iSEE: Seed Funding for Interdisciplinary Research Teams

The Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE) is announcing a call for proposals to support interdisciplinary research, visioning, and planning activities on ambitious topics related to sustainability, energy, and environment. The iSEE seed funds are available to promote research collaborations among faculty and scientists across campus and to raise the national visibility of UIUC and the research team in the topic area. The specific goal of the funding is to expedite the coalescence of interdisciplinary research teams that touch on any of the thematic areas of interest to iSEE and to develop multiple strong, large-scale ($1M and above) proposals that can be submitted for external funding through the Institute in 2024-25.

Three types of proposals are invited:

  • Seed Research projects are limited to a maximum of $30,000 for one year. Funding may support research assistantships for graduate students, postdoc time, data purchase, travel, and/or other necessary expenses that support growth of the initiative.
  • Campus as a Living Laboratory (CALL) projects are limited to a maximum of $30,000 for one year. CALL projects link faculty-level researchers to sites or initiatives on campus that are relevant to objectives in the Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP). CALL researchers are also expected to leverage the seed funding to develop interdisciplinary external funding proposals through iSEE. Read more about the CALL program and find proposal guidelines and templates here
  • Visioning and Planning Activities are limited to a maximum of $50,000 (total) spread over two years. Funding may support workshops and planning meetings hosted by the project team, in addition to activities similar to Seed Research and CALL projects. Funding in year two is contingent upon meaningful progress in year one.


All proposals must involve applicants from at least two different disciplines and two different campus units.

PI Requirements

Successful applicants for the seed funding and CALL projects will be expected to submit external funding proposals related to this seed funding through iSEE in 2024-25. Applicants for Visioning and Planning Activities proposal will be expected to explain how their activities will promote multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional collaborations that need a long lead time to develop a team to submit a proposal for a large team-based Center-type grant.

Successful external funding proposals submitted through iSEE will not affect indirect cost recovery to the home department of the PI. iSEE will provide personnel support for event planning, proposal development, and, in the case of successful external proposals, post-award management. Recipients will also work with iSEE to communicate the findings of their activities, research, publications, and other outcomes through the Institute website on an ongoing basis.