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2020-21 Seed Grant Program RFP

Deadlines : December 15, 2020 and April 2, 2021

View / download the PDF of this announcement

Updated November 2020

The Maryland Population Research Center invites proposals for projects that will enhance research activity bearing directly on the Center’s population research mission (see page 2). It is anticipated that two to four grants of up to $15,000 will be awarded in response to this call, subject to a sufficient number of high-quality proposals being received. Priority will be given to research projects that build on current research strengths and facilitate multidisciplinary research linkages and to junior and “new” investigators (those who have not previously obtained an NIH R01 or equivalent grant). The principal aim of this program is to assist in the development of research ideas that have the potential to significantly enhance scientific knowledge in the population sciences and to garner external research support. Proposals focusing on the development and analysis of preliminary data to increase competitiveness of MPRC Faculty Associates in obtaining external funding are especially encouraged as are projects that anticipate the use of the Maryland Federal Research Data Center (RDC). Examples of previous awards can be found on the Seed Grants overview page++.


Only MPRC Faculty Associates are eligible to apply for grants under the Seed Grant Program, although joint applications for MPRC Faculty Associate status and a Seed Grant will be considered.

Proposal Format

Proposals should be no more than three (3) single-spaced pages in length, exclusive of title page, abstract, timeline, references, budget pages, current CVs for all investigators, description of any human subjects (if applicable), and appendices. Proposals are to be written in Arial 11 point font with 0.5 inch margins all around. Proposals must include an Abstract and subsections for Specific Aims, Significance and Innovation, and Approach. The Approach section should combine an outline of the eventual, full-study data and method and a description of the activities funded by the Seed Grant and how they will lead to increased competitiveness in obtaining extramural funding. Seed Grant applications may be revised and resubmitted once if not funded on the first submission. Revised Seed Grant applications must include a description of up to one-half page that addresses comments received from the initial review. If also submitted elsewhere, please state. If the pilot project will involve the use of human subjects, a brief description should be included using the NIH guidelines. All seed grant research proposals that are approved for funding and involve the use of human subjects must obtain appropriate human subjects approval through the University’s Institutional Review Board.

Budget Guidelines

Proposed projects will be for a one-year period, normally January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021 for Seed Grants submitted by the December 15, 2020, deadline and June 1, 2021 to May 31, 2022 for Seed Grants submitted by the March 10, 2021, deadline. Project budgets may request up to $15,000 in direct costs to support any activity that directly relates to the successful conduct of the project. There are no indirect costs paid on MPRC Seed Grants. Budget items may include support for data entry, interviews, data acquisition, access to restricted-use data, travel costs related to data collection or meetings with collaborators, release time during the academic year, summer salary support, and graduate research assistance. For more complex data processing tasks, proposals may also request in-kind programming support from MPRC in place of, or in addition to, graduate student research assistance. Summer salary is limited to 11% of a faculty member’s academic year salary. The Center will not pay for computer equipment when that computing can reasonably be accomplished with the existing equipment at the Center. Unspent funding at the end of the one-year project period will revert back to the MPRC Seed Grant pool unless a request for a time extension is requested and approved by the MPRC Director.

Review and Selection

The Associate Director will screen all submitted proposals to determine whether the proposals meet the program’s goals. Faculty whose proposals are deemed to be outside the scope of the Center’s mission will be removed from further consideration and the investigators will be notified. Proposals that pass this initial screening will undergo formal review by the Center’s Executive Committee. After reviewing the proposals, the Committee will rank them and forward their recommendation for funding to the Director. The Director will make final funding decisions, based on availability of funds. The following prioritized criteria will be used in evaluating the proposals:

  1. The overall quality of the proposed research;
  2. The potential of the proposed research to be expanded into an externally funded (e.g. NIH R01, R21, or R03) grant application, with priority given to plans to seek funding from the NICHD Population Dynamics Branch* or related NIH divisions funding population research;
  3. A proposal has received a favorable review from the funding agency and needs additional resources for resubmission (please include Summary Statement with reviewer comments);
  4. Proposed research that crosses disciplines and solidifies ties between departments or other institutions, especially in the Washington, DC area;
  5. Proposed research for which other sources of funds are not available;
  6. Proposed research by applicants who are junior faculty or NIH “new investigators”;
  7. Investigators who have not been previously funded under this program (not a requirement);
  8. Anticipated use of the Maryland Federal Research Data Center (RDC).

Monitoring and Grantee Obligations

The Center’s Administrative Core will monitor progress on seed grant projects and will provide an expense report to each project principal investigator on request. Grantees will submit a final progress report including any grant proposals or papers submitted or in preparation within one month after the end date of their Seed Grant period and will notify MPRC of any proposals and papers subsequently submitted or awarded / accepted. It is expected that an external grant proposal will be submitted no later than six (6) months from the completion of the Seed Grant period and will be administered through MPRC. Grantees’ papers and publica­tions will acknowledge the MPRC Seed Grant program (using the Center grant number P2C-HD041041), and grantees will submit published peer-reviewed articles to the PubMed Central system linking to the P2C (see MPRC Information Services for assistance in doing this).

Proposal Deadlines

Highest priority will be given to proposals submitted by one of the two deadlines, December 15, 2020, or March 10, 2021. Proposals submitted at another time during the year will be reviewed as received or deferred to a subsequent call. Please allow several weeks for the review process. The Acting Associate Diretor and Development Core Director, **, welcomes contact about proposal ideas prior to submission. Submit completed proposals using the Seed Grant Proposal submission form*** on the MPRC website.

For those not reading this document on a computer, here are the links from the text:


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Go to the Proposal Submission form

The Center’s Mission Statement

The Maryland Population Research Center draws together leading scholars from diverse disciplines to support, produce, and promote population-related research of the highest scientific merit. The Center’s research focuses on four key areas: (1) gender, family, and social change; (2) health in social context; (3) social and economic inequality; and (4) migration and immigrant processes. The Center strives to develop young scholars and to encourage scholars from allied fields to engage in population-related research through research support, training and mentoring. The Center’s proximity to Federal statistical agencies allows scholars access to under-utilized or restricted-use government data for their research. This university-government partnership allows Center faculty members to conduct innovative academic research while contributing to the improvement of data collection at the Federal statistical agencies, thereby enhancing the public infrastructure for population research. The Center's proximity to Washington, D.C. also strongly positions its faculty to provide non-partisan, scientific evidence on population-related issues of importance to policy makers.