Before applying

MISTI strongly encourages interested international partners to contact MIT professors and researchers directly to discuss any ideas about collaboration and potential projects. If you already have faculty connections, that is great! If not, the following links will help you find faculty connections: MIT Research and Global MIT International Research. Clear and concise emails are best, and please be aware that professors might not respond immediately.

GSF is open to all MIT faculty members and research staff with principal investigator privileges (principal research scientists and senior research scientists). If you have questions about your PI status, please consult your department. Proposals must be submitted jointly with a foreign colleague working in a university or research institute. Participants working in companies are not eligible to apply. Visit our Guidelines & Eligibility page.

Faculty who have received past awards are welcome to apply in subsequent cycles if all final reports for completed past projects have been submitted. New applications will not be considered from faculty with reports still outstanding.

Either the MIT or international applicant can fill out the application online. Be sure to have all information necessary to complete the application, including the name of the Administrative Officer (AO) or Financial Officer (usually from the MIT applicant’s home department) who will manage the grant.

The cycle will be announced online each fall. Our online application portal is open during that time.

Yes. You can build student participation into your proposal and select individual students later. In the budget section, you can list “Undergraduate/graduate student to be determined (TBD).” After you have decided which students will be traveling, please let the relevant MISTI Manager know

Yes. Please however be mindful of the 20-month grant period; if you receive a grant, all trips should be completed by the grant end date.

Global Seed Fund (GSF) proposals are viewed by the evaluation committee, selection board, and the GSF administrative staff. We advise you not to provide details of patentable ideas, copyrightable software, or any confidential information, as this proposal could be considered a public disclosure and harm your patent and confidentiality rights. If you choose to submit patentable ideas, copyrightable software or other confidential information, you do so at your own risk. Please contact the TLO for further advice if needed.

Application process

The maximum amount varies by fund. Please refer to this list of active funds

Funding will be awarded annually and should be expended within 20 months. At the end of the project period, a grantee report will be due.

Funds will be transferred to the winners as soon as accounts have been set up by MISTI to receive the funds – but no earlier than the end of May. All funding will be transferred into an account of the participating MIT faculty.

Costs need to be calculated on the basis of travel expenses: flight expenses, housing costs, living costs, visa, etc. The basis for the calculation should be no higher than 75% of published U.S. State Department per diem. Please note that Global Seed Fund awards may not be used to cover salaries or equipment.

Acceptable expenses for meeting costs include facility rental and food.

Funds are intended to be used during the initial phase of developing international collaboration. Funds are not considered as sponsored research and cannot cover salaries or materials. As such, no intellectual property should be derived from these funds, nor should they be cited in technology disclosure forms.

Expenses and Managing your Fund

Maximum award amounts vary depending on the fund


Funding may be used:

  • To cover travel and meeting costs to facilitate international projects and collaboration
  • Awards may cover up to 75% of the U.S. Department of State maximum per diem rate for the proposed travel abroad plus a reasonable estimate of the economy-class airfare
  • For travel to MIT, applicants are eligible for up to $350 per day in expenses, plus economy-class airfare
  • Funding will be made available to MIT applicants and must be administered by his or her department*


*For the MIT-Imperial College London Seed Fund, funds awarded to the Imperial College London applicant will be administered by Imperial College London.


Funding may not be used for the following:

  • Research-related supplies or equipment
  • Salary and/or fringe benefits of any personnel
  • Conference and registration fees
  • Faculty, staff or students from other institutions (not noted in the proposal)
  • Funds are not intended to be used for long-term stays (over two months) abroad or at MIT.  * However, MISTI may be able to send MIT undergraduate and graduate students to work on faculty-led projects abroad through our internship program
  • Funds may not be used to cover MIT Visiting Student fees. Here is the MIT visiting student policy.*
    • Students whose Visiting Student appointment duration is less than 5 weeks will have the visiting student fees waived
    • Students may visit MIT for three weeks or less without applying for Visiting Student status
  • Funding should not be used for graduate students’ dissertation field work
  • At the completion of the grant cycle, all unused funds will be returned to Global Seed Funds.


* An exception: MIT-Italy Seed Funds may be used to cover long-term stays (over two months) at MIT and the MIT Visiting Student fees.


The funds granted should be used according to what has been outlined in your proposal. Major modifications of the budget allocations during the project are not recommended but minor changes can be approved in coordination with relevant MISTI Seed Fund Manager.

No. These funds may not be used to cover equipment.

No, funds may not be used to pay student or employee salaries.

No, funds may not be used to cover salaries, even to help organize a conference or meeting. Additionally, funds cannot be used for conference registration costs.

No, funds may not be used to cover materials.

Funds will be transferred to the MIT PI participating in the collaboration who will disburse them according to the budget. The MIT PI's department will be responsible for any travel reports related to the seed fund.

The department representative responsible for managing the seed fund grant should process reimbursements for the international collaborator(s).

There are two ways to reimburse a collaborator:
  1. The MIT grantee should collect itemized receipts from the international collaborators and use them to create an expense report in Concur. After the expense report is finished, contact Travel to arrange an international wire transfer. You will need the following information from the collaborators to make the wire transfer:
  • Full name
  • Home address
  • Bank name
  • Bank address (of the branch s/he uses)
  • Account number
  • Bank’s SWIFT code
Program Managers do not process reimbursements for grant awardees.
  1. Request a per diem: To travel domestically on a per diem basis, you must first get approval from your department head, laboratory director, or project supervisor.  Once you have departmental approval, you must then submit your request to travelsupport [at] (VPF Travel and Card Services) for final approval.  More information can be found here:

No, funds may not be used to cover publication costs.

No. Funds can only be used for collaborators identified in the original proposal who are either MIT faculty, researchers or students or international collaborating team faculty, researchers or students. Significant post-award proposal changes including changes to the team members require that MISTI is notified and funds returned.


MISTI recommends that MIT grantees pay for the MIT employee and student airfare, housing and meals with their own MIT travel or departmental card. When the trip is complete, close out the transactions in Concur.

MISTI recommends that MIT grantees pay for the international collaborator’s airfare, housing and meals with their own MIT travel or departmental card. It is possible to give visitors a stipend for their trip. When the trip is complete, close out the transactions in Concur. If you have questions, please contact the Travel department.

No, you cannot use funds to pay for a business or first class ticket, even if a leg of your flight is over 6 hours. If you still want to book a business or first class ticket, you will have to charge the extra funds to another account. You should check with the Travel department with any questions on how to process this transaction in Concur.

Yes, funds can be used to pay for visa applications.

Yes, as long as the conference is relevant to the topic and approved by the MISTI Seed Fund Manager. This should only be a minimal portion of the budget.

Additional international Insurance is no longer necessary for MIT students, faculty or staff. Funds can be used to pay for insurance for visiting collaborators and students.

You are responsible for ensuring that students register with MISTI here.


Find the PDF for MIT Safety Checklist for Students 2023-2024 here.

Leading a student trip abroad? Learn the vital tips you need to know before you go.


Watch the Tips for Trip Leaders video here.

Here is a checklist for Faculty traveling through Global Seed Funds.

Funds awarded aim to support the collaboration between MIT faculty and faculty from around the world. Usage of funds for domestic travel is discouraged, but is possible under the following conditions:

  1. Approved as part of the initial award application
  2. Funds are being used to fund a meeting/s between MIT faculty or students and the co-applicant global partner and are less than 5% of the total budget

Funds cannot be used for domestic travel :

  1. To travel to present at a domestic conference (unless the co-applicant international collaborator is also present)
  2. To travel to meet non co-applicants

International Visitors

MISTI does not facilitate the logistics related to visiting faculty from abroad. Inquiries about bringing a visiting scholar, visiting professor, postdoc or other researcher should be directed to the HR administrator in your specific department, lab or center headquarters as appointments at MIT are initiated by individual departments and the International Scholars Office works with a contact person in each department. More information here.

MISTI does not facilitate the logistics related to visiting students from abroad. Inquiries about bringing visiting students should be directed to the advisor in the International Students Office.

Additional Questions

Grantees are required to complete a final report at the end of the grant period.

We recommend reviewing these sites for additional funding opportunities:

In any publications that result from your GSF project, please acknowledge the GSF fund and the country program (e.g. ULVAC-Hayashi MISTI Seed Fund, MIT-Japan Program) in addition to MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI). When appropriate please include links to MISTI, the fund, and country program page.