Seed Grant Program

The Columbia Population Research Center (CPRC) is pleased to issue this request for proposals. The CPRC seed grant program is made possible by funds from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD), the Columbia University Office of the Provost, and the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy (ISERP). The goal of the CPRC seed grant program is to help faculty lay the groundwork for intellectually innovative research projects in population, health, and society to the point where they can attract external funding. 

Substantively, the CPRC is interested in proposals that address one or more of our research priorities. Applications should 1) focus on the CPRC’s four primary research areas; 2) link cutting-edge research in neuroscience with the social, behavioral, or health sciences; 3) propose globally focused research; 4) develop research methodology; and/or propose policy-related research oriented toward pressing social issues in the domestic or international arena.


All full-time faculty and research scholars or scientists at Columbia University are eligible to apply. 

Deadline and Application Process

In a change from past procedures, seed grant applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. Please submit your application to Applicants will typically be notified within one month of submission. 

Review Criteria

The evaluation criteria are: intellectual merit and the promise of innovation, the potential to attract further funding, and the degree to which the proposed project is consistent with the CPRC's research priorities articulated above.

In addition, preference is given to proposals that aim to submit applications to NICHD, and that have research teams that reflect one of our criteria. Teams should:

  • include CPRC scholars or projects that have been developed through one of the CPRC's Primary Research Areas groups or small working groups (e.g. Justice Working Group, Fragile Families Working Group; Autism Working Group)
  • include investigators from at least two Columbia departments/schools, or 
  • represent the mentorship of a junior investigator by a more senior investigator.

Grants will not be awarded to proposals that request funding for a stand-alone project (that is, a project which is not intended to build towards the development of a subsequent research proposal), that do not describe plans for obtaining external funding, or that poorly justify their budget.

Award Amount and Budget Period

Up to $15,000 may be awarded. Seed grant funding may not be used for faculty release time, faculty summer salary, or computer purchases, but all other expenses directly related to research activities may be included in the budget. CPRC seed grants are awarded for a period of one-year. In some cases, we will grant no-cost extensions, if justified, and if allowed by funding source.

Submission Materials

To apply, submit the following application materials to

  • Cover page - Include the 
    • project title, 
    • e-mail, telephone number, and departmental affiliation of each investigator
    • contact information for the PI’s department chair and department administrator, and the
    • IRB Protocol # (optional).
      • To expedite the award process, we recommend you submit a protocol to the relevant IRB at the same time you submit your CRPC application and include the protocol number on your cover page.
  • Abstract - Outline your research in a one-paragraph abstract suitable for public reports (to the non-social science public), the CPRC's web site, and publicity materials.
  • Narrative - Summarize your research question, theoretical foundations, existing literature, empirical facets of the research (if applicable), and the significance of the eventual project that the seed grant will help to develop. Be sure to distinguish between the seeded research and the eventual project for which you will obtain external funding. If the eventual project for which external funding will be sought is sufficiently advanced so that the project's specific aims can be included, even in draft form, please do so. Please also briefly address how your proposal meets the CPRC’s research priorities and evaluation criteria. Excluding references, the narrative may be no more than five (5) single-spaced pages with a minimum font size of 12 points.
  • Budget Worksheet - Include the line item budget as a separate Excel attachment with your submission. 
  • Budget Justification - Clearly justify each item in the budget. Explain the role and planned effort for any supported personnel, as well as the use of any supplies, purpose of any funded travel, etc.
  • Plan for Obtaining External Funding (Appendix A) - Describe your plans for obtaining external funds, including: a) what NIH institute or other funder you may approach, and why; b) what contact you have already had with these agencies, if any; c) when you expect to apply for funds; d) the expected scale of the eventual project; and e) how the activities funded by the seed grant will help to attract further external support. List current or pending grant applications that are related to the project, including funds requested or received from sources both internal and external to Columbia University. The maximum length for Appendix A is one (1) single-spaced page.
  • Relation of Proposed Activities to Existing Research (Appendix B) - If the seed grant is related to ongoing, funded research, describe: (a) how the seed grant differs from the currently funded project, and (b) how the activities funded by the seed grant and how the existing project will benefit and support each other. If included, the maximum length for Appendix B is one (1) single-spaced page.
  • Curriculum Vitae (or current NIH biosketch) for all investigators.

Indirect Costs on Seed Grants

CPRC seed grants are not eligible for IC sharing: the CPRC will retain IC generated by seed grants that have IC attached. 

IRB Approval/Exemption

Research projects involving human subjects must maintain Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval. If your project does not involve interaction with human subjects or identifiable data, you must still apply for exemption from the relevant IRB. While proposals that have not yet undergone IRB review will be considered for funding, no funds will be disbursed until the CPRC has received a copy of your project's IRB approved protocol or IRB letter of exemption or IRB letter of Not Human Subjects Research designation. Due to the conditions of the CPRC's own IRB approval, there are no exceptions to this requirement.


For additional information about the CPRC's seed grant program or for advice on applications, contact


Last updated 10.15.2018