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) 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 CITRIS Core Seed Funding program invite Principal Investigators at UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Davis Health, UC Merced, and UC Santa Cruz campuses to submit project proposals that further CITRIS and the Banatao Institute research initiatives, strengthen connections among UC campuses, and catalyze early-stage research that can lead to external funding.

Funded projects have attracted more than $60 million in 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.

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CITRIS Core Seed Funding Program

Area(s) of Interest
Core Technology
Sustainable Infrastructures
People and Robots

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

Project Amount
$40,000 to $60,000

At least 2 Principal Investigators (PIs) per proposal. Each from a different CITRIS campus.

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

  • January 8, 2020: RFP Released and Application Portal Opens
  • January–February 2020: Campus info sessions; proposal team formation.
  • January–March 2020: Matchmaking and multi-campus team formation occur among Principal Investigators. Complete Team Formation Support Form for assistance with finding compatible co-PIs.
  • September 17, 2020, at 5:00 pm PST: Applications are due online.
  • September 17, 2020: Applicants who received a Seed Fund Award in 2019 must submit a preliminary report to be considered for a Seed Fund Award in 2020.
  • Late October 2020: Awardees are notified.
  • November–December 2020: Awardee funds transferred. 
  • December 1, 2020: Performance period begins for 2020 awarded projects.
  • December 15, 2021: Performance period ends for 2020 awarded projects.
  • January 31, 2022: Final reports for 2020 Seed Fund Award projects are due.
  • January 28, 2020 | 12pm – 1pm: UC Davis
  • January 30, 2020 | 11am – 12pm: UC Santa Cruz
  • February 6, 2020 | 12pm – 1pm: UC Merced

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 seed funding must submit an online status report for the previous project(s) before being considered for a new CITRIS Seed Fund 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.

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.
  • Acknowledgment statement: “This research was supported by a 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. Any questions, please contact

Contact information:

  • Email for questions or assistance about the CITRIS Core Seed Funding program. 

Email for questions or assistance.