Research Opportunities

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Upcoming Research Opportunity Grants

An Upcoming Research Opportunity (URO) Grant is aimed at supporting a large (> $1 million) external proposal submission opportunity with a submission deadline in the next 6 - 12 months. Such proposals can be submitted to MnRI anytime during the year. Unlike the regular seed grant proposals, the URO proposal can be submitted as a single-PI project but should describe what team the PI plans to assemble to pursue the upcoming opportunity. Each proposal can be up to 3 pages long and should include a description of the specific proposal submission opportunity, the expected multi-disciplinary research team, the intellectual merit of the proposed research topic, why the external proposal is likely to be successful, and a budget request of up to $35,000. Such a proposal submission can be initiated by email contact with Prof. Papanikolopoulos ( or Prof. Rajamani (

Minnesota Robotics Institute Seed Grants

The Minnesota Robotics Institute (MnRI) solicits research proposals in all areas relevant to robotics, including robotic systems, manipulators, computer vision, AI, data science, control systems, sensors, motion analysis, and advanced manufacturing.

Two types of grant applications are encouraged – Seed Grants and Upcoming Research Opportunity Grants.


Seed Grant proposals are requested for work that can lay the foundation for future large projects of transformative impact. Each submission 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 a future large grant proposal submission 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 $30,000 to $60,000 depending on the scope and 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:

  1. Cover page: Title of the proposal, names, and contact information for PI and Co-PIs/ Co-Is.
  2. Project Description: 3-page document including an Abstract (< 250 words), Introduction, Intellectual Merit, Research Description, Key Milestones (including external grant proposal submission), and Timeline.
  3. Potential Impact Description: 1-page document including descriptions of
    1. Future Impact: Plans for near-term submission of major grant proposals due to work initiated in this seed project.
    2. Past Work: If you have received past MnRI or MnDRIVE funding, describe project results and success with follow-on external grant submissions.
  4. References cited and support letters as appropriate.
  5. Budget for a project period of one year, starting Spring semester 2024.
  6. Curriculum Vitae for PI and Co-PIs, two pages each.
  7. List of current and pending projects for PIs and Co-PIs.

Submission — November 13, 2023 Deadline

Please use a minimum font size of 11 and 1-inch page margins, and submit your proposal as a single PDF file (including all sections) to by November 13, 2023.  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.