Frequently Asked Questions

Seed Grants

What is a Seed Grant?
A Seed Grant is a small grant is designed to seed an idea or concept and possibly allow a team to plan for a larger project effort. They are typically smaller amounts of funding and projects completed in 6-8 months.
Who is eligible for a Seed Grant?
Any U-M Ann Arbor campus student currently enrolled in classes and in good academic standing. Applicants may be undergraduate or graduate students interested in working collaboratively on an interdisciplinary project that addresses the environment, economy, and society.
If I am a Dow Fellow, can I also apply for a Seed Grant?
Starting in 2019, Dow Master’s Fellows are not eligible to apply for a Seed Grant. However, Dow Master’s Fellows may apply for a Large Grant.
Is there a limit to how many students can be on a project team?
Each team should represent minimally 3 different disciplines and be comprised of 4-5 students. The maximum number of students is 6 and the minimum is 3.
When is my Seed Grant application due?
The Seed Grant application opens in mid-winter annually. Applications are due early spring. Check the Dow Sustainability Fellows - Distinguished Awards website
Where do I submit my application?
Applications are submitted online through the Dow Distinguished Awards Application webpage, see the Dow Sustainability Fellows - Distinguished Awards website.
How many Seed Grant Projects are Supported?
Up to 12 projects are supported annually.
What types of Seed Grant projects are typically conducted?
Project teams must identify a client/sponsor external to the university and must include a sustainability component such as energy, water, communities, food, built environment and transportation, but are not limited to these topics. Projects are encouraged to encompass unique ideas. See the Funded Distinguished Awards Projects website for examples.
Can I use a project idea from my faculty advisor and use this in a proposal?
Yes. Your project may be based on an existing research effort but projects must be student-led. Faculty advisors often provide student teams with ideas to pursue, and can connect teams with potential clients or stakeholders.
What are the typical expenses for Seed Grants?
Client and team engagement (e.g., meetings, workshops, focus groups) are typical activities of Seed Grant teams that may involve travel and hosting events. Expenditures for equipment are discouraged.
Do I need to submit any references?
No, references are not required. But all team members, including a faculty advisor must agree to a firm commitment to implement the project as described in the proposal with demonstrable results delivered by the deadlines and according to the Dow Fellows Program - Distinguished Award guidelines.

Distinguished Award Large Grant Competition

What is a Large Grant?
A Large Grant is a more robust project effort, with additional activities, deliverables, and an expectation for a specific outcome and impact. Seed Grant applicants may, but are not required to apply for a Large Grant.
Who is eligible for a Large Grant?
Applicants (undergraduate or graduate students) who have been awarded a Seed Grant or current Dow Fellows are eligible to apply for a Large Grant. Teams interested in continuing to work collaboratively on an interdisciplinary project that addresses the environment, economy, and society must demonstrate how they will leverage and extend existing project efforts.
When is my Large Grant Proposal due?
Proposals are due in mid-September annually. Applicants interested in competing for a Large Grant must apply online, and include a summary of work completed to date, a scope of work for additional work proposed, and a budget. See the Large Grant Competition Rating Scale page.
What are the typical expenses for Large Grants?
Client and team engagement (e.g., meetings, workshops, focus groups) are typical activities of project teams that may involve local or international travel and hosting events. Expenditures for equipment are discouraged.
Who supports this effort?
The Distinguished Awards Competition is supported by the Dow Sustainability Fellows Program at the University of Michigan.

Benefits of Participating in a Dow Distinguished Award Project

Why should I join a Distinguished Award team?
Participation in this program provides relevant experience for those seeking a career in the sustainability field. This program provides an opportunity for students to work in interdisciplinary teams to achieve a common goal and to apply the skills they have learned in classes to solve sustainability challenges. Working with a client/community/stakeholders provides an experience beyond the classroom.
Can the Distinguished Award funds be used for tuition?
No, the program supports direct expenses of the projects including, but not limited to, travel and client/community engagement. See Distinguished Awards website for more details.
What can a team do with additional funding through a Large Grant?
Support can be used for travel to meet with stakeholders and clients, host workshops, develop a prototype of a new product or engage in more research and analysis to address client needs. Large Grants allow teams to dive deeper into their projects and engage in activities that would not otherwise be possible. However, additional funding may not be used to purchase equipment.