Does your institution want to create an Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP)? Perhaps you're looking to support efforts that have already started or strengthen what's currently in place.

The OSP Seed Grant helps SuRE-qualified institutions with a desire to establish or strengthen their research infrastructure. Administered by the SuRE Resource Center, seed grants are awarded annually through a competitive application process. Fostering an Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP) makes it more feasible for institutions to support faculty, increase the number of R16 grants they submit and are awarded — and provide more opportunities for their students to participate in biomedical and behavioral research.  

It's important to note that funds for these grants cannot be used for faculty research purposes. 



4-6 Annual Awards

A total of four to six grants will be awarded each year. Awardees may request a one-year no-cost extension.

$50K Direct Costs

A maximum one-year budget of $50,000 in direct costs. There are no indirect costs.



The OSP Seed Grant may fund any initiative to help move institutions toward building or enhancing a research infrastructure. Below are a few ideas, but this is not a finite list. You may have other ideas, and we’d like to hear about them. It is important to note that this funding mechanism cannot be used for faculty research.


Funding Ideas


Initiate and improve processes to ensure compliance with NIH guidelines.


Conduct a third-party evaluation of OSP operations by hiring a consultant.


Invest in technology to improve OSP operations, such as S2S, budget management software, or others.


Professional development and engagement for research administrators.


Improve financial services around budget development and post-grant management.


Bring in a professional to get a program started or augment existing staff to address shortages. 

More Details

Evaluation Criteria

The criteria for evaluation include the following:

• Evidence of how the funds will enhance OSPs
• Strategies to sustain OSP activity after the seed grant ends
• Institutional commitment to research (as described by the letter from the institutional official).

The review committee will consider geographical location as criteria to ensure the broad regional distribution of seed grants. The program is particularly interested in transformational capacity-building applications. While all institutions with less than $6 million in NIH research funding and >25% Pell-eligible students are eligible, those institutions that have not previously been engaged in NIH-funded research, including MSIs like HBCUs, HSIs, and TCCUs, and institutions from IDeA states, are strongly encouraged to apply.

Applicant Profile

Each OSP seed grant application must have an Applicant Lead [an individual from OSP (or equivalent); although a faculty member can serve as Applicant Lead at those institutions which do not allow staff members to be the designated head of subawards]. This person will be responsible for seed grant oversight and the proper distribution of seed grant funds. 

Awardees (Applicant Leads and others) will work closely with the SuRE Resource Center, including attendance at quarterly meetings, to ensure that the seed grant objectives are being met and to share best practices. OSP seed grant Applicant Leads must also agree to attend biennial SuRE conferences (costs will be covered by the SuRE program). 

Required Attachments

I. Current OSP and Institutional Environment
In this section, you will provide insight into your institution’s current research environment. Supplemental graphics and charts may be included to support this narrative.

  1. Describe your current Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP), including staffing and budget (or a proposed model if an OSP does not exist) and the current level of sponsored projects activity at your institution. Describe what you consider to be the current major shortcomings in your OSP operations. (500 words or less)
  2. Describe the scholarly environment and the institution’s goals for establishing or enhancing sponsored project support. Describe the specific activities that will be conducted to build/strengthen the OSP during the one-year period of the grant. Outline the expected impacts associated with the project activities. (500 words or less)

II. Letter of Support
A letter from an institutional official (Dean, Provost, Vice-President of Research, etc.) demonstrating their support for the OSP Seed Grant. This letter should also describe how OSP responsibilities will be sustained after the grant period ends.

III. Grant Budget & Justification
This attachment must include a brief justification/description for each budgetary item being requested. Allowable Costs Include:  research development/administrative software, travel to meetings for research administration training, society membership fees, consultant costs to enhance research administrative infrastructure, personnel costs, etc. Unallowable Costs Include: direct grants to faculty investigators for scientific projects, Applicant Lead support, or indirect costs.  

Post-Award Expectations

It is important for the SuRE Resource Center to evaluate the success of the OSP seed grant program. To help achieve this goal, OSP seed grant awardees must agree to complete yearly updates for five years after the seed grant ends. These updates must include:

  1. Number and type of NIH grants submitted/reviewed/scored/funded and non-NIH grants submitted/funded and
  2. Number of faculty who have submitted grants; abstracts submitted to national meetings (platform and poster presentations) and publications resulting from NIH funding (highlighting both faculty and students) 

Regional Coordinator Assistance ARE YOU ELIGIBLE?

Have questions about your institution’s SuRE eligibility? If so, we’re here to help. Please feel free to submit a request for one of our Regional Coordinators to contact you. They will be happy to provide guidance and answer your questions about SuRE.