UMD & Smithsonian Seed Grant Program

Not a currently active program.

The University of Maryland, College Park (UMD) and the Smithsonian Institution continue to solidify and enhance the collaboration that has existed between the two institutions over many years. As part of continuing activities to foster the existing relationship and to forge new areas of collaboration, UMD and SI supports a joint competitive Seed Grants for Research Program. The intent of this initiative is to encourage new teams of investigators to cross institutional and disciplinary boundaries, to enhance established collaborative teams to move to the next level in their research, to establish specific high impact research foci and/or generate preliminary data to support new areas of endeavor and to encourage research that leads to new funding opportunities. Given the range of disciplines and capabilities at UMD and SI, there are likely to be numerous opportunities to improve research and secure needed new funding.

To submit a proposal, please apply here: 

Program Information

UMD and SI scientists and scholars are encouraged to develop joint Seed Grants for Research proposals. In order to be considered, a proposal meeting the guidelines must be submitted no later than April 10th. The proposal should address the scientific or scholarly merits of the proposed research and identify both the research and institutional benefits, as well as potential future proposals to federal, public or private funding agencies.

There are likely to be four to six awards that will range from $25,000 to no more than $50,000; the final number of awards will depend on the quality and quantity of proposals received as well as the proposed budgets. It is expected that the budgeted awards will be distributed equally between the two PIs or institutions, whichever is appropriate. An individual may serve as PI on only one team project.

2016 Smithsonian-UMD Seed Grant Celebration

Join us on Monday, October 31 between 1:30-3:30 pm at the Smithsonian Castle for a festive celebration of this program's unique successes along with mini-presentations on the joint researched accomplished by past seed grant awardees. RSVP information and additional details will be posted soon.

Program Submission Dates

  • Announcement distributed - January 2016 UMD-SI Seed Grant Announcement[pdf]
  • Proposals Due: April 10, 2016 at midnight EDT
  • Review - April/May
  • Notification of Awardees - June
  • Funding Begins - July


University of Maryland, College Park
Eric Chapman, Assistant Vice President, Research Development

(301) 405-7136 or

Smithsonian Institution
Amy Marino, Program Officer, Office of the Deputy Under Secretary for Collections and Interdisciplinary Support
(202) 633-5645 or

Recent Grants


  1. Jeffrey Shultz (UMD Department of Entomology) and Hannah Wood (Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History)
    Bridging Biomechanics and Macroevolution: Spider Cheliceral Function and Diversification
  2. Raymond Phaneuf (UMD Materials Science & Engineering) and Edward Vicenzi (Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute)
    Investigation of the Use of Atomic Layer Deposited Films to Prevent Glass Disease
  3. William Fagan (UMD Department of Biology) and Justin Calabrese (Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute)
    Zika, Sex, and Seasonality
  4. John Fisher (UMD Fischell Department of Bioengineering) and Nucharin Songsasen (Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute)
    Creating a Bioengineered Ovary for Restoring Follicle Functions and Development in Domestic Carnivore Models
  5. Chantel Rodriguez (UMD Department of History) and Katherine Ott (Smithsonian National Museum of American History)
    The U.S. Latina/o Health History Project: Developing Digital Resources to Engage Public Learning and Inspire Innovative Scholarship


  1. Joseph Owen Sexton and Ralph Dubayah (UMD Department of Geography) and Peter Leimgruber and Melissa Songer (Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute)
    Minimum Dynamic Area Revisited – How do large disturbances affect the distribution of ungulate species in arid and semi-arid ecosystems
  2. Don DeVoe (UMD Department of Mechanical Engineering) and Budhan Pukazhenthi (Smithsonian Conversation Biology Institute)
    Development of a microfluidic gas-liquid interphase 3-D tissue explant culture chip for fertility preservation
  3. Thomas Murphy and Martin Mittendorf (UMD Institute for Research in Electronics & Applied Physics) and Paul Grimes, and Lingzhen Zeng (Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory)
    Development and Characterization of a Graphene-Based THz Mixer
  4. Paul Huth (UMD Department of Government and Politics) and Corine Wegener (SI Office of the Under Secretary for History, Art, and Culture)
    Developing a Dataset and Analysis on Intentional Targeting of Cultural Heritage during Armed Conflict


  1. Carol Keefer (UMD Department of Animal & Avian Sciences) and Pierre Comizzoli (SI National Zoological Park)
    Alternate Approaches to Produce Pluripotent Stem Cells for Conservation Biology Applications
  2. Janelle Wong (UMD Asian American Studies) and Adriel Luis (SI Asian Pacific American Center)
    Asian-Latino Education Lab: Piloting Innovative Curricular Tools to Enable Intersectional, Cross-Community Learning and Cultural Competencies for Minority Communities
  3. Kasey Moyes (UMD Department of Animal & Avian Sciences) and Michael Power (SI National Zoological Park)
    Nutrient Composition and Immunoglobulins in Anthropoid Primate Milks: A Key to Conservation and the Evolution of Human Milk?
  4. Kate Keane (UMD Department of History), Ira Berlin (UMD Department of History), Carrie Kotcho (SI National Museum of American History) and Magdalena Mieri (SI National Museum of American History)
    Reframing the Teaching and Learning of Migration/Immigration in U.S. History
  5. Mark Leone (UMD Department of Anthropology) and Anson Hines (Smithsonian Environmental Research Center)
    Between Land and Water: Archaeological Exploration of Changing Human Relations in Chesapeake Ecology


  1. Daniel Gruner (UMD Department of Entomology) and Robert Fleischer (SI Center for Conservation and Evolutionary Genetics)
    Impacts of invasive predators on island endemic food web networks
  2. Charles Delwiche (UMD Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics) and Valerie Paul (SI Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce)
    Genomic insights into evolution, ecological adaptations and biological diversity of tropical marine cyanobacteria
  3. Carol Keefer (UMD Department of Animal & Avian Sciences) and Adrienne Crosier (SI Conservation Biology Institute, Center for Species Survival)
    Elucidating spermatozoal energy metabolism and metabolic dysfunction in felids and teratospermic species
  4. Ricardo L. Punzalan (UMD College of Information Studies) and Robert Leopold (SI The Castle on the National Mall)
    Valuing our scans: Towards a metric for assessing impact, value, and use of digitization and digital surrogacy for ethnographic collections
  5. Susan De La Paz (UMD Counseling, Higher Education, & Special Education) and Melissa Wadman (SI Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access)
    Piloting tools to enable active and participatory learning for middle school students: Research project on how a digital toolset will help students integrate Smithsonian digital resources into their learning experiences


  1. Alexa Bely (UMD Department of Biology), and Jon Norenburg (SI National Museum of Natural History, Department of Invertebrate Zoology)
    Do ribbon worms have somatic stem cells? A comparative study of regeneration and growth in Nemertea.
  2. Sacoby Wilson (UMD Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health), Vikki Chanse (UMD Department of Plant Science & Landscape Architecture), and Tony Thomas (SI Anacostia Community Museum)
    Community-Based Assessment of Exposure for Subsistence Fishers in the Anacostia River Region (CAESARR).
  3. Judith Freidenberg (UMD Department of Anthropology), James Deutsch (SI Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage), Fath Davis Ruffins (SI National Museum of American History), and Julie Greene (UMD Department of History)
    Creating Museums of the Immigrant Experience.
  4. Raymond Phaneuf (UMD Department of Material Science and Engineering), and Edward Vicenzi (SI Museum Conservation Institute) 
    Selective Diffusion of Component Metals into Atomic Layer Deposited Oxide Films and its Significance in their Use as Protective Barriers for Alloy Museum Objects.
  5. Brian Bequette (UMD Department of Animal and Avian Sciences), and Nucharin Songsasen (SI Conservation Biology Institute)
    Metabolic fingerprinting technology as a tool for network-wide investigations of mammalian oocyte metabolism.


  1. Mohamad Al-Shiekly, & Richard A. Livingston (UMD School of Engineering), and Carol A. Grissom (SI Museum Conservation Institute)Investigation of the Feasibility of Nondestructive Measurement of Moisture in Porous Materials Using Prompt Gamma Neutron Activation (PGNA).
  2. Shannen Hill, Mary Corbin Sies, and Psyche Williams-Forson (UMD College of ARHU), Bruce Richard James, Jack Sullivan, and Raymond Weil (UMD College of AGNR), Julie A. Silva (UMD College of BSOS), and Karen E. Milbourne, Mary Jo Arnoldi, Jonathan S. Kavalier, J. Patrick Megonigal, Jeffrey K. Stine, & Jessica Levin Martinez (SI National Museum of African Art, NMNH, SERC, NMAH)
    Excavation, Accumulation, and Preservation in the African Landscape.
  3. Karen R. Lips (UMD College of CMNS), and Roy W. McDiarmid, Robert Fleischer, & Jessica Deichmann (SI USNM, NMNH, and Conservation International) 
    Forensic Ecology: Do Museum Collections Hold the Key to Unraveling the Complexities of Disease History and Population Declines in Appalachian Salamanders?
  4. Mega Subramaniam, Paul Jaeger, & Lesley Langa (UMD College of Information Studies ), and Giuseppe Monaco and Elizabeth Ziebarth (SI Center for Education and Museum Studies)
    The Museum Experience of Children with Autism and Their Families: Improving Access through Web and Electronic Resources.
  5. Christopher S. Reynolds (UMD College of CMNS), and Jeffrey E. McClintock (SI SAO Center for Astrophysics)
    Measuring the Spin of Black Holes.


  1. Michael Cummings (UMD College of CMNS and UMIACS), and Sean Brady (SI, National Museum of Natural History)
    Bringing the Next Generation Phylogenomics to the Washington Area Phylogenetics Consortium.
  2. William Fagan and Katerina Thompson (UMD College of CMNS), James Tucker and Ralph Dubayah (UMD College of BSOS), and Peter Leimgruber (SI, Smithsonian’s Conservation GIS Lab, National Zoological Park)
    How Vegetation Dynamics Drive Ungulate Movements: Transforming Single Species Studies to Global Comparisons.
  3. Leslie Felbain (UMD College of ARHU) and Rebecca Kasenmeyer (SI, National Portrait Gallery)
    American Voices: Uncovering the mystery of the American experience.
  4. Carol Keefer (UMD College of AGNR), and Pierre Comizzoli and Budhan Pukazhenthi (SI-NZP, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute)
    Preservation of rare genotypes through innovative stem cell technologies.
  5. Dan Gruner (UMD College of CMNS), and Ilka Feller and John Parker (SERC)
    Adjustment of Coastal Ecosystems to Climate Change Driven Range Expansions and Biological Invasions.




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College Park, MD 20742-1541
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