The FY17 TIER 1 Portal will open on December 1 – Instructions below

TIER 1: Seed Grant/Proof of Concept Program

This competitive program provides funds to support and encourage individual faculty members to form multidisciplinary teams to secure proof of concept, with a goal of successfully competing for future sponsored research opportunities. Funds are also available as seed grants for multidisciplinary teams to develop new and innovative research directions. An explicit strategy for securing external funding must be outlined. Grants of up to $50,000 are available, provided by the College(s) and SVPR. 

Please note that the grant period has been extended to 15 months (July 1, 2016 – September 30, 2017). It is expected that all projects will conclude by the end of the grant period.

This year we will be particularly interested in proposals that position the university to compete in emerging areas of significant research funding, e.g. climate change, resilience, cyber security, advanced materials, advanced manufacturing, affordable health care, etc. Applicants should consult with their Associate Dean for Research about areas of special interest to the College. Projects with cross-college collaboration are heavily favored.

Support Constraints: Funding may not be requested for faculty salary support. Salary support for research scientists is allowed. Graduate students who are included on the grant must be named, and their CVs included with the proposal (exceptions may be requested for students enrolled in non-PhD professional degree programs). Funding should not be requested to support first-year graduate students. Tuition is not an allowable charge.

It is recommended that investigators apply as Co-PIs on no more than two applications.

Submission Process: Applications must be submitted using the    TIER 1 Application Form and be signed by Department Chairs before being uploaded to the FY17 TIER 1 Portal by the team’s designated Contact Co-PI. Note that every Contact Co-PI must register on the Portal before they can submit. Proposals will be reviewed in a two-stage process beginning with the relevant Deans. Proposals that are endorsed by those Deans will go forward to the SVPR for further consideration.

Portal Instructions: The FY17 Portal will open on December 1 at At this time, only Contact Co-PIs can register for the portal:

  • The TIER1 FY17 Competition link will be at the bottom of the homepage – you may need to scroll down.
  • Click on the FY17 link under “TIER 1 Competitions”.
  • On the next page, click “Apply” on the right hand menu.
  • You will be prompted to either log in or register. If you have registered previously for the FY15 competition, please login with the information you provided. Otherwise, please register using your email. 
  • Once you have registered or logged in, you will be taken to the application page. This page contains most of the same information as the PDF application. Please copy the information where required, so that the electronic application contains the same information as your PDF application.
  • Please note you will be required to upload a single PDF at the end of the electronic application page.
  • When you have completed the application, click “Submit Application”. You will receive an automated confirmation email from the system.

Review Process: Proposals will be reviewed in a two-stage process beginning with the relevant Deans. Proposals that are endorsed by those Deans will go forward to the SVPR for further consideration.

Reviewers are asked to rank proposals on the following criteria:

  • Overall Impact/ Merit
  • Investigators/ Team
  • Innovation/ Potential for success
  • Importance to the College
  • Budget Feasibility

Twenty to 25 awards are anticipated.



November 9: Announcement of FY17 TIER 1 competition

December 1: TIER 1 Submission Portal opens

January 19: Deadline for submission of proposals through the TIER 1 Portal for College review

February 26: Deadline for Deans to submit endorsed proposals to SVPR

March 18: Award notifications

July 1, 2016: Start of grant period

September 30, 2017: Conclusion of grant period

TIER 1 Application Form