Seed Grants

Research Development

RTT Proposal Planning/Seed Grant Application Guidelines

RTT Proposal Planning/Seed Grants aim to stimulate the formation of collaborative, interdisciplinary research teams by helping teams to initiate, prepare, and submit large, interdisciplinary research proposals with annual budgets of $1M or more (NSF ERC, DOE EFRC, etc.), though smaller budgets may be considered for strategically-critical or prestigious programs.

Deadline: Rolling

Award Amount: $10,000 – $50,000

Award Duration: 6 weeks -18 months

Anticipated Number of Awards: 3-4 per year

Allowable Expenses: Teams have broad discretion in the use of funds, as long as funds clearly support progress toward developing a competitive proposal. Funds could support, for example, a combination of travel, teaching relief, workshops with potential team members, virtual workshop facilitation, and/or up to one month of summer salary per PI (or salary for research faculty serving as PI). Applicants are encouraged to use their own funds (e.g., RD accounts) or funds from other sources (e.g., center, department, dean) to supplement the funds requested from RTT.

For expenses that require department head approval, such as teaching relief, please ensure that you receive approval prior to submitting your planning grant proposal.



All Mines faculty and staff members are eligible to apply. Interdisciplinary teams are strongly encouraged. While the PI must be a Mines employee, we encourage collaborations with researchers from other institutions.

Additional eligibility information:

  • Applicants may submit no more than one planning grant proposal as a PI per year.
  • Projects with a primary focus on curriculum development are not eligible. 

Proposal Requirements and Application


Proposals should use clear writing appropriate for non-specialists and make a strong case for the importance of the project to reviewers outside the discipline.

  • Cover Page (enter this information into the InfoReady form)
    • Project title
    • Names and affiliations of current team members
    • Targeted external funding opportunity and sponsor deadline
  • Project Narrative (3-5 pages, including tables, figures, charts, references, and supporting information). Contents should include the following:
    • A vision statement and explanation of why an interdisciplinary team is required for the success of the proposed project.
    • The proposed planning grant objectives, expected outcomes, and tasks with quarterly milestones.
    • An explanation of why the concept will be competitive for the targeted funding opportunity and its anticipated impact.
    • A brief management or team coordination plan, including discussion of how knowledge will be integrated across disciplines.
  • Biosketches (Up to 2 pages per team member)
    • Required for all team members.
  • Budget and Justification (1 page)
    • Provides a concise justification for items requested in the budget.

Review Process and Criteria

Faculty volunteers will review applications, provide written comments, convene to discuss proposals, and recommend proposals for funding to the VPRTT. Applicants will receive anonymous feedback from reviewers.

Proposals will be evaluated in four primary areas:

  • Intellectual Merit: Merit and quality of research, scholarship, or creative work; potential to contribute value to the respective discipline(s) and advance knowledge (particularly factoring in the novel approach to concept(s) for relevant disciplines).
  • Potential for Success: The potential for success in the targeted funding opportunity (or other opportunities suggested by the evaluators) and the potential that the planning grant effectively increases the probability of success.
  • Impact: Potential to benefit discipline(s), society, or vitality of the university’s research, scholarship, or creative work.
  • Inter- / multidisciplinarity: Potential to foster collaborations and partnerships across disciplines; team development for future collaborations.

Terms and Conditions

Planning grant recipients agree to the following conditions:

  • Teams will report progress toward milestones; funding may be terminated if milestones are not met.
  • No later than 30 days following the end of the award period, teams will submit a draft project narrative that follows guidelines laid out in the target solicitation. RTT will provide feedback on the narrative.
  • Recipients are expected to submit a proposal for external funding, usually in close coordination with RTT’s Proposal Development Manager, within 24 months of being awarded an RTT Proposal Planning/Seed Grant. Recipients who do not submit a proposal for external funding will not be eligible for future planning grants (exceptions will be made for extenuating circumstances such as illness or unexpected family leave).
  • If the project entails any compliance issues such as IRB, ITAR, EHS, biohazardous material, etc., recipients certify that the appropriate compliance offices on campus will be made aware of the proposed activities before initiating any work.