Pitt Seed Projects Questions and Answers

Why has Pitt Seed changed?

The Pitt Seed program is evolving to align with the new Plan for Pitt and the University’s new budget model. We have created a process to transition noteworthy ideas into transformational ideas with institutional support.

The new program includes increased support and training for selected candidates on topics such as navigating University infrastructure.

What’s happening to the previously funded Pitt Seed projects?

Pitt Seed Projects (2019-2022) are still active and receiving support.

What are the differences between the old program and this new program?

The new program has six phases and requires a video pitch long before a written proposal is submitted. The old program was a yearly one-time submission. The new program includes increased support and training for selected candidates on topics such as navigating University infrastructure and processes to move ideas forward. Also, the new program has increased funding, from $50,000 to $75,000. The new program will support three cohorts over five years, where the previous program funded projects on an annual cycle.

Why has the format for the Pitt Seed proposals changed (i.e., video pitch)?

We are seeking ideas—rather than fully formed proposals—so that we will have the flexibility to match projects with similar objectives during the cohort sessions. This collaboration will be critical to identifying synergies among the teams and potentially expanding the scope of the proposals.

What’s the deadline to submit a video pitch?

The deadline is Monday, Feb. 7, 2022, at 5 p.m. Learn more about how to submit a video proposal.

How long should a video pitch be?

The video submission should be no longer than 90 seconds.

How many proposals can I submit to the Pitt Seed grant program?

You can be a lead applicant for only one project, but you can be a collaborator/team member for more than one project.

Whom may I contact with further questions?

For questions about the grant competition, email Pitt Seed at Pittseed@pitt.edu.

Can a pitch video include multiple people, be creative, etc.?

Yes! You can be as creative as you’d like. Reviewers will focus on the content—not the style—of the pitches.

How will pitches be reviewed and judged?

A small group will perform the initial review according to judging criteria. The review process will change in each subsequent stage. The end goal is to institutionalize an idea. 

How many team members are permitted per application?

There are no limits to team sizes. 

Will a similar submission process be used in the next award cycle?

Yes. We anticipate the new process will be in place for at least two more cycles. 

Eligibility

Who is eligible to serve as a lead applicant on a Pitt Seed Project? 

Any Pitt faculty or staff member is eligible to serve as a lead applicant on a Pitt Seed Project. Lead applicants must be available to participate in six cohort meetings and workshops.

All Pitt students, postdoctoral associates, scholars and fellows are eligible to serve as Pitt Seed Project team members.

Can an individual serve as a lead applicant on more than one Pitt Seed Project? 

No, an individual cannot serve as a lead applicant on more than one Pitt Seed Project; however, an individual may serve as a team member on multiple applications.

Can undergraduate students be included as Pitt Seed Project team members? 

Absolutely! Engaging students in a Pitt Seed Project is highly encouraged.

Can a Pitt Seed Project application include more than one lead applicant? 

No. Only one lead applicant is allowed for each Pitt Seed Project. However, we strongly encourage the involvement of collaborators and team members.

If I have received a previous Seed award, am I eligible to apply for this cycle?

Yes. You may apply for this cycle if you were awarded Pitt Seed monies during a previous cycle. 

Are external collaborators permissible?

Yes. External collaborators may be part of the team, but the lead applicant must be a Pitt faculty or staff member. 

Which security feature should I choose to share my video in Panopto? 

Select “Your Organization: Anyone at your organization can find and access the video.” When this option is selected, all Pitt collaborators and reviewers will be able to access your video.

Does Panopto offer editing functionality?

Yes. If you create your video in Panopto, you can also edit your video in Panopto. 

Cohort Sessions

Can different team members attend the cohort meetings and workshops?

To maximize peer engagement, the team should select one individual to serve as the lead applicant. That person will be responsible for attending the cohort meetings, disseminating information from the meetings to their team members, organizing the team, and serving as a main point of contact between the Pitt Seed office and the team.

How will lead applicants benefit from cohort sessions?

Lead applicants will receive customized workshop sessions led by campus leaders who are regularly involved in executing project ideas. Lead applicants will have the opportunity to vet their ideas with leaders to identify strengths and weaknesses in the proposals. Lead applicants will also benefit from peer interaction as teams continue to refine their proposals. 

What happens if the lead applicant must miss a cohort session?

While attendance in the cohort sessions is mandatory, we realize that unexpected circumstances may arise. The Pitt Seed office will work with lead applicants on an individual basis to address unexpected absences and conflicts.

What is the time commitment for the cohort sessions?

There will be six cohort sessions. Each session will last about two hours. The first half will allow applicants to refine their ideas; the second half will be dedicated to promoting peer discussions and answering questions.

When will decisions for Phase 2 be announced?

Decisions will be announced near the end of February 2022.

During Phase 4, should each cohort use their $75,000 award as they see fit?

Each team is awarded up to $75,000 that may be used for purposes best aligning with their pitch. Project teams must follow University fiscal policies and infrastructure, all of which will be reviewed during the cohort onboarding sessions.