Fall 2023 Societal Impact Seed Grants Program Request for Proposals


The Office of the Provost is pleased to issue a request for proposals to support innovative faculty-led projects that leverage scholarly research for a broader societal impact. This work is intended to advance the University’s Fourth Purpose. 

This seed grant funding initiative is designed to: 

  • encourage multi-disciplinary faculty research;
  • engage neighboring community members as key stakeholders (i.e., planners, decision makers, consultants) on social impact research projects;
  • engage government agencies, civil society organizations, industry, nonprofits, community groups, among others;
  • enable the expertise of faculty to have a broader societal impact; and
  • develop pilot data that faculty may utilize to secure external funding. 

Deans and Department Chairs should alert eligible faculty members about this request for proposals. Given the limited number of slots, Schools are strongly encouraged to develop a process for determining which faculty proposals will be prioritized and put forward in this round. Departments planning to nominate a faculty member should coordinate with their Dean. Proposals must be submitted with the support and sign-off by the School’s Dean. 


The Office of the Provost will accept applications from full-time faculty members from the Morningside, Manhattanville, and Columbia University Irving Medical Center campuses. 

Scope of Commitments and Budget

The Office of the Provost will provide up to $15,000 per project. Funds awarded by the Office of the Provost must be matched by an academic unit (e.g., school, department, division, center, etc.) and/or external funder(s) (e.g., government agencies, non-profit organizations, corporations, etc.) at a 2:1 ratio (up to $7,500 to be provided by the respective academic unit and/or external funder). 

NOTE: Office of the Provost funds will be distributed once the grant recipient provides a record of the commitment of matching funds. Office of the Provost funds cannot be used for capital expenditures. 

How to Apply

Components of a Complete Applications

  • Department/School details and signatures from the relevant Dean(s) (and department chair(s), if applicable)
  • Applicant(s) proposal (not to exceed 4 pages), that includes the following sections (each section denoted with a separate header): 
    • Project goals, objectives and scope 

    • Statement on the multidisciplinary nature of the project and its and potential to engage a range of university constituents, including faculty, staff, students, and/or neighboring community members

    • Plan to engage neighboring community members as key stakeholders (i.e., planners, decision makers, consultants) on social impact research activities

    • Evaluation criteria and planned methodology for evaluation

    • Statement on the scalability and/or replicability of the project

    • Budget projection and narrative, including plan to acquire matching funds or confirmation of matching funds. We recognize that the proposed budget is based on your estimate of costs. The actual budget, and Office of the Provost award, will be based on the final costs and matching funds.Target area of Fourth Purpose scholarship, including how the proposed work will complement and enhance existing work at the university

  • Applicant(s) curricula vitae

Submission Details and Timeline

The entire application must be submitted via the online submission form. If you need to share the application-in-progress with others in your academic unit, please follow these steps:

  1. Open the application
  2. Click “Save” at the bottom of the page
  3. Select “Get shareable link”
  4. Paste and email the link to yourself and the corresponding colleague(s)
The Fall 2023 submission deadline has passed. Notifications will be made by mid December.

Review Process 

A committee appointed by the Provost will review the applications and will make recommendations to the Provost. 


If you have any questions during the submission period, please contact our office at [email protected].