2019 Pitt Seed Project Selection Process

1. Overview

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 towards supporting one or more of the six goals and associated strategies within the Plan for Pitt.

2. 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, community and industry partnership development, outreach, methods of teaching and learning, workshops, lectures, and enhancing the student experience.

3. Funding

Annually, the Chancellor’s Office will invest funds to support the Pitt Seed Project initiative. Applicants can request up to $50,000 for a Pitt Seed Project.

4. Eligibility

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. The table below highlights specific eligibility requirements for concept document submission.

Principal Investigator Letter of Support
Faculty   Applicants must submit letters from their respective Department Chair and the Dean of their school indicating support of the concept document and approval of any departmental resources committed.
Staff Applicants 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.

5. 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, Feb. 8, 2019, at 12 p.m.
  • Two pages max (single-spaced).
  • Briefly describe:
    • Overview of your proposed project.
    • Desired outcomes.
    • Resources needed.
    • Plan for sustainability.
  • Please identify the primary goals and strategies in The Plan for Pitt 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. The letter of intent was not required in the pilot year but will be required this year and every year going forward. 

6. Application Submission

After the deadline for the letter of intent, applications will open. 
Completed applications with all supporting materials are due by Friday, March 8, 2019, at 12 p.m.

Format Requirements

  • Concept Overview (500 words max.)
  • Plan for Pitt Alignment (250 words max.)
  • Outcome (250 words max.)
  • Required Resources (250 words max.)
  • Sustainability (250 words max.)
  • Letters of Support (file upload)
  • CV, Biosketch, or Resume of PI (file upload)

Content Requirements

Section Description
Team Members Please list all team members (including Principal Investigator), respective roles, and qualifications.
Concept Overview Briefly describe the proposed opportunity and proposed actions.
Plan for Pitt Alignment Indicate how the opportunity and proposed actions support The Plan for Pitt.
Outcome If implemented, please indicate how you will measure success.
Required Resources List the types of resources required and high-level cost estimates.
Sustainability If relevant, please describe ongoing resource requirements and the sustainability plan once seed funding ends.
Letters of Support Faculty must submit a letter of support from their Department Chair and Dean. Staff must submit a letter of support from their Unit/Department Director and respective Senior Vice Chancellor. 

7. Review Criteria & Selection

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.
  • Impactful – Proposals should clearly articulate the anticipated results/outputs/outcome 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.

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 the or external to the University.

Additionally, while all applications are welcome, priority will be given to projects that address the areas below, which are priorities of the Chancellor and Provost:

  • Data: Examine the many ways that students provide data, and how the University uses it.
    • Goal 1: Advance Educational Excellence
      • Strategy: Serve as a leader in personalizing educational experiences of undergraduate, graduate and professional students, with attention to mentorship, advising and tailoring engagement to the goals of individual students.
    • Goal 2: Engage in Research of Impact
      • Strategy: Expand our computational capacity, human and physical, to meet research needs across a broad range of disciplines into the future.
      • Strategy: Extend the impact of our research through application to practice, policy development and commercial translation.
    • Goal 6: Build Foundational Strength
      • Strategy: Transform information infrastructure to expand our reach and better support recruitment, research, learning and operational efficiency.
  • Collaborations: Forge partnerships with the local community and beyond to find ways for Pitt to serve as a support resource.
    • Goal 1: Advance Educational Excellence
      • Strategy: Promote access and affordability through partnerships with local school districts, increased voluntary support for student aid, improved time-to-degree for all students and expanded access to master’s and professional education.
    • Goal 3: Strengthen Communities
      • Strategy: Foster a culture of civic engagement, seeking to increase societal impact.
    • Goal 5: Embrace the World
      • Strategy: Connect our domestic and international pursuits to generate synergies that help strengthen our communities.
  • Campus Climate: Create programs and opportunities that support a campus climate of inclusivity.
    • Goal 1: Advance Educational Excellence
      • Strategy: Enrich the student experience through engagement with diverse cultures and perspectives and expanded opportunities for study abroad and by integrating global perspectives in the curriculum.
    • Goal 4: Promote Diversity and Inclusion
      • Strategy: Transform the campus climate to reinforce the value of diversity and inclusion as essential to advancing our teaching, research, community engagement and to enriching the student experience.

8. 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.
  • Submit midyear and year-end reports to pittseed@pitt.edu indicating progress.
  • If applicable, submit outcome metrics to pittseed@pitt.edu on an annual basis for a minimum of three years post-implementation. 

9. Important Dates

If you would like to learn more about the Pitt Seed grant process or ask questions, you may consider attending one of the information sessions below.

Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019
3:30-4:30 p.m.
Alumni Hall, Room 121

Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019
12-1 p.m.
Posvar Hall, Room 2500

Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019
1-2 p.m.
William Pitt Union, Room 630

Competition Opens December 2018
Letter of Intent Due* Friday, February 8, 2019 (noon)
Completed Application With Supporting Documents Due Friday, March 8, 2019 (noon)
Funded Projects Announced First Week of June 2019
Orientation Sessions June 10 - June 28, 2019
Funding Available Monday, July 1, 2019

* Note: The letter of intent was not required last year, but it is mandatory for all applicants to be considered this year.

10. Contact

Please read our archive of Questions and Answers before reaching out.

If you still need help, email pittseed@pitt.edu.