Pitt SEED Project Selection Process


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.

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

Principal Investigator Letter of Support
Faculty   Applicants must submit a letter from their respective Department Chair indicating support of the concept document and approval of any departmental resources committed.
Staff Applicants must submit a letter from their respective Unit/Department Director indicating support of the concept document and approval of any departmental resources committed.

Concept Document Submission

During the open call for ideas for potential Pitt Seed Projects, applicants must submit a brief document that follows the format outlined below. 

Format Requirements

Concept Overview: 500 words
Plan for Pitt Alignment: 250 words
Outcome: 250 words
Required Resources: 250 words
Sustainability: 250 words
Letter of Support: single 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 indicated, please describe on-going resource requirements and the sustainability plan once seed funding ends.

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 or external to the University.

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 a semi-annual report to the Office of the Chancellor indicating progress.
  • If applicable, submit outcome metrics to the Office of the Chancellor on an annual basis for a minimum of three years post implementation.

Important Dates

The table below highlights the general timeframe for the submission, review, and selection of Pitt Seed Projects.

Month Activity
February 5, 2018 (noon) Expression of Interest (online form)
March 5, 2018 (noon) Concept Documents Due (online application)
July 1, 2018 Funding Available