SEED Grant Program

Department of OB/GYN 

Purpose and Objectives
Purpose:  To stimulate individual and team science in all areas of translational research related to the prevention, diagnosis, and management of human disease, syndrome or conditions. The project should have a clear pathway to application for future funding.
Funding Objectives:  To foster innovative research across teams of researchers using pilot projects that are at all levels of development. As the potential for future funding is a critical element of the program, the project’s ability to leverage the study findings for near-future funding opportunities will be assessed. Priority will be given to applications that include reducing health disparities as a primary or secondary outcome.
OB/GYN Research Steering Committee invites OB/GYN faculty and Residents to apply for seed grants to support individual and collaborative projects consistent within the OBGYN vision and mission.
Applicant Eligibility
There are two paths for SEED grant funding:

–        Current faculty with appointment at the Boston University School of Medicine

–        Current OB/GYN residents. For resident-led projects, the resident must be an OB/GYN resident in good standing, with clearly defined faculty mentor-ship.

Researchers engaged in basic research, patient-oriented research, implementation science research, community engagement research, and population-based research are encouraged to apply. The research to be conducted must be based at either Boston University or Boston Medical Center.
The proposal template is saved on the G-drive (the OB/GYN shared network): G:\SEED Grant Proposal FORMS.  All applications must include:

  • A maximum of three pages describing the background, specific aims, preliminary studies (if applicable), research methods (including timeline and analysis plan)
  • A budget and budget justification

The protocol must be submitted to the BUSM IRB prior to application for SEED Grant funding.

Due Dates
Quarterly Award Cycle:                 Ongoing
Award Period:                                   One year

Applications process:

  • Every applicant writes up their SEED grant application
  • Send to Olivera Vragovic:
  • The application is distributed to the research committee at least one week prior to the meeting
  • The investigator comes to the next meeting and presents their idea and project outline
  • Committee members ask questions and offer suggestions
  • The investigator incorporates the feedback and then submits the final application
  • The application is then scored by two reviewers and subsequently voted on by the whole committee

Applications:                                     Click here to fill out SEED GRANT form.

The department SEED grant mechanism has been designed to jump-start worthwhile projects by providing short-term, one-time financial support up to $5,000 to faculty and up to $2,000 to residents.

The level of funding awarded to successful applicants will be determined after review of the budget request and budget justification. All unexpended funds are returned to the pool after a project award expires.  Awards are not transferable to any other institution.

Funds may not be allocated to Principal Investigator or Co-Investigators’ salary. Outside of this restriction, funds may be used for any purpose to support the proposed research. Typical expenses include laboratory supplies, small equipment, patient recruitment costs, consultants, or support for pre/postdoctoral students, technicians, or research assistants.  In case of need for rebudgeting, a notification is required. 
Project Duration
The department SEED grant is awarded for 1 (one) year. If a no-cost extension is necessary to complete the project, a written request no later than 30 days before the final deadline is required. An extension of no more than one year may be allowed for good cause shown.
Project Reporting
The recipient must submit a written mid-point progress and financial report no later than one month upon study completion including:

·         Current stage of completion according to the timeline originally submitted with the proposal;

·         Problems encountered with the progress of the study (if any), and efforts made to overcome these problems;

·         Key results and any publications;

·         Subsequent grant applications, and funded awards that resulted from the project;

·         New collaborations that resulted from the SEED grant.

Additional abbreviated reports will be requested on an annual basis for 2 years following completion of funding. Any additional SEED grant funding depends on prompt and accurate progress reports.

In order to disseminate the science successfully, the final report should have a paragraph written specifically for a non-medical audience if appropriate. This summary should include a brief background, statement of the purpose of the study, a basic description of the methodology, important findings, and a conclusion or summary statement about the relevance of the findings. If there are important lessons to be learned they should be incorporated in the final progress report.

Role of the Research Steering Committee
The SEED grant process is developed and maintained by the Research Steering Committee (RSC). The function of the committee is to:

·         Review proposals in a timely manner

·         Keep the review anonymous and objective

·         Provide direction and guidance to the effort

·         Govern the allocation of resources

·         Review progress and provides oversight

·         Enlist the support from outside the department as needed

Prior to SEED Grant application submission, all applicants are invited to present their project to the committee for feedback and suggestions.

Selection of Grant Reviewers
Applications will be meritoriously reviewed by 2-3 members of the Research Steering Committee. Reviewers will be selected based on their relevant expertise with the content, methods, or likely future funding mechanisms.

Reviewers cannot review an application for a project in which they are directly involved. Reviewers may excuse themselves from review if they feel they have a bias or cannot perform a neutral review; if they are unable to commit the time required for the review; or they feel uncomfortable reviewing for any other reason.

Grant Review Process
The SEED Grant review is analogous to the NIH review process, with a focus upon Significance, Innovation, Approach, and Investigators. All applications will be reviewed and ranked for funding priority. Specific review criteria include:

·         Likelihood that the project will lead to subsequent external funding

·         Scientific rigor and novelty of the proposed approach

·         Multidisciplinary collaboration

·         Likelihood that the project can be completed within the budget period noted above

·         Focus on diseases disproportionately affecting the BU/BMC patient population

A.  Significance (The importance of the research question)
B.  Innovation (The overall originality of the research project)
C.  Hypothesis and study objectives (Clearly stated and able to answer the research question)
D.  Study design and methods (The study design is appropriate to answer the research hypothesis as stated)
E.  Feasibility (The work can be achieved in one year with budget requested)
F.  Appropriateness of budget (The budget accurate and realistic)
G.  Leverage potential (The likelihood of receiving extramural funding)

Response is to be provided within 4 weeks upon submission and is followed by a discussion at the subsequent meeting. Voting occurs afterwards, a final decision is made and an official letter sent to a recipient. In case that reviewers have feedback that needs to be addressed, the applicant will be promptly informed. We encourage recipients to consult the steering committee as often as needed to assist in the completion of the project.

Examples of Currently Funded Projects
PI Project
Nyia Noel, MD, Jodi Abbott, MD Prenatal Aspirin to Prevent the Morbidity of Hypertensive Disease in Postpartum At Risk Women
Glenn Markenson, MD Relationship of CNS Neurohormones and Neurotransmitters to Pregnancy Outcomes
Julie Mottl-Santiago, CNM MPH Stakeholder perspectives on the role of community doula programs in maternity care for low-income populations
Rebecca Perkins, MD; Jacqueline Mills, MD Adequacy of cervical cancer screening in underserved women aged 64-66
Philip D. Connors, MS, CGC; Lillian Torrey Sosa, MS, CGC Implementing a video-based genetics education tool to increase patient understanding and to support shared decision-making surrounding genetic testing in pregnancy at a safety-net hospital.
Tina. Yarrington, MD Sweetnotes: Cultivation of appropriate messaging for gestational diabetes using qualitative research methodology
Courtney Steer-Massaro, CNM Increasing GYN Appointment Attendance at the BMC Refugee Women’s Health Clinic through Uber Health
Shaalini Ramanadhan, MD Pain Medication Use in Opiate Dependent Patients During Abortion Procedures
Alexis Gadson, MD. Wendy Kuohung, MD Efficacy of Interventions to Reduce Risk for Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome
 Please contact Olivera Vragovic ( or Katharine White (