CITRIS & Tec de Monterrey (ITESM) Seed Funding

CITRIS + ITESM Seed Funding

3/24/2020 Update: Due to the new challenges posed to our working schedules and lives by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have decided to amend the submission deadline of our 2020 RFP until June 19, 2020. The portal will open on May 18, 2020. There are no changes to the RFP. We know you are all working hard to connect with partners and apologize for the delay. Any questions, please contact

CITRIS and the Banatao Institute create information technology solutions for society’s most pressing challenges. Established in 2001, the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) leverages the interdisciplinary research strengths of multiple UC campuses to advance the University of California’s mission and the innovative spirit of California. The institute was created to shorten the pipeline between world-class laboratory research and the development of cutting-edge applications, platforms, companies, and even new industries.

The Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM) was founded in 1943 by Eugenio Garza Sada and a group of Mexican entrepreneurs who implemented their vision for a cutting-edge educational institution. ITESM is a private, non-profit institution, independent from political and religious affiliations. Tecnológico de Monterrey seeks to develop leaders who embrace an entrepreneurial spirit, a humanistic outlook, and are competitive on an international scale.

CITRIS invites Principal Investigators at UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Davis Health, UC Merced, and UC Santa Cruz to collaborate with researchers at ITESM and apply for seed funding that furthers our mutual research interests, strengthens connections among the campuses, and catalyzes early-stage research that can lead to external funding.

Funded projects have attracted follow-on support from federal, state, corporate, and private sources including the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Intel, Microsoft, Mellon Foundation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Email for questions or assistance.

 CITRIS and ITESM Seed Funding Program 
Area(s) of Interest
Total Funds Available$100,000
Project Amount$25,000

At least 2 PIs. Minimum of one from ITESM and one from a CITRIS and the Banatao Institute campuses:

  • UC Berkeley
  • UC Davis
  • UC Davis Health
  • UC Merced
  • UC Santa Cruz
Application DeadlineMonday, April 20, 2020 at 5:00 PM (PST) / 7:00 PM (CST)

  • February 26, 2020: Call for CITRIS & ITESM Seed Funding Proposals announced.

    February–March 2020: Matchmaking and multi-campus team formation occurs among Principal Investigators. Contact (University of California faculty) or Dr. Pedro Ponce Cruz at (ITESM faculty) for assistance with finding compatible co-PIs.

  • March 20, 2020: Online application portal opens for submissions. Link to the portal will be posted on the CITRIS & ITESM Seed Funding webpage.

  • April 20, 2020 at 5:00pm PST: Applications are due via online portal.

  • March 6, 2020: Applicants who received a CITRIS-ITESM Seed Fund Award in 2019 must submit a progress report in order to be considered for a Seed Fund Award in 2020.

  • May 20, 2020: Awardees are notified.

  • July 2020: Awardee funds are distributed.

  • August 1, 2020: Performance period begins for 2020 awarded projects.

  • August 31, 2021: Performance period ends for 2020 awarded projects.

  • Jan 31, 2021: Final reports for 2020 Seed Fund Award projects are due.

  • Jan 31, 2020: Final reports for 2019 Seed Grant projects are due.

For the CITRIS & ITESM Seed Funding opportunity:

  • To encourage California/Mexico collaboration, each proposal must include at least two Principal Investigators: at least one from ITESM and at least one from a CITRIS and the Banatao Institute campus (Berkeley, Davis, Merced, and Santa Cruz).
  • Projects are expected to further one or more of the CITRIS and the Banatao Institute’s areas of interest (see table above).
  • Projects that use CITRIS research assets, such as the Marvell NanoLab and CITRIS Invention Lab, are also encouraged.
  • UC investigators need not submit proposals for review through their Sponsored Projects Office.

Seed Grant proposals are evaluated according to the following criteria:

  1. Feasibility: Can the stated goals be achieved within 12-18 months?
  2. Creates solution to a societal challenge: Is the societal problem and its scale clearly identified? Will the proposed project help to address this challenge?
  3. Potential for follow-on funding: Has this area of research been identified by federal agencies or other funders as an area of future investment? Will the CITRIS Seed Grant help the investigators make a stronger case for future external funding?
  4. Alignment with CITRIS research initiatives and the charter of the Banatao Institute: Does the proposal further one or more of the CITRIS interest areas described below? Proposals are also invited that further the goals of the newly chartered Banatao Institute at CITRIS, which leverages University of California expertise and IT solutions for the benefit of developing regions in the U.S. and abroad.
  5. Use of CITRIS and the Banatao Institute research assets including the Marvell NanoLabCITRIS Invention Lab, or other CITRIS-affiliated testbeds is encouraged but not required.
  6. Inclusion of pre-tenured faculty is encouraged but not required.

The CITRIS Seed Grant Program is designed to support innovative, early-stage collaborative projects that can attract larger-scale support from federal, state, industrial, and/or private funding sources.

  • CITRIS Seed Funding may not be used for faculty salary or non-resident tuition. Indirect costs are not allowed.
  • Principal Investigator may participate in no more than two proposals per application cycle and serve as lead researcher on no more than one proposal per application cycle.
  • Principal Investigators who have previously received seed funding must submit an online status report for the previous project(s) before being considered for a new CITRIS Seed Grant.
  • CITRIS Researchers directory
  • Email for matchmaking assistance to find potential ITESM co-PIs in your topics of interest
  • Email Dr. Pedro Ponce Cruz at (ITESM) for assistance with finding compatible CITRIS co-PIs

How to acknowledge CITRIS and the Banatao Institute Seed Funding

  • A unique CITRIS and the Banatao Institute Seed Grant award number is issued to PIs for use in reporting, publication tracking, and follow-on proposals.
  • Acknowledgement statement: “This research was supported by a joint Seed Funding Award [CITRIS-Year-Award#] from CITRIS and the Banatao Institute at the University of California and Tecnológico de Monterrey.”
  • Download CITRIS and the Banatao Institute logos for poster, presentation, print, and online use. Any questions, please email

Resources for current awardees

Point of contact for CITRIS Seed Funding

Questions? Please contact: 

Dr. Pedro Ponce Cruz,