Request for Proposals: Pitt Seed

Note: The application period is currently closed for the Pitt Seed Projects. 

The success of the University’s strategic plan is predicated upon engagement across the University. One of the focused efforts directed toward this engagement is the annual opportunity for faculty and staff to submit ideas for transformative projects that are directed toward supporting one or more of the six goals and associated strategies within the Plan for Pitt priorities of the Office of the Chancellor and Office of the Provost.

What Are Pitt Seed Projects?
Pitt Seed Projects are well-defined actions that will play an instrumental role in transforming the University of Pittsburgh. Proposed projects can include a range of activities including: research ideas, academic programs, process improvement, diversity and inclusion, community and industry partnership development, outreach, methods of teaching and learning, workshops, lectures, and enhancing the student experience.

Annually, the Office of the Chancellor invests funds to support the Pitt Seed Project initiative. Applicants can request up to $50,000 for a Pitt Seed Project.

All faculty and staff members at the University of Pittsburgh are eligible to apply for funding. Applicants may serve as a Principal Investigator on only one project; however, applicants may serve as collaborators on multiple projects. Applicants are encouraged to include students as team members.

Letter of Intent
Any person who is interested in applying for a Pitt Seed grant must first submit a letter of intent by the due date listed below. After letters of intent are received, applications will open and will be due one month later.

  • Letters of intent are required.
  • ​​Letters of intent are due Friday, February 5, 2021, at noon
  • Using the application management tool, InfoReady/Competition Space, briefly describe:
    • Overview of your proposed project.
    • Desired outcomes.
    • Resources needed.
  • Please identify the primary goals in the Plan for Pitt and/or priorities of the Office of the Chancellor and Office of the Provost with which your project will align.

Note: The letter of intent will not be adjudicated, but it is required that you submit a letter of intent if you plan to submit an application.

Review Criteria and Selection
While all applications will be considered, preference will be given to projects that address the areas below, which are priorities of the Office of the Chancellor and Office of the Provost: 

  • Diversity and inclusion––Create a more inclusive and engaged curriculum or campus community for the full range of diverse students and faculty we have and seek to attract. For example, projects might address curricular changes to integrate topics of interest to marginalized communities into courses and degree programs, or programs to develop cultural competency, address health disparity, expand access and affordability, and/or social justice.
  • Institutional resilience––Continue to innovate with an eye toward the future as universities around the world evolve to deliver new kinds of educational experiences that are responsive to the changing times. For example, projects might address new ways of using technology to create and teach, reimagining the use of physical space, online education, degree program design, support services for recent graduates, and/or universal tools that can be applied across disciplines.

Additionally, a distinct advantage will be given to proposals that can demonstrate long-term sustainability as well as institutional support (e.g., matching funds) from other units within or external to the University.

Concept documents and proposals will be reviewed and scored based on the following criteria:

  • Plan for Pitt Alignment––Proposals should support one or more goal/strategy within the University’s strategic plan. Proposals that support multiple goals/strategies are encouraged.
  • Priorities Alignment––Proposals should support the priorities of the Office of the Chancellor and Office of the Provost as outlined in the request for proposals.
  • Impactful––Proposals should clearly articulate the anticipate results/outputs/outcomes of the proposed actions in measurable terms.
  • Transformational––Proposals should emphasize how the opportunity and/or proposed actions are transformational and/or an area of distinction for the University.     
  • Transdisciplinary––Applicants are encouraged to reach across multiple academic and/or business units when developing a proposal. In addition, external partnerships with industry and/or the community will be favorably reviewed.

Application Submission
Applications must be submitted using InfoReady/Competition Space, the same application management tool as the letter of intent. After the deadline for letter of intent submissions has passed, the application portal will open. Completed applications with all supporting materials are due by Friday, March 5, 2021 at noon. There will be no exceptions for late submissions.

Format Requirements

  • Abstract (100 words max.)
  • Detailed Project Description (500 words max.)  
  • Plan for Pitt Alignment (250 words max.) 
  • Priorities Alignment (if applicable, 250 words max.) 
  • Team Members (250 words max.)
  • Project Timeline and Milestones (250 words max.)
  • Project Implementation Adjustment Plan (250 words max.)
    • Briefly describe how you will adapt the implementation of your project in response to potential changes in the University’s operational posture.
  • Anticipated Outcome and Measure of Success (250 words max.)
  • Other Resources That Are Not Reflected in the Budget (250 words max.)
  • Plan for Sustainability and Ongoing Support (250 words max.)
  • CV, Biosketch or Resume of PI (file upload)
  • Budget and Justification (template provided)
  • Two Letters of Support (submitted via individual links)
    • Faculty members must submit a letter of support from their respective Department Chair and a letter from the Dean of their school indicating support of the concept document and approval of any departmental resources committed.
    • Staff must submit letters from their respective Unit/Department Director and Senior Vice Chancellor indicating support of the concept document and approval of any departmental resources committed.
  • If your project involves a partner outside of your unit (e.g. external companies, community partners or engagement center), additional letters of support from the leadership of each partner are required. 

Post-Award Requirements
All Pitt Seed Project awardees are required to:

  • Ensure that resources are utilized according to what is outlined in the concept document.
  • Attend a virtual orientation session before funding is released.
  • Submit midyear and year-end reports indicating progress.
  • If applicable, submit outcome metrics on an annual basis for a minimum of three years post-implementation. 
  • Participate in Annual Internal Funding Symposium (March 2022).

Reports on the outcome(s) of the project, especially according to the criteria for success established in the proposal, are expected in the following intervals:

  • Mid-year progress report
  • End-of-first-year report
  • Annual report for projects that last longer than one year 

Additional guidelines for reporting will be provided to funded project directors/PIs.

Informational Sessions
If you would like to learn more about the Pitt Seed grant process or ask questions, consider attending one of three virtual information sessions. Zoom details will be provided after RSVP. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2020
Noon-1 p.m. (EST) 

Tuesday, January 12, 2021
10-11 a.m. (EST) 

Thursday, January 21, 2021
4-5 p.m. (EST)

Competition Opens – December 2020
Letter of Intent Due – Friday, February 5, 2021
Completed Application with Supporting Documents Due – Friday, March 5, 2021
Applications review – March-May 2021
Funded Projects Announced – June 2021
Orientation Session – June 2021
Funding Available – July 2021

Learn More
See frequently asked questions
See all projects that have been funded since 2018. 


Submit a letter of intent (Due Feb. 5, 2021, at noon)