The purpose of the 2024 Transdisciplinary Research Seed Fund Program is to support OSU faculty as they build a transdisciplinary research team or seek to sustain momentum of an existing team and/or scale-up collaborative research efforts towards the submission of large proposals that directly support Prosperity Widely Shared: The Oregon State Plan (SP5.0). Faculty teams are expected to use seed funds to advance new research and partnerships and develop submission-ready proposals by the end of the award period. 




Priorities for Investment

Because the seed fund priorities are aligned with SP5.0, competitive proposals should demonstrate alignment with the priorities below:

A. Transdisciplinary Research. Transdisciplinary research is a complex form of use-inspired research that seeks to generate integrated interdisciplinary knowledge and discovery through participatory and engaged practices that span sectors and disciplines in a way that transcends traditional boundaries and directly contributes to resolving critical societal challenges.

B. Research in the SP5.0 areas of investment and growth (review SP 5.0 goals and actions for more information).

  • Climate Science and related solutions
  • Clean Energy and related solutions
  • Robotics
  • Integrated Health and Biotechnology
  • Significant intersection with, and/or building foundational research strength in, artificial intelligence, data science, research computing, and/or social sciences, arts and humanities.

C. Brings together or strengthens a diverse team of scientists, artists, engineers, humanists and/or social scientists representing multiple OSU Colleges, Centers, and Institutes along with external partners (e.g. industry, community organizations, government, other universities). Faculty who identify as belonging to social identity groups minoritized in academia are encouraged to apply (review OSU’s foundational values for more information).

D. Projects that invest in developing thoughtful, positive, equitable and enduring partnerships with community groups or organizations that represent, directly serve or engage, minoritized and/or underserved populations, minority serving institutions of higher education, or tribal governments. OSU is a Carnegie Engaged University, you can review information about engagement purpose and practice here.



Individuals and Transdisciplinary Teams with an identified project lead who is an OSU faculty member (academic or professional) from any OSU campus or facility with a record of extramurally funded research, and collaboration, and academic success.


Seed Fund Amounts

The Division of Research and Innovation anticipates investment of $600,000, when combined with the required 1:1 match from OSU colleges and units, a total of $1.2MIL in awards are expected in three categories:

Team Building – up to $25K including matching funds

This Team Building category is intended for faculty seeking to build a transdisciplinary team, conduct front-end laboratory, analytical, or interpretive work, and/or engage with stakeholders and potential partners to better understand the problem space in which they are working from both academic and societal points of view. Proposals in this category can be led by individuals, pairs, or small teams. For this level of funding, proposals must identify a viable list of potential transdisciplinary team members including external non-academic partners and present a detailed plan for how the seed funds will be used to cultivate relationships and build a viable team (see priorities A, C and D above). Cultivating new partnerships with entities that serve or represent minoritized or underrepresented populations, and/or international partners is strongly encouraged.

Please reach out to the Division of Research and Innovation, Division of Extension and Engagement, the Office of Institutional Diversity, and/or Office of Global Engagement to better understand relevant institutional policies and how your proposed new partnership can be informed by historical engagement or ongoing relationships with external entities. This is particularly important for Indigenous organizations, Tribal governments, foreign entities, Oregon place-based communities or organizations, Oregon two-year and technical colleges, minority serving institutions, and industry partners.

Team Building may include: travel to connect with, or direct support for, stakeholders, rights holders, and partners; facilitated meetings to develop shared vision; collaborative 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; activities related to securing future funding such as meeting with agency or foundation program officers and exploring new funding options.

Team Building awards must result in a product that describes the team and their future plans to pursue extramural funding.

Depending on the scope of work and justification, requests for Team Building seed funds may be less than, but may not exceed, $25,000.

Proposal Development – up to $50K including matching funds

This Proposal Development category is intended for teams who have already made progress clarifying their shared interests and their potential collaborative roles and plan to submit or make significant progress toward submitting at least one well-constructed proposal with a total budget > $1MIL per year within the award period.

Lower total budget proposal submissions may be appropriate depending on disciplines and external partners involved. Longer timelines also may be appropriate depending on available information and deadlines for the targeted solicitations, but these projects will need to make a well-justified request for extension toward the end of the award year.

The scope of work should result in evidence of a diverse and well-functioning team. This may include completion of products that demonstrate the viability of the team and that will strengthen the large proposal submission required in this track such as white papers, preliminary results, reports from partner or stakeholder workshops, research gap analyses, new tested methods, etc.

Proposal Development teams must include at least two committed core team members and identify additional external collaborators with whom the team is pursuing partnerships. Some Team Building activities (as described above) may be incorporated early in the timeline of such a project. Proposals in this category must present a short list of specific existing or anticipated solicitations or philanthropic sources of funds the team intends to pursue.

Depending on the scope of work and justification, requests for Proposal Development seed funds may be less than, but may not exceed, $50,000.

Scale-Up: up to $100K including matching funds

This Scale-Up category is intended for existing teams who need support to build momentum from previous work or scale-up an existing research project, program, center, or institute. Teams in the Scale-Up category are expected to submit a detailed plan for how they will prepare and submit at least one well-constructed proposal with a total budget > $5MIL within the award period.

Lower total budget proposal submissions may be appropriate depending on disciplines and external partners involved. Longer timelines also may be appropriate depending on available information and deadlines for the targeted solicitations, but these projects will need to make a well justified request for extension toward the end of the award year.

The Scale-Up teams should provide evidence of previous success in working together (such as collaborative preliminary research, white papers, technical reports, co-authorship of peer reviewed literature, previous experience collaborating as part of a committee or working group, previous submissions, etc.) and funding success. Proposals in this category also must present a short list of specific existing or anticipated solicitations or philanthropic sources of funds the team intends to pursue, evidence of team member commitment, a scope of work that demonstrates the effectiveness of the team in a future proposal, a timeline and a management plan for proposal development inclusive of engagement with external partners.

Depending on the scope of work and justification, requests for Scale-Up seed funds may be less than, but may not exceed, $100,000.


Declaration of Your Intent to Apply

This program uses the OSU submission platform called InfoReady. Applicants who do not already have an account will need to create one using ONID details. The first step in the application process requires applicants to declare their intent to apply no later than April 15, 2024. This is accomplished by completing an online form in the InfoReady system that includes the following details:

  • Planned proposal type (Team Building, Proposal Development, Scale-Up).
  • Name, title, and unit of project lead.
  • Name, title, and affiliation of other known team members including external team members.
  • Demographic and social identity information.
  • Area of research focus and critical intersections (see priority B above).
  • A brief description of the intended project (up to 150 words). Including how the project will align with each of the relevant stated priorities.
  • Brief description of prior activities as a team (up to 100 words for Scale-Up proposals only).

Your submitted form will be subject to approval by your home college/campus Associate Dean for Research (or appropriate Director for non-academic units) and your immediate supervisor.  It is strongly encouraged that you inform relevant college leadership and supervisors of your intent to apply, discuss alignment of your plan with college/unit priorities, and discuss matching funds prior to declaring your intent to apply. You will be notified of college leadership approval and provided additional instructions at that time including a link to the full application form.


Important Dates

  • April 15 – Declaration of Intent to Apply due
  • May 15 – Full applications due
  • June 14 – Panel reviews complete
  • June 28 – Awards announced
  • July 1, 2024 – One year award period begins
  • December 16 – Mid-way report due
  • June 1, 2025 – Requests for extensions due
  • June 30, 2025 – Final report due, award ends


Review and Approval Process

The proposal package includes the narrative, budget and budget justification. These must be approved by the appropriate college/unit leadership (generally an ADR and unit lead or direct supervisor) through InfoReady after submission. Proposals will then be reviewed by ORA (Office of Research Advancement) to ensure completeness and adherence to these guidelines. Proposals that are approved by college/unit leadership, and are complete and compliant with guidelines, will be reviewed by at least two members of an ad hoc review panel. 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 feedback in the following areas:

  • Alignment with the stated priorities and Prosperity Widely Shared (SP5.0)
  • Rationale and potential scientific and societal impacts
  • Applicant has assembled, or provides a feasible plan to assemble, a diverse and broadly representative team appropriately inclusive for the area of research
  • Preparedness of the team to complete the proposed work
  • Quality and feasibility plan for inclusive engagement of external partners
  • Quality and feasibility of project management plan to achieve inclusivity and project outcomes
  • Planned expenditures are well-justified and resources are equitably shared among contributing partners


Narrative Plan

The narrative plan and scope of work can be up to 3,000 words for Team Building, 4,000 for Proposal Development and up to 5,000 words for Scale-Up proposals. Applicants may include up to two figures (concise tables, timelines, photos, graphics, etc.). Figures should have minimal text and should not be used to work around the word limit. Narratives should consider the rubric above and include the following:    

  1. A brief summary of the area of inquiry including a rationale for why progress in the domain is important and how success will advance transdisciplinary science and societal outcomes.
  2. A statement of how the proposed work will support OSU progress in all applicable priority areas. Use this section to make any additional connections to SP 5.0.
  3. A description of the populations, stakeholders, rights holders, communities, and/or partners who stand to benefit from the solutions you are working toward and how representatives from those communities are, or will be, included in your work.
  4. Describe the team and roles and relevant expertise of committed and anticipated team members. 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 thoughtful engagement.
  5. Describe the project management approach and any planned collaborative processes the team will use to ensure equity, inclusion and relevance across social groups, disciplines and interest groups involved in the project.
  6. A project plan with a timeline that clearly describes the specific activities for which you are requesting support and why those activities are critical to the outcomes proposed within the scope of one year. Inclusion of a logic model (see below) as a supplemental document is strongly encouraged.
  7. 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 the award year).
  8. Proposal Development and Scale-Up narratives should highlight any known solicitations the team intends to pursue, or other potential sources of funding being considered.
  9. 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 previous work of the team and make progress toward submission of successful proposals for transdisciplinary research.
  10. 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 specific project.


Supplemental Documents 

  • Required: Completed Budget Template
  • Required: Budget Justification (pre-award support personnel in your college are valuable partners in developing the budget and justification).
  • Required: CV for each committed academic team member.
  • Required for Scale-Up only: One-page summary of project status, key findings and funding history of the existing project that the team is planning to scale up.
  • Strongly Encouraged: Evidence of support and intended partnership from collaborators across disciplines and outside of OSU. A link to collaborator electronic verification will be provided to applicants as part of the submission process. 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.
  • Encouraged: CV, resume, webpage or other documentation that captures non-academic team members’ relevant expertise.
  • Encouraged: One-page logic model covering the award period describing the resources and assets that will be leveraged to support proposed activities and the outputs and outcomes that are expected as a result of those activities. Additional instruction on logic models is available here.


Budget Guidance

Budgets will vary among projects and should reflect realistic costs that might be incurred implementing the scope of work described in the narrative plan within the provided maximums for the type of fund (Team Building, Proposal Development, Scale-Up).

Pre-submission consultation with your home college(s) and unit is required. College-based staff can support budget development and completion of the budget template. The completed budget template must be uploaded to the InfoReady platform for your application to be reviewed. You can download the budget template (tab1) and sample budget (tab 2) here, this will require your ONID to login. 

NOTE: applications without a completed budget that clearly defines the amount and source of match will not be considered for funding.

Allowable costs: Allowable costs include, but are not necessarily limited to: PI summer effort; academic-year effort if newly allocated for the purpose of this award; honoraria to external collaborators or advisors; travel; incentives and other costs for external partners; research support staff including students and postdoctoral scholars who are directly contributing to the scope of work; materials, subscriptions, equipment use associated with producing preliminary results; and facilitation, travel, workshop costs, hosting, facilitation, etc. Costs must represent new investments or allocations of effort and time to research development and cannot offset ongoing college or unit costs.

Required costs: External consultants at Hanover Research will provide the following types of support for those who receive seed funds. These costs must be included in the Division of Research and Innovation portion of the budget at the flat rate as indicated in the table below and in the budget template.  Hanover will provide the following services to seed fund awardees:

  • Prospecting – Assessing and producing a report on the best fit funding opportunities for a faculty project or a set of research interests.
  • Proposal Review or Revision – Providing detailed recommendations for improving a proposal or white paper draft.
  • Proposal Management and Project Coordination – High level project management to ensure progress toward proposal milestones and coordination between key team members.

Proposal Type 

Required Amount in DRI Budget 




Includes Proposal Management/Project Coordination or any 3 instances of instances of funding source prospecting or review of a draft proposal or white paper. 

Proposal Development 


Includes any 2 instances of funding source prospecting or review of a draft proposal or white paper. 

Team Building 


Includes one instance of funding source prospecting, or review of a draft proposal or white paper. 

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 submission-ready transdisciplinary proposals.

Match: All seed fund requests require matching funds from the home college(s) and/or unit(s) of the faculty lead and/or team members. This is a 1:1 match. For a $50,000 in Total Project Cost, $25,000 in funds will come from the Division of Research and Innovation and $25,000 in funds or equivalent support will come from the college(s) and/or unit(s). Matches from multiple units is encouraged other than the project lead’s academic home is encouraged (but not required)

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

  • Existing faculty 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 support staff, facilities or graphic design services, fee-based meeting spaces, 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 generally not allowable as match.


Budget Justification

The amounts for each budget line item requested must be documented and justified in the required Budget Justification document. A sample budget justification is available here.


InfoReady Submission and Approval Process

Applicants must have submitted a Declaration of Intent to Apply through InfoReady and received approval from college leadership prior to submitting a full application. Applicants will need to log into InfoReady to access the submission platform.  After the proposal and all supplemental documents are submitted to InfoReady, Department/Unit heads and/or Associate Deans for Research will be asked to approve the proposed match via InfoReady.


Important Contacts 

  • General questions from college leaderships or unit directors, or questions about new industry partners should be directed to Julie Risien, Director of Transdisciplinary Research, Office for Research Advancement at 
  • For questions interpreting budget guidelines prior to submission or assistance with the InfoReady system, contact  
  • Projects planning to include Indigenous communities and/or Tribal governments should contact Chance White-Eyes, Director of Tribal Relations, Office of Government Affairs at  
  • Projects including non-U.S. partners should notify Julianna Betjemann, Global Affairs Associate, Office of Global Engagement at  
  • Projects including Oregon place-based communities or organizations should contact Marina Denny, Associate Vice Provost for Engagement to be connected with the relevant County Extension office(s), at  


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Does my application have to address all four of the priorities listed in the guidelines? 

Not exactly. Your project does not have to address all four of the listed priorities for your application to be reviewed. However, meeting all the priorities along with a sound rationale, an excellent team, and well-constructed plan, is likely to make your proposal more competitive.  

Do I have to be an OSU Employee to Apply? 

Yes. Seed fund projects need to be led by OSU employees.  

Can I apply for seed funds to develop a new academic program?  

No. Funds are focused on research development that leads to extramural funding. They may not be used for development of new academic programs. Occasionally preliminary work for a new academic program may be needed to develop education proposals for extramural funds. If you have a solicitation in mind that might fall into this category, please reach out to Julie Risien.  If you are interested in developing new graduate programs coordinate with your home college leadership and connect with Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School (

Can I include other institutions or organizations in my proposal?

Yes. This is encouraged. Although we are not able to provide subawards outside of OSU you can support these partnerships by offering things like honoraria for expertise, paying for travel that supports the goals of your program, or small personal services contracts for specific scopes of work.  

Can I apply for seed funds to update my lab? 

No. Some small investments in consumable laboratory supplies, or use of equipment or software needed to collect or process preliminary data directly related to your project may be appropriate as part of a seed fund budget. However, investment in infrastructure or new equipment is not the purpose of these seed funds. The Research Equipment Reserve Fund may be a good option for these needs.  

I am professional faculty, can I apply? 

Yes. Any OSU employee with a record of extramurally funded research, and collaboration, and academic success may apply. Your associate dean for research, or center or institute director will need to approve your application and you will need to work with them to identify appropriate matching funds.  

Can I submit more than one proposal? 

Yes. You can be a team member on multiple proposals; although it is recommended that you only lead one proposal. College leadership will be balancing several requests for match. You are more likely to be successful if you focus on your most developed idea that is aligned with the priorities for investment.  

I have previously worked with the Indigenous community partner in my plan, do I still need to notify government affairs? 

Yes. Please check in with Chance White-Eyes to notify the Office of Government Affairs of the partnership. This will help to support sustainability of your partnership.  

My Co-PI is a county-based Extension agent, do I still need to contact Marina Denny? 

No.  If you are actively working with Extension agents, you do not need to notify the Division of Extension and Engagement.  If you are seeking a new partnership with Extension or the communities they serve, please do reach out to Marina Denny.  

Can I use my other internal awards or seed funds as match?  

It depends. If you received an internal award or grant for work that is directly related to the scope of work in your narrative plan, those dollars can be used as match as long as your proposal expands significantly on that work.  

Can I use my professional development funds as match? 

Yes, If you plan to use the funds to complete your proposed scope of work and your supervisor and college leadership agree to include those funds as match you may include them in the budget. 

Can I use existing external grants as match? 

No. Federal, state, or foundation grants or contracts cannot be used as matching funds. Your scope of work for seed funds needs to be distinct from any scope of work under an active grant or contract. 

Can I use seed funds to pay students or research assistants?  

Yes. Funds can be used to cover labor for undergraduate students, professional faculty, postdocs, lab technicians, etc. if their work directly contributes to the scope of your proposals. Graduate Research Assistants can be covered if they are directly supporting your scope of work. Graduate student summer hourly pay may be a good option for efficient use of funds.