Updated Call for Proposals: Salata Institute Seed Grant Program in Climate and Sustainability

The Salata Institute for Climate and Sustainability at Harvard University solicits proposals for funding under its Seed Grant Program in Climate and Sustainability. Proposals will be considered three times per year, with deadlines of the second Friday of January, May, and September.
Aug 22, 2023
Call for Proposals

The Salata Institute for Climate and Sustainability at Harvard University solicits proposals for funding under its Seed Grant Program in Climate and Sustainability. Funding will be available for five purposes:

A) Early-stage research in climate change and sustainability that could potentially form the basis for a full proposal through standard (typically external) funding channels.

B) New project funding that will enable faculty whose work is not normally in climate change and sustainability to explore potential pathways to extend their research to this area or, for faculty already working in the field, to branch out in new climate change and sustainability research directions.

C) Interdisciplinary research in climate change and sustainability involving collaboration among two or more faculty members who represent two or more Departments or Schools and who have not previously done joint research.

D) Funding for workshops that will bring together researchers (academic and/or non-academic) to spur research into understudied or emerging topics in climate change and sustainability.

E) NEW: early-stage interdisciplinary research across the Harvard schools on quantifying health outcomes after solutions or interventions in climate change mitigation and/or adaptation. The home school of the Principal Investigators of these projects must be the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Selection criteria

Proposals will be evaluated by the Faculty Research Committee of the Salata Institute using the following criteria:

  1. Alignment with any one of the categories (A)-(E) above. Projects at the intersection of climate and public health specifically must align with category (E).
  2. Likelihood that the proposed activity can be successfully executed.
  3. Legacy, including the potential of the project to lead to publications in peer-reviewed journals, to lead to external funding for further research, to help to create an academic community around an emerging climate- and sustainability-related topic, and/or to promote new lines of climate- and sustainability-related work at Harvard.

Outside advice may be sought for proposals beyond the expertise of Committee members.

Eligibility and Terms

  • Awards amount to a maximum of $25,000.
  • Awards are for a period of one year.
  • NEW: The program is open to Harvard faculty who have Principal Investigator status.
  • The Research Committee may stipulate changes to any proposal, including funding amount, as a requirement for funding.
  • All funds must remain within Harvard University except for products and services listed in the proposal budget (e.g., travel). Non-Harvard University co-PIs cannot be compensated through this program for their effort.
  • PIs will provide a short final report on use of funds and outcome (template to be provided) with appendices of research output (e.g., research output, workshop agendas and summaries).
  • Any unspent funds must be returned at the close of a project unless the Research Committee provides written approval to extend the award past the project’s end date. No-cost extensions must be requested prior to the project close date.
  • Assurance of Compliance.  Recipients are expected to comply with all University policies governing the conduct of research including, but not limited to, the use of animals, human subjects, hazardous materials, and export controls. Awardees will be asked to provide the name and signature of a school or department administrator who, in addition to the principal investigator, will certify that the project complies with all relevant policies. All applicants are subject to audit.

Proposal Format and Submission Instructions 

The proposal should include the following components:

  1. Project description (up to 2 pages, no appendices)
    • Projects in category (D) (workshops) may request using conference space at the Salata Institute.
  2. References
  3. Conflict of interest statement.
    • Please list any member of the Faculty Research Committee who has a conflict of interest with the proposed project. The Committee comprises: Stephen A. Ansolabehere, Caroline Buckee, and Peter Huybers. David Jones will join the committee in reviewing proposals related to climate and public health.
  4. CVs for the PI and any co-PIs.
  5. Fieldwork Site, Project Client, and Project Partners (if applicable).
    • The section should also describe the project team’s prior experience, if any, working in the proposed locations and with the clients and partners listed.
  6. Required equipment and approvals (if applicable)
    • Letters of intent, endorsement and commitment from partners must be acquired prior to the start of funding. The proposal should list the approvals necessary for project initiation. If human subjects are involved, prior Institutional Review Board approval is required. This section should also describe any equipment to be used (beyond standard office and computer equipment) and should state and justify the need for any new equipment funded under the proposal.
  7. Data storage and distribution plan for any data collected under this project (if applicable)
    • If the grant is for preliminary data collection to prepare for a subsequent larger proposal, the data plan can reference that larger plan.
  8. Budget outline (1 page)
    • Indirect costs should not be included in the budget, except fringe benefits on salaries. The grant funding cannot be used to cover student tuition, but it can be used for interns, research assistants and work stipends.
    • Awards will be subject to the assessment policies in accordance with the University and individual school assessment policies. The proposals’ budgets should include direct costs only and exclude any assessments, which will be determined separately. The Salata Institute will work with the award recipient’s home school to apply the relevant assessment amount, which will be incremental to the award amount and transferred to the school on top of the award amount.

Review schedule

Proposals will be considered three times per year, with deadlines of the second Friday of January, May, and September. The committee will also consider proposals off this normal cycle if they respond to time sensitive opportunities.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What sorts of activities does the program fund?

Funding will be available for any of the following purposes: 

  1. Early-stage research in climate change and sustainability that could potentially form the basis for a full proposal through standard (typically external) funding channels. 
  2. New project funding that will enable faculty whose work is not normally in climate change and sustainability to explore potential pathways to extend their research to this area or, for faculty already working in the field, to branch out in new climate change and sustainability research directions. 
  3. Interdisciplinary research in climate change and sustainability involving collaboration among two or more faculty members who represent two or more Departments or Schools and who have not previously done joint research. 
  4. Funding for workshops that will bring together researchers (academic and/or non-academic) to spur research into understudied or emerging topics in climate change and sustainability. 
  5. NEW: Early-stage interdisciplinary research across Harvard schools on quantifying health outcomes after solutions or interventions in climate change mitigation and/or adaptation. 

What criteria will the Faculty Research Committee use to award grants? 

The Faculty Research Committee will evaluate proposals using the following criteria: 

  1. Alignment with any one of the categories (A)-(E) above. All projects at the intersection of climate and public health specifically must align with category (E).
  2. Likelihood that the proposed activity can be successfully executed. 
  3. Legacy, including the project’s potential to improve public health outcomes, to lead to publications in peer-reviewed journals, and to lead to external funding for further research. 

What is the award amount? 

Awards are a maximum of $25,000. 

Who is eligible to apply for a seed grant? 

The program is open to Harvard faculty who have Principal Investigator status.

Can I submit more than one proposal?  

Yes.

Is there preference for a specific disciplinary orientation?  

No.

Could seed grant funding be used to foster collaborations with governments and non-governmental organizations, and other universities?  

Yes, but all funds must remain within Harvard University except for products and services listed in the proposal budget (e.g., travel). Non-Harvard University co-PIs cannot be compensated through this program for their effort. 

Can seed funding be used to purchase instruments or data?  

Yes, except standard office and computer equipment. 

What is the proposal format? 

 Please see the RFP. 

Should I include indirect costs in the project budget? 

No. Please see the RFP for additional information. 

What is the deadline for submitting proposals? 

Proposals will be considered three times per year, with deadlines of the second Friday of January, May, and September. The committee will also consider proposals off this normal cycle if they respond to time sensitive opportunities. 

Who will review proposals?  

The Faculty Research Committee will review proposals. The Committee may seek outside advice for proposals beyond the expertise of Committee members. 

When will my proposal be reviewed?  

All proposals submitted by the deadline will be reviewed as soon as possible after the application deadline. Review of proposals submitted after the deadline will be deferred until after the next deadline.The committee will also consider proposals off this normal cycle if they respond to time sensitive opportunities. 

May I submit a proposal that was not previously funded for review by the Committee?  

Yes. 

What are the grantee reporting requirements? 

PIs will provide a short final report on use of funds and outcome (template to be provided) with appendices of research output (e.g., research output, workshop agendas and summaries).  The final report will be submitted via email no later than 30 days after the one-year term limit on the grants.

Additional Questions: leslie_hubbard@harvard.edu