Research Opportunities

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Minnesota Robotics Institute Seed Grants

Inspiration for research can come from everywhere, that's why the Minnesota Robotics Institute (MnRI) solicits seed grant proposals in the broad research areas of robotics, sensors and advanced manufacturing.


  • Proposals for seed research grants that can lay the foundation for future large projects of transformative impact are desired.
  • Each proposal should involve multi-disciplinary collaboration between two or more Co-PIs and can involve fundamental or translational science and engineering.
  • The proposal should describe how the seed project will lead to submission of a large grant proposal to NSF, NIH or other government agencies or lead to other high impact outcomes.
  • The availability of matching funds from an industrial partner will be viewed favorably by the review committee but is not a necessary requirement.
  • Budgets can range from $25,000 to $55,000 depending on the number of Co-Is involved and the scope & potential impact of the proposed activity. Requests for higher amounts could be considered if proper justification is provided.


The proposal should contain the following sections:

  • Cover page — Title of proposal, names and contact information for PI and Co-PIs/ Co-Is.
  • Project Description — three-page document including an Abstract (<250 words), Introduction, Intellectual Merit, Research Description, Key Milestones (including external grant proposal submission), and Timeline.
  • Potential Impact Description — one-page document including descriptions of:
    • Future Impact: Plans for near-term submission of major grant proposals as a result of the work initiated in this seed project
    • Past Work: Describe past MnDrive funding received (if applicable) and how it has impacted your research
  • References cited and support letters as appropriate
  • Budget for a project period of one-year, starting Spring semester 2020
  • Curriculum Vitae for PI and Co-PIs, two-pages each
  • List of current and pending projects for PIs and Co-PIs
  • Minimum font size of 11 and 1-inch page margins


Submit your proposal as a single pdf file (including all sections) via email to MnRI Administrator Char Psihos ( Please include in the title of the email the words “MnRI RFP”. Funding decisions are expected to be made by the end of the calendar year.

NSF Sponsored National Artificial Intelligence Research Institutes

The NSF has announced a solicitation for National Artificial Intelligence Research Institutes! Each institute award will be up to $20 million over 5 years and currently have $200 million committed for funding.  These awards are on the scale of NSF Engineering Research Centers and are twice the size of CISE Expedition awards! The NSF has announced a solicitation of proposals for planning grants of up to $500,000 for which all MnRI faculty and staff are encouraged to apply.  Institute themes for 2021 and beyond will be based on concepts from the planning grants as well as concepts developed in NSF and our other partners.

To learn more about this program, check out the press release or view the program website on the NSF website.

Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR)

The LCCMR makes funding recommendations to the legislature for special environment and natural resource projects from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (ENRTF). See Professor David Mulla's breakdown of this type of funding and best practices for application here.

Launch MN Innovation Grants

Launch Minnesota Innovation Grants are targeted to the most promising innovative scalable technology businesses in Minnesota. Applications are reviewed first by the Launch Minnesota advisory board, then by an internal review committee, and finally by the commissioner’s office. Visit the Launch MN Innovation Grants website for more information.