2023 RFP for IDS Seed Grants

Request For Proposals

Institute of Diversity Science Seed Grants

Application deadline: March 1, 2023, 11:59PM ET

The Institute of Diversity Sciences (IDS) is a multidisciplinary unit that brings together faculty and students from UMass Amherst and the Five Colleges to promote social science, natural science, health science, engineering, and technology research that targets topics related to social justice and promotes the success of diverse students in STEM. Our mission is to advance our understanding of social issues by supporting research that integrates multiple disciplines, investigates the causes and consequences of inequities, and designs and tests evidence-based solutions. This seed grant mechanism is one important way we advance the IDS mission by:

(1) Encouraging new multidisciplinary research collaborations on equity-inspired research among faculty and students from different disciplines that can be later leveraged to seek larger external research grants

(2) Offering opportunities for mentored research experience for graduate and undergraduate students interested in STEM research that advances equity in ways that cut across traditional disciplinary boundaries; and

(3) Encouraging research teams to find ways to connect their research to social impact goals.

In 2023, IDS will award three or four research grants for a total of $60,000 to teams who apply through this formal Request For Proposal (RFP) mechanism. Funds will go toward supporting new collaborative projects between colleagues from different departments at UMass and/or the other Five Colleges.

Description: Three team grants will range up to $15,000 each. Funds may be used to pay for personnel, equipment, supplies, data collection costs, consultants, compensation of community partners, student (graduate or undergraduate) research assistants, etc.

For previous seed grant awardee teams, see: https://www.umass.edu/diversitysciences/funding

NEW in 2023:

Through a partnership between IDS and the Elaine Marieb Center for Nursing & Engineering Innovation (EMCNEI), we are offering an opportunity for a joint-funded grant with a larger budget up to $25,000. For IDS-EMCNEI funded proposals, the PI team must include faculty from nursing and engineering departments.

Attention Water Researchers!

We have an opportunity to work with the UMass Water Resource Research Center (WRRC) to provide a seed grant from IDS (up to $15,000) that can be combined with additional funding of up to $15,000 from the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) Annual Water Resources Institute Program for a total grant of up to $30,000. The seed grant from IDS could count toward the required 1:1 match needed for the USGS federal matching requirements. Proposals must be accepted by both the WRRC and IDS to qualify for this combined grant. To get started, please use the WRRC pre-proposal form found here and mention that you are also applying for funding from IDS. Please also briefly explain how much funding you are applying for in each application. Pre-proposals are due to the WRRC by January 22, 2023. IDS grant proposals are due by March 1, 2023 (you may apply now up until the March 1, 2023 deadline). For more information about the WRRC funding, visit their website. For any questions, please contact wrrc@umass.edu.


1. Team proposals must ensure that the topic of the project is related to advancing equity. The proposal should make an explicit case for how the proposed work fits this theme.

2. Project team members must come from at least two different disciplines and departments, and ideally (but not required) from different colleges or schools. Team members may include Five College faculty and community partners. The emphasis of the project should be on building multidisciplinary connections. Both new teams who have not collaborated previously as well as pre-existing teams that have had prior collaborations are eligible, as long as the proposed project is new and not funded by another source. For IDS/EMCNEI funded proposals, nursing and engineering must be represented.

3. The PI must be a faculty member at UMass Amherst; graduate students, postdocs, faculty at the Five Colleges, and community members may be co-PIs.

4. Proposed projects may involve new data collection or secondary analyses of existing datasets.


1. Projects will be leveraged toward external grant applications. Proposals should provide details of the planned grant submission (e.g., name(s) of agency/foundation, timeline, and RFP/program announcement).

2. Projects must involve graduate students and/or undergraduate students and provide hands-on student training and mentoring.

3. Projects must include a social impact goal.

4. Projects have to be feasible within 18-months from when the award is given.

Project timeline:

  • Up to 18 months from the point of award in Spring 2023. Teams may request a 6-month no cost extension, if necessary.

Review criteria:

  • Clearly stated goals and an emphasis on equity
  • Intellectual merit of the research project
  • Feasibility of project within the 18-month window
  • Potential of the project to stimulate future collaborative research that is competitive for external funding
  • Addresses the priority areas noted in RFP description above (equity, along with multidisciplinary, social impact, and student training)
  • Reasonableness of budget

Please be advised that we may request points of clarification or revisions to proposals before making our final decision on awards.

Any questions, please contact:

Megan West, Associate Director

Institute of Diversity Sciences


We welcome consultations before proposal submissions.


Application Instructions

General Information:

1. Title of proposed project

2. Team members, position, department, institution, campus address, email, role in project (PI or Co-PI; graduate or undergraduate students)

Agreement of Awardees: In applying for the IDS seed grant, all members of your research team agree to the following terms and conditions:

1. Awardees provide an annual report and a final report (approximately 18 months after the award date).

2. Awardees give an oral presentation about their proposed project at one of the group meetings of the institute.

3. Awardees acknowledge IDS sponsorship of the work in any presentations, publications or other products.

4. Awardees who go on to be awarded external funding that leverages work funded by the IDS's seed grant contribute a small amount of their Indirect Cost (IDC) return to IDS. This is matched by our sponsors to ensure we can provide funding for future projects. We request one-third of the PI portion of the IDC Return from those future grants be given to IDS (i.e., one-third of the 10% IDC that is typically returned to the UMass PIs upon securing external grants). For the IDS-EMCNEI awardees, the team’s contribution of one-third of the PI portion of their IDC will be split between IDS and EMCNEI.

5. Awardees apply for future external funding that leverages work funded by the IDS's seed grant. When applying, the PI team must name IDS in the electronic internal processing form (e-IPF) in Kuali and indicate the portion of IDC return that will be returned to the IDS. Please send a copy of the e-IPF to ids@umass.edu for record-keeping.

Proposal (2500 words)

1. Overview of the project including specific aims, how it fits the theme of STEM research for social justice, and how it fosters multidisciplinary connections

2. Significance

3. Research methodology

4. Expected outcomes of the work, with a description of plans and potential for future funding. E.g., explain how the proposed collaboration will make the team’s research competitive for an external grant. Specific details of the planned grant submission should be included (e.g., name(s) of agency/foundation, RFP/program announcement, deadlines)

5. Involvement of graduate and/or undergraduate students in ways that advance their education and training

6. Social impact component of this project. Does the project involve community partners? Will the results of this project be shared with the community to impact their lives?

References (1 attachment)


1. Amount requested

2. Attach a budget justification

Biosketch in NIH or NSF style for each PI/co-PI (up to 10 attachments)

Supplementary Materials if relevant (up to 3 attachments)

  • Appendices, if applicable
  • Letters of Support, if applicable

We welcome consultations before proposal submissions.

To apply for a IDS Seed Grant, go to the online application form here.

You can find a PDF of this webpage below: