provided after each group. Additional time will be reserved for questions at the end of all the presentations.  A hosted reception will immediately follow the session (after 5:00 p.m.) to celebrate the Fellows as they complete the academy.  Applicants are encouraged invite collaborators, students, friends, and family to attend this event.  

Narrative Plan

The narrative plan and scope of work can be up to 3,000 words (about five pages) with up to two figures (concise tables, timelines, photos, graphs, etc.). Figures should have minimal text and should not be used to work around the word limit. Narratives should consider the rubric above and address the following.   

  1. A brief summary of the planned oral presentation that clearly and concisely articulates why progress in the domain is important and how success will advance transdisciplinary science and societal outcomes. Define a critical societal or scientific challenge that will be addressed and identify gaps in knowledge that would benefit from your proposed transdisciplinary approach.     

  1. Description of the populations, stakeholders, rights holders, or communities who stand to benefit from the solutions you are working toward and how representatives from those communities are, or will be, inlcluded in your work.  

  1. Describe the team (both individuals already committed or individuals/roles you will pursue during the RAS period) and what collaborative processes will ensure equity, inclusion and relevance across disciplines and interest groups. Note: team building proposals are not required to identify specific individuals or organizations, they may instead indicate the types of organizations/individuals who will be invited, and what incentives and processes will be used to ensure engagement.   

  1. Clearly describe the specific activities for which you are requesting support through RAS funds and why are those activities critical to the outcomes proposed within the scope of one year.  

  1. Describe key tangible outcomes relevant to the disciplines and external partners/stakeholders involved and describe key metrics and a general timeline for deliverables of short-term success (within one year) .   

  1. Characterize previous key research projects/programs and partnerships to indicate readiness for success with your proposed scope of work. Describe how your plan will leverage your previous work to move your research towards transdisciplinary processes and outcomes.   

  1. Situate the scope of work within a longer-term trajectory. Describe your vision beyond the one year scope of work on a time scale that makes sense for your specfic project. 

Supplemental Documents
  • Required: Completed Excel Budget Form (link coming soon)

  • Required: Budget Justification 

  • Strongly Encouraged: one-page logic model, conceptual model, or theory of change diagram.   

  • Strongly Encouraged: evidence of support and intended partnership from collaborators across disciplines and outside of OSU. Link to electronic verification of collaborator support coming soon. This brief survey will allow collaborators to verify that they have reviewed your draft narrative; intend to collaborate as indicated; and the planned compensation and incentives are equitable without the burden of composing a letter of support.   

Budget (DRAFT)

Budgets will vary among projects and should reflect realistic costs that might be incurred implementing the scope of work described int eh narrative plan. Applicants should ask for what they need, rather than developing budgets around the maximum allowable request.   

Pre-submission consultation with your home college(s) and unit is required. College-based staff can support budget development and complete the Excel Budget Form (link coming soon) will need to be completed and uploaded in the Infoready platform as part of your pitch package. NOTE: applications without a completed budget that clearly defines the amount and source of match will not be considered for funding.  

Allowable costs: Costs must represent new investments or allocation of effort and time to research development and cannot offset ongoing college or unit costs. Allowable costs include, but are not necessarily limited to: PI summer or academic-year effort; honoraria to external collaborators; travel, incentives and other costs for external partners; research support staff; materials, subscriptions, equipment use associated with producing preliminary results; facilitation, travel, workshop costs, hosting, facilitation, etc. 

  • 10% of the Total Project Costs (including match and sponsor costs) must be allocated to grant support from an external grant support contractor. For example, if the total project budget is $50,000, then $5000 of the budget should be allocated to External Grant Support.  These funds will be held by the Research Office, and allocated on your behalf to procures services from an external firm during the RAS award period appropriate for the proposed scope (including services for funding opportunity prospect research, project management for a large proposal, or proposal draft review).  

Costs for capital equipment, subawards, and indirect costs are not allowable in the project budget. The Budget Justification must clearly state how each cost will advance new efforts to develop a transdisciplinary team, generate viable products and early results, and produce and/or submit a large transdisciplinary proposal.    

Match: All seed fund requests require matching funds from the home college(s) and/or unit(s). This is a 1:1 match. For a  $50,000 in Total Project Cost, $25,000 in funds will come from the Research Office and $25,000 from the PI’s College or unit. Match may come from units other than the tenure home (if appropriate) and may be split between units in cases of joint appointments and/or established collaborations.

College/unit-level match must provide access to resources that the PI did not previously have access to in support of transdisciplinary team and large proposal development. Match is intended to ensure partnership and reduce barriers to a large proposal submission.   

  • Existing PI/Senior Personnel academic-year research effort (salary and fringe) is not allowable as match.   

  • Course buyouts valued according to department policy may be included as match but are subject to unit approval and may not be accessible to all units.   

  • Other forms of match, such as access to facilities or graphic design services, may also be included. Please detail the basis for estimating the value of these costs in the Budget Justification.   

  • Other external grants secured by the PI or co-PIs are not allowable as match.


Budget Justification

The amounts for each budget line item requested must be documented and justified in the required Budget Justification. Match must be described separately from the Research Office request and also disaggregated in a table that summarizes the source of the matching funds: 


Sample table for summarizing the source of the matching funds
Unit authorizing Matching Funds  Name and title of authorizing official for Matching Funds  Index for Matching Funds source  Amount
Total     $



InfoReady Submission and Approval Process

The RAS program will use the OSU submission platform called InfoReady.  When submissions open (February 1), Fellows will receive a link to the application, Fellows shouls already have an account linked to their ONID details (if those details have changed you may need to open a new account). After the narrative plan is submitted (April 18) via InfoReady, Department/Unit heads and/or Associate Deans for Research will be asked to approve the proposed match via InfoReady and they will receive an email with directions on the review and approval process. 

 For budget questions or assistance with the InfoReady system, contact