RSI Seed Funding Initiative

The Rice Space Institute (RSI) aims to expand our understanding of the Universe and our presence within it through fundamental research in space exploration and discovery. RSI is pleased to offer funding opportunities to advance this vision, promote space-related research, and stimulate the growth of external funding.

Fund information:

  • Seed funding is available up to $25,000 for projects closely aligned with our vision.
  • Allocated funds can be used for research salaries, student support, meetings, and other relevant costs.
  • All proposals should have a duration not to exceed 12 months, and must provide project mid-term and final reports summarizing results and any proposal plans for external support.
  • Rice University PI awardees are required to initiate a record in Cayuse and follow the guidelines for University Funded Research Awards.
  • Announcements of the seed grant awardees will be publicized through a variety of media.


  • Proposals must address research areas that advance the space mission of RSI.
  • Group-led proposals are favored. Collaborations, especially those extending beyond Rice University, that mirror our vision, are encouraged.
  • A primary goal for applicants should be the drafting and submission of a substantial proposal.
  • Every proposal must encapsulate a clear and impactful research theme.
  • The principal investigator must be Rice University full-time research faculty and have an association with the Rice Space Institute.
  • Both individual and team submissions are acceptable.
  • Potential for external partnerships, especially those reinforcing RSI’s vision, are preferred.

Review process:
Review of proposals will be conducted by the RSI faculty steering committee and will evaluate the proposals based on:

  • Practical feasibility.
  • Potential to lead to external funding.
  • Resonance with the Rice Space Institute's vision to expand our understanding of the Universe and our presence within it.

How to apply:
Potential candidates should channel their seed funding proposals through the designated webform. Proposals must include the following documents in PDF format:

  1. A project description of no more than four pages (in 12-point type), including figures;
  2. An expense budget indicating how the requested funds will be expended;
  3. Metrics defining success
  4. A biosketch for each contributing applicant of no more than two pages;
  5. A concise (1-page) strategy outlining the path to larger funding, pinpointing essential milestones and actions.

Submissions are due Friday, May 17, 2024 at 11:59 pm. Awards will be announced in early June, 2024. Apply here.