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 and priorities of the Office of the Provost.

Application information for 2020-21 grants will be available this fall.

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.


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.


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, Feb. 7, 2020, at 12 p.m.
  • Using the application management tool, briefly describe:
    • Overview of your proposed project.
    • Desired outcomes.
    • Resources needed.
  • Please identify the primary goals in The Plan for Pitt and/or Provost's priorities 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.

Application Submission

After the deadline for letter of intent submissions has passed, applications will open. Completed applications with all supporting materials are due by Tuesday, March 10, 2020, at 12 p.m.

Submission Format

Complete proposals should be submitted using the application management tool.

Format Requirements

  • Brief Project Description (100 words max.)
  • Concept Overview (500 words max.)
  • Plan for Pitt and Provost's Priorities Alignment (250 words max.)
  • Team Members (250 words max.)
  • Project Timeline and Milestones (250 words max.)
  • Anticipated Outcome and Measure of Success (250 words max.)
  • Required Resources (250 words max.)
  • Sustainability (250 words max.)
  • Two Letters of Support (submitted via individual links)
  • CV, Biosketch, or Resume of PI (file upload)
  • Budget and Justification (template provided)

Content Requirements

Section Description
Brief Project Description A brief summary of the proposed project.
Concept Overview Describe the proposed opportunity and proposed actions.
Plan for Pitt and Provost's Priorities Alignment Indicate how the opportunity and proposed actions support The Plan for Pitt and/or the Provost's Priorities.
Team Members Please list all team members (including Principal Investigator), respective roles and qualifications.
Project Timeline and Milestones Indicate major milestones for the duration of the proposed project.
Outcomes and Assessment Plan to evaluate and assess the defined outcomes. 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.
Two Letters of Support 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.
CV, Biosketch or Resume of PI Please upload a PDF file only.
Budget and Justification Please use the budget template provided in the application portal.

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 Chancellor and Provost:

  • Access and affordability—Prepare students to qualify for and be successful at Pitt, and help them to assemble resources to meet educational expenses and basic needs.
  • 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.
  • Personalizing education—Empower students to forge their own paths through the opportunities available at Pitt in and beyond the classroom that will enable them to develop the skills, habits and attitudes that they need to envision and achieve their goals.
  • Improving teaching and learning—Identify problem areas for students and design and test solutions to improve learning outcomes and student success within courses and across the curriculum.

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.
  • Impactful—Proposals should clearly articulate the anticipated 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.

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 an 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 (February 2021).


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:

  • Midyear 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. Grantees will also be asked to share their projects with other grantees during monthly luncheons.

Selected projects will be invited to participate in an internal funding symposium in February 2021.

Information Sessions

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

Friday, Dec. 13, 2019
12-1 p.m.
817 Cathedral of Learning

Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019
4-5 p.m.
826 Cathedral of Learning

Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020
9-10 a.m.
817 Cathedral of Learning

Competition Opens December 2019
Letter of Intent Due Feb. 7, 2020
Completed Application With Supporting Documents Due March 10, 2020
Applications Review March-May 2020
Funded Projects Announced June 2020
Orientation Sessions June 2020
Funding Available July 1, 2020

Learn More

See Frequently Asked Questions and Answers.

View projects that were funded in 2018 and 2019.

Contact: pittseed@pitt.edu.