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What is Health and Human Development?

Diverse fields of study that share one
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Research Grants

Seed grants to promote inter- and trans-disciplinary research projects that seek solutions to pressing problems of sustainability. Projects are evaluated for their intellectual merit, broader potential to enable solutions to sustainability challenges, the strength of the project’s team, and its potential to secure extramural funding in the future.

Proposals accepted through July 1, 2024, with annual deadlines thereafter.

Key Dates

2024 Deadlines

Proposals Due: July 1, 2024

Review Completed and Applicants Notified by: July 15, 2024

Project End Date: June 30, 2025

At a Glance

What is of Interest?

  • Greater links between healthy environments, climate change, and human health
  • Catalyzing research that applies HHD expertise to solving critical and emerging societal problems
  • Emerging research domains in environmental health, aging & neuro-degeneration, racism & social justice; implementation science, & data science
  • Enhanced engagement with Penn State Institutes, colleges, and cross-college research consortia

Program Background

The College of Health and Human Development aims to stimulate greater integration of HHD faculty into sustainability-focused research initiatives at Penn State and beyond. Over the next 5 years, we will dedicate $50,000 to supporting small, early-stage seed grants of $10,000 each year.

HHD is particularly interested in projects that link with the College’s Strategic Research Objective: Catalyze new research that applies HHD expertise to solving critical and emerging societal problems, capitalize on excellence within the college, addresses expertise gaps, and/or complement available university resources. Successful projects will address key emerging research domains and leverage additional research institutes and consortia across the Penn State system. 

Proposals are encouraged by teams of junior and senior researchers converging to cut across disciplinary divides to address health and wellbeing as related to other sustainability issues, including but not limited to climate adaptation, social and environmental justice, socio-economic disparities, innovation and technology, environmental and atmospheric pollution, fresh water quality and access, food security, biodiversity loss, and so forth.

Proposals will be reviewed by a committee composed of prior awardees, members of the HHD Sustainability Council, and other ad hoc members selected by the Dean and Associate Dean for Research. 

Eligibility Requirements

Proposals from PIs housed in HHD must involve interdisciplinary teams of researchers representing more than one HHD unit (e.g., a department, school, research center).

Projects must explicitly contribute towards a solution to a major sustainability challenge by linking to specific UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and associated targets.

Projects must demonstrate a clear pathway to a proposed solution for non-academic stakeholders.

Acknowledging that major solutions require inter- and trans-disciplinary expertise, priority will be given to projects designed to build collaborations involving new interdisciplinary teams whose research is aimed at attracting external funding.

Faculty may only serve as PI on one seed grant application per funding cycle. Faculty can actively serve as PI on a single seed grant; however, faculty may serve as non-PI team members on one or more seed grant per funding cycle.

Terms of Grant / Use of Funds

Faculty salary/effort cannot be funded by this grant. Funds to support outside collaboration may be considered under particular circumstances via a subaward. Subawards require strong justification, including why the support is necessary and how the expertise is not available at Penn State. Subawards may or may not be approved at the discretion of the HHD Associate Dean for Research.

Support may be requested for research personnel (e.g., summer wages for research assistants), though supplies, equipment, and travel are other possible categories of support are preferred. Consultant and/or professional services (e.g., sample collections, laboratory analyses, translation) cannot exceed more than 10% of the budget.

The intended expenditures for each member of the research team should be made explicit in the budget justification.

Conferences and workshops will not be funded. Enter all budget numbers in US dollars. Do not include indirect costs or fringe.

All funds must be spent within the grant award dates, and may not be carried over into the next year.


For questions, please contact