MRSEC Seed Grant Program

We are pleased to announce a call for proposals for the 2023 UC San Diego Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) Seed Grant Program. The program is open to all faculty members within the UC San Diego materials research community. Seed Grants in 2023 are intended to provide short-term funding to initiate exciting new research directions within the UC San Diego MRSEC. The goal of the 2023 Seed Grant Program is to support collaborative research that is innovative and offers a potential for developing new interdisciplinary research group (IRG) directions for a successful MRSEC re-competition. Successful execution of the proposed research is expected to lead to additional federal grants and the potential for long- term MRSEC funding. Topics that are direct extensions of current IRG research will not be considered during this funding round.

Each Seed Grant will provide $25,000-$75,000 direct costs for a one-year project, with the potential for renewal for a second year or for continuous MRSEC support, subject to review. Each Seed Grant must include at least one faculty-level PI; collaborative proposals are encouraged, and funding decisions will consider the scope of the project. Applicants will be notified of the proposal outcome by 12/15/22, and the target start date for Seed Grants is 1/1/2023. We anticipate funding 1-2 new awards this cycle.

Expectations of Grantees

Grantees are expected to integrate themselves into the MRSEC; this entails attendance at standing IRG meetings (if applicable), the annual meeting, and NSF MRSEC-hosted events. A progress report is expected annually.


Eligible applicants are ladder-rank UC San Diego faculty not currently within a UC San Diego MRSEC IRG. Each applicant may submit only one proposal in response to this call. Collaborative proposals amongst UC San Diego faculty members are encouraged, with the intention to seed a new IRG for the 2026 MRSEC re-competition.

Review Criteria

  • Intellectual merit of the proposed research activities, and likelihood to contribute long-term to center activities and gain future external research funding
  • Originality and potential to strategically pivot IRG-research to new directions and creative endeavors
  • Potential to seed impactful collaborations within the UC San Diego materials research community
  • Potential to contribute to the diversity and inclusion goals of the MRSEC

Proposal Submission

Proposals must be submitted through by 11:59PM PDT on Monday, 11/7/2022. Late applications will not be considered.

A virtual information & Q&A session will be held on Wednesday, October 12th 10-11AM PST. Please register here for the zoom link.

The following components are required:

  1. Cover information (see infoready4.comfor details)
  2. Proposal Abstract(250 words maximum)
  3. Quad Chart: Summary of project goals, innovation, and collaborative activities. (See "Competition Files" for template)
  4. Project Description (3 pages maximum, Times New Roman, 12 pt font, single space, one-inch margins all around). Please include as subheadings and address the following, in the order listed:
    • Goal and objectives of proposed collaborative activities
    • Project description
    • Anticipated impact on IRG research and on the UC San Diego materials science community
    • Contribution of proposed activities toward diversity and inclusion
  5. References Cited(no page limit)
  6. Budget Information/Justification (1 page maximum): Provide a proposed budget and a brief justification for the following eligible costs, as applicable.
    • Salaries, benefits, and tuition: Seed funding may be used to support students and postdoctoral fellows. Faculty salary compensation is not supported.
    • Materials and Supplies
    • Recharge Facilities
  7. Curriculum Vitae (2 pages maximum, NSF-style Biosketch for the PI and faculty collaborators).
  8. Current and Pending Support (PI only, no page limit)
  9. NSF Collaborators and Other Affiliations (COA) Form (template at

For further questions or to request additional information please contact Prof. Jon Pokorski (email).

PDF Flyer

UC San Diego MRSEC 2023 SEED Program – Info Session Oct. 12, 2022

2022 MRSEC Seed Grant Recipients


Zheng Chen, Assistant Professor, Nanoengineering (Continued Seed Funding from 2020-2021)
Proposal Title: Hierarchical Assembly of Structurally Oriented Metal-Organic Frameworks as Novel Ionic Conductors

David Fenning, Associate Professor, Nanoengineering
Proposal Title: Dynamic Microenvironments at Electrocatalytic interfaces using Acoustoelectronics


Shaochen Chen, Professor & Chair, Nanoengineering
Proposal Title: Photosynthetic 3D printed materials for on-demand production of microalgal bioproducts

Lisa Poulikakos, Assistant Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Proposal Title: Rationally Designed Nanophotonic Materials for Non-Invasive Imaging of Soft and Living Matter

Valerie Schmidt, Assistant Professor, Chemistry & Biochemistry
Proposal Title: Synthesis of fully bio-sourced polyurethane materials

2021 MRSEC Seed Grant Recipients


Alina Schimpf, Assistant Professor, Chemistry & Biochemistry
Proposal Title: Precise Synthesis of Nanocrystal Building-Blocks

Zheng Chen, Assistant Professor, Nanoengineering
Proposal Title: Hierarchical Assembly of Structurally Oriented Metal-Organic Frameworks as Novel Ionic Conductors


Donald Sirbuly, Associate Professor, Nanoengineering
Proposal Title: Nanofiber optics for in situ real-time nanometrology

For further questions or to request additional information please contact Professor Jon Pokorski (email).