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WPI’s Vice Provost for Research in collaboration with Deans and Department Heads as well as select partner institutions provides support for new and early-stage interdisciplinary research collaborations through a number of grant programs.

Collaborative Seed Grant Opportunity with University of Massachusetts Lowell

The leadership of the University of Massachusetts Lowell and Worcester Polytechnic Institute are committed to leveraging our respective strengths to foster productive and sustainable interdisciplinary collaborations among our faculty and students. To support this goal, UMass Lowell and WPI will jointly provide up to $20,000 per project to support collaborative projects for research teams comprised of faculty from both institutions.

This initiative is intended to support new collaborations, novel discoveries, increased external funding, future industry partnerships, and possibly, the development of patentable intellectual property. Priority for funding will be given to new collaborations, projects that include multiple UMass Lowell and WPI faculty, projects that include more than one discipline, and projects that are likely to lead to external funding and/or commercialization/industry partnerships.

This year’s priority areas are community-engaged research/global health/social justice, biomanufacturing/biotechnology (including workforce development), and cybersecurity.  Proposals in other areas are welcome. Proposals are due February 28, 2022. For more information, please see attached and the UML-WPI Collaborative Seed Funding on UMass Lowell’s Research & Innovation Opportunities Portal ( or contact Antje Harnisch.

WPI and UMass Lowell embrace and celebrate diversity in all its forms and encourage individuals from underrepresented populations to apply for this funding


Seed Funding Opportunity with UMass Medical CCTC

VPR Vernescu is happy to announce a new round of joint seed funding with the UMass Center for Clinical and Translational Science (UMCCTS), part of their next funding round for the Pilot Project Program (PPP).

Two project awards (up to $50,000 for 1 year)  for a joint team of PIs will be made on a competitive basis to enable investigators to accelerate the translation of innovative discoveries into:

• New understanding and/or diagnosis of a disease process

• New devices, therapeutics, and vaccines for the treatment and/or prevention of disease

• New standards of care in the practice of community medicine

• New approaches to community-based research demonstrating true bi-directionality between community and academia

• New methodologies to leverage institutional strengths and new initiatives

• The pursuit of high-risk, high reward studies

Full information, including eligibility requirements and deadlines can be found here

TRIADs: Interdisciplinary Seed Grant Pilot

(Transformative Research and Innovation, Accelerating Discovery)

WPI is piloting an exciting seed grant program, which will support new research projects that involve faculty from more than one department and are performed by collaborative, interdisciplinary teams.  It is designed to inspire teams of faculty to pursue inter/cross/trans-disciplinary projects and move into new and innovative research directions, for which they will later apply for external funding.

FAQs (pdf)

  • Who is eligible to participate?

    All full-time faculty may propose or join projects.  Each faculty member may only participate in one TRIAD that is submitted.


  • What kind of projects can be proposed?

    Any project that is a new interdisciplinary research collaboration.  The members on the research team cannot be currently collaborating on a funded project.


  • Where does the funding come from?

    Team members are expected to contribute a third of their portion (i.e., $6,667 or $1,667); the remaining two thirds are provided by the respective department head and the VPR.  A fourth member may join a team without funding. 

  • What can I charge to a project?

    At least 50% of the funding has to be used for student or post-doc support. The rest can be used for what is typically charged to a grant, except for faculty salary. Tuition and indirect costs are waived.

  • Are there deliverables?

    A brief final report is required for each project, and at least one member of the team must participate in the symposium.  All teams are expected to submit a minimum of one proposal to an external funding agency and/or demonstrate progress toward the gold standard of scholarly excellence in their field.

  • How are winning projects selected?

    There is no peer review; instead a semi-random selection process is used, a process that ensures that funded projects meets the administrative requirements of the program and guarantees portfolio diversity.

  • How do I propose a TRIAD project?

    Create a new project from the TRIADS Opportunities tab on top of the e-Projects site.


    This will open the following form:


    You will need to enter a title and a description of your project. Add keywords to your project description to make searching for projects easier for potentially collaborators.

    Change the project status to “proposed”.  Pick the size ($15 or $60k).

    Add a picture.  High quality and close to square pictures work best.  Please note that you may have to wait a bit for the picture to load. 

    Then click on “Create Seed Project and become a member”.  You will be automatically listed as the PI.  If you later decide you want to join a different project, you can do so by removing yourself from the project or deleting the project.

  • How do I create a TRIAD?

    You, as PI, need to find two partners. At least one needs to be from a different department. You can search for collaborators within the system.  Each faculty profile has keywords that are searchable.


     Once out have found colleagues to join your project, add them on the Members Screen. 

  • How do I join a TRIAD as collaborator?

    If you want to join a project, you can search for projects within the system. The project descriptions are searchable.  If interested in a project, such interest can be expressed on the project’s site; it is also possible to comment.  Alternatively, such communications can happen outside of the system.

  • How are TRIADs finalized/submitted?

    Collaborators can be interested in more than one project.  PIs can also be interested in projects other than their own. There will be a deadline, though, before which everybody has to commit to be a member or PI of only one project.  At that point the TRIAD is formed and the proposed project submitted.  If you are the PI, you need to change the project status to “submitted”.  The deadline triad formation and project submission is October 21.

  • Who do I contact with further questions?

    Antje Harnisch, Assistant VPR, or 508 831 4196

WPI-UMass Lowell Collaborative Seed Funding

To support early-stage research collaboration between faculty at the two universities, the University of Massachusetts Lowell (UMass Lowell) and Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) have partnered to award more than $111,000 in seed funding to six different teams, focusing on work ranging from human-robot collaboration to cancer detection and rehabilitation for stroke patients.  A description of the projects can be found here.

No one university can address the pressing problems the world needs solved. We are fortunate in New England to be close to a wealth of institutions with world-class researchers with whom we can collaborate.
Bogdan Vernescu
Vice Provost for Research