Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue

Seed Grant Program

We are pleased to announce the 2024 – 2025 University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (UTK-MRSEC) Seed Grant Program Call for Proposals. The program is open to all faculty members within the University of Tennessee and UT-ORII materials research community. SEED Grants are intended to provide short-term funding for innovative, high-risk/high-reward lines of collaborative research at the forefront of areas supported by UTK-MRSEC, the Center for Advanced Materials & Manufacturing (CAMM). The ideas should show promise to enhance existing MRSEC research in creative new ways or show the potential to lead to entirely new lines of interdisciplinary research. Successful execution of the proposed research is expected to lead to additional federal grants and the potential for long-term MRSEC funding.

Each Seed Grant will provide up to $50,000 in funding for direct costs for a one-year project, with the potential for continued MRSEC support, subject to review. The call for proposals has three funding tiers designed to encourage new lines of inquiry, engage UT faculty to partner with faculty, postdoctoral trainees, and students from underrepresented groups, and create UT partnerships with national laboratories or industrial partners.

Our Vision

Next-generation materials and manufacturing (NGMM) are placing demands beyond the current state of the art. The UTK-MRSEC, CAMM, was funded in 2023 to address these challenges. CAMM’s vision is to become a world-leading center for collaborative discovery, creating revolutionary quantum materials and advancing materials for new extremes. Our interdisciplinary research groups (IRG) and education programs are designed to prepare diverse cohorts of future researchers and entrepreneurs to ensure continued US leadership in NGMM. Our dedication to innovation helps to ensure discoveries are translated into new products, processes, and services in advanced energy, national security, advanced computing and communications, transportation, and many more. CAMM’s unique strategic partnership with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) strengthens collaborations amongst the NSF- and DOE-funded materials science and engineering communities.

IRG1 – Taming the Complexity of Quantum Materials with Artificial Intelligence
Applying AI to quantum magnetic materials and engineered quantum systems to support the rational design of quantum materials with applications ranging from energy harvesting and low power electronics to quantum computing and novel sensing. Specifically, we will use artificial intelligence (AI) and its subset machine learning (ML) to: learn and refine model Hamiltonians for quantum materials using experimental data; uncover guiding materials principles responsible for desired quantum functionalities; optimize and automate costly experimental and theoretical protocols for quantum materials research; and, ultimately connect microscopic material properties with emergent quantum phenomena. Success will be assessed through materials advances disseminated via an AI computational user facility where data sets, trained materials AI models, and autosteering protocols will be made available to the broad materials science and engineering community.

IRG2 Advancing Next-Generation Alloys and Ceramics for Extremes
Exploring the effects of extreme conditions on the phase stability, atomic structure, and properties of high-performance structural materials, and elucidating the materials paradigm for these novel systems. A broad spectrum of applications will be considered, ranging from nuclear fusion to hypersonic vehicles. Specifically, we will perform fundamental synthesis-structure-property studies to identify design rules for a new sector of high-performance alloy and ceramic systems with improved stability in extreme environments relative to present-day materials. Materials will be designed, fabricated, and exposed to extreme quasistatic or dynamic conditions. Modeling at multiple length scales, incorporating AI will be used to understand the stability, physical properties, and deformation behavior of materials under extreme conditions and guide synthesis and property testing. Experimental and modeling strategies will be interactively coupled and guided by AI to accelerate the discovery of material behavior. Successful outcomes will be new materials and design principles for extreme conditions.

Seed Grant Funding Tiers

Icon with four arrows pointing outward representing expand


EXPAND Grants provide up to $50,000/year per award in direct costs with the goal of establishing new lines of inquiry either within the existing Interdisciplinary Research Groups or forming the basis for future IRGs within CAMM, the National Science Foundation (NSF) supported UTK Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC). Special emphasis will be given to applications from early career researchers.

Learn more & submit your proposal


INCLUDE Grants provide up to $50,000/year per award in direct costs, and require one UT PI and up to two Co-PIs from a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) or Minority Serving Institution (MSI), with the goal of engaging faculty, postdoctoral trainees, or students from underrepresented groups in CAMM by forming multidisciplinary teams. INCLUDE Grants are intended for positioning the team to compete effectively for future external funding opportunities.

Learn more & submit your proposal


TRANSLATE Grants provide up to $50,000/year per award in direct costs, and require one UT PI with up two Co-PIs from industry and/or a national laboratory. The goal of the TRANSLATE Grant is to build reciprocal, translational partnerships with industry and/or national lab collaborators and position the UT team with the opportunity to engage in multidisciplinary research for solving real-world problems.

Learn more & submit your proposal