Social Science & Environment Seed Grants Program

The Institute for Social Science Research, in collaboration and with co-funding from the School of Earth & Sustainability (SES), is pleased to announce a seed grant competition for interdisciplinary social science research in sustainability.

The Social Science & Environment Seed Grants are competitive awards designed to stimulate new scholarly collaborations for innovative research centered on sustainability themes in the social sciences. These seed grants are intended to support proposals that are not likely to be funded by traditional granting organizations because they are early in development and interdisciplinary in nature. It is anticipated that projects will clearly link to the future research, scholarly, or creative and artistic growth of the Institute for Social Science Research and the SES.

These interdisciplinary social science proposals should engage scholars from a wide variety of backgrounds and expertise, including, for example, the humanities, social sciences, natural and physical sciences, engineering, design, law, business, and education. Proposals must provide a two-year plan for how the research project will be continued and further funded (including explicit referencing to external funding). We encourage collaborative proposals between faculty across colleges, for example between SBS and CNS. Examples of topical areas related to sustainability social science include: human development and inequality, food and water, human health, governance, economic and social drivers of land use change, climate change vulnerability and adaptation, environmental and sustainability communication, and culture and history.
The first SSEN Seed Grants were awarded to three important and innovative projects that convene researchers from across the UMass colleges and beyond. Read more here >

Application Information 

Applications are open for the 2018-19 SSEN Seed Grants Program.

The program consists of 1-3 one-year grants (we expect proposals in the range of $5,000-$10,000 each, with a $12,000 maximum request for exceptional projects).

The Principal Investigator (PI) of each proposal must be a tenured or tenure-track faculty member in the social sciences at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Project participants (collaborators) may include graduate students, instructors, research associates, faculty in other disciplines, and professional staff at non-profit organizations, indigenous groups, government agencies, educational institutions, or private industries. Budgets may support graduate student research assistance.

NEW THIS YEAR: Co-Review with Institute of Diversity Sciences | If your project involves issues related to diversity, equity and climate change, your proposal may also be eligible for a seed grant from the Institute for Diversity Sciences (IDS). In this case, you may request a co-review of your proposal by IDS and ISSR and propose a larger budget of up to $22,000 Detailed instructions are contained in the request for proposals.


  • Thursday, December 13 2018 | Request for proposals released
  • Thursday, February 7 2019 | Seed grant informational meeting - See presentation slides
  • Thursday, March 21 2019 | Proposal submission deadline
  • Late April 2019 | Awards announced
  • Mid-May 2019 | Grants disbursed