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 send a 5-6 sentence description, website URL, and contact email address to

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. 


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.


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.


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.


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.


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: or

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.


The Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research offers pilot funding programs for Columbia University investigators. These programs are designed to provide incentives to both young clinical and translational investigators as they obtain pilot data prior to submitting funding applications, and more senior investigators who may not otherwise engage in multi- and interdisciplinary research. These programs include:

Bench to Bedside Award (formerly CaMPR-BASIC) – Provides funding ($40,000) to form a new collaborative team consisting of two principal investigators at the Assistant Professor level: one from a basic science department and one from a clinical department.

• Collaborative and Multidisciplinary Pilot Research Awards (CaMPR) – A two-phase program that provides planning ($15,000 for three months) toward start-up funding ($75,000 for one year) to newly-configured investigative teams involving both senior and junior faculty from at least two of the four CUMC schools to support the planning of novel, cross disciplinary projects. A second school selected from the Morningside campus may be an option.

Community-Based Participatory Research Training and Pilot Awards Program (CBPR) – The program consists of a free course (Introduction to Community Based Participatory Research) and competitive pilot funding. At the conclusion of the course, participants will be eligible to apply for a one-year pilot award of up to $30,000.

Health Practice Research Awards – Co-sponsored by the Department of Biomedical Informatics (DBMI), this award provides funding ($25,000) for junior investigators to pursue an informatics-based project in an operational clinical setting.

Imaging Pilot Awards – Provides funding (ranging from $5,000 – 10,000) for junior investigators for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), optical imaging, PET tomography, single photon emission computed tomography/computed tomography (SPECT/CT), and ultrasound.

Integrating Special Populations (ISP) Pilot Awards – Provides funding ($40,000) focused on four special populations to support the formation of newly-configured investigative teams aimed at studying diseases across the lifespan and using rare diseases as tools to study more common ones.

Irving Institute/Clinical Trials Office Pilot Award – Co-sponsored by the Clinical Trials Office, this program provides one-time, $50,000 awards ($25,000 cost-shared by applicant's home department) for junior faculty from the College of Physicians and Surgeons to conduct pilot studies leading to future independent funding.

Precision Medicine (PMR) Pilot Awards – Provides $100,000 awards ($50,000 cost-shared by applicant’s home department) for research proposals focused on approaches to tailor medical care (prevention, diagnosis, and/or treatment) for the individual patient.

Translational Therapeutics (TRx) Awards – TRx is a two-phase accelerator program designed to leverage Columbia’s proficiency in drug discovery and provide access to Entrepreneurs and Industry to advance novel therapeutics from the lab towards commercialization and clinical implementation.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Request for Proposals was issued on June 30, 2020. The application form can be found here and the submission deadline is September 17, 2020. 

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

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.


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.


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



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.


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 5-6 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.


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.