Internal Seed Funding

Multiple internal seed funding programs provide monies to initiate the exploration of such research projects, thus enabling them subsequently to secure external funding. Columbia faculty are strongly encouraged to explore and engage all of the internal seed funding programs to which they are eligible. If you are aware of one or more additional internal seed funding programs that should be recognized on this webpage, please email [email protected]. with a 5-6 sentence description, website URL, and contact email address.

Grants will be awarded to support faculty research and public policy analysis focused on topics relevant to the Center’s mission. This includes policy-relevant work on economic, geopolitical, technical, institutional and environmental issues related to the production and consumption of energy. 

Contact: [email protected]

A University-wide center, the Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center seeks to bring together researchers from across the entire to enable the interdisciplinary study of the bio-psycho-social nature of the aging process and its positive modifiability. Its faculty fellowships, with funding up to $30,000/year for up to two years, are open to all junior and senior Columbia University faculty members in any discipline interested in innovative disciplinary and interdisciplinary research on aging and the lifecourse. To receive news about upcoming RFPs, please email the Columbia Aging Center. 

The next call for applicants will be announced in 2021.

Contact: [email protected]

The Columbia Biomedical Technology Accelerator (formerly the Columbia-Coulter Translational Research Partnership) aims to catalyze the advancement of biomedical technologies by providing funding, education, resources and mentorship to teams of clinicians, engineers and scientists working to develop solutions to clinical unmet needs, with the ultimate goal of bringing innovative research out of the lab to benefit society.

Project support is expected to serve as a bridge to commercial investment, with awards granted to perform specific tasks needed to validate a commercial hypothesis (vs. a scientific hypothesis).

All technologies with the potential to directly impact human health will be considered (e.g. therapeutic drugs and devices, medical imaging, monitoring devices, biosensors, biomaterials, and platform technologies). Eligible teams must be comprised of both an engineer and a clinician. At least one PI must have a faculty appointment at Columbia, and the technology should be an idea or invention based on Columbia intellectual property.

Contact: [email protected]

Faculty applications are being accepted until Tuesday, March 7 at 5:00 PM ET.

The Columbia Center for Political Economy (CCPE) at Columbia World Projects (CWP) seeks applications for grant funding from eligible Columbia University faculty. The center’s mission is to identify and advance engaged scholarship that promotes a new political economy, broadly understood, with a robust institutional, cross-disciplinary orientation. The first round of grants are framed around firms and antitrust and work and labor.

Faculty may apply for $10,000 to $60,000 in funding. 

Learn more about the requirements.

Contact: Columbia Center for Political Economy, [email protected]

Columbia Faculty Invited to Apply for Seed Funding for Travel and Research on Climate in Rio de Janeiro and Brazil

RFP issue date: October 9, 2023

Deadline for submissions: December 4, 2023

Columbia University is inviting faculty members, postdocs, and doctoral students to submit proposals for climate-related research in Brazil, with a particular focus on Rio de Janeiro. The call, initiated by Columbia Global, builds on the success of a previous round of funding and seeks to address critical issues relating to urban sustainability, the green economy, and land use in Brazil.

Research Themes

We want to support research that helps address the multifaceted challenges posed by climate change. Priority given to proposals on climate finance, urban sustainability, innovation for the green economy, ocean science, land use and forest preservation in Rio, and impact on vulnerable populations. This RFP is part of the mandate of the new Climate Hub in Rio.

Award Categories

  • Grants for individual research and travel support to Brazil (up to $10,000 per award)

  • Workshop/small conference grants for proposal design and preparation (up to $20,000 per award)

  • Collaboration research awards (up to $25,000 per award)

  • Doctoral students and postdocs at Columbia University are invited to apply for awards of up to $10,000.


Proposals must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. EST on December 4, 2023.

Application Q&A

Interested applicants are encouraged to attend a virtual question-and-answer event, which will be held at 4 p.m. EDT on October 31, 2023.

Register here.

To start the proposal process, visit the RFP information page.

If you have additional questions, please contact the Columbia Global Center in Rio de Janeiro at: [email protected].

The goal of the Columbia Population Research Center (CPRC) seed grant program is to advance intellectually innovative research projects in population, health, and society to the point where they can attract external funding. The CPRC is interested in proposals that 1) focus on the CPRC’s four primary research areas; 2) link cutting-edge research in neuroscience with the social, behavioral, or health sciences; 3) propose globally-focused research in collaboration with a Columbia Global Center(s); and/or 4) develop research methodology. Policy-related research should be oriented toward pressing social issues in the domestic or international arena.

Contact: [email protected]

The deadline to submit an expression of interest has passed. The next impact awards cycle is scheduled for Spring 2023. Information will be shared in March 2023.

Columbia World Projects (CWP) is soliciting proposals for projects that aim to have a meaningful impact on people's lives and that have the potential to scale. Two levels of funding are available; impact awards are to receive between $750,000 and $5,000,000 over a period of two to five years, and early concept awards are to receive between $25,000 and $50,000 for a period of up to two years.

Learn more about the requirements.

Contact: Darragh McConnell, Director of Strategies and Partnerships, Columbia World Projects, [email protected]


The Data Science and Health Initiative (DASHI) invites applications for pilot projects at the intersection of artificial intelligence and health sciences. DASHI expects to fund at least two projects, up to $75K each.

DASHI will encourage the formation of interdisciplinary project teams through a cross-campus brainstorming workshop this fall.

Workshop Date: Friday, December 10, 2021 (9:00 AM - 12:00 PM EST) — VIRTUAL

Register Here

Attendance during this workshop is part of the funding application process. Columbia University faculty members may either:

The Dec. 10 workshop will include a plenary session of invited speakers and lightning talks from accepted LOI summaries and breakout working groups to meet other research teams and explore areas for collaboration.

PI Eligibility Criteria: Any faculty member/research scientist across the Morningside or CUIMC campuses. Postdoctoral researchers may participate in a collaborative team.

Please see details, funding timeline, and more on the registration page

Contact: [email protected]

The goal of the DSI Seeds Funds Program is to support new collaborations that will lead to longer term and deeper relationships among faculty in different disciplines across campus. Aimed at advancing research that combines data science expertise with domain expertise, the DSI Seed Funds Program focuses primarily on the second and third parts of DSI’s mission statement. We are as interested in the application of data science to all domains as in bringing in the sensibilities of other domains, especially to address the fair and ethical use of data.

Contact: [email protected]

The Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center (HICCC) is committed to facilitating innovative, cutting edge technologies and research endeavors. Cancer Center Support Grant pilot projects that are both pioneering and scientifically impactful are the crux of this philosophy. HICCC manages internal pilot project funding opportunities for scientists to pursue research focused on development of new cancer therapies. These pilot projects have led to numerous high impact publications and peer-reviewed sponsored projects. We also provide links to external funding opportunities that are cancer-related.

Contact: [email protected] or [email protected]

The Interdisciplinary Research Initiatives Seed (IRIS) Fund Program is designed to promote new interdisciplinary/multi-investigator research projects from the College of Physicians & Surgeons. This program has been made possible through a generous gift from Sherry and Neil Cohen. Funds from this program will support activities necessary to advance interdisciplinary, multi-investigator project funding and support the collection of preliminary data. It is expected that a competitive proposal will be submitted to an external funding agency, preferably the NIH, for a multi-investigator/program project type award within a year of the completion of the project period. A maximum of two awards, of up to $100,000, will be made each year for a period of 1-2 years. The award is intended to support reasonable and necessary costs for the collection of pilot research data or for proposal development.

Contact: [email protected]

The Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (the Irving Institute) at CUIMC is funded in part by an NIH Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA). The Irving Institute offers pilot funding programs for Columbia investigators to support novel, high-impact work and empower junior investigators and new multidisciplinary teams in translational and clinical research as they obtain pilot data prior to submitting funding applications. These programs include:

  • Collaborative and Multidisciplinary Pilot Research (CaMPR) Award/ CaMPR-Integrating Special Populations (CaMPR-ISP) Award – Provides one-year, $40,000 awards focusing on the innovative assembly of new teams to gather preliminary data to address unresolved clinical, translational and public health problems with novel approaches informed by interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary collaboration. CAMPR-ISP focuses on four special populations: Pediatrics, Geriatrics, Rare Diseases, and Emerging Pathogens in our Community, as well as community-based research.
  • Columbia Precision Medicine Joint Pilot Grants Program – Provides one-year, $100,000 awards for research proposals to advance precision medicine basic science, pre-clinical/clinical approaches to tailor medical care (prevention, diagnosis, and/or treatment) to the individual patient, and/or precision cancer research.
  • Community-Based Participatory Research Scholars and Pilot Awards Program (CBPR) – An innovative training and pilot funding opportunity for University faculty and administrators of not-for-profit organizations serving Upper Manhattan and the Bronx.  The CBPR Program fosters community-engaged research by giving the participants structured training and practical experience in CBPR methodology. Upon completion of the course, academic-community dyads are eligible to apply for a one-year CBPR pilot award of $30,000.
  • Imaging Pilot Awards –Provides one-year funding (ranging from $5,000 – $10,000) for investigators in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), optical imaging, PET tomography, single photon emission computed tomography/computed tomography (SPECT/CT) and ultrasound.
  • Intervention and Implementation Science Pilot Awards –Provides one-year funding (ranging from $20,000 – $30,000) for pilot, proof-of-concept projects to be conducted “in miniature”, ultimately leading to larger intervention or implementation projects and producing new knowledge that directly impacts population health, supported by larger extramural funds.
  • Irving Multi-PI Planning Grant –Provides one-year funding (ranging from $60,000 – $80,000) to support the submission of multi-component biomedical research grants (e.g., Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE), U54, P01, P50, etc.) and large multi-PI research grants (e.g., NCATS U01, MPI grants that require NIH preapproval, etc.).  Priority will be given to projects proposing to apply for NCATS U01 and SPORE grants. 
  • Translational Therapeutics (TRx) Accelerator Awards – A two-phase accelerator program including a boot camp and pilot funding that is designed to provide investigators with resources and access to industry to position their therapeutic discoveries for commercialization. Pilot funding is awarded to therapeutic projects with the potential to impact human health.
  • Strategic Priorities Pilot Award – This program allows for rapid deployment of funds to address emerging strategic priorities and jump-start innovative research in response to emerging local and national needs. Focus areas and partners will change every 1-2 years.

Contact: [email protected]


The Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy's seed grants program funds a limited number of investigators who seek to undertake major research programs that may require initial results or proof of concept to attract external funding. The Institute provides seed grants for projects pursuing basic social science inquiry and policy related study. ISERP’s seed grant program has the following goals:

  • To support Columbia investigators in the development of innovative, transformative projects in the social sciences.
  • To provide resources and support to faculty to produce compelling, well-crafted proposals for external funding.

In addition to research, ISERP funds Start Up Centers, Workshops, and Conferences.

Contact: [email protected]

The Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. Scholars Program supports physicians who are on tenure track and conduct research that has the promise of ultimately bringing new treatments to patients. The fund will provide a stipend of $75,000 per year for up to three years to be used for salary or laboratory support of the awardees. During their time as a Gerstner Scholar, each investigator is expected to seek and obtain funding from NIH or other sponsors in order to effectively progress on an academic career track. Please note that due to the overlap in the terms of the award for the Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. Scholars Program and the Irving Scholars Program, faculty are eligible to hold only one of these awards at any one time.

Contact: [email protected]

This small-grants program is designed to support Schools’ diversity plans, by advancing the career success of outstanding mid-career faculty who have received tenure for the first time in the previous seven years, have made a recent, significant contribution to their field, and who contribute to the diversity goals of the University by their research, teaching, and mentoring activities. Requests for proposals occur once a year and the maximum award is $37,500 total over three years.

If your primary appointment is at CUIMC, please direct your inquiries to Mandy Lin at [email protected].

The Paul Marks Scholars Program supports the recruitment or retention of outstanding early career physician/scientists who have distinguished themselves as exceptionally promising in their field. This award is named in honor of Dr. Paul A. Marks, an internationally-renowned cell biologist, physician, and scientist, and an exceptional academic leader. Dr. Marks, who developed the Department of Human Genetics at P&S and served as its first chair, was also the Dean of the Faculties of Medicine and Vice President for Health Sciences. The program funds up to three physician scientists and/or scientists at $100,000 per year for a period of three years.

Contact: [email protected]

The Office of the Provost is issuing a request for proposals to provide seed grant funding for faculty and/or academic units within the Columbia community that engage with issues of structural racism. The goal of this initiative is to provide resources to enable collaborative dialogue, action, and insight for systemic change towards racial equity. We anticipate that awards will be funded up to $5,000. Projects that are complex, such as interdisciplinary collaborations, can be funded up to $10,000. The request for proposals and application form can be found on their website

This program is part of the Addressing Racism: A Call to Action for Higher Education initiative of the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement. 

For concerns or questions, please contact us at [email protected].

Pilot grant awards for Columbia faculty, post-docs and graduate students are available from the Precision Medicine and Society Program (part of Columbia's Precision Medicine Initiative). These awards are designed to support work on issues relating to the social, legal, economic, humanistic and ethical societal impact of precision medicine and new genomic technologies. Projects (e.g. the impact of genomic information on personal privacy, the economic impact of precision medicine) should have the potential to lead to broader explorations of the area. Collaborative interdisciplinary projects are encouraged, as is the exploration of issues that represent a new focus of work for applicants. 

Proposals will be considered in two categories: 1) smaller proposals (generally involving a single applicant) at budgets up to $7,500 and 2) larger proposals (generally involving multiple applicants) at budgets up to $15,000. Additional support may be available from the Precision Medicine and Society Program for followup projects.

Contact: [email protected]

The President’s Global Innovation Fund awards grants faculty members the resources to leverage and engage Columbia Global Centers. The program is designed as a venture fund to enable the development of new projects and research collaborations within and across these nine sites in order to increase global opportunities for research, teaching, and service. Across the first five rounds of competition, 72 projects were selected to receive awards by a review committee of senior faculty from both the Morningside and Medical Center campuses. The funded projects focus on a diverse array of topics and are highly collaborative, with faculty members working across University departments and schools and partnering with other academic institutions, nongovernmental organizations, and research consortia. Collectively, these projects play an essential role in realizing the potential of the Columbia Global Centers to create new opportunities for faculty and students, and in tangibly defining what it means for Columbia to explore new frontiers of knowledge in the 21st Century.

Contact: [email protected]

The Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience (PSSN) program aims to facilitate cross-disciplinary, collaborative research to advance our understanding of mind, brain, and behavior. This unique program fosters direct communication and knowledge-sharing among experts in the arts, humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences through lectures and events, funding collaborative faculty research projects, and in a cross-disciplinary postdoctoral scholars program through the Center for Science and Society.

The PSSN program awards faculty up to 5 grants per year for interdisciplinary research or teaching initiative proposals that either involve direct collaboration between neuroscientists and faculty from other disciplines or cross disciplinary boundaries to investigate important issues in society and neuroscience.

For more information, please visit

Contact: [email protected]


This small-grants program is designed to support Schools’ diversity plans and to assist the University in meeting placement goals established in its Affirmative Action Programs. This is achieved by advancing the career success of outstanding junior faculty, in disciplines where the availability of qualified minorities and women exceeds their representation on our faculty. Applications will be accepted for:

• Support of new or ongoing research and scholarship

• Seed funding for innovative research for which external funding would be difficult to obtain

• Curricular development projects that focus on issues of diversity

Requests for proposals occur twice a year (fall/spring). The maximum award is $25,000.

Contact: [email protected]

The Research Initiatives in Science & Engineering (RISE) competition supports early-stage, high-risk, high-impact, and interdisciplinary research collaborations in the basic sciences, engineering, and biomedicine, focusing exclusively on basic/discovery research (and not applied or translational projects). RISE is designed to initiate faculty collaborations – preferably between researchers from separate departments and schools – who have jointly conceptualized a project that cannot receive funding through conventional sources either because the project is too preliminary, risky, or unusual (i.e. too interdisciplinary for any one agency’s scope).

RISE accepts proposals from all disciplines within the sciences, engineering, and medicine, and evaluates eligible proposals through two rounds of intensive reviews involving over 70 senior researchers across the University, ultimately awarding 4-6 teams per year. Awarded teams receive up to $80,000 in funding for one year, with the possibility of another $80,000 for a second year.

Contact: [email protected]

The Schaefer Research Scholars Program Awards, made possible through a generous bequest from Dr. Ludwig Schaefer, are made annually to four research scientists who have distinguished themselves in the science of human physiology, as broadly defined and whose current work is of outstanding merit with significant academic distinction. Their proposed research must illuminate the field. Two awards are made to research scientists residing or working in North or South America and two awards are made to research scientists residing or working outside of North or South America. Each award consists of a $50,000 cash prize and up to $200,000 in direct research support.

Contact: [email protected]

SIRS proposals will be accepted from faculty member pairs or groups (two or more on a single proposal) who work in different fields, with the lead PI from SEAS. The SIRS initiative aims to foster new collaboration across disciplines, and preference will be given to faculty who have not worked together before. The STAR program aims to support the translation of later stage Columbia research to a stage ready for real-world impact. Each STAR proposal may be submitted by a single faculty member (from SEAS) or a faculty group (with lead PI from SEAS).

Faculty are encouraged to explore collaborating on topics in the thematic areas of our Strategic Vision: Columbia Engineering for a Sustainable, Healthy, Secure, Connected and Creative Humanity, as well as foundational areas, for example, those listed below or beyond:

  • Engineering for Global Sustainability and Confronting Climate Change
  • Engineering for Health and Medicine (most would fall under the Blavatnik Fund)
  • Materials, Sensors, and Devices
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computational Science and Engineering

Descriptions of projects funded in previous rounds may be found here.

If you have further questions, please email [email protected].