MISTI GSF is comprised of a general fund and several country, region or university-specific funds created by MISTI country programs. The general fund is open projects in any country.

Visit our Overview page to learn more about the MISTI Global Seed Funds program. 


Before applying

I’m an international collaborator interested in GSF. How do I find MIT faculty to work with?

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.

I am an MIT researcher - how do I know if I’m eligible to apply?

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.

I am international collaborator with a partner at MIT. Who should fill out the GSF application?

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.

When does the application period open? When is the application deadline? When are results announced?

Applications are made available on our online application portalClick here for application dates.

We don't have the names of the students who will participate in this project. Is that okay?

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.

We have budgeted money for various meetings related to our project. Is it OK if those dates change?

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.

Is there any kind of information I should not put in my GSF proposal?

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 advise if needed.

Application process

What is the maximum amount of a MISTI GSF request?

The maximum amount varies by fund. Please refer to this page for a list of all funds.

Can I apply for funding to cover project expenses for more than one year?

Funding will be awarded annually and should be expended within 20 months. Awardees will have through December of the following year (20 months later), to spend the funds. At the end of the project period, a grantee report will be due.  

When will the winners receive the assigned funds?

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. 

How should we calculate our request for funding?

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 MISTI Global Seed Fund awards may not be used to cover salaries or equipment.

What are acceptable expenses for meeting costs?

Acceptable expenses for meeting costs include facility rental and food.

After funding is awarded

Can we use the awarded grant to buy any equipment for our project?

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

Can we modify the budget plan provided in the proposal during the project?

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.

I was just awarded a MISTI Global Seed Fund. What expenses can these funds cover?
  • I was just awarded a MISTI Global Seed Fund. What expenses can these funds cover?
  • Funding may be used to cover travel and meeting costs to facilitate international projects and collaboration.
  • Funds may not be used to cover salaries or materials.
  • 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 programContact us to learn more.
  • Funds may not be used to cover MIT Visiting Student fees.*
  • Maximum award amounts vary depending on the fund (details).
  • Funds will be made available to the MIT applicant and must be administered by his or her department.**


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


Can funds be used to pay students or employee salary?

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

Can I use the seed fund money to hire help to organize a conference/meeting?

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.

Can funds be used to pay for materials related to a seed fund project?

No, funds may not be used to cover materials.

Can funds be used to pay for health and travel insurance?

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.

Can funds be used to pay for visa applications?

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

Who will administer the funds once they have been transferred?

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. 

What is the best way for me to book and pay for travel for MIT employees and students?

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.           

What is the best way for me to pay for the international collaborator's travel to MIT?

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.  

What is the best way to reimburse an international collaborator in international funds?

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

MISTI Program Managers do not process reimbursements for grant awardees.

Can I use the funds to pay for a business or first class ticket?

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.    

How do we arrange for a visa for international faculty 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: https://adminconnect.mit.edu/how/how-obtain-visa


How do we arrange for a visa for international student visitors?

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 visiting student information

More information from the International Students Office (ISO) website.


We are publishing an article about our project; how should I credit MISTI?

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.

Can funds be used to pay for publications related to a seed fund project?

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

Can I add additional team members to the project post-award?

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.