Main image

Seed Awards


The College of Humanities and Sciences (CHS) Seed Awards program supports faculty-driven research and scholarship to broaden the scope of their scholarly endeavors, advance scholarship within their field through innovative projects, and bring projects to completion

Award Information

Applicants should identify the anticipated tangible product of the scholarly effort (e.g., book or other creative/scholarly work, grant proposal, etc.), describe the project in language understandable by a broad audience, and highlight the importance of the award in their career development.

Inclusive research teams encompassing meaningful participation of all members are strongly encouraged, including URM and/or minoritized faculty, early-stage investigators, trainees, and students (graduate and undergraduate).

Examples of eligible proposals include travel to archives or field sites, collection of pilot data for an external funding proposal, or preparation of a book or manuscripts for publication. 

These awards are typically at most $5,000; however, for scholars in disciplines that require laboratory supplies or other experiment-related equipment, requests of up to $10,000 will be considered.

Up to $75,000 will be devoted to funding these awards. These awards are typically at most $5,000; however, for scholars in disciplines that require laboratory supplies or other experiment-related equipment, requests of up to $10,000 will be considered.

Funding is expected to be available on July 1, 2024 and must be spent by June 30, 2025. Therefore, these funds must be spent (not just encumbered) by June 7, 2025 for non-personnel costs. All personnel costs must occur before or during the pay period ending on June 9, 2025. This ensures that all funds are properly used before the end of the fiscal year.

All full-time CHS faculty regardless of rank or tenure status are eligible to apply, if part of their effort allocation is dedicated to research in their work plan.

Applications must include a detailed budget or a description of the intended use of grant funds. Funds must be used in accordance with university guidelines for direct costs associated with the proposal, which can include the following: 1) Student researchers, 2) publishing, 3) supplies/equipment, 4) travel, 5) summer salary, 6) participant payments, and 7) a course release during the Fall 2024 or Spring 2025 semester. Associate for Research and your Chairs/directors must sign off on application, if course-release is proposed.

Cost extensions are not allowed and all funds must be expended by June 30, 2025. Awardees will need to complete the requested final report and be willing to share their experiences and results at a CHS event.


Please keep in mind that not all reviewers will be experts in every proposed field of study, and thus project descriptions should be written for a broad audience.

Three pages maximum, including title, abstract and project description

The project description must address how the proposed activities are consistent with the goals of the program. The description should include sufficient detail such that reviewers can evaluate the appropriateness and feasibility of the proposed plan.

The narrative should describe the proposed scholarly activity in a concise manner.

  • Abstract (concisely convey, in lay terms, the nature of the project and its significance. 250 words maximum)
  • Introduction/background
  • Specific aims
  • Significance and impact
  • Plan to achieve aims

Use the citation format that is appropriate for your field. No page maximum, but limit it to highly relevant citations.

Please submit a detailed budget via the CHS Internal Budget Form.

  • Personnel: For each person included in the proposal, describe the activities they will perform and the estimated time and cost with these activities.
  • Travel: List estimated airfare, lodging, meals and incidental expenses as well as the approximate dates of travel and number of days of research. Economy class flights only are allowed. Travel funding requests must otherwise comply with VCU Office of Procurement Services guidelines. International travel must comply with current university policies.
  • Supplies/equipment: Please itemize supplies and/or equipment in separate subcategories, such as software, subscriptions, books, materials, recordings, tools, chemicals, reagents, etc.
  • Other: Please describe and estimate the cost of any additional activities to be supported by the grant (e.g., conference fees, registration fees or tuition). Please indicate how you arrived at the estimate.
  • Biosketch/CV
  • Current or pending funding information (if not provided on biosketch/CV)

Submission Instructions

Font should be Arial, at a size of 11 or larger. Margins, in all directions, must be at least 1”. The entire package (project narrative, CHS internal budget form, CV, current, pending and intended support) should be uploaded by 5:00 p.m. on February 2, 2024, via the form.

Submit proposal

2024 Recipients

  • Mariam Alkazemi, Ph.D. (Robertson)
  • Susan Bodnar-Deren, Ph.D. (Sociology)
  • Christopher A. Brooks, Ph.D. (World Studies)
  • Joshua Eckhardt, Ph.D. (English)
  • Adam Ewing, Ph.D. (African American Studies)
  • Laura Fix, Ph.D. (Math)
  • Grace Gipson, Ph.D. (African American Studies)
  • Daeha Joung, Ph.D. (Physics)
  • Rohan Kalyan, Ph.D. (World Studies)
  • Ka Un Lao, Ph.D. (Chemistry)
  • Shannon McCallister, Ph.D. (Biology)
  • Brooke Newman, Ph.D. (History)
  • H. Reed Ogrosky, Ph.D. (Math)
  • Joshua Sieber, Ph.D. (Chemistry)
  • Indira Sultanic, Ph.D. (World Studies)
  • Sarah Williams, Ph.D. (Forensic Science)

Previous Recipients

Seed Award

Dace Svikis, Psychology
Advancing precision medicine in alcohol use disorder treatment: Integration of neurofunctional phenotyping into a preliminary investigation of stand-alone web-based cognitive behavioral therapy

Vivian Dzokoto, Psychology
Library and Archives Visit for Research on Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion

Brent Cody, Mathematics and Applied Mathematics
The mathematics and music of maximally even sets

Kamilia Rahmouni, World Studies
Artificial Intelligence vs. Human Tutors: An Exploration of the Effectiveness of ChatGPT in Teaching Arabic 

Soma Dhakal, Chemistry
Two-way dynamics of DNA Holliday junctions: Watching one molecule at a time

Stephanie Walcott, Forensic Science
The Creation of a Gun Shot Residue (GSR) Databank for the Reliable Identification of Ammunition in Shooting Cases

Kristina Hood, Psychology
S.O.S! (Snapshot of Support): A mixed methods photovoice study of the lived experiences of Black women experiencing infertility 

Ka Un Lao, Chemistry
First-Principles Quantum-Crystallographic X-Ray Structure Refinement

Jessica Trisko Darden, Political Science
Unequal Justice: Women’s Accountability for Nazi-Era War Crimes

Julian Glover, Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies
Black Boundlessness: Performance, Aesthetics and Ethics Under Duress

Marilyn Bishop, Physics
A New Structure for Sickle-Cell Hemoglobin

Christopher A. Brooks, World Studies
“We thought the Coronavirus wasn’t as bad:” Considering HIV positivity in the era of the Coronavirus in a Kenyan Community

Victor Chen, Sociology, and Katrina Hamilton, Virginia Community College System
The Structural and Cultural Context of Deaths of Despair: A Qualitative Study of Urban and Rural Joblessness and Precarity

Jeanine Guidry, Media and Culture, and Shillpa Navaal, School of Dentistry (with co-investigators)
Where Religion and Health Collide: Examining HPV Vaccine Uptake Among Children of Evangelicals

Daniel Morales, History
Latino Virginia Project

Michael Paarlberg, Political Science
Diaspora Democracy: Migrant Communities and Transnational Elections in Latin America

Matteo Pangallo, English
Strange Company: Foreign Performers in Medieval and Early Modern England

Cristina Stanciu, English
Indigenous Education and the Literature of the Boarding Schools in the U.S. and Canada

Nicola Tarasca, Mathematics and Applied Mathematics
Quantum Algebra and Geometry of Curves

B. Ethan M. Coston, Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies
In Pursuit of Pleasure: Is “Sexual Health” More Than an Absence of Disease?

Sean Cox, Mathematics and Applied Mathematics
How Robustly Can You Predict the Future?

Christine Cynn, Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies
AIDS Archives: "A Witness of My Time"

Brian Daugherity, History
The Green Light: School Integration in the United States

Soma Dhakal, Chemistry
Single Molecule Analysis of Peptide Modified DNA Holliday Junctions for Therapeutic Applications

Ronald Evans, Kinesiology and Health Sciences
Reconceptualizing Behavioral Weight Loss to Improve Weight Loss Maintenance: A Proof-of-Concept Trial

Nao Hagiwara, Psychology
Racial Disparities in Cancer Genetic Counseling Encounters

Michael Hall, English
Freedom Beyond Confinement: Travel and Imagination in African-American Cultural History and Letters

Mary Caton Lingold, English
Sound Legacy: Music and Slavery in an African Atlantic World

Karen McIntyre, Robertson
Journalistic Role Performance Project: A Systematic Analysis of Professional Roles Among Journalists in Rwanda and 46 Other Countries

Amy Rector, World Studies
Isotopic Records of Climate and Seasonality in the Luangwa River Valley, Zambia

Samaneh Oladi Ghadikolaei, World Studies
In Search of Divine Justice: Iranian Women’s Sacred Activism

Joann Richardson, Kinesiology and Health Sciences
Sole2Soul: Cultural Line Dancing as a Novel Approach to Physical Activity for Healthy Aging in Older African Americans

Sarah Seashols-Williams, Forensic Science
Use of MicroRNA Expression to Predict Body Mass Index in Forensic Samples

Faedah Totah, World Studies
Palestinians in the Old City of Damascus

Wenheng Zhang, Biology
Genetic Basis for Increased Floral Organ Number and Fruit Size in Tomato

Catalyst Award

Kevin Brosnan, Philosophy; Susan Bodnar-Deren, Sociology; and Kenda Sutton-EL, Birth in Color community partner
Health Science in the Time of Uncertainty: Public Health and the Politicization of Science

Maryanne Collinson, Chemistry, and Dexian Ye, Physics
Electrosynthetic approaches to making high surface area, nanoporous reduced graphene oxide composite electrodes

Craig Larson, Mathematics and Applied Mathematics; David Edwards, Statistical Science and Operations Research; and J. Paul Brooks, School of Business
New Methods for Computational Discovery of Patterns in Data

Joann Richardson, Kinesiology and Health Sciences, and Faika Zanjani, Department of Gerontology (with co-investigators)
Sole2Soul: Cultural line dancing as a novel approach to improving physical activity for healthy aging in older African Americans

Julio Alvarez, Biology, and Derek Prosser, Psychology
Single Microbe Electrochemistry