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Seed grant program supports collaborations among engineers, scientists and clinicians

Penn State Center for Biodevices’ seed grant program supports genuine collaborations among engineers, scientists and clinicians.

Seed grants will provide teams with funds for fundamental research or for applied research.

In either case, the project must focus on biodevices. Examples of biodevices include biomedical devices to improve human and animal health, such as implantable, surgical and wearable devices; as well as biodevices to improve biological health, such as environmental sampling and monitoring devices.

The one-year program annually awards up to $80,000.

Submission information will be provided when applications are being accepted.

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RFA Details: Center for Biodevices Seed Grant Program

Eligibility Expand answer
  • Each application must have at least two Penn State faculty members at the rank of assistant professor, associate professor or professor, and their primary appointments must include at least two different colleges or campuses.
  • The proposed research should be performed at one or more Penn State campuses.
  • An investigator may serve as a PI or co-PI on only one Penn State biodevices seed grant or Grace Woodward grant application. Thus, investigators who are currently serving as a PI or co-PI of an active Grace Woodward grant are not eligible to apply for this funding mechanism.
Program Guidelines Expand answer

Fundamental Research

Projects focused on fundamental research should describe the proposed fundamental research and how it is expected to lead to discoveries in biodevices. Seed grants will provide teams with funds to generate preliminary data for external grant submissions and co-authored publications.

Applications must include a plan for submitting external grant application(s) based on the results of the seed grant project.

Applied Research

Projects focused on applied research should include:

  • a development plan describing the scope of work with supporting technical detail and clear milestones to advance the technology toward commercialization; and
  • a commercialization plan that provides the overall strategy to commercialize the technology both during and after the funding period.

While applicants are not expected to have a detailed business plan at this stage, the proposal should demonstrate an understanding of issues that relate to commercial relevancy. A summary of how the proposed development plan helps to address key commercial questions should be included.

Application Process Expand answer

Applications for the Penn State Center for Biodevices seed grant program must include:

  • Cover page: Use the cover page template found in OneDrive (Penn State Access ID login required)
  • Table of contents: Include page numbers starting with the cover page and numbering all pages consecutively
  • Abstract: Summary of the research plan highlighting its impact on the understanding and/or use of biodevices (one-page maximum)
  • Specific aims (one page maximum)
  • Research plan: Must include the following (six-page maximum):
    • Significance: Describe the problem that the proposal will address and its significance in the field of biodevices
    • Approach: Describe the approach proposed for use and its innovation
    • Impact: Describe the possible outcomes of the research and their expected impact
    • Investigator(s): Describe why the team is qualified to implement the project
    • Environment: Describe the unique facilities and resources available for this research
    • Compliance: describe aspects requiring human subjects, animal or biohazard oversight, including the status of any required approvals
  • Future plans: Identify the specific externally sponsored funding opportunity(ies) that will be pursued at the completion of the proposed award, including the agency, mechanism and planned submission dates where appropriate (one-page maximum)
  • References (one-page maximum)
  • Budget and justification: Provide a SIMS budget for each college and provide a separate one-page budget justification
  • Biosketches: Include a current NIH or NSF biosketch (five-page format) for the co-PIs and all other key personnel
  • Letters of Support: For each co-PI and all other key personnel who will participate in the project but cannot (per RFA guidelines) receive salary support from the award, a letter from the department chair/head or institute director is required confirming salary support up to 2 percent

For applied research projects, applications must also include:

  • Development plan: Describe the scope of work with supporting technical details, including any compliance considerations, and clear milestones (two-page maximum)
  • Commercialization plan: Provide a brief business plan describing the overall strategy to commercialize the technology both during and after the funding period (one-page maximum)

Applications that do not follow the above format may be returned without review.

Review Process Expand answer

Applications will undergo an initial review for scientific and technical merit by the Penn State Center for Biodevices seed grant program review committee.

This initial review will consider the responsiveness of the application to the RFA and will evaluate the scientific and technical merit (and commercial merit for applied research projects) of the proposal using the NIH review criteria and scoring metric. In this regard, the committee will evaluate the significance, investigator(s), innovation, approach and environment, as well as relevance to the mission of the Penn State biodevices program and the potential for the project to subsequently attract significant external research.

The review committee will make its recommendations to the deans of the College of Engineering and the College of Medicine and the directors of the Huck Institutes for the Life Sciences and Materials Research Institute, who will make all final decisions regarding awards.

Previous Awardees Expand answer

Previous College of Medicine recipients of funding from the Center for Biodevices seed grant program are listed here.

For Details

Direct any questions regarding this announcement to Research Development at 717-531-6949 or

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