Funding for Faculty

2021 Seed Grants: IMPORTANT DATES

  • Jan. 8 | 5 p.m.: Pre-proposals due
  • Jan. 30: Selected pre-proposals invited to submit full proposals
  • April 2 | 5 p.m.: Full proposals due
  • May 3: Awards announced
  • June — August 2021: Initiate project funding

Scroll down for relevant links and application guidance.

About the Irving Institute Seed Grant Program

The Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society seeks proposals for research and education on the energy challenges faced by society – and the societal challenges posed by energy.  We welcome diverse energy and society projects from all disciplines, but proposals that require and engage an interdisciplinary perspective and research team are especially encouraged and can garner up to $100,000 of support.  Applicants are encouraged to consider the critical barriers that are hampering transitions to energy systems that are sustainable, resilient, and equitable and to develop proposals that could overcome those barriers or shed new light on how they might be addressed. We encourage interdisciplinary teams of applicants to develop unique and innovative approaches that are hard to fund with more narrowly focused or restricted sources of grant monies.   

Participants and Funding Levels

We welcome proposals from all Dartmouth faculty, of any rank; Dartmouth staff and post-docs. Principal investigators (PIs) should indicate whether they are considering the inclusion of collaborators from outside Dartmouth in the pre-proposal (Note: we cannot fund outside collaborators). Post-doc proposals must include a letter of support from a faculty mentor. Preference will be given to interdisciplinary, multi-departmental team proposals. The total award pool is approximately $500,000.  Anticipated award levels are:

  • Faculty and staff awards: up to $100,000 (for interdisciplinary teams)
  • Post-doc awards:  up to $25,000


The Irving Institute is pleased to announce its fourth request for proposals (RFP) to support collaborative, innovative research, education, and engagement projects that advance the understanding of and action at the interfaces of energy and society. We are especially keen for innovative, interdisciplinary efforts that will advance the Institute's mission and seed opportunities for additional funding, scholarship and pedagogy. To the Institute, "society" includes all dimensions of the human enterprise:  business, economic and technological; political, legal, and regulatory; cultural, artistic, and ethical; and behavioral, values, and imagination. 

The Irving Institute FY 2021 announcement encourages projects that initiate or advance novel or difficult-to-fund interdisciplinary lines of inquiry; that incorporate technological and social dimensions of energy systems into both classroom and experiential education; that serve as pilot projects for future federal, state or foundation funding; and that deploy new community partnerships. We encourage creative ideas, new applications, and novel combinations of perspectives and methods.  We encourage teams to bring fresh eyes to enduring questions and to rigorously test emerging hypotheses. We encourage advances in artistic expression, in policy formulation and implementation, in technological development, and in business practices.

To bring the benefits of the current energy transition to all sectors of society is truly a multidimensional, interdisciplinary and inter-institutional endeavor. For example, how can policy incent and support adoption of new opportunities across different contexts? What cultural values are at play and how can they be meaningfully integrated as we seek to expand sustainable, just access to energy services? What levers can be used to adjust cost/opportunity ratios for businesses and investors? How can more groups in society meaningfully join a conversation about distributing benefits and risks equitably across those best positioned to take them and those most vulnerable to their effects? There is a wealth of evidence that simple siloed approaches will yield results that are far short of the potential offered by an integrated approach that marries culture, technology, investment, finance, values, and other critical factors. We encourage proposals that take risks, think big, and challenge traditional ways of thinking and modes of inquiry across disciplinary boundaries.

Pre-Proposals Due January 8, 2021 by 5 p.m. EST


Limited to 2 pages.  Applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss their ideas with Institute staff, especially Irving Institute Research Director, Dr. Stephen Doig, and to develop them in collaboration with the Institute so we can help you develop strong, fundable proposals.

Pre-proposals should concisely provide: 

Context and Motivation: Why is the topic important? What are the current and future consequences?  
Key Challenges and Barriers: Why has this opportunity not been addressed and/or captured in the past?  What driving question are you seeking to answer/hypothesis are you proposing to test?
Approach and Methodology: How will this project tackle those challenges and barriers and test your hypothesis?
Key Outcomes and Outputs: What are the anticipated results and how will they help contribute to solutions and to the Institute's mission?
Potential to Seed Additional Funding: How might the project lead to additional funding opportunities?
Core Project Team Members: Who are the team members, how are their current roles and backgrounds relevant to the opportunity being addressed?
Budget: Total requested budget and major budget categories.  Has funding been requested from other sources? if so, briefly describe. Include fringe on salaries but not indirect costs. We encourage applicants to support salaries for graduate and postdoctoral researchers, research faculty and junior faculty. In general, senior, tenured faculty are not eligible for salary support.

Note that this funding opportunity is internal to Dartmouth. Review/approval by OSP is not required.

Submit your pre-proposal here by 5 p.m. (EST) on Friday, January 8, 2021.

Successful applicants will receive an invitatio to submit full proposals by January 30, 2021. Applicants who are not asked to submit a full proposal are encouraged to schedule a meeting to discuss possible approaches to strengthen or redirect their concept.

Invited applicants must Submit Full Proposal by April 2 at 5 p.m. ET

Application Instructions Step 2: Full proposal with fully itemized budget

Full proposals should expand on pre-proposals and respond to feedback from the pre-proposal review to make a strong, succinct case for funding.

In addition to expanding on the structure of the pre-proposal the full proposal should highlight:

  • How does the proposed approach overcome current barriers?
  • What is the potential for scaling the insights to other regions or countries?
  • What enabling factors or forces would amplify the impact of the project?
  • How is the proposed project different from (or complementary to) other efforts/activities by the research team? 
  • How will the proposed project impact Dartmouth and/or outside engaged communities (intellectual, physical, artistic, civic)?

Full proposal packages should consist of, in order:

  • A project title and team page, with names, faculty/student/community status, departmental affiliations, and email addresses for all core project participants.
  • A project abstract (150-200 words)
  • A text narrative of not more than 2000 words that contains:  
    • Context and Motivation: Why is the topic important?  What are the current and future consequences?  
    • Key Challenges and Barriers: Why has this opportunity not been addressed and/or captured in the past? What driving question are you seeking to answer/hypothesis are you proposing to test?
    • Approach and Methodology: How will this project tackle those challenges and barriers and test your hypothesis?
    • Key Outcomes and Outputs: What are the anticipated results and how will they help contribute to solutions and to the Irving Institute mission?
    • Potential to Seed Additional Funding: How might the study undertaken lead to additional funding opportunities?
  • List of references/citations
  • A detailed budget and budget narrative (templates will be provided)
  • Background on key personnel. Include 2-page CVs for faculty, research staff, post-docs, and graduate students; 1-page resumes for undergraduate students
  • Include a list of current and pending support for each faculty and research staff member
  • Post-doc proposals must include a letter of support from a faculty advisor/mentor



An expert review committee comprised of faculty from Dartmouth and peer institutions will review all full proposals. Key selection criteria include:

  • Does the project address an important energy challenge or need?
  • Does the project have a strong potential to make an important impact on how people see, understand, use, and adapt energy systems for widespread and equitable impact?
  • Does the project help foster meaningful collaboration across disciplines?


Funding Period

Projects are expected to conclude on scope, on time and on budget. No-cost extensions may be requested in writing prior to the projected end date.  

Use of Funds

Examples of how funding may be used include:  seed new research projects or add new components to existing projects; support travel and supplies; hire student research assistants; pay for student employees; develop new educational programs or classes; develop or purchase specific teaching aid(s) or material(s). Funds cannot be used to pay salaries of non-Dartmouth employees. 

Funds management

PI has sole responsibility for all expenditures. The Institute will provide regular summary reports and transaction-level details to PIs. Overages will be the sole responsibility of the PI and not the Irving Institute; any unused funds will revert to the Institute unless a no-cost extension has been granted.

Project Completion and Reporting

All recipients of Irving Institute funding are expected to provide semi-annual progress updates and a final report.  Awardees will become Institute Affiliates, be profiled on the Institute website and in social media and are expected to meet with fellow Institute grantees to join the growing energy community, share findings, discuss new directions for collaborative inquiry and activity and present at an Irving Institute event. Recipients are expected to share documentation of supplemental funding (grant proposals/award letters, fellowship awards, etc.).

Each project will be considered complete and its PIs will be eligible for possible future Institute funding when all of the following are submitted to the Irving Institute:

  • Final project report and financial summary
  • Web/social-media ready material, including photos, to share findings and lessons learned via Institute communication vehicles and grants SharePoint portal
  • Full documentation of any/all project deliverables, including published papers, public presentations/exhibits, class materials, etc.