IBACS Seed Grants

The Connecticut Institute for the Brain and Cognitive Sciences

 Seed Grant Funding Opportunity

Key Dates
Eligibility and Conditions
Budgetary Limits
Appropriate Use of Funds
How to Apply
Review Criteria

The CT Institute for the Brain and Cognitive Sciences (IBaCS) offers seed funding to eligible faculty for collaborative projects that are likely to lead to applications for external funding and/or journal publications (although facilitating external funding is a priority). Successful applications to the seed fund will typically involve collaborations that require expertise across laboratories and traditional disciplinary boundaries. It is anticipated that seed funding will support projects that have relevance (broadly construed) to the Brain and Cognitive Sciences; for example, on behavior, computation, neuroimaging, genomics, and bench and/or animal neuroscience, or that bring different perspectives such as philosophy, linguistics, education, and other disciplines that make contact with brain and/or cognition (we are happy to receive suggestions for research topics that do not appear to fall within our stated remit but which are nonetheless related; please email us). The Seed Fund will also support equipment-only applications (e.g. to provide a shared resource for collaborative research projects that would make use of that equipment), research workshops, conferences, meetings, visits and/or visitors that contribute to collaborative activities and other activities compatible with the mission of the Institute. Priority will be given to activities intended to support novel research programs – the Institute encourages workshops and visits that are directly focused on developing multi-PI or multi-Institution grant proposals (e.g. research or center grants).

For 2017/18 we anticipate 6–8 awards of larger grants ($10-25K) and an equivalent number of smaller grants (Less than $10K).                                                                   


For large awards (above $10,000), we have two seed grant application deadlines per year: November 1st and May 1st (small awards are considered on a rolling basis).

Refer to this page for any changes in procedure.


  1. The proposed research must reflect the mission of the Institute.
  2. Multi-PI applications are encouraged. Each PI should have a faculty appointment at UConn (including regional campuses). Postdoctoral researchers can also apply, but they will require a faculty mentor as co-PI. Graduate students cannot apply directly for Seed Grants, but they should discuss with their faculty advisor(s) whether an application could be submitted with the student as co-applicant (and see Use of Funds below).
  3. PIs must be IBaCS Affiliates or must submit an application to become an IBaCS Affiliate.
  4. Applicants who have not received funding within the last 12 months will have priority.
  5. Awards will be granted over a specified time period (as requested by the applicant). Within 3 months of the end of an award, a Final Report will be due which summarizes the activities, outputs, and plans for follow-up and/or external grant funding. PIs will be advised to discuss such plans, and the suitability of the outcomes with the Institute Directors within that 3-month period. The Final Report should be submitted online, using the downloadable template (available soon).
  6. For awards intended to seed subsequent applications for external funding: If the funded activity leads to a successful outcome (e.g. is publishable, or demonstrates feasibility of an approach, etc.) the PI(s) will be expected to submit an external grant proposal on the basis of these activities. Failure to do so may influence decisions on any subsequent Seed Fund application. The Institute will be able to assist in the preparation of the grant (e.g. with budgeting, multi-department/institution agreements, general procedures, etc.).
  7. For equipment awards: PIs will be responsible for ensuring that use of the equipment is prioritized towards projects intended to seed external funding applications. IBaCS will work with the PIs to monitor usage (with an annual report detailing use and outputs).
  8. Any products (publications, grant applications, conference presentations, or any other information disseminated electronically or in print) that received the support of Institute funds must acknowledge Institute support, and should list the Institute among the author’s affiliations. Outputs based on use of Institute-funded equipment must acknowledge Institute support.


  • Although there is no fixed upper limit on awards, it is anticipated that awards could range from a few hundred dollars up to $20-25K, depending on the nature of the activity. Typically, empirical research proposals intended to provide pilot data for subsequent applications for external funding, or workshops/visits intended to develop an externally fundable research program, will receive more in funding than proposals which are not intended to seed further funding (e.g. proposals for empirical research intended to enable publication, general workshops, conferences, meetings/visits, or other activities). The Institute encourages both kinds of proposals.


  • Grant funds may be used for:
    1. Participant compensation.
    2. Equipment and/or miscellaneous expenditures relating to the research.
    3. Charges associated with using the Brain Imaging Research Center (BIRC). The award of funds to support human imaging would be conditional on approval from BIRC. In the event of a successful award, IBaCS will liaise with the PI and with BIRC over the appropriate information that is required (e.g. requisite expertise in design, implementation, safety assessment, data acquisition, data analysis, etc.).
    4. Undergraduate or graduate research assistance necessary for the project.
    5. Postdoctoral research salary (seed funds must provide ‘new’ salary, and should not be used to ‘buy out’ from another funding source.)
    6. One to four weeks’ summer salary for the purpose of writing a multi-PI external grant application for research consistent with the Institute’s mission. Awards for summer salary will be capped at a maximum of $15,000 (including benefits). Applicants for summer salary will need to provide a timeline of work as well as an expanded summary of the proposed application, including one paragraph each on “significance” and “innovation” (cf. NIH headings).
    7. Travel and accommodation expenses for collaborative research visits/visitors.
    8. Grant funds in support of workshops/conferences/meetings may be used for travel and accommodation and/or room hire.
  • Grant funds may not be used for (1) faculty salaries (unless summer salary as outlined above) (2) student tuition and/or fees (student support will be exempt from tuition fees) (3) travel and associated expenses, (4) conference fees (5) publication expenses.


Queries regarding appropriate use of funds can be addressed to the Director or Associate Directors. You can find contact information here.



All applicants must submit the following, by any deadlines described above in the Key Dates section.

  1. Letter of Intent
    1. Submit via online form. The Letter of Intent should include a brief paragraph outlining the proposed activity, an estimate of the funds to be requested, a brief summary of how they will be used, a tentative start- and end-date, and a brief summary of how the project will contribute to the Institute’s mission (e.g. enabling a grant proposal, supporting a workshop, outreach, etc.). Full details are on the form.
      • Please submit a Letter of Intent for both small and large grants. Please submit at least 3 weeks prior to Seed Grant Application Deadline to allow time for review.
    2. Applicants must receive approval from the Institute before they are able to submit a full proposal. Letters of Intent will be evaluated by the Institute Directors.
  2. Proposal
    1. If invited to do so, download and fill out the application form for the Seed Grant Application. The form contains the following sections, and additional notes on completing each section:
      • Project Summary (title, PIs, requested amount, start- and end-dates, animal/human subjects).
      • Research plan – maximum 2 pages
        1. Abstract – 1/2 page.
        2. Research strategy – 1 1/2 pages. For workshops or visits, use this section to describe in detail the aims and anticipated outcomes, as well as examples of to-be-invited participants. For Summer Salary, include in this section “significance” and “innovation” (all applicants are encouraged to use these headings in describing their research), as well as timeline. For equipment-only grants, use this section to describe how the equipment will be used, by whom, and anticipated outcomes.
      • References
      • Roles and functions of project personnel, and the individual responsibilities of the named PIs (max 1 page)
      • Budget with justifications for each item (max 1 page)
      • Biographical sketch of Lead PI (in NIH or NSF format)
      • Support for the proposed project from the Department Head. If successful, funds will be transferred to the lead PIs department (if the PI’s department cannot administer the funds, the PI should contact the Institute Director for advice). Unspent funds to be returned to the Institute within 3 months of the end of the project.
        • Note: an e-mail will be automatically sent to the Department Head after submission of the application asking for their approval.
    2. Submit the completed forms here.



Reviewers of full proposals will be asked to consider the following review criteria:

  1. Does the proposed project fall within the remit of the Institute’s mission and/or strategic priorities?
  2. What is the intellectual merit of the proposal?
  3. Is the project intended to lead to an application for external funding?
  4. Is a successful outcome considered likely, and are any risks in outcome outweighed by the potential benefits of success?
  5. For equipment-only applications, is there sufficient justification for likely use and associated outcomes?
  6. For workshops, will there be outcomes that benefit the Institute through exposure, publication, and/or grant application?
  7. Are the requested resources appropriate for the anticipated activities?



If you have trouble with any part of the application process, or you are unsure about eligibility or have questions about budgeting, you can contact ibacs@uconn.edu or call our Program Assistant at 6-4937.