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UConn Quantum Innovation Seed Grants

Advances in quantum science have the potential to have transformative social and economic impact.  New technologies are poised to revolutionize major industries, creating opportunities for new applications that will fuel economic growth.

The UConn Quantum Innovation Seed Grant program is designed to encourage and catalyze collaboration among researchers from UConn, Yale University and other regional academic partners, corporate/industry partners, and other stakeholders to explore, develop, and translate innovations and applications related to quantum technologies.  Building on existing strengths at UConn and within partner organizations across the region, this program seeks to support the development of use-inspired applications of quantum technologies relevant to the following research areas and industries:

  • New materials and manufacturing methods for fabricating quantum devices
  • Quantum computing and algorithms; quantum assisted optimization, quantum simulation
  • Advancements in data science, artificial intelligence, and machine learning
  • Quantum information technologies, quantum sensing and cryptography

Quantum science is expected to have direct applications in industries in which Connecticut has a strong presence and workforce:

  • Healthcare and biotechnology
  • Insurance and financial tech
  • Cybersecurity
  • Aerospace
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Defense
  • Other use sectors

This program is offered as a companion program to the Quantum-CT Regional Innovation Engine project. Quantum-CT, led by UConn and Yale University, is an effort to build an innovation ecosystem of researchers, educators, industry, and state/local stakeholders to harness the economic impact of new quantum-enabled technologies through technology development, innovation and entrepreneurship, and advances in STEM education and workforce development.


Program Timeline

  • Program opens 8/21/23.
  • Submissions to be made through the UConn Quest Portal.UConn Quest Portal.
  • Proposal deadline 10/30/23


The Quantum-CT Innovation Seed Grant program is available to UConn / UConn Health researchers, within the following parameters:

  • Primary Appointment:
    • PIs must be faculty whose primary appointment is at UConn and/or UConn Health
    • Individuals who are not eligible to apply as a PI may be able to serve as a collaborator/consultant on an eligible PI’s project. (external PIs qualify the project as a multi-PI effort)
  • Effort and Salary:
    • Although no minimum effort level is required, a PI/Co-PI must have institutionally-funded research time available during the award period.
    • Research Professors / those whose positions are contingent on grant-funding (soft money positions) must include details about their institutionally-funded research time as part of the budget justification to confirm eligibility.
    • PIs/Co-PIs must each make significant and distinct intellectual contributions to the design and direction of the project.
  • Eligible Faculty Ranks:
    • Awards are available to tenure-track, tenured, Clinical, Research, and in-Residence faculty with Assistant Professor rank or higher.
  • Eligible faculty may only submit one proposal as lead PI. Investigators may serve as collaborator on multiple projects.
  • Single-PI proposals will not be considered.  Projects that include external industry/academic collaborations are strongly preferred.

Award Details

  • Awards of up to $50K will be made.
  • One year award periods are expected though alternate timelines can be proposed.
  • It is expected that the project will draw on the team’s collective research capacity to co-develop novel applications of quantum technologies that will address real world challenges or opportunities.  It is also expected that the projects proposed will include significant involvement (co-creation, co-direction) by external/community stakeholders and that they will lead to significant broader impacts.
  • Eligible projects may be at any stage in the development process (from early-stage basic science work through proof of concept and prototyping), but they must be use-inspired and moving towards translation.
  • Applications that include matching funding from partnering organizations are highly encouraged.
  • Funds can be used to support research and translational activities at UConn/UConn Health.  Salary for external partner researchers and funding for research activities at other institutions/industrial partners must be supported by those institutions/partners. Contractual services support can be included to support the engagement of non-profits or community groups.
  • Review of full proposals will be carried out by a team of peer reviewers.
  • Applicants should be positioning themselves to seek external funding (research grants, SBIR/STTR, industry partnership, etc) to continue work at the end of the seed grant period.  Applicants are expected to address their external funding strategy as part of their applications and submit invention disclosures to TCS upon completion of the project.

        Submission Instructions

        • Applications will be accepted through the Quest Portal.
          • UConn/UConn Health applicants can use their NetIDs to access the system.
        • Proposals should include:
          • Applicant information form (available on Quest): PI Name, Home Department, School/College, email, phone, academic rank, primary employer.
          • Quantum-CT Innovation Seed Grant application form (available on Quest): project title, team members (with roles and affiliations), project abstract, amount requested
          • Project Description (PDF Upload): Proposals should address the following areas and should not exceed 5 pages in length (1” margins, 11-12pt fonts, single spacing and single side pages, cover page and references do not count against page limit):
            • Cover Page: Title of Project, Principal investigator(s) with contact information, List of other team members (including affiliation, role, area of expertise)
            • Significance/Importance: Provide a clear and compelling rationale for why the proposed project matters. Indicate how the proposed project will advance knowledge, address an important research question related to this track, and meet specific, use-inspired needs or opportunities.
            • Approach and Timeline: Describe the plan for carrying out the proposed activities, including research design, work plan, and methodological approach.  Describe the timeline projected for completing this work.  If applicable, include hypotheses to be tested, specific goals/aims, and relevant background/information or preliminary data in support of the project.
            • Innovation/Novelty: Outline the ways in which this project’s proposed work is new/innovative in its approach, methods, techniques, or applications in comparison to previous work in the field.
            • Feasibility and Resources: Explain the feasibility of the work proposed, describing the availability of necessary resources and other factors that may impact the completion of the project.
            • Team: Describe how the PI and/or collaborators are well-suited to carry out the proposed project. For Multi-PI proposals, indicate how the project brings together individuals from different disciplines and how the collaboration will advance the proposed project.
            • Impact and Outcomes: Indicate the value or impact of the proposed project, once complete. How does the project reflect institutional, state, national, and/or global priorities? In what ways will the results of this work be transformative within its discipline and beyond? What broader societal benefits does it promise? What is your plan / mechanism for assessing the project’s success and evaluating outcomes?
          • Budget: Describe and justify the use of Quantum-CT funds in this Internal Budget Funding template
          • Biosketches / CVs for all PIs and Co-PIs: Please include an updated biosketch consistent with NSF format.
          • NSF-style Letters of support from any facilities/partner organizations providing support during the award period

        Budget Guidelines

        Please see the general budget guidelines for the OVPR Research Development Internal Funding awards.

        Review Criteria


        • Does the project address an important use-inspired need or opportunity?
        • Is the project’s intellectual rationale clear and persuasive?
        • Does the project advance research in quantum technology in meaningful and significant ways?
        • Does the project’s conception, definition, organization, and description reflect the highest quality and excellence?


        • To what degree does the proposal outline a clearly articulated and well-reasoned plan of action?
        • If applicable, were the hypotheses, aims, and/or goals clearly articulated, well-reasoned, and adequately supported?
        • Are the conceptual / theoretical frameworks and methods adequately developed and clearly articulated?  To what degree are they appropriate to the aims of the project and reflective of intellectual rigor/artistic excellence?
        • Is the timeline adequate for achieving goals and meeting the project aims? For proposals requesting funding to exceed one year, is the request justified and supported?


        • Is the project original and innovative? Does the project challenge existing paradigms, methods, approaches, applications, theories, practice and/or barriers to progress in the field(s)?

        Feasibility and Resources

        • To what degree is the project, as described in proposal, achievable?  Are there any concerns about feasibility?
        • Are the resource and time available for this project adequate to ensure success?
        • Does the environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success?
        • Does the proposed project benefit from unique features of the environment such as technical assistance/tools, translational expertise, and/or facilities support?


        • Are the PI, collaborators, and other personnel well-suited to carry out the project?
        • Do the investigators have complementary and integrated expertise?
        • Does the team demonstrate an ongoing/emerging record of accomplishments that have advanced the respective field(s)?

        Impact and Outcomes

        • Is the proposed project compelling and if successful, would it make a meaningful disciplinary or interdisciplinary contribution and/or advancement?
        • Does the project have strong potential for producing valuable societal benefits?
        • Does the project have high potential for national or international recognition and achievement?
        • Does the proposal provide a mechanism to assess success and provide an adequate plan for evaluation of outcomes?
        • Where appropriate, does the project provide a sound dissemination and/or access plan?

        Budget Evaluation

        • Is the project budget appropriate and sufficient to carry out the proposed work?
        • Are the budget requests adequately justified, clearly articulated, and necessary for the scope of work and timeline?
        • Would you recommend any reduction in the budget?

        Funding Recommendations:

        Reviewers will be asked to make funding recommendations based on the merits of each proposal.

        Post-award considerations and Program Contacts

        Post-award considerations

        • Reporting requirements: PIs will need to prepare a brief report, using this Award Report Template to summarize project progress at the end of the award period.
        • Further reports on project outcomes may be requested in the future to track return on investment.

        Program Contacts

        • Administrative contact: Charlotte Nelson, Internal Funding Coordinator. research@uconn.edu;