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Seed Funding

The Research Institute has several internal award programs designed to foster research and scholarly activities, stimulate the quest for external support, and promote Saint Louis University as an excellent teaching and research institution.

To learn about the criteria used to evaluate internal proposals, review our internal awards peer review forms. If an internal proposal deadline falls on a weekend, the deadline will always be the following business day at 5 p.m.

Big Ideas Competition

The Big Ideas competition, currently in its third cycle, seeks university-level projects that no single department or college could accomplish on its own. Faculty are invited to propose planning projects to develop ideas more fully in preparation for competing for larger, multi-year investments. Core infrastructure or major instrumentation proposals are acceptable. Applications with the most innovative and compelling ideas will receive planning grants of $50,000, or preliminary planning grants of $10,000, to develop research and business plans within six months, with staff assistance from the Office of the Vice President for Research.

Proposals for the latest round of the Big Ideas competition are currently being accepted. The application deadline is Feb. 28. The current RFP can be found below, and more information on the Big Ideas competition can be found here. Those interested in submitting a proposal are strongly encouraged to discuss their idea with Jasmin Patel, assistant vice president for research strategy, at as early as possible.

Big Ideas 2021 Request for Proposals

Project-based Funding

Current cycle is due Jan. 15, 2021.

Applied Health Sciences Research Grant Program

The Applied Health Sciences Research Grant Program is intended to encourage collaborative groups of interdisciplinary researchers across at least two or more academic units to conceptualize a larger future grant application for external funding. New working relationships are encouraged. Applications for pilot projects should include a tentative plan for a future structured grant and clearly describe how the seed money will be used to support the future grant application.

Awards are made based on a competitive review process in which reviewers consider an application on the merits of the specific activities proposed, relative ranking among other applications, and the availability of funds. Proposals must demonstrate exceptional merit and value for the field of study, the individual, the department, the college or school and the research mission of the University. Preference may be given to new interdisciplinary collaborations.

  • Applied Health Sciences Request for Proposals
  • Log in to and click on the Openwater icon in the ‘Tools’ tab. Log-in with your current SLU email address (i.e., and your password. The first time you log in, you will be asked to set up your profile.

Beaumont Scholarship Research Award

This replaces the Summer Humanities Research Award.

There are several other changes in this year's competition, including a wider scope, increased funding and a longer performance period. The program is intended to encourage faculty researchers working in the arts, humanities, and social sciences to further and complete scholarly research projects as well as to conceptualize and prepare for applications for external funding.

  • Beaumont Request for Proposals
  • Applications should be submitted via the Openwater portal. Log in to and click on the Openwater icon in the ‘Tools’ tab. You can log in using your SLUNet ID. The first time you log in, you will be asked to set up your profile.
  • Deadline: January 15, 2021
  • Contact:

President’s Research Fund

The President’s Research Fund supports promising projects that have strong potential to attract external funding. These funds have been made available since 2009 to support research and scholarly activity. PRF awards are aimed at supporting the collection of data or other pilot activities that the awardee will use as the basis for extramural grant or contract applications. The PRF funds can be used for seed funding for a project, bridge funding, or development of a new collaboration or area of research. 

There is a separate competition for President's Research Fund applications from the School of Medicine

Ongoing/Rolling Funding Opportunities

Scholarship Opportunity Fund

The Scholarship Research Council (SRC) seeks to support small-budget research needs in the humanities, social sciences, and other fields represented in the SRC that are not readily funded by existing mechanisms, but that can pose a significant impediment to research productivity and advancement.

To address this area of funding need, the SRC has created the Scholarship Opportunity Fund (SOF) supported by the Research Growth Fund.  This aligns effectively with the goals of the SLU Research Institute and the Research Growth Fund by leveraging small investments for high-return gains, and helping SLU researchers in the humanities, social sciences, and beyond to sustain and complete their research projects.

The maximum award is $5,000. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis as long as funds as available, and decisions returned within approximately one month. Awards must be spent within one year and a report submitted on completion.  The SRC will create a subcommittee of faculty to review applications and make recommendations to the council, which will review them at its monthly meeting. More details can be found in the SOF guidelines. 

Spark Microgrants

The Research Institute recognizes the importance of flexible funding to help stimulate ambitious ideas and help faculty find collaborators across the University. To support faculty research, the Institute will make small grants of up to $1,000 available to support faculty who wish to convene possible collaborators outside of their primary disciplinary area.

Applications are submitted on a rolling basis and the Office of the Vice President for Research will review applications weekly. Projects need to be completed within three months of approval. If you need additional information or wish to test the idea, contact Jasmin Patel, assistant vice president for research collaborations, at

Apply for a Spark Microgrant