Research and Innovation Seed Funding Program


Announcement Date: Wednesday, August 13, 2014
The Research and Innovation Seed Funding (RISF) Program is now accepting proposals from NC State faculty and staff professionals.
Due Date: Proposals are due Friday, September 26, 2014, 5:00 P.M.



NC State’s Office of Research, Innovation, and Economic Development (ORIED), in partnership with the Kenan Institute for Engineering, Technology and Science (KIETS), established the Strategic Research Initiatives Program (SRI) in 2010 to augment and replace the multi-disciplinary component of the Faculty Research and Professional Development (FRPD) program. The individual faculty component of the FRPD program remained unchanged.

The SRI program was renamed Research and Innovation Seed Funding (RISF) program later in the year to reflect the program’s goals.

Program Description

The overarching goal of the RISF program is to assist NC State researchers in developing innovative interdisciplinary programs that have strong potential for significant future support from government agencies, corporations, industrial consortia or foundations. Encouraged are projects that align with NC State’s strategic research areas of health and well-being, energy and environment, safety and security, and/or advanced materials and advanced manufacturing. Proposals should be of high risk/high gain and describe how the project will initiate new areas of research or enhance existing areas at NC State.

Proposals must emphasize and promote interdisciplinary research across multiple colleges and develop research initiatives with high potential for significant extramural funding. Be as specific as possible, including agency names, programs, dates and potential amounts.

Proposals that seek funds to enhance scholarship or faculty professional development are not eligible for this program. Please see Internal Funding Programs for opportunities that address these topics.

Projects Supported

Project activities may include, but are not limited to:

  • Workshops on emerging multidisciplinary research areas;
  • Support of a high-level seminar series to promote networking to form an innovation program;
  • Development of concepts and white papers for large-scale centers, institutes or cluster hires;
  • Travel to establish partnerships and to interact with program officers;
  • Identification and recruitment of industrial, academic and/or government partnerships in support of initiatives;
  • Support for release time, travel, workshops, and other expenses associated with conceptualization and preparation of large grants;
  • Development of plans to promote industrial research collaborations;
  • Creation and support of resources such as websites, research collaboration sites or social networking tools to facilitate large-scale research programs;
  • Collection of preliminary data needed for external proposal submission.


Type of Award

Solicitations will be open semi-annually in the Fall and Spring semesters. Awards will be effective for projects lasting twelve calendar months or less, beginning on the fiscal year (July 1) following Spring solicitations and calendar year (January 1) following Fall solicitations.

Estimated Number of Awards and Anticipated Funding Amount

Approximately $150,000 will be available annually for awards. Awards typically range between $10,000 and $25,000, with an average of 4 – 6 awards per solicitation. Extension of the award period to complete proposed activities is at the discretion of the Office of Research, Innovation, and Economic Development (ORIED).

Cost Match

A minimum 25% cost match is required from internal or external sources. Internal sources may be College or Department support, including salary release time. A distinction must be indicated between a request for RISF funding for release time and release time used as a source of matching funds.


All NC State faculty and EPA professionals are eligible for funding. There is no limit on the number of proposals in which a single researcher may participate. There is no limit on the number of proposals a single Principal Investigator may submit.


Proposal Content

RISF prposals must include the following sections:

  • Cover page (please use the RISF cover template): The cover page includes the title of the proposed project, contact information of the submitting principal investigator, list of Co-PIs and other key personnel, duration of project (1 day to 1 year), total budget amount (requested amount and matching funds), five (5) keywords, and a 1,000-character synopsis of the proposed project.
  • Project description (3 pages max): The project description must address how the proposed activities are consistent with the goals of the program, especially interdisciplinarity and potential for external funding. The description should include sufficient detail such that reviewers can evaluate the appropriateness and feasibility of the proposed plans. Please keep in mind that not all reviewers will be experts in every proposed field of study, and thus project descriptions should be written for a broad audience.
  • Budget with Justification (please use the RISF budget template): The budget and justification should include funds requested from the RISF program and a minimum 25% cost match, indicating how funds from each source are to be allocated. Indirect costs are not applicable.
  • Team Description: The team description should describe the role of each PI, Co-PI, and other key personnel mentioned in the proposal.
  • References: No limit
  • Appendices:
    • Biosketch (up to 1 page each): Biosketches of each PI, Co-PI, and other key personnel that should include information relevant to the proposed project.
    • Letter(s) of support (no limit): Letters from source(s) of matching funds must be included. Other letters of support may be included.


The submission process is two-part: NC State PINS system and electronic submission to the RISF program administrator.
PINS submission: Submit through your college research administrator at
Electronic submission to RISF program administrator: When you have received approval in PINS, insert the PINS number on the cover page and submit electronically in MS Word or PDF format to: Subject of the email should be: “RISF submission: PI name” (where PI name is the last name of the submitting Principal Investigator).

Due Date

Proposals for the Fall 2014 solicitation are due on Friday, September 26, 2014 by 5:00 P.M.


Timeline for Fall 2014 Solicitation

August 13 Request for Proposals announcement sent to URC, ROC, RSC members; posted to website at
September 26 Proposals due no later than 5:00 P.M. Electronic submission with PINS number to:; subject line: RISF submission: PI name (where PI name is the last name of the submitting Principal Investigator)
October 3 Proposals delivered to reviewers
October 17 Review process ends; all reviews submitted to:; subject line: RISF review: PI name (where PI name is the last name of the submitting Principal Investigator)
After October 23 Principal Investigators notified of award status; summary of reviewer comments emailed to submitting PIs; abstracts of awarded proposals posted to website at RISF Past Awards
January 29, 2016 A progress report that describes accomplishments to date due to the Research Development Office

Review Criteria

Each proposal will undergo an internal peer review based on the following criteria:

  • Potential for future funding: The potential for follow-up funding for the project is high and clearly defined;
  • Integration of multiple colleges and disciplines: Diversity in disciplines is contributory to the objectives of the project;
  • Description and feasibility of the project: Goals and objectives are clearly defined and aligned with the specific purposes of the RISF program; project does not duplicate former efforts surrounding the proposed problem area; plan of work is clearly articulated and adequately meets the goals of the project; the project is feasible;
  • Budget: Appropriate and justified budget includes a documented cost match of at least 25%; and
  • Team qualifications: PI and team are qualified and appropriate for the project; roles for team members are clearly defined.

Review and Selection Process

Proposals will be reviewed by members of the University Research Committee (URC) and may be reviewed by colleagues outside of the project discipline. In order to be ranked highly, proposals must use language that can be understood by persons lacking expertise in the discipline. Highly ranked proposals will clearly state the:

  • Problem or need to be addressed;
  • Innovativeness of the solution;
  • Specifics of activities;
  • Appropriateness and contribution of the named team members;
  • Cross-disciplinarity of the approach;
  • Expected outcomes from one year (or less) of work;
  • Long-term implications for the work; and
  • Funding agencies and specific opportunities likely to fund ongoing proposals generated from this effort.

Following peer review, proposals and reviews are presented to a separate selection committee. The selection committee decides the number of awards and the amount of each award.


The submitting PI(s) for the awarded proposals will be notified within one (1) business day of the award selection. The submitting PI(s) for non-awarded proposals will be notified within three (3) business days of the award selection.
A synopsis of reviewer comments will be provided to the submitting PI(s) for all proposals after all PI(s) have been notified of their award status.


The principal investigator will be required to report on measurable outcomes of their seed funding effort (i.e. continued funding for the project, published reports, graduate students funded, etc.). The first report will be due approximately one month after the close of the grant period (see schedule below). Periodic status updates on the progress of the project may be requested at the discretion of the program administration.

Reporting Schedule (First Report Due)

January 29, 2016 Fall 2014 awards


Questions regarding this solicitation may be directed to:

Bonnie Aldridge
University Program Specialist – Research Services
(919) 513-0942