Nd Seed 12

Notre Dame and United Kingdom Seed Grant Program

Deadline for proposals is January 23, 2020

Submit a grant proposal

In order to promote the development of collaborative proposals between Notre Dame and university faculty in the United Kingdom, the University of Notre Dame is introducing a pilot program entitled the Notre Dame and United Kingdom (ND/UK) Seed Grant Program. The Seed Grant Program offers Notre Dame faculty the opportunity to compete internally for seed funding with the objective of developing and submitting a joint highly competitive proposal with a UK researcher in areas of interest to NSF and its UK counterpart agency, the EPSRC.

In the past year, United Kingdom Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) have developed five Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) to promote collaborative research between the two countries. Their goal is to reduce some of the barriers that researchers currently encounter when working internationally. This will allow US and UK researchers to submit a single collaborative proposal to either the UK or NSF research agency that will then undergo a single review process.

The MOUs include research in such areas as Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences, Biological Sciences, Engineering, Mathematics, Physical Sciences, Geosciences, and Environmental Biology. Links to each MOU are as follows:

The first UKRI/NSF collaborative grant Program for FY20 was announced on October 31, 2019. It is entitled The NSF Engineering – UKRI Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council Lead Agency Opportunity (ENG-EPSRC). Details of this announcement can be found at UKRI/NSF Program announcements, related to the other MOUs, will follow throughout the current fiscal year.

As noted above, the University of Notre Dame is offering ND faculty the opportunity to compete internally for seed funding to develop a submission, with a UK researcher, of a highly competitive research proposal in areas of interest to NSF and its UK counterpart agency the EPSRC.

To promote both the ND/UK Seed Grant Program and the larger UKRI/NSF grant program, Notre Dame is currently in discussion with several prominent UK universities who have expressed interest in participation. To date, Imperial College and Durham University have been the first universities in the UK that have agreed to participate. ND faculty, however, are free to approach faculty from any university in the UK for participation in the Seed Grant Program. In addition, faculty can apply directly to the larger UKRI/NSF Collaborative Grant Program without applying first for the ND/UK Seed Grant Program.


  1. Help promote collaboration between the University of Notre Dame and UK universities to pursue competitive proposals to the UKRI/NSF Program
  2.  Make use of seed grant funds to prepare and submit a competitive proposal to the UKRI/NSF Collaborative Research Program

Award Amount

Up to $40,000 for up to 12 months duration. However, researchers must adhere to NSF/EPSRC Program deadlines for proposal submission for FY20.


Submission of a single collaborative proposal between a UK researcher and ND faculty to either the EPSRC or NSF. At the end of the Seed Grant period, a full proposal must be submitted, either through NSF, or by the UK university to the EPSRC. The full proposal must conform to the requirements of one or both agencies.


Regular full-time faculty of the University of Notre Dame


Eligible Expenses

Expenses for the ND/UK Seed Grant Program will be flexible and can be used for many purposes such as to collect seed data, perform pilot research, student salary, student exchanges, travel expenses for faculty and students to meet with UK researchers to plan research, pay for the usage of core facilities, review research results, supplies, proposal preparation costs, and other justifiable expenses.

Ineligible Expenses
  • Major Equipment
  • Faculty Salary
  • UK researcher-related expenses (expenses for the UK research portion of the project will be negotiated within and by the UK university administration).

For questions regarding eligible and ineligible expenses, please contact either Richard Billo (rbillo@nd.edu) or Geraldine Meehan (Geraldine.Meehan.19@nd.edu).

Seed Grant Project Duration

The ND/UK project team will have 12 months from the date of the award of the seed grant to conduct needed pilot research, prepare a proposal, and submit the proposal to either NSF of EPSRC. Proposal submission must adhere to NSF and EPSRC deadlines.

Selection Criteria

  1. Quality of the proposal and estimated probability of a successful award by NSF and/or EPSRC
  2. Innovative research topic that aligns with NSF and EPSRC Program requirements
  3. Complementary and critical research capabilities between the ND and UK researchers
  4. Past record of NSF award success

Seed Grant Proposal Submission Deadline

There will be two calls for proposals for the Seed Grant Program in FY20. This first call comes shortly after the recent UKRI/NSF announcement with a total of five announcements expected during FY20. The second call for proposals for the Seed Grant Program will be in Spring 2020 and will coincide with a further UKRI/NSF announcement.

The first deadline for the Seed Grant Program is January 23, 2020. 

Seed Grant Internal Proposal Preparation Format

To initiate the proposal development effort for the Seed Grant Program, Notre Dame faculty must take the lead in reaching out to faculty in an UK university. As stated above, Imperial College of London and Durham University have agreed to participate. However, faculty are free to collaborate with researchers from any university in the UK.

Faculty from the two universities should identify a research topic that is of mutual interest and relevant to the NSF and EPSRC. The collaborative researchers should have enough discussion to comprise a two-page concept paper describing the research problem and research methods necessary to carry out the research.

1. Cover Page

a. Title
b. PI (USA) Name, Department, email address
c. USA Co-PIs, Names, Departments
d. UK Co-PIs: Names, Departments, University

2. Abstract (maximum ½ page)
3. Project Description (maximum 2 pages)

a. Problem Statement
b. Research Method (Clearly distinguish ND and UK research tasks)

4. EPSRC/NSF Program Targeted (short paragraph)
5. ND and UK Researcher Capability (two paragraphs)
6. Budget and Budget Justification (please use the budget template provided)
ND/UK Seed Grant Program Budget Template
7. ND and UK Researcher CVs (maximum 2 pages each)

a. Includes past record of NSF research awards (US faculty)
b. Includes past record of EPSRC grants (UK faculty)


Questions on the ND/UK Seed Grant Program can be addressed to Richard Billo (rbillo@nd.edu) and Geraldine Meehan (Geraldine.Meehan.19@nd.edu)