Virginia Tech®home

Seed Grants

Virginia Tech's investment institutes have internal seed funding programs that provide monies for researchers to initiate the exploration of projects, thus enabling them subsequently to secure external funding.

Major SEAD Grant

This annual funding opportunity supports projects that are creative, innovative, and show strong potential to advance the goals of the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology and its partners. Grants can be used for transdisciplinary activities, including creative projects, feasibility studies, and preliminary research. The aim is for projects to grow into larger initiatives, performances, exhibitions, or events that are visible at a national or international level.


Mini SEAD Grant

Awarded monthly, this funding supports projects that leverage the combined strengths of science, engineering, art, and design to tackle real-world challenges. These funds can be used to pursue a range of transdisciplinary activities that are creativity-fueled and human-centric.

Student Grant

Awarded at the beginning of every semester, this funding supports the work of Virginia Tech student teams that leverages the combined strengths of science, engineering, art, and design to tackle real-world challenges. These funds can be used to pursue a range of transdisciplinary activities that are creativity-fueled and human-centric.

Extensions of Research Leave

Awarded annually, this funding is offered to supplement or extend planned research leave of faculty by providing semester matching funds to home departments. These funds can be used to extend research leave by a semester for faculty pursuing a range of transdisciplinary activities including creative projects, pilot studies, feasibility studies, or preliminary research.

Scholars Progam

The Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment Scholars Program provides support to faculty developing grant proposals in the social sciences, broadly defined and consistent with the institute's four thematic areas and the university’s transdisciplinary communities. Projects are expected to address critical individual and social concerns impacting the lives of people and places locally, nationally, or across the globe. The program supports both relatively new and experienced investigators.

The expectation is that proposals developed through the program will lead to the submission of an application to an external funding agency for a project requiring a minimum of $100,000 in direct costs per year within six-months of completing the Scholars project. Six to eight awards of up to $30,000 are awarded each year.

Social Aspects of Global Change

Annually, the Virginia Tech Global Change Center, in collaboration with the Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment, accepts proposals from the center's faculty to support interdisciplinary projects that address social aspects of major global change issues, such as disease, climate, pollution, invasive species and land use. The projects typically leverage and integrate a unique combination of social science expertise with biophysical and/or engineering expertise at Virginia Tech and have a high potential to obtain external funding. Approximately $30,000 is awarded to 1-2 projects.

Restricted Microdata Research

Virginia Tech has entered into an agreement with Georgetown University through 2024 to allow four approved projects access to restricted microdata through the Georgetown Federal Statistical Research Data Center. Although the Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment paid the one-time member fee which covers the development and administrative support for the four research projects, faculty investigators are responsible for individual project fees, such as data extraction, preparation, and linkage fees, etc.

To assist Virginia Tech faculty who receive approval for a project, the Institute will provide awards up to $5,000 to help cover the costs of implementing the project including travel to Georgetown to access the data, student wages, data fees, and other related expenses.

Diversity and Inclusion Research Grants

The objective of this program is to build direct faculty-to-faculty research partnerships between faculty at Virginia Tech and faculty at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority Serving Institutions. Faculty will self-identify partnerships based on their specific research areas. The institute will offer up to $10,000 per year for two years to support the faculty partnership, with up to 15 partnerships funded.

Requirements for accepting the funding include presenting your project at the following year’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority Serving Institutions Summit (typically held mid-October) and participating in related, on-going diversity work and activities through the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science.

Junior Faculty Program

This program provides up to $40,000 in the first year, renewable for a second year with adequate progress, to a junior faculty principal investigator who has identified an interdisciplinary partnership with another Virginia Tech faculty member. The focus is on building teams with strong potential for external funding in cutting-edge science and technology. The institute will fund up to five new awards each year for a steady state of 10 ongoing investments.

Roop and Kavita Mahajan Research Fund

This program funds student-led interdisciplinary projects in health, education, and infrastructure. Projects should be in the field of community development, related to the overall goal of addressing problems of poverty and negligence in under-resourced communities around the world. Support is variable subject to availability of funds, but in general the institute will fund up to five awards of up to $2,500.

Nanoscale Characterization and Fabrication Laboratory Mini-grants

The Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science provides pre-purchased time on instruments at the Nanoscale Characterization and Fabrication Laboratory (NCFL). These are available for the following purposes:

  1. Laboratory demonstrations in support of the university’s curriculum and outreach efforts
  2. To complete a sponsored research program with insufficient funds,
  3. To collect preliminary data to make a proposal more compelling
  4.  To fund faculty startup packages

Doctoral Scholars Program

The Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science Doctoral Scholars Program honors exceptional Ph.D. candidates interested in interdisciplinary research with a competitive graduate fellowship. The program is led by the institute, with significant contributions from the Graduate School and each scholar’s college and department. The program supports up to 40 students, housed in the College of Engineering, College of Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, VetMed, and College of Natural Resources and Environment.