Generative AI Seed Grant

The Generative AI Seed Grant supports new work or directions focused on innovating with Large Language Models, such as ChatGPT, Claude, and Bard, with strong potential for impact or funding from federal, foundation, or industry sponsors. Proposals can target research, curriculum innovation, and new applications of the technology.  

The application deadline for this opportunity has passed. There are no plans for future application cycles at this time.

Fund Uses

The Generative AI Seed Grant may generally be used for:

  • Capital expenses
  • Postdoctoral hires
  • Graduate student wages, stipends, and fees
  • Term limited consultants or skilled workers such as a web programmer or survey developer
  • Scientific and technical staff salaries
  • Travel
  • Materials or supplies

Unallowable uses generally include:

  • Book subventions
  • Faculty salaries
  • Tuition or financial aid support for students.

Award Eligibility & Terms

  • Project funding is up to $20,000 for one year, with larger amounts considered if proposal warrants and program budget allows.
  • All full-time, VU-employed faculty are eligible.
  • Faculty may submit up to one proposal to this opportunity as lead faculty.
  • Project funding cannot support faculty salary.
  • Applicants may apply for up to $20,000 in salary and fringe support from this program for postdoctoral researchers. Any amount over the $20,000 must be covered by the PI. Additionally, the application should cover:
    • The necessity of a postdoc to the project
    • The work the postdoc will be doing on the project
    • Detail plan to sustainably support the postdoc after their internal award period ends
  • Faculty are not eligible to submit another proposal to any OVPRI Internal Award program until all reporting requirements have been met.
  • All funds must be used within the awarded project period (i.e. no carry forward).

Review Process

  • Proposals were due on November 8, 2023. There are no plans for future application cycles at this time.

Internal Awards Review Committee

Internal Awards Review Committee

Application Checklist & Information

The application deadline for the Generative AI Seed Grant has passed

Application Checklist

Part I: Applicant Information

  • Lead Faculty First and Last Name
  • Lead Faculty VUnetID
  • Lead Faculty Department
  • Lead Faculty Appointment Title
  • Department Administrator Name and Email
  • Co-Applicants (up to 6 faculty)
  • Project Discipline (Science & Medicine, Engineering, Arts & Humanities, or Social Science)
  • Total Funding Requested

Part II: Proposal Information

These responses will be entered into text boxes on InfoReady.

  • Proposal Title
  • Project Abstract (100 words)
  • Research & Methods (750 words)
    Briefly explain your proposed project, the research question(s) it addresses, and the methodological approach and rationale of your project. The project must include the use of a large language model (LLM), such as GPT-4, Bard, Claude, or Llama 2. You should consider prompt engineering issues in the research and methods. Also discuss the significance and impact of the work proposed on your field and subfields. References are not required, and any included will count toward the word count, though you may upload an optional references/bibliography document to this application.
  • Workplan (500 words)
    Describe your workplan, timeline, and notable benchmarks. Discuss if you will require private LLM access for the work and any required data controls that will be needed.
  • Research Trajectory & Deliverables (500 words)
    How does this project fit into your research trajectory and simultaneously contribute to the overall body of knowledge on innovation with LLMs or prompt engineering? Please explain your plans for future external sponsorship, any deliverables that will result from the proposed work, and collaborations that this work will facilitate.
  • Roles/Contributors (500 words max)
    Please describe the role of all individuals listed on the project, including the PI and any co-collaborators. Discuss what experience the team has in prompt engineering and how the team will further its knowledge of prompt engineering.
  • Postdoc Support (500 words max)
    If hiring a postdoc, please explain a) the necessity of the postdoc to the project, b) the work the postdoc will be doing on the project, c) if a postdoc has already been selected or will be a new hire, d) if hiring a new postdoc, please discuss the desired qualifications of the postdoc, and e) a sustainable plan for supporting the postdoc after the grant period ends.
  • Budget Justification (500 words max)
    Please explain and justify what the requested funds will cover, if awarded. This section should correlate to the attached budget.
  • Pending Applications
    Disclose all pending applications for all VU faculty–including other internal award opportunities for this project.
  • IRB Approval
    Does this project require IRB approval? If so, has this process been initiated?

Part III: Uploads

These uploads must in .pdf format. Additional written content or files, other than what is described before, will not be reviewed.

  • Detailed budget
    Upload a detailed budget using the template provided on the Details page of this competition. Please be thorough in describing your costs. For example, if there is any staff support listed on this grant, you must list the % effort and how the rate is calculated, etc.  The expenses listed should be justified in the budget justification above.
  • Scholarships & Sponsorship Information
    All VU faculty listed on this application must upload a list of their five most recent and relevant (to this project) publications or works. Please do not upload entire copies of these publications; citations are sufficient. All VU faculty listed on this application must also include a list of all external sponsorship from the last five years, including:
    • Project Title
    • Sponsoring Group/Agency
    • Grant or Award Type
    • Individual role
    • Dates of Award
    • Total Award Amount
  • Optional References/Selected Bibliography
    Optional Supporting Image Attachment: Attachments are only for images or graphics that cannot be included in the program description text box. Additional written content will not be reviewed. (You may include brief captions to any images, but they should be short and descriptive).

Generative AI Seed Grant Awardees

  • Fall 2023 Generative AI Seed Grant Awardees
    • Meiyi Ma, “SimER: An LLM-powered Training Simulator for Call-takers in Emergency Response,” Assistant Professor, School of Engineering, Computer Science
    • Zhongyue Yang, “EnzyExtract: A large language model-based workflow for constructing integrative enzymology database,” Assistant Professor, College of Arts and Science, Chemistry
    • Amy Booth, “Supporting Early Literacy with AIDA, an Artificially Intelligent Dialogic Reading Aide,” Professor, Peabody College, Psychology & Human Development
    • Regina Russell, “Future-FLO: Engaging a large language model in grant evaluation for nursing education,” Associate Professor, College of Nursing, Administration
    • Ole Molvig, “Humanist in the Loop,” Assistant Professor, College of Arts and Science, History
    • Sarah Moon, “Vanderbilt AI Law Lab,” Lecturer, Law School

Purchase Requisitions & Expense Reporting

Purchase Requisitions & Expense Reporting

Contact Information