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AI Tennessee Initiative FY25 Seed Funds Announced

The Office of Research, Innovation & Economic Development is launching FY2025 seed funds for artificial intelligence (AI) research, team building and an AI Tennessee Distinguished Seminar Series.  

The solicitation requests proposals that advance knowledge and team building in multidisciplinary AI – both fundamental and applied – that helps UT grow its capabilities, reputation and impact in AI-related research across disciplines as part of the AI Tennessee Initiative. The solicitation also requests proposals for administering a transdisciplinary AI Tennessee Distinguished Seminar Series for the academic year 2024-2025 

Applicants can apply for up to $25,000 for team building activities, up to $50,000 for collaborative grants, up to $75,000 for exploratory grants, and up to $30,000 for the AI Tennessee Distinguished Seminar Series. For collaborative and exploratory grants, cost share is strongly encouraged, although not required. Cost share is not expected for team building efforts or proposals for the seminar series. 

Led by UT, the AI Tennessee Initiative is engaging with academic, industry and community partners across Tennessee to leverage the benefits of AI across all disciplines and economic sectors in areas such as smart manufacturing, climate-smart agriculture and forestry, precision health and environment, future mobility and AI for science. 


Successful proposals should achieve several of the following goals for AI-related research: 

  • Establish a cohort of innovation and scholarship to achieve a national and international scale that will help define, establish and grow UT’s research in multidisciplinary AI. 
  • Leverage unique strengths and opportunities for Tennessee, and/or address challenges common across the Tennessee region. 
  • Promote diversity, access and inclusion through team-based, multi-disciplinary approaches, including the engagement of scholars across disciplines. 
  • Support meaningful and productive collaboration that would otherwise not be realized without seed funding from ORIED. 
  • Propose and undertake innovative AI-relevant research that will have quantitative and measurable outcomes and impacts. 
  • Position faculty scholars to compete successfully for external funding. 
  • Promote entrepreneurialism and the growth of external partnerships, including with industries, foundations and community organizations. 
  • Articulate a clear and concise plan for the pursuit of external funding. 

This opportunity is open to full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty, or to full-time research faculty, with a primary appointment at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, the UT Institute of Agriculture or the UT Space Institute. Exceptions may be considered on a case-by-case basis. 

Proposals are due by 5:00 p.m. on March 18, 2024, with awards being announced May 1, 2024. 

Learn More and Apply