Research and Innovation Seed Grant Program


The University of Maryland, College Park (UMD), Army Research Laboratory (ARL) and National Institute of Standards, and Technology (NIST) are pleased to co-sponsor the joint Research and Innovation Seed Grant Program for Extreme Battery Research in 2016. The intent of this initiative is to promote structured collaboration between UMD, ARL and NIST in order to advance the institutions’ joint goals in battery research and innovation.

UMD, ARL and NIST established a national Center for Research in Extreme Batteries (CREB) in 2014. CREB members include government labs, universities, and industries to foster collaboration on both fundamental and applied battery materials research aiming at defense, space and medical applications. The seed grant program is to:

  • Foster creative teams of investigators working across disciplinary boundaries at ARL, NIST and UMD;
  • Support collaborative research to pursue battery improvements and/or technologies; and
  • Stimulate submission and funding of innovative basic and transformational science research proposals to federal, public or private funding agencies.

Program Focus

This seed grant program seeks to encourage groups of researchers from at least two institutions (minimum of two PIs—from different partner organizations – UMD, NIST, ARL) to collaborate on new avenues of research that would not otherwise be explored by either institution alone. The project is expected to lead to applications for new external funding for continued research. Projects that promote and further our collaborative interests will be given preference, including but not limited to the following research areas:

  • Beyond Li-ion battery chemistries;
  • Batteries for defense, space, or medical applications;
  • Dendrite-free Li metal anodes;
  • Batteries that can operate at extreme temperatures (-60 °C to 100 °C);
  • Extreme performance in terms of energy density, power density, safety, and/or cycle life.
  • New or advanced characterization (involving neutrons, etc.), diagnostics, or modelling approaches that advance extreme battery technology

Joint proposals of high quality in other relevant areas of battery research will also receive serious consideration.

Funding Level:

The goal is to provide support for up to four awards with a maximum funding of $75,000 per award for 1 year to support a postdoc or a graduate student; the final number of awards will depend on the quality and quantity of proposals received as well as the proposed budgets.


Each proposal team would involve both a UMD faculty and a researcher from NIST or ARL (at least two institutions and minimum of two PIs from different institutions) to insure collaborative research. An individual may serve as PI on only one awarded project.

UMD – All full-time faculty at the rank of assistant professor, assistant research scientist or higher at UMD.

ARL and NIST – All scientific and scholarly staff at ARL and NIST.


Award recipients are expected to produce sufficient preliminary results so that a proposal for external funding may be submitted within 12 months after the seed funding has ended. The identification potential future funding sources will be an evaluation criterion. In addition, it is expected that any presentation(s), publication(s), or manuscript(s) that result from the funded work will acknowledge CREB support. Awardees will participate in and present results at annual Progress Review(s) or other events that bridge the participating institutions and bring researchers together. A final report must be submitted 3 months after the end of the award.

Proposal submission:

Proposals must be submitted online to CompetitionSpace: by January 12, 2016 at 5 pm EDT. 

Review and selection of funded proposals will be conducted in January. Funding is anticipated to begin by the start of the Spring 2016 semester.

Budget: A maximum of $75,000 funding may be requested and is mainly for support of research associates (post-docs), and/or graduate students and basic materials and supplies necessary for the project. Following items are not allowed in the budget: Salaries for PIs; secretarial support; general telephone services and postage; alterations or renovations of laboratory space; purchase of laboratory or office furniture; purchase or binding of periodicals and books; dues and memberships in scientific societies purchase or rental of equipment for new research; travel for purposes not directly related to the project (reasonable travel to meetings or symposia is acceptable); matching funds for research items; salary support for a temporary position (1 year or less) for technicians.

Proposal Requirements:

Cover Page (1 page) including:

Title of Project
Names of all Co-PI’s (specify position and affiliation)
Signatures of PIs, UMD Chair(s) and Dean(s), and ARL or NIST Supervisor(s)

Proposed Research (maximum 4 single-spaced pages) including:

Project Motivation – rationale for project and advantage of the UMD-ARL, UMD-NIST or UMD-ARL-NIST collaboration.
Project Description – including significance, innovation, approach, expected outcomes; targeted timeline for objectives.
Statement of Collaborative Effort –how the collaboration between the investigators is necessary to move this research forward. If this is an existing collaboration, describe how this seed funding will take the collaborative research to the next level of success and will attract the outside funding. How this interaction will impact your research program’s future direction,
Future Funding Source(s) – be explicit- which program in which agency will be targeted for a full proposal of this type, how seed funding will enhance the chances of obtaining awarded contract, and indicate targeted deadline for proposal to future funding source.

Additional pages:

Bibliographic References – including full titles
Biosketches – NIH or NSF format (all senior personnel) (no more than 2 pages per person)


Proposals will be evaluated by a committee that will include scientists from ARL and NIST and may include faculty from UMD and representatives with battery expertise from other agencies, including public, private and federal.  Applicants should not expect detailed written critiques of their proposals. Proposals will be reviewed for: 1) how well the project meets the goals of the Seed Grants for Research Program, including the composition of the team of investigators; 2) scientific or scholarly merit (e.g., significance, approach, novelty, and qualification of investigators to carry out the research), and 3) likelihood of attracting outside funding. Scientific or scholarly merit of the proposed studies will be the most important factor assessed in this competition.

Questions regarding the program may be directed to:

University of Maryland
Amanda M. McCrum
Research Coordinator
University of Maryland Energy Research Center

Cynthia A. Lundgren, Ph. D.
Electrochemistry Branch, Chief
Administration POC of CREB

Joe Dura
NIST Center for Neutron Research

Only proposals that are submitted through the limited submissions site (www.umd.infoready4.comwill be considered.
Application Deadline: January 12, 2016 (Extended)