State Economic Engagement & Development (SEED) Fund


The State Economic Engagement & Development (SEED) Research Program grants, administered by Discovery to Product (D2P), allow UW–Madison faculty and academic staff with ownership in a Wisconsin company to apply for funding to engage in innovative research, generate additional private and public sector support for their research programs, and promote technology transfer between the University and industry.


Prior to writing a proposal, we highly recommend that you consult with D2P to discuss the award qualifications as they pertain to your request for funding. These consultations can prove helpful in informing your proposal’s description of what additional research is required and how that research will benefit the company and broader economy.

To qualify for funding, the following three criteria must be met:

  1. The research will take place on the University of Wisconsin–Madison campus;
  2. The faculty or academic staff applicant has ownership in a Wisconsin company which spun out from their prior UW–Madison research; and
  3. The proposed research is designed to facilitate the commercialization of the spinoff company’s technology.


We invite proposals for fiscal year 2022 (funding available from July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022) that focus on research that is technically innovative, of interest to a broad economic sector, and has a high potential to benefit Wisconsin’s industrial and economic development in the near term. The $600,000 in currently available SEED funding will be used to fund approximately 6-12 proposals. SEED awards are funded on 101 accounts which means that any salary awarded will not have fringe benefits charged to this fund.

Deadline to apply: The deadline for proposals for fiscal year 2022 is Monday, February 15, 2021. Updated instructions and application materials will be posted by August 15, 2020.

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Proposals that meet the eligibility requirements above will be reviewed by a committee comprised of individuals involved with technology transfer in a variety of campus capacities. Reviewers will evaluate proposals based upon the following criteria:

  1. Significance: The proposal addresses a significant problem. If the aims of the proposal are achieved, the field of study impacted by the research will realize significant benefit, i.e. research develops break-through technology.
  2. Innovation: The project is original and challenges existing paradigms. The project employs novel concepts, approaches, methodologies, tools, or technologies.
  3. Economic Impact: The research is of interest to a broad economic sector and has the potential to benefit Wisconsin’s industrial and economic development in the near term. Platform innovations tend to have a wider market impact and therefore typically infer greater value. Niche innovations, though more focused, should make a substantial impact in the application area(s) to be considered economically valuable.
  4. Comparison to in-market technology: If the anticipated results of the proposal are achieved, benefits of the technology will be measurably better than currently available technologies. High merit projects enable measurably better performance while low merit projects only enable different techniques.
  5. Commercialization Plan: The proposal explains how the research will support the commercialization of the technology in detail, including information about the timeline for introduction of the technology to the marketplace.
  6. Investigator: The PI and key personnel are well suited to carry out the work required.
  7. Environment: The scientific environment is well suited to the project and contributes to the probability of success. Needed collaborators are lined up and supportive of the project.
  8. Approach: The project is well organized, well defined, and utilizes appropriate frameworks, design, methods, and analyses. Risks of the project are identified and assessed.

Proposals are reviewed by a committee and reviewer feedback is shared anonymously with applicants. Results of proposal reviews are typically available within 6-8 weeks of the application deadline. Proposals that pass the review stage may be invited to present their application in person to determine final awards.


Your submission must include the following:

  1. Cover Page*
  2. Budget Form*
  3. Project Proposal, including the following sections (not to exceed 6 pages, excluding cover page and budget form):
  • Abstract
  • Research plan
  • Identification of PI and key personnel
  • Concurrent and future research plans
  • Statement on how research will facilitate the commercialization of the company’s technology
  • Statements about how the research meets the selection criteria.

* Templates for the Cover Page and Budget form for Fiscal Year 2022 proposals will be uploaded by August 15, 2020.


Page Limit: Limit submission to proposal (6 pages) plus cover page and budget form.

PIs: Use WISPER to route your proposal.

  • On the General tab:
    • Select “OVCRGE” as the document type.
    • Select “University of Wisconsin-Madison” as the sponsor.
    • Ensure all clearance questions are answered and any required protocol information is provided.
  • On the “Attachments” tab, upload a copy of the entire application as a PDF file.
  • Electronically complete the PI signatures for both Award and Proposal.
  • Route to your division as you do with other WISPER records.

School/College: Do NOT submit the WISPER record to the SPO. Sign the WISPER record and route directly to Jesse Lynch.

Questions? Please email D2P at

Reporting Requirements and Forms for SEED Recipients

Final Report Due Dates

Final reports are due by the last day of the funding period. Failure to file the report in a timely manner may affect a recipient’s ability to receive future funding under this program.

Final report template (Word)

Email your final report