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College of Education

College of Education Seed Funding for Research Leading to an External Grant Proposal: Request for Proposal

The College of Education is pleased to announce the availability of seed funding to support faculty in conducting research that leads to the acquisition of a major external funding award. Major funding is defined for this initiative as an award of at least $150,000 per year or at least $300,000 for the life of the project.

The application for seed funding requires the inclusion of a faculty mentor who has demonstrated success in securing external funding. It also requires a full grant proposal submission for external funding (defined as an agency outside of the University of South Carolina) within 24 months of the completion of the research supported by this College of Education internal grant.

Initial Contact Deadlines: Contact Brittany Hammond at in the CoE Office of Grants and Contracts to express interest by Friday, January 31, 2020.
Application Deadline: Friday, February 28, 2020
Award Decision: on or before Friday, April 10, 2020


Funding Amount & Eligible Expenditures

Seed funding may be used for pilot research projects, the results of which will be included as part of an external grant proposal.  Partial summer pay, up to the equivalent of teaching one course, for the principal investigator and/or the mentor, when mentors are CoE faculty. Examples of allowable expenses include transcription costs, data collection materials, travel costs related to data collection, specialized software or equipment needed for the research, and student worker costs. The maximum award amount for seed funding is $9,000. Applicants may request a project period of up to one year to complete the study.

Items with a partial relationship to the project or for a broader purpose are not allowed as seed funding expenditures. Such items include graduate assistantships that include non-project work, computers, and travel for non-study related purposes.



Eligible applicants include all full-time faculty members, except faculty awarded CoE internal grant funding in the previous 12 months. Preference is given to those who have not received a major competitive grant, and who could clearly benefit from the assistance of a mentor in preparing for external grant submissions.


Application Procedures

  1. Contact Brittany Hammond at in the CoE Office of Grants and Contracts by Friday, January 31, 2020. The Office of Grants and Contracts will assist with budget development, proposal preparation and formatting, and submission through USCeRA.
  1. Develop a short Proposal Narrative (no more than six single-spaced pages) that provides the following:

(a) a descriptive title for the proposed project,

 (b) a brief discussion of the background and significance of the proposed idea, including its relation to the present state of knowledge in the field and a clear justification of how completion of this project will position the applicant to be more competitive for the specific external funding source identified,

 (c) a research design of the project that includes the objectives, the methods and procedures that will be used in the project (i.e., sample selection, measures/instruments and/or research design, data collection, and data analysis),

 (d) the expected accomplishments during the course of the project,

 (e) the specific external funding program being targeted, including documentation that the targeted outlet meets the funding requirements for seed funding grants (at least $150,000 per year or at least $300,000 for the life of the project),

 (f) a projected timeline for submission to the identified program, and

 (g) a brief description of the Project Personnel (i.e., PI, Co-PIs, Key Personnel and Project Mentor) to justify their qualifications aligned with their roles and responsibilities on the proposed project.

  1. Appendices: Details or copies of measures/instruments being used and the specific funding program (i.e., copies of the RFP) must be included as appendices but will not be counted in the narrative six-page limit. Likewise, when applicable, it is strongly encouraged to provide letters of support/approval for data collection as appendices (i.e., provide evidence that the proposed data collection procedures can be accomplished).
  1. Attach the following supporting documentation to the end of the proposal packet: (a) references (should be included as appropriate but will not be counted in the narrative page limitation); (b) an abbreviated vita (no more than 4 pages) of the PI, Co-PIs and mentor; the mentor’s abbreviated vita must include a record of successful external grant funding. The mentor may be a PI or Co-PI on the external funding proposal; (c) letter of participation from the mentor, indicating the mentor’s role in the project; (d) statement of support from the applicant’s department chair; and (e) budget and budget justification.

  2. Electronically submit the completed proposal packet to the CoE Office of Grants and Contracts.


Review Process

The criteria used for judging proposals are provided in the CoE Seed Funding scoring rubric [pdf], with the key criterion being whether or not the results from the proposed project will substantially strengthen the external proposal. Funding decisions will be announced within six weeks after the application deadline.


Funded applicants agree to the following:

  1. Submit a final report of internal funding activities to the Office of Research and Innovation within 90 days of the project’s completion.
  2. Develop and submit a complete proposal application for funding to an external funding agency within 24 months of project completion. The Office of Research and Innovation will facilitate a meeting between the applicant and the external funding program officer upon request.
  3. Share the results of their funded work with the CoE research community (e.g., brown bag session, Spark Talks, Research Institute presentation forum); Presentations will be coordinated by the Office of Research and Innovation.
  4. Serve on up to three review panels for CoE internal grant submissions as needed for 24 months following project completion. Review panel assignments will be made by the Office of Research and Innovation.
  5. All project requirements must be satisfactorily met before an applicant can be considered for additional funding from any CoE internal grant funding sources.

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