Collaborative Research Seed Grants 2020-2021

The UMass ADVANCE Program is pleased to announce the second round of our seed grant program to foster the development of innovative and equitable collaborative research projects among UMass Amherst faculty. Funded seed grants will contribute to the mission of the National Science Foundation ADVANCE program, which is advancing equity for women faculty, including women faculty of color, in science and engineering. Collaborative teams will receive a one-year grant of up to $15,000 and logistics support from the ADVANCE team to apply for external funding opportunities based on the seed funded project.

Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to watch the Zoom recording from the the Collaborative Research Seed Grant Information Workshop. Consultation appointments are also available during Summer 2020. To set up a consultation appointment, please contact Dessie Clark, UMass ADVANCE Research Collaboration Coordinator, at


Two or more Investigators for each proposal must be faculty members at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. All proposals should be led or co-led by a faculty member in NSF-supported STEM fields. We welcome proposals from all faculty with research as part of their job duties. NSF-supported STEM faculty are located in the College of Engineering, College of Information and Computer Sciences, College of Natural Sciences, and College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, as well as the departments of Management in the Isenberg School of Management and Linguistics in the College of Humanities and Fine Arts. The program supports one-year grants in the range of $10,000-$15,000 each, with a $15,000 maximum request.


Teams must include investigators with a commitment to supporting faculty gender equity. We encourage cross-college and cross-department collaborations. In the evaluation process, preference will be given to applications that demonstrate a strong commitment to and capacity for collaboration that progresses the careers of women scientists. All UMass faculty, regardless of discipline, are eligible to apply as part of a collaborative team.

Criteria for Awarding Funds

Proposed projects will be evaluated for scientific merit; contributions to faculty gender equity; collaborative research among women faculty and faculty from under-represented groups at UMass; potential for establishing sustainable research collaborations at UMass; and opportunities to pursue external funding beyond the period of the seed funding.

Proposal Due Date and Timeline

A letter of intent is requested prior to proposal submission by September 8, 2020. Deadline for submitting proposals is September 15, 2020. Awards will be announced in mid-October 2020. Start dates for the grants can be proposed between November 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021 with a grant duration of 3 to 12 months. As plans to return for research evolve, the timeline can be adjusted as needed.

Reporting on Awards

PIs will be required to report on project progress, including timeline for submitting applications for external funding. Final report will be given at a panel event in AY 21/22.

Proposal Requirements

Applicants should submit a letter of intent by September 8, 2020 – one week prior to the submission deadline outlining the title of the proposal, an abstract, names of the team members (with campus affiliation and rank), and a list of reviewers who could address the scientific merit of the proposal. Full proposals, due one week after the letter of intent on September 15, 2020 must include a 3-page proposal (page count is exclusive of references), detailed budget and budget justification and collaborator information.

Research proposals will be submitted via Qualtrics. The complete proposal will consist of three parts:

1.    a narrative with supporting information
2.    references
3.    a budget and budget justification

All parts of the proposal must be combined into one pdf file for submission.

Submit Letter of Intent

Submit Full Proposal

Cover Sheet

The cover sheet will include the title of the proposed project and the names, affiliations, and contact information for all project participants. A project contact must be identified and will be one of the principal investigators. The project contact provides the communication link between the UMass ADVANCE Collaborative Research Seed Grant program and the entire project team on all matters. On the cover page, provide a 200-word abstract in non-technical language (strict 200 words maximum) of the proposed activity.

Proposal Narrative with Supporting Information

The proposal narrative with supporting information must be written with text in 12-point font, single spaced, with at least one-inch margins. Begin each section listed below on a new page. The narrative with supporting information must include the following sections:

  1. A proposal summary that explains the motivation for and risks associated with the project, what is novel about the proposed research, what research methods and instrumentation will be used, and how this project demonstrates inclusive, equitable, collaborative research. This section must articulate a clear set of objectives, a compelling vision of what the project might achieve, and what differentiates it from single investigator research. Further, please provide a follow-on funding plan that explains how the research launched by the seed grant award will be continued. Include information on potential source(s) of funding and the level and timing of follow-on funding necessary to continue the research initiated by the seed grant (3-page maximum).
  2. A brief curriculum vitae for the project contact and each co-PI (two pages for each person’s CV). Please note while all other materials will be compiled into one PDF these will be submitted separately. 


Please provide a complete reference list. References do not count as part of the page limit. 

Budget and Budget Justification

A budget and budget justification that provides sufficient information for reviewers to understand the funding request. Seed funding may be used for any legitimate research expense, but will not support faculty salaries (summer or academic year). Graduate student and post-doc salaries can be included. Graduate student Research Assistantships (RAs) should be GEO-eligible and should result in at least a 10-hr/week RA (seed funds can be combined with other funds). The project budget must include each major category of expense and the amount required, with explanation and justification included in the “budget justification” section. Note that seed funds carry no indirect cost.

For questions or to set up a consultation appointment, please contact Dessie Clark at, UMass ADVANCE Research Collaboration Coordinator.