What is START Funding?

Seeding To Accelerate Research Themes, or START, is a new program in Engineering. START provides a mechanism for faculty members to obtain preliminary results for new and innovative research that is not yet ready for external proposal submission. The program provides grants of up to $75K with a required cost sharing of 1/3 by the faculty members on the grant, collectively. There is no proposal, budget, or formal scientific review, and the grants are distributed using a token-based random algorithm.

How does the token-based system work?

All tenured or tenure-track assistant/associate/full professors and associate/full research professors with at least a 50% appointment in the U-M Ann Arbor College of Engineering will receive a token worth up to $15K (max $10K from the College, max $5K cost-shared by the faculty member). Interested faculty members should form a team and then request funds by pooling 2 to 5 tokens to obtain up to $75K.

How do I obtain a grant?

Form a team which includes, but is not limited to, 2-5 token-holding Engineering faculty members. Submit a title and descriptive paragraph for the project, a list of the 2 to 5 faculty token holders for the grant, and the total amount requested up to the maximum of $75K. The START grant application is now open for submissions and will close on Wednesday, April 6 at 12:00 p.m. (noon) EDT.

How will funds be distributed?

The goal of the program is to fund all requests. Initially, we anticipate the requests for funding to exceed the funds available in the first year ($1M including cost-sharing). If that does happen, we will use a random distribution method: randomize the list of requested grants; start from the top of that list and choose grants until funds are exhausted.

200 or more faculty members are targeted to be funded over the three-year cycle ($3M total including cost sharing). Note that each faculty member receives only one token during this period.

How can start funds be used?

Funds should be used to catalyze bold new research to obtain preliminary results for eventual external proposal submission. 

Over half of the funds must be used to train UG students, graduate students, or postdocs by paying salaries, tuition and lab fees for trainees.  Other expenses, such as supply and equipment purchases, are allowed.  Funds cannot be used for faculty salaries or for travel.