CITRIS Core Seed Funding

CITRIS and the Banatao Institute - CITRIS Core Seed Funding

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) shortens the pipeline between world-class research and the development of cutting-edge applications, platforms, companies, and even new industries. Information technology now touches nearly every aspect of modern life — from exploring the outer reaches of space to managing natural resources, powering complex cities, and connecting people around the planet.

Since 2008, the CITRIS Core Seed Funding program has invited Principal Investigators at UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Davis Health, UC Merced and UC Santa Cruz to submit proposals that further our research priorities, strengthen connections among UC campuses, and catalyze early-stage work that can lead to external funding. Awardees embody the university’s public mission and innovative spirit of California.

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

The Core Seed Funding request for proposals (RFP) is announced annually. Seeded projects are intended to yield results within 12 months or less. Eligibility information and timelines are provided below. Additional targeted RFPs may be available throughout the year and can be accessed using the button links above.

Please email for questions or assistance.

CITRIS Core Seed Funding Program

Areas of Interest
Core Technology
Sustainable Infrastructures
People and Robots

Technology & Society
Policy Lab
The Future of Work
Women in Technology

Award Amount
$40,000 to $60,000

At least two Principal Investigators (PIs) per proposal, each from a different CITRIS campus.

Application Deadline
Updated: September 17, 2020 at 5:00pm PST via the application portal.

The following timelines are for the 2020 award program, which is now closed and projects are underway. Information about the 2021 funding cycle and request for proposals (RFP) will be posted this summer. Subscribe to the CITRIS Mailing List to receive updates.

  • January 8, 2020: RFP released and application portal opens.
  • January–February 2020: Campus info sessions; proposal team formation.
  • January–March 2020: Principal Investigators begin to form multi-campus teams. Complete Team Formation Support questionnaire for assistance finding compatible co-PIs, if needed.
  • September 17, 2020, at 5:00 pm PST: Applications are due online.
  • September 17, 2020: Applicants who received a CITRIS Core Seed Fund Award in 2019 must submit a progress report to be considered for a Core Seed Fund Award in 2020.
  • Late October 2020: Awardees are notified via email.
  • November–December 2020: Award funds transferred. 
  • December 1, 2020: Performance period begins for 2020 awardees.
  • December 15, 2021: Performance period ends for 2020 awardees.
  • January 31, 2022: Performance report is due online for 2020 Seed Award.
  • Info Session Dates TBD

Contact for Info Session RSVP details. 

  • CITRIS Seed Funding may not be used for faculty salary or non-resident tuition.
  • Principal Investigator may participate in a maximum of two proposals per application cycle and serve as Lead researcher on a maximum of one proposal per application cycle.
  • Principal Investigators who have previously received a CITRIS Core Seed Award must submit an online status report for the previous project(s) before being considered for a new Core Seed Award.
  1. Feasibility: Can the stated goals be achieved within 12-18 months?
  2. Creates solution to a societal challenge and demonstrates impact: Is the societal problem and its scale clearly identified? What potential impact will this seed-funded work have on the challenge, field, and/or society? 
  3. Potential for follow-on funding: How will investigators build upon the CITRIS Seed Fund Award outcomes? Has this topic been identified by federal agencies or other funders for future investment? Projects demonstrating a clear path from seed investigation to expanded funding will be rated more favorably. Awardees will be asked to report on resulting proposals.
  4. Alignment with the CITRIS mission and research initiatives: Does the proposal advance information technology solutions in one or more of the current CITRIS interest areas described below? Under the charter of the Banatao Institute, applications that benefit developing regions in the U.S. and abroad are also welcome, but not required.
  5. Use of CITRIS and the Banatao Institute research assets including the Marvell NanoLab, CITRIS Invention Lab, or other CITRIS-affiliated testbeds is encouraged, but not required.
  6. Inclusion of pre-tenured faculty is highly encouraged, but not required.

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

For prospective applicants:

For awardees:

How to acknowledge CITRIS Seed Funding:

  • A unique CITRIS Seed Fund award number is issued to PIs for use in reporting, publication tracking, and follow-on proposals.
  • Please use this acknowledgment statement: “This research was supported by Seed Fund Award [CITRIS-Year-Award#] from CITRIS and the Banatao Institute at the University of California.”
  • Download CITRIS logos for poster, presentation, print, and online use related to your award. Please contact with questions.

Contact information: