University Strategic Initiative Seed Grants

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The Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost is making funds available through seed grants to fund pilot projects that support the University’s 2016-2020 Strategic Plan, Our Commitment to Impact. The University’s Strategic Plan Oversight Committee invites its eight Steering Committees to develop these initiatives with the help of their communities. Information on the overarching funding philosophy behind Penn State’s strategic initiatives can be found on our Strategic Initiative Funding Philosophy page.

Steering Committee proposals should clearly demonstrate how the initiative promotes one or more of the plan’s thematic priorities (Advancing the Arts and Humanities, Driving Digital Innovation, Enhancing Health, Stewarding Our Planet’s Resources, and Transforming Education) and supporting elements (Constituent Outreach and Engagement, Infrastructure and Support, and Organizational Processes). Proposals should also explicitly incorporate one or more of the plan’s foundations (Enabling Access to Education, Engaging Our Students, Fostering and Embracing a Diverse World, Enhancing Global Engagement, Driving Economic Development, and Ensuring a Sustainable Future).

Click here to download the application.
Completed applications should be emailed to strategicplan@psu.edu.

The Role of the Strategic Plan Steering Committees

The Strategic Plan Steering Committees are the bodies charged by the Executive Vice President and Provost with developing strategic initiatives in support of Penn State’s overall plan. It is part of the committees’ role to engage their networks to solicit ideas from a broad array of constituents. If a non-committee member has an idea for a strategic initiative, that person should identify the appropriate committee to sponsor the initiative (see strategicplan.psu.edu/steering-committees/) and seek its support to develop and refine their idea. While ideas are welcomed from the broad community, the RFPs for cycle 1 must be submitted by the Steering Committees. Future rounds of the RFP will likely be broader in terms of eligibility, but at this time the Steering Committees play a critical role in guiding the implementation process.

Proposal Guidelines

  • The funding range for individual proposals is $50,000 – $250,000. It is anticipated that approximately 10 proposals will be funded per proposal cycle (see timeline below).
  • Seed grants are not permanent funds, and proposals should include a plan for sustaining the initiatives beyond the grant-supported period.
  • Proposals should include a timeline that allows for documentable progress by the end of this strategic planning cycle in 2020.
  • Collaborations among multiple units will be given preference.
  • Proposals that address multiple components (themes, supporting elements, foundations) of the strategic plan will be given preference. The evaluation form that was used for the first level of proposal reviews for the Fall 2017 proposal cycle can be downloaded at SP_Cycle1ProposalEvaluationForm-2fh681m. The committees have not determined if they will use the same template for the second review cycle, so please check back often to see if new information is available.

Submitting a Proposal

  • The proposal form can be downloaded at strategicplan.psu.edu/rfp.
  • Proposals will be accepted throughout the year on a rolling basis. The first cycle of grants will include approximately 10 proposals for funding. Again, continuous submission is encouraged because grants will be awarded on a rolling basis.
  • Submissions later in the academic year will receive the same level of consideration and have the same potential for funding as submissions early in the academic year.
  • Completed proposals should be emailed to strategicplan@psu.edu.

Proposal Review Process

The Office of Planning and Assessment serves as a central repository for proposals and forwards them to the appropriate committees for regular review.

  1. Round 1 Review: Executive Committee
    • Executive Committees will review proposals submitted by the Steering Committees.
    • Reviews will include evaluation of the proposed budget and identification of potential ongoing funding sources.
    • Proposals not selected for further consideration will be returned to the Steering Committees with feedback from the Executive Committee.
  2. Round 2 Review: Oversight Committee
    • Additional supporting information may be requested by the Oversight Committee.
    • The proposals and supplementary information will be reviewed by the Oversight Committee.
    • The Oversight Committee will present its recommendations to the committee chair, Executive Vice President and Provost Nicholas P. Jones.
  3. Notification
    • Funding recipients will be notified by the Office of Planning and Assessment.
    • The winning proposals will be publicized in Penn State Today.
    • Authors of proposals not selected for further consideration will be notified and provided with aggregated feedback by the Office of Planning and Assessment, on behalf of the relevant strategic plan committees. Proposals may be re-submitted in subsequent RFP rounds after initial feedback has been addressed.

2017-18 Proposal Review Timeline

Proposals will be accepted throughout the year on a rolling basis. The first cycle of grants will include approximately 10 proposals for funding. Again, continuous submission is encouraged as grants are awarded on a rolling basis.

Fall 2017 (Updated 9/25/2017)

Sept. 18 Summer submission deadline. 
Sept. 19 Start of summer submission review process.
Sept. 19 –  Oct. 24 Executive Committees work with Steering Committees to review all proposals
Oct. 25 Executive Committees forward selected proposals to Oversight Committee and begin to provide feedback to the authors of proposals that were not forwarded for further review.
Nov. 1 Oversight Committee meeting to review proposals.
Nov. 2 Top proposals forwarded by Oversight Committee to Provost.
Dec. 1 Funded initiative announcement; feedback provided to the authors of proposals not selected.

Spring 2018 DRAFT (process is under review)

Jan. 15 Fall submission deadline.
Jan. 16 Start of fall submission review process.
Feb.  13 Oversight Committee meeting to review proposals
Feb. 14 Top proposals forwarded by the Oversight Committee to the Provost
March 16 Funded initiative announcement; feedback provided to the authors of proposals not selected.

Summer 2018 DRAFT (process is under review)

May 21 Start of spring submission review process.  
May 22 Start of spring submission review process.
TBD Oversight Committee meeting to review proposals
TBD Top proposals forwarded by the Oversight Committee to the Provost
TBD Funded initiative announcement; feedback provided to the authors of proposals not selected.

Please submit questions about this process to the Office of Planning and Assessment at strategicplan@psu.edu or (814) 863-8721.