Seed Funding

University of Oregon Resilience Initiative

Interdisciplinary Seed Funding

Sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation




The University of Oregon faculty conduct leading scholarship and research in the areas of climate change, sustainability, and environmental studies across multiple schools and colleges.  Through coordinated efforts to bring together and support faculty working on these topics, we can leverage our institutional strengths and foster new interdisciplinary collaborations that will result in highly impactful scholarship and the development of  real-world solutions to the most pressing social and environmental challenges of our time.

The Resilience Initiative aims to build new, transdisciplinary collaborations and support the development of new research agendas in social-environmental research.  This seed funding program supports creative and innovative approaches to research and scholarship that are rigorous in approach and inventive in design, while also grounded in principles of ethical leadership and social and environmental justice.

There are no restrictions as to the size or structure of the study team.  Competitive proposals will identify diverse, interdisciplinary teams that involve multiple departments.  Due to the nature of the gift funding source for this program, partnerships between natural scientists and social science, humanities scholars, and/or faculty from the professional schools are preferred, although all types of interdisciplinary collaboration will be considered.  We prefer to seed new collaborations, although expansions of existing collaborations will also be considered.

For more information about the Resilience Initiative, visit:

    Read David Conover's May 30, 2019, remarks announcing the Resilience Initiative Seed Funding Program

Award Program

This award program supports the following types of grants:

  • Convening:  These grants come in two forms:
    • Research Team Convening Grants support the development of new research teams and the activities necessary to build the foundation of a collaborative research program, including developing new collaborations with scholars at other institutions.
    • External Partnership Convening Grants support highly targeted engagement efforts connecting faculty and external individuals/entities to improve our institution's understanding of practitioner needs and build new partnerships with the public sector, civil society organizations, and/or private industry.  The goal of these convening grants it to develop new avenues for applied research, outreach, and engagement.

Hybrid proposals that convene both new research teams and external partners are welcomed.Funds can be used to bring together teams for structured meetings or other convening functions to incubate collaborative ideas and develop a research and/or practitioner-focused agenda.Other activities may include writing joint publications or working with external consultants or experts who can advise new research teams.

  • Piloting: This mechanism provides seed funds for faculty to engage in more structured research and scholarship activities.  Funds may be used to design and conduct pilot or feasibility studies or to fund activities that develop a larger research collaboration and prepare for the submission of an external grant.  The goal of this program is to position faculty for success in obtaining external funding for research related to resilience, broadly defined.  Please contact Research Development Services (RDS) if you would like assistance in identifying potential sponsors in advance of submitting your piloting application.  RDS will work winning teams to support the external proposal development.


  • Postdoctoral Scholar: This mechanism provides funds for an interdisciplinary team of faculty to recruit and hire a postdoctoral scholar for a 2-year period to support a deeply interdisciplinary project and build or expand a research collaboration among faculty.  The fellow must be engaged in a new, transdisciplinary research project.  In addition to description of the project, the proposal must include a description of the skills and experience required of the fellow, the research activities the fellow will lead, and how engaging a postdoc will foster new interdisciplinary collaboration at UO that would not be possible without this position.  In addition to supporting a specific research project, it is expected that the postdoctoral fellow(s) will devote 0.25 FTE to support the OVPRI in developing and implementing a strategic program to bring together faculty working in social-environmental research and coordinate the Resilience Initiative.

Scope of the Award/Use of Funds

Convening & Piloting Grants

This seed funding program provides up to $10,000 for Convening grants and $50,000 for Piloting grants.  The award supports expenses over a project period that may not exceed 12 months.

Funds may be used for allowable costs necessary to plan the research project (consistent with university and state rules) for travel, equipment, supplies, contractual services, and core/shared user facility use. Funds also may be used for salary to support the project efforts of graduate and undergraduate students and/or technical personnel under the supervision of project investigators.

Funds may not be used 1) to replace or fund faculty salary 2) for instructional release/course buyouts, 3) for construction or facility renovation or 4) for curriculum development or career development.

Postdoctoral Fellowship

This program provides up to two years of salary and OPE for a 1.0 FTE at the postdoc minimum for an appointment not to exceed 24 months.  An additional $2,000 per year will be provided for research support (travel, publications, etc.).  No other expenses are permitted.

Note: Award monies for any mechanism may not be used for reimbursement and direct expenditure prior to the project start date.


RFA Announced

 May 20, 2019

Mandatory Letter of Intent Deadline (5pm)

 September 19, 2019

Application Deadline (5pm)

 October 15, 2019

Funding Decisions

 December 2019

Anticipated Project Start Date

 January 1, 2020

Anticipated Project End Date

 December 31, 2020 (Convening & Piloting); December 31, 2021   (Postdoctoral Fellowship)

Final Report Deadline (5pm)

 30 days after project end date


Expectation of PI Contribution to the Resilience Initiative

The primary goal of this seed funding is to encourage and facilitate deeper connections among UO faculty working in social-environmental research.  Development of new research teams and the submission of external grants is a key element in growing and sustaining this faculty-led imitative to build new networks and leverage our areas of excellence in the areas of environment, sustainability, climate change, and resilience.  Funded project teams will be expected to participate in Resilience Initiative events and activities which may include workshops, proposal review panels, symposia, etc.



Any tenure-related faculty member or career non-tenure track faculty member (with at least .75 FTE) in the research professor, research scientist, research engineer, or research associate classification who will hold a UO appointment during the academic year(s) of the research award are eligible to lead proposals. Emeritus, retired, courtesy, visiting, instructor, lecturer, postdoc, librarian, and pro-tem faculty are ineligible to be PI but may be on teams.  Graduate students may also be included on a research team but are not eligible to serve as PI.  Officers of Administration that are engaged in closely related work may also be on teams, although they cannot be PIs.

Faculty members may submit only ONE application as principal investigator, but may serve as a team member on other proposals.

Funding preference will be given to investigators without active VPRI seed funding from other internal awards programs.


Review Process

An initial review will be conducted to ensure that proposals comply with all guidelines. Proposals deemed non-compliant will be returned to the applicant and will not be reviewed further.

All applications will be reviewed by faculty with relevant disciplinary expertise, who will make recommendations to the Vice President for Research and Innovation. Final determination of funding will be made by the Vice President for Research and Innovation.


Review criteria include the following:

  1. Significance and impact: How strong is the rationale for the proposed project and does it address a significant social-environmental challenge?  What is the potential for significant societal impact? What is the potential for the project to inform or develop applied solutions to the challenge they address?
  2. Methods and feasibility: Are the methods and planned activities appropriate and well-justified? Is the scope of the project feasible for award period?
  3. Team composition and qualifications: Does the approach engage faculty from multiple disciplines? Are the applicants well-positioned to lead the project or fellowship training?  If applicable, does the project engage relevant stakeholders in the community, industry, or government?  Additional criteria for postdoc awards: Are the team members well-suited to co-advise a postdoctoral fellow? 
  4. Future research and scholarship: Does the proposal provide a clear and feasible description of future research and scholarship activities and impact that will result from the completion of the proposed project? Do the future directions align with institutional research priorities and/or external opportunities?  Will the project build or expand capacity and collaboration at the UO? If applying for a piloting grant, is there a clear and compelling external funding strategy?

Feedback will be provided to applicants whose proposals are not funded.


  1. Letter of Intent: Due September 19, 2019 at 5pm

The letter of intent is mandatory but non-binding.  The letter of intent should include the project title, the name and contact information for the proposed PIs, names of other key personnel, and a short (3-5 sentence) description of the project, including whether the application is for a Convening grant, Piloting grant, or a Postdoctoral Fellowship.  The purpose of the LOI is solely to help identify appropriate faculty reviewers.  E-mail the LOI to


  1. Full Application: Due October 15, 2019 at 5pm

The application should include a combined PDF of the application materials and a complete Excel budget using the template provided.

Formatting requirements: Times New Roman font (minimum 11 point) and 1” margins.

Send to, using the subject line “Application for UO Resilience Seed Grant.”

Application Components:

  1. Application cover page
  2. Executive summary:  300 words maximum
  3. Proposal narrative: 3-page maximum for sections A-D; include the following elements:
    1. Concept and rationale: Provide background or rationale for the proposed project, and including the significance of the challenge you will address.  Describe how the project represents a new interdisciplinary collaboration, leverages existing resources and partnerships, and addresses a major social-environmental challenge(s).
    2. Objectives, approach and expected results: Describe the objectives of the proposed research and identify the specific activities and methodology to achieve those objectives.  Identify short- and long-term outcomes and provide a detailed timeline of activities.  If proposing a meeting or series of meetings, outline plans for the meeting(s), including approximate number of attendees, potential location(s), and estimated date(s). 
    3. Future research and scholarship: Describe future research and scholarship that will result from the proposed project.  For piloting grants, identify external sponsor agencies and specific funding mechanisms, and outline the strategy and timeline to prepare and submit to these opportunities.
    4. Team qualifications: Describe the expertise of the proposed team members, the capacity of the team to conduct the proposed research, and the interdisciplinary nature of the proposed collaboration
    5. References
  4. Biographical sketch or CV: 2-page maximum for all faculty involved in the project
  5. Current and pending support: List current and pending funding for the PI and key personnel (funding source, project period, total costs); include any internal awards you have received from the University of Oregon in the last 3 years.
  6. Budget and budget justification: Only required for Convening and Piloting Grants; Use Excel budget template; justification limited to 1 page

Questions about the Resilience Initiative, the application or submission process may be directed to Research Development Services,