Proposal Format

Please complete all sections below, save the document to your computer, and email the document to Proposals should not exceed 5 pages (excluding budgets and investigator information requested in sections 8, 9, and 10). Proposals must be single-spaced, in Times New Roman font size no smaller than 12-point type, left-aligned with one inch margins. Proposals are due by 12 noon on February 14.  Late proposals will not be considered.


Provide a succinct overview of the proposal. Assume that reviewers do not necessarily have technical knowledge in your specific field. Avoid or explain technical jargon, field-specific terminology, or acronyms.

Brief background, rationale, and specific aims and objectives

Provide a brief summary of the background and rationale for the proposal. List the specific aims and objectives of the proposal. Be sure to explain the current state-of-the-art, how your project will address critical challenges, the nature of your innovation, and how the accomplishment of this project will advance scholarship and contribute to Penn State’s leadership in this field.

Project plan

Describe the methods and activities for which support is requested. Indicate the roles and interactions among PIs and other key personnel as well as external partners, and any plans to encourage interdisciplinary interactions (e.g. co-advising of graduate students, participation in interdisciplinary conferences or other activities). Indicate any use of Penn State or other shared research instrumentation or core facilities.

Anticipated Outputs and Outcomes

Describe the anticipated impacts of the funding in operational terms. Detail plans for specific outputs (publications, research/outreach/educational programs established) and justify expected outcomes (improved environmental performance, enhanced decision processes, increased energy security. reduced greenhouse gas emissions, etc.).

Proposals for the development of conferences, workshops, courses or training must include the plans for dissemination and outreach (anticipated dates, methods for dissemination, target audience, advertising strategy and expected numbers).

Continued Activity and External Funding Potential

Explain plans for continuation of the project beyond the term of the seed grant. Continuation can include many strategies for research and public engagement, but must include scholarship, external funding, and societal impact. For external funding include specific agencies and programs with the following details:

a) investigators involved

b) title of proposal(s)

c) time frame of proposal(s), and

d) external funding sources to be targeted


Describe the anticipated timeline to accomplish the goals of the proposal.

Budget and Justification

Provide an itemized budget and budget justification for your funding request:

  • Projects can start as early as March 15, 2014.
  • Ending date will be June 30, 2015; time extensions are not available.
  • Funds are to support research development and coordination such as:
    • Graduate and undergraduate student support
    • Instrumentation fees and sample analysis to collect preliminary data
    • Travel associated with the conduct or reporting of research
    • Equipment and supplies, and participant payments
    • Hosting a research planning meeting for an interdisciplinary team
    • Planning and hosting conferences and symposia
  • Funds cannot be used for faculty salary support or course buy-outs.
  • Include the following with the justification
    • Name and phone number of your budget coordinator
    • Budget and fund number
    • Administrative area number

Investigator Information

Identify the lead investigator, collaborating investigators, and the departments or units they represent. Contact information must be included for all investigators.

      Lead Investigator:

  1.       Name
  2.       Title
  3.       Department/Organization
  4.       College/Campus
  5.       Phone
  6.       Email

      Collaborating Investigator (make additional entries if more than 2 PIs):

  1.       Name
  2.       Title
  3.       Department/Organization
  4.       College/Campus
  5.       Phone
  6.       Email

      [Please include complete contact information for additional investigators here.]

10. Letters of Support and 1 page CVs from All Collaborators

Collaborating investigators and any external partners must indicate their support of the project by writing letters of support; these letters should be emailed to the Lead Investigator and be attached to the proposal when submitted.   A 1 page CV for each investigator should also be included in this appendix.  Proposals that do not include these materials will not be reviewed.

  1. Review Criteria

1. Intellectual merit of the proposal (15 points) – All projects should: address a critical challenge related to a PSIEE strategic priority; significantly advance scholarship in the field; demonstrate creativity and innovation; provide a sound research plan; be ambitious yet achievable within the time period of the grant.

2. Potential for developing or strengthening interdisciplinary collaborations (6 points) – All projects should describe how the project will: initiate or expand novel interdisciplinary collaborations between PIs and/or with other internal or external partners, and engage with a broader community of scholars and/or practitioners through interdisciplinary conferences or other events during the course of the seed grant.
3. Potential for continued activity beyond the seed grant phase (9 points) –All projects should provide a detailed and credible strategy for leveraging this seed grant investment into: exceptional scholarship; significant external funding; and positive impact(s) on society. Plans for continued activity may include high impact scientific publications, applications for external support from federal, state or local government agencies, foundations, private companies, etc.; continued research activities involving in-kind support, student engagement, on-going scholarly work, etc.; public engagement and outreach; and expanded implementation by external stakeholders. 


PI College Department theme title
Foyle, Anthony (School of Science) Penn State Erie, The Behrend College School of Science Water & Biogeochemical Cycles Hydrogeology of a late Holocene cat’s-eye pond sequence, Presque Isle State Park, PA: Mapping wetland functioning prior to a climate-driven decline in lake level.
Najjar, Raymond (Meteorology) College of Agricultural Sciences Ecosystem Science and Management Water & Biogeochemical Cycles Quantifying the Causes of Changing Acidity in Coastal Waters of the Mid-Atlantic Region of the United States
Gall , Heather (Agricultural and Biological Engineering) College of Agricultural Sciences Ecosystem Science and Management Water & Biogeochemical Cycles Emerging Contaminants in Vernal Ponds Across a Human Impact Gradient
Brennan, Rachel (Civil and Environmental Engineering) College of Agricultural Sciences Ecosystem Science and Management Water & Biogeochemical Cycles Full-circle wastewater treatment; using aquatic biomass to maximize nutrient recovery, increase crop yields, and reduce agricultural runoff
Monnat, Shannon (Agricultural Economics, Sociology and Education) College of Agricultural Sciences Rural Sociology Health & the Environment Spatial Analysis of Environmental Risk Factors for Hematologic Cancers
Patterson, Andrew (Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences) College of Agricultural Sciences Food Science Health & the Environment Understanding the impact of persistent environmental chemicals on the gut microbiome
Zydney, Andrew (Chemical Engineering) College of Engineering Civil and Environmental Engineering Energy Efficiency Building a Membrane Science and Technology Center at Penn State: Workshops and Industry Outreach
Shanbhag, Uday (Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering) College of Engineering Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering Energy Efficiency Dynamic Stochastic Dispatch and Commitment of Generation and Storage
Ruzyllo, James (Electrical Engineering) College of Engineering Electrical Engineering Energy Efficiency Enabling multilayer polymer light emitting diodes for energy efficient white lighting
Belmecheri, Soumaya (Meteorology) College of Agricultural Sciences Ecosystem Science and Management Climate Science and Ecosystem Change Summer temperature variability, Drought and the Atlas Cedar: A tree-ring δ 13 C based multi-centennial record in Northwestern Africa.
Bralower, Timothy (Geosciences)     Climate Science and Ecosystem Change Development of Imaging Techniques to Study the Impact of Ocean Acidification on Plankton
Tschakert, Petra (Geography) College of Health and Human Development Biobehavioral Health Climate Science and Ecosystem Change “A Stronger, More Resilient New York”: Responding to Sandy in the Rockaways
Graham, Russell (Geosciences) College of the Liberal Arts Anthropology Climate Science and Ecosystem Change Arctic Biodiversity and Climate Response in Deep Time: The Fossil Record of the Pribilof Islands
Kennett, Douglas (Anthropology) College of Earth and Mineral Sciences Geosciences Climate Science and Ecosystem Change Drought, Ecosystem Change, and Food Security in the tropical Maya Lowlands
Baums, Iliana (Biology) College of Earth and Mineral Sciences Geosciences Climate Science and Ecosystem Change Climate and Water Science: how will corals survive ocean acidification?
Kumar, Manish (Chemical Engineering) Eberly College of Science Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Clean Energy Biomimetic Two-dimensional crystals of PSI for enhanced hydrogen production
Smithwick, Erika (Geography) College of Agricultural Sciences Plant Science Clean Energy Sustainable Intensification of Grazing Land to Produce Food and Bioenergy
Calvert, Kirby (Geography) College of Earth and Mineral Sciences Energy and Mineral Engineering Clean Energy SolarPVAnalyst 2.0: Toward advanced geospatial decision-support for renewable energy
Curtis, Wayne (Chemical Engineering) College of Earth and Mineral Sciences Energy and Mineral Engineering Clean Energy Clean Coal, Renewable Energy and CO2 Mitigation using a Photosynthetic Algae Biofilm
Liu, Shimin (Energy and Mineral Engineering) College of Earth and Mineral Sciences Energy and Mineral Engineering Clean Energy Investigation of Flow Behaviors in Shales during Primary Gas Depletion and CO2 Sequestration