The University of Tennessee-Oak Ridge Innovation Institute (UT-ORII) has established a Seed Funding program to support new and highly innovative multidisciplinary research projects designed by ORNL-UT research teams.

Teams funded must commit to develop highly competitive large-scale proposals targeting federal agencies like NSF, NIH, DoD, DOE, DHS (centers of excellence), or large-scale industrial collaboration opportunities like IACMI and AMRC.

The initial target areas for this program include:

  1. Autonomous, Smart, Secure and Resilient Energy Systems;
  2. Electrochemical Energy Systems;
  3. Advanced Science and Engineering of Materials and Manufacturing; and
  4. Predictive Systems Biology for Circular and Sustainable Economies.


UT-ORII Seed Funding Presentation
Download Stacey Patterson’s presentation on seed funding opportunities (delivered Sept. 15, 2020)

Proposals should articulate interdisciplinary approaches and include advances in developing the knowledge and skills that integrate data science, engineering, and technology with contextual applications.

Funding provided to successful teams will support the development of preliminary data and will provide UT-Oak Ridge Innovation Institute graduate students with enriching, rewarding team science experiences. Proposing teams must include at least two ORNL scientist PIs and two UT faculty PIs.

Proposals are due by June 28, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. EDT. Visit for more details or to apply. If you have questions, please contact Betty Carmon at


Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a limit to the number of proposals on which a single PI can be named?


How many proposals will be funded for this call?

Approximately 2-3 proposals will be funded for this call.

How can the funds be used?

Funds may be used for faculty and post-doc salaries, supplies, and other pre-approved items. Funds generally may not be applied to equipment, GRAs (as these are funded separately) and travel.

Do collaborations between UT and ORNL PIs have to be new collaborations?

No. However, new collaborations are encouraged. Existing collaborators should explore new avenues of research, rather than continuing existing work on an existing collaboration.

Can the funds be applied to both UT and ORNL?

Yes, funds may be applied to either institution, but this must be included in the proposal’s budget.

Will all future UT-ORII proposals be limited to these focus areas?

No, these focus areas are specific to this call. Future opportunities will have different parameters.

Are PIs currently funded by the Science Alliance eligible to apply?

Yes, this is a different program.

If you have any other questions not answered on this page, please contact Betty Carmon at