Discovery Fund Seed Grant Program

2019 Discovery Fund Call for Proposals


The Advanced Diagnostics & Therapeutics initiative (AD&T) requests proposals from Notre Dame faculty members that address AD&T’s themes of Diagnostics, Therapeutics, Imaging, Precision Medicine, or Health-Related Behavioral Sciences. We intend to support several projects across these themes. The application window for the 2019 Discovery Fund proposals opens on May 1, and all proposals are due by 5 p.m. on Friday, June 21.


NEW: Over the next three years (2019-2021), the Discovery Fund will make additional awards to support projects that address the physical, behavioral, or neurological factors relating to addiction (substance use disorder). Proposed projects may target understanding, treatment, or prevention and may utilize tools ranging from the molecular/cellular to the behavioral/social sciences. We anticipate making two awards in 2019 commensurate in scale with the other Discovery Fund awards (approximately $50,000 each), although particularly meritorious larger projects will also be considered. This significant new research opportunity is made possible by generous gifts from the Brown and Pickle families.


Research proposals will be reviewed by on-campus experts (accounting for conflicts of interest) and rated according to: (a) scientific excellence; (b) potential to start new, or enhance existing, collaborations; (c) feasibility of the research plan; (d) capacity to leverage existing resources; (d) potential for technology translation; and (e) potential to attract sustainable external support. After the peer-review ratings are received, the proposals will be ranked and a proposed set of funded projects presented to the Steering Committee for approval. Proposals may be single- or multi-PI and should address as many of the evaluation criteria as possible.




All proposals should be submitted by e-mail by June 21 to as a single PDF file containing all of the elements listed below:


  1. Title page -- including title and the contact information for the PI and all co-PIs
  2. Project narrative -- 2-page limit. This section must include: (a) short summary; (b) goals/aims; (c) research plan, (d) milestones, and (e) personnel and resources leveraged.
  3. Bibliography (no page limit)
  4. CVs for all PIs – 2-page limit for each PI
  5. Budget with justification


AD&T Discovery Fund Facts


Since 2013AD&T has conducted an annual seed grant program, the Discovery Fund, to identify the most promising new ideas in research related to AD&T themes. The goal is to help faculty test new ideas and collect the preliminary data needed to prepare strongly competitive extramural grant applications to carry those ideas forward. Discovery Fund awards are typically made to multi-PI projects, have budgets of approximately $35,000 to $45,000 for one year, and typically cover personnel (often a graduate student), supplies, and small equipment items, as needed.


Metrics collected on the first five years of the program (2013-17) demonstrate that the Discovery Fund has been successful in identifying new ideas and helping them mature to external funding, additional research activity, support for students, and new intellectual property. Over that period, the program distributed $949,821 to 26 projects (an average of $36,532 per project and 5 projects per year) involving 43 faculty members. To-date, those projects have led to $10,523,541 in external funding—an 11:1 return on investment. Those projects have also produced 62 publications, 35 poster presentations, and provided direct funding to 40 postdocs, graduate students, and undergraduates.


Additional Information


Please contact Arnie Phifer, AD&T Associate Director, at with questions.