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Seed Funding Catalyzes Research

The Office of Research and Engagement has launched the 2020 Research Seed Program. The program serves as a catalyst for faculty research at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; UT Institute of Agriculture; and UT Space Institute. The funding will go toward generating proposal submissions around a variety of initiatives. The goal is to encourage faculty members to identify and seek new funding targets.

Faculty can learn more about the seed program at two upcoming information sessions hosted by ORE’s Research Development staff. Register at

“In addition to community-engaged and interdisciplinary opportunities similar to last year’s program, this year’s program includes opportunities specific to the humanities,” said Kimberly Eck, assistant vice chancellor of research development. “We have also created an exciting new program called Expanding Horizons which will help recently tenured faculty develop complex multidisciplinary projects.”

With the UT Knoxville and UTIA re-unification initiative, Eck notes the Interdisciplinary Seed Program encourages projects that involve faculty from both campuses.

Collaborative Humanities Research Seed  – Support for groups of two or more tenured or tenure-track faculty engaging in significant research and scholarship in the humanities and humanistic social sciences; seeks to establish and strengthen partnerships to conduct preliminary work and lay the foundation for original, expanded collaborative research projects.

Community-Engaged Research Seed – Seeks to further engagement with the local, regional, state, or global community; stimulate new collaborations; and build a foundation for more stable and sustainable research funding.

Expanding Horizons Seed – This year-long program provides a small number of recently tenured faculty members with an opportunity to define and pursue a significant, collaborative, and convergent or transdisciplinary research project. The program will provide seed funding, capacity building opportunities, and the skills and knowledge necessary to lead large teams or centers. Program components include monthly presentations/discussions, mentorship, capacity-building activities, and seed funding.

Interdisciplinary Seed – Proposals will be accepted in any interdisciplinary or convergent research theme, with a special emphasis on UT’s 10 priority research areas and on collaborations between UT Knoxville and UT Institute of Agriculture investigators. The program offers internal funds to help generate compelling, competitive grant submissions, initiate new intellectual directions for faculty, and foster collaborations across colleges, departments, or centers. Funds will enable teams to obtain initial results or data to prepare for large-scale funding opportunities or center grants.

Priority Research Areas

Areas of strength:

  • Advanced Materials and Manufacturing
  • Computation and Data Sciences
  • Energy Science and Technology

Areas of distinction: 

  • Forensic Anthropology
  • Nuclear Sciences
  • Conservation and Biodiversity
  • Humanities and Artistic Expression

Emerging areas:

  • Quantum Sciences
  • Hypersonics and Aerospace Engineering
  • Healthy Communities and Outcomes

For more information or questions, email