UC San Diego MRSEC Seed Grant Program for Exploratory Research

We are pleased to announce a call for proposals for the 2024 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 2024 are intended to provide short-term funding to initiate exciting new research directions within the UC San Diego MRSEC. The goal of the 2024 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. Proposed Seed projects should address a problem that is of a scope and breadth sufficient to evolve into a future MRSEC IRG. The research plan should directly address how multiple PIs could become involved in the project and should list the names of those faculty.

Applicants will be notified of the proposal outcome by 12/13/23, and the target start date for Seed Grants is 1/1/2024. 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.

Eligibility

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 ucsd.infoready4.com by 11:59PM PDT on Monday, 11/6/2023. Late applications will not be considered.

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

2024 Seed Grant Info Session

Seed Grant Recipients

Richard Averitt
Professor, Physics

Proposal Title: "MRSEC SuperSeed" on Quantum Materials
SEED Funding: January 2023 - December 2023

Shaochen Chen
Professor & Chair, Nanoengineering
Proposal Title: Photosynthetic 3D printed materials for on-demand production of microalgal bioproducts
SEED Funding: January 2022 - December 2022

Zheng Chen 
Assistant Professor, Nanoengineering

Proposal Title: Hierarchical Assembly of Structurally Oriented Metal-Organic Frameworks as Novel Ionic Conductors
SEED Funding: January 2021 - December 2023

David Fenning
Associate Professor, Nanoengineering
Proposal Title: Dynamic Microenvironments at Electrocatalytic interfaces using Acoustoelectronics
SEED Funding: January 2022-July 2023

Jahed, Zeinab
Assistant Professor, Nanoengineering

Proposal Title: Nanoscale bio-electronic interfaces
SEED Funding: March 2024 - February 2025

Kwon, Ester
Associate Professor, Bioengineering
Proposal Title: 
SEED Funding: March 2024 - February 2025

Liu, Zhaowei
Associate Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering

Proposal Title: "MRSEC Superseed" on Quantum Materials
SEED Funding: January 2023 - December 2023

Maple, M. Brian
Distinguished Professor,  Physics
Proposal Title: "MRSEC SuperSeed" on Quantum Materials
SEED Funding: January 2023 - December 2023

Ndao, Abdoulaye
Assistant Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering
Proposal Title: 
SEED Funding: April 2024 - March 2025

Lisa Poulikakos
Assistant Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Proposal Title: Rationally Designed Nanophotonic Materials for Non-Invasive Imaging of Soft and Living Matter
SEED Funding: January 2022 - December 2022

Alina Schimpf
Assistant Professor, Chemistry & Biochemistry
Proposal Title: Precise Synthesis of Nanocrystal Building-Blocks
SEED Funding: January 2021 - December 2021

Valerie Schmidt
Assistant Professor, Chemistry & Biochemistry
Proposal Title: Synthesis of fully bio-sourced polyurethane materials
SEED Funding: January 2022 - December 2022

Donald Sirbuly
Associate Professor, Nanoengineering
Proposal Title: Nanofiber optics for in situ real-time nanometrology
SEED Funding: January 2021 - December 2021