SSRI Level 1 Funding

SSRI Level 1 Proposal Submission Form (doc)

Financial support range: $500 - $5,000

The SSRI provides financial support to increase the quantity and quality of interdisciplinary research by Penn State faculty members. Our proposal review process is evaluative (we provide consultation for developing proposals that meet NIH standards) and developmental (we are invested in supporting faculty members to initiate research programs that can attract external funding). Our faculty’s success at winning external funding provides the resource foundation for a sustainable pilot grant program. Toward this end we offer consultation as you develop your proposal, prior to its submission. We strongly encourage you to access this opportunity if you are new to SSRI's seed funding programs or have not been funded by SSRI in recent years. You can do so by contacting SSRI Associate Director, Dr. Danielle Downs, or sending an email to

The Level 1 funding mechanism is primarily designed to assist PSU social science faculty at University Park and the College of Medicine to form interdisciplinary research teams directed at pursuing external funding by supporting meetings to discuss mutual interests, develop research questions, identify leaders, conduct literature reviews, and collect pilot data. Although external collaborators may be included, our focus is on developing ongoing PSU teams. For this reason team leaders should be tenure track or research faculty with continuing appointments.

  • Level 1 proposals range from $500-$5,000
  • Level 1 proposals should be short (2 pages) and may be submitted at any time during the year
  • The SSRI Director, Associate Director, and relevant college Associate Deans will review these proposals and typically provide feedback within 4-6 weeks from the date of submission (please note that proposals receiving a revise and resubmit may take longer for a final decision on funding)
  • Funds are allocated for a 6-12 month period

Level 1 funds are intended to provide support for:

  • Development of new, innovative research projects aimed at attracting external funding
  • Creation of interdisciplinary networking groups
  • Support for meetings (including travel)
  • Graduate assistant time
  • Paying outside consultants
  • Small pilot studies

Level 1 funds are NOT intended to support:

  • Expenditures generally made by departments and colleges (e.g., travel to professional conferences, seed money for an individual project)
  • Delivery of outreach programs or services
  • Requests for funds for meals and snacks should be kept to a minimum
  • Student projects (masters, dissertation research)
  • Publication costs

Criteria for Review

  • Priority is placed on new ideas that involve cross-department and/or cross-college (interdisciplinary) collaboration
  • A well articulated plan of activities to include appropriate literature review, clear objectives and detailed methodology
  • Teams comprised of investigators who range in seniority and experience
  • Proposals must provide strong evidence for access to the population of interest
  • Proposals must make a clear contribution to social science

Structure and Submission of Proposals

Proposals must be submitted as one document via email to To complete your proposal submission, you must download, complete, and email the forms below:

Proposal Submission Form (doc)

On those occasions where proposed research will involve either primary data collection or the use of secondary data, investigators are expected to prepare and submit the appropriate requests for IRB approval of research involving human or animal participants (whichever is appropriate to the project). Examples of successful SSRI Level 1 proposals are below.

Project Reports

Investigators are expected to provide an annual project status update and a brief (one page) final report upon completing the project. These efforts allow us to track and report outcomes as well as monitor the successfulness of our seed grant program.

If you need to make changes to the project team, description, design, or budget during the course of your projects, please send a request to with the details of these changes.

Example of a Successful SSRI Level 1 Proposal

If have questions about these funding opportunities, please contact:

  • Danielle Downs, Ph.D., Associate Director of the Social Science Research Institute and Professor of Kinesiology and Obstetrics & Gynecology