Carnegie Mellon University

McWilliams Center Seed Grant Program

The McWilliams Center for Cosmology & Astrophysics Seed Grant program supports faculty/ postdoctoral fellows/research staff who want to explore a new area of research and/or jumpstart their research activity.

The program is designed to encourage genuine collaborations between faculty/postdocs affiliated with the Center for Cosmology and the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC) that involve either new avenues of research or the feasibility testing of new methods. The goal of the seed grant is to provide preliminary results and establish credibility in a new research area that will attract high-impact research funding from the state and federal government,  foundations or industry. The grants may also support research that will increase the competitiveness of faculty in attracting high-impact multidisciplinary and center-level research funding.

The one-year seed grants provide  $10,000-$40,000 in support for a faculty member, postdocs and graduate students, and/or staff to conduct preliminary analyses, demonstrate proof of concept, collect preliminary data, and establish the potential for high impact of the proposed idea for future proposal submissions. The grant will also provide an allocation of 250k SU on Bridges-2 at PSC to each award with the possibility of an increased allocation if well justified.

 The Center will consider proposals from faculty/postdocs/research staff that:

  • Explore a new area of research that may potentially be high risk but also provide high reward. We are looking for radical new ideas that would provide exciting new directions, not small changes in existing research focus.
  • Enable faculty/postdocs to partner with PSC staff/researchers with complementary technical expertise to demonstrate a meaningful collaboration for future joint proposal submissions.

How to Apply

Faculty/postdocs/research staff affiliated with the center should prepare a brief proposal (< 2 pages) following the format below. Submissions as PI will be limited to one per person (not precluding participation on other proposals).

  • Project Summary - Brief summary of the proposed activity that outlines the problem to  be addressed, explains why it is important and who will be involved in the work.
  • New idea and Leverage - Discussion of how a modest seed grant can lay the foundation for a new idea for an expanded activity, preferably including specific suggestions for sources of future support.
  • PSC Collaboration -  explain activities that combine technical, or other expertise from the PSC and hold the potential to have significant impact in the next few years to the proposed line of research. Explain, if requested, how the 250k SU on Bridges-2 will be used if a larger allocation is needed (provide the number of SUs requested with a justification).
  • Budget - Budget will be provided preferentially for support of PhD students, equipment, and salary of non-tenure track faculty/postdocs or staff.

Applications must be submitted via this online form. Review will begin June 15, 2024 and continue until August 15, 2024.

Proposals will be reviewed by a faculty committee composed of McWilliams Center Faculty Affiliates. Reviewers who are party to a proposal will not be asked to rank their own submission. Final selection of grant winners will be reviewed by McWilliams Center Director Tiziana Di Matteo and PSC Director Barr von Oehsen.