Skip to main content


2017-2018 GUIDELINES


The Provost and the Vice President for Research have initiated a program to invigorate the university research enterprise through targeted investment of seed research funds in high priority areas (see the examples in Figure 1). The purpose of the program is to invigorate research labs and groups with funds that would permit submission of competitive research proposals. The seed funding grant program is closely tied with the four institutional thrusts that the Vice President for Research and the Provost have developed in consultation with college deans, and which have been endorsed by the Chancellor: (1) physical and cyber security, (2) drug discovery and development, (3) sustainable communities and infrastructure, and (4) accessible healthcare. Each of the thrusts is described in Figure 1, which provides the general area of emphasis and some examples. Formation of interdisciplinary research teams is encouraged to build capabilities to address these complex issues. For this fiscal year, we anticipate making six to eight 18-month awards at a maximum of $70,000.



Full-time University of Houston faculty members (tenured, tenure-track, or research faculty) are eligible to apply. Other investigators, employed by UH, may be listed as co-PIs.  A faculty member may serve as PI on only one application per fiscal year.  

Criteria for Award

Each proposal must supply convincing evidence that the following criteria have been met or will be met:

  1. The proposed activities must represent high-quality research of significant benefit to the University and society, and which directly address at least one of the four institutional thrusts.
  2. An external grant proposal will be submitted in the selected research area during the first year of the award and in subsequent years as outlined in Deliverables.
  3. The application must be related to one of the four priority areas:
  • Cyber/Physical Security
  • Drug Development/Discovery
  • Sustainable Communities/Infrastructure
  • Accessible Healthcare

The proposal narrative should not exceed six double spaced pages and the font size of Arial should be no smaller than 11 pt. with 1-inch margins.  The following sections should be included: (1) Objectives and Specific Aims; (2) Significance and Impact; (3) Preliminary Results and Expertise; (4) Research Methods; (5) Relation to UH Institutional Thrusts; and (6) Timeline and Plans for Grant Submissions.

Budget Preparation

Funding requests may be up to $70,000 depending upon the type and scope of research. A budget justification is required.            

  1. Budgets will be critically reviewed. All budget items should have written justifications, and the budget should include fringe benefits for salary requests. The intent of this program is to foster research and as such, food and alcohol are not allowable expenses. There is no page limit for the budget justification, but applicants are encouraged to be succinct.
  2. Support for faculty salaries is limited to $10,000 per grant, including fringe benefits.
  3. Support for instructional development activities will not be considered for this program.
  4. Travel is only allowed if it is directly related to the completion of the research proposal, such as field work, training on new equipment, and related examples clearly justified in the budget request.
  5. Applicants must provide a list of current and pending grant proposals and effort commitments for all investigators, including a 2 page CV for each investigator. Investigators with current funding should state clearly any overlaps between this and their current project portfolio.

Review of Proposals

All applications will initially be checked against the eligibility criteria outlined above.  In the rare cases that eligibility is not fulfilled, applications will be returned without additional review alongside an appropriate explanation by Division of Research staff.  After the initial screening, full proposals will be competitively reviewed and acted upon by a Research and Scholarship (RSC) subcommittee that will include non-RSC members who have content area expertise from the campus.  Winning proposals will be determined based on program criteria, merit, and available funds. Preference will be given to bold new ideas demonstrating clear evidence of a high likelihood of securing grant funding in one of the four research thrusts in the short term and viability as a research program in one of the four priority areas in the long-term. 

The proposals should be clear, concise, and explicit about the benefits of the activities to be undertaken. Proposals should be written to be understandable to reviewers who are from a range of disciplinary fields.  Reviewers will be internal to UH and some might not be disciplinary experts.

The review committee will rank reach proposal in five domains on a 1 (highest) – 5 (lowest) scale: (1) Impact and innovation of proposed research in one of the four priority areas; (2) Plan for grant submission, including the timeline; (3) Quality of the research methods; (4) Investigator expertise and track record; and (5) Long-term potential for substantive contributions to priority research area.

Human Subjects Review/ Animal Usage

All projects involving human subjects must be reviewed and approved by the Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects before the grant cost center will be established.

All projects involving the use of animals in research must be reviewed and approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee before the grant cost center will be established.

Intellectual Property

In accordance with University policy, faculty members and the University share in net income generated from intellectual property. For additional information, refer to the Faculty Handbook or contact the Office of Intellectual Property Management at 713-743-9155.

Deliverables, Reporting, and Acknowledgment

The PI is expected to complete the following activities and reporting during the 2 years following the award. An external grant proposal in the selected high priority research area must be submitted during the first year of the award. If the applicant intends to apply for a competition that does not fit this timeframe, an exception should be noted in the proposed time line. An exception can be granted by petition provided this does not delay the grant proposal submission more than 3 months. A resubmission is expected in the next submission cycle following the receipt of reviewer comments until funding is secured or a new application can be submitted while awaiting the outcome of the previous submission. In year 2, the PI is expected to submit either a second proposal or resubmit the proposal from year 1. At the end of the funding period, there will be a final report that captures the research output and funding garnered using this grant.   Any investigators who do not submit timely progress reports or show adequate progress will have their funding terminated.  It is the responsibility of each award recipient to provide information to the Division of Research concerning all external grant applications that are submitted or awards received as a result of this funding.  Such information should include the date of submission, the title of the project, inclusive dates, agency, total amount requested, and the status of each application.

Failure to comply with this reporting requirement will disqualify an individual for future consideration in all internal funding programs sponsored by the Division of Research.

Notice must be given of publications or presentations resulting from the award.  The grantee must acknowledge University support in all publications or presentations resulting from the award and must provide one copy of the publication to the Division of Research, mail code 2015.

Proposal Application Procedures, Deadline, and Submission Contact

Submission of the compiled proposal as a PDF will be by pre-award teams in the respective college of the PI using a standard UH budget. The proposal must be approved by the department chair(s) and/or dean(s) of the department(s)/college(s) involved and emailed to the Division of Research at

 The proposal must be submitted by 5 PM, December 4, 2017.

 No late applications will be accepted.

Questions related to this program can be directed to Dr. Jack Fletcher in the Division of Research at 832-842-2004,

Effective Date Awards

Decisions on each proposal will be made by the Vice President for Research and the Provost based on the recommendations of the RSC review subcommittee.  All applicants will be notified of the review outcome with reviewers’ feedback by April 1, 2018.  Awards will be effective April 15, 2018, for 24 months.


November 1, 2017 Program Announcement
December 4, 2017 Full-Proposals due to DOR
January 15, 2018 Initial Review Completed
January 25, 2018 Announcement of Awards
February 15, 2018 Effective Date of Award to April 15, 2020
  • Progress reports due dates:
    • February 15 - funding available; reports due September 15, 2018, February 15, 2019, October 15, 2019 with final report February 15, 2020.
  • Funds expiration: December 31, 2019