Applicant eligibility

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.

See Global Seed Fund FAQ for more information.

Selection criteria

For all funds, priority will be given to projects that:

  • are likely to make an important contribution to the field
  • are new or are entering a new phase
  • include a balanced exchange between participating teams
  • demonstrate complementarity between participating teams
  • involve undergraduate and/or graduate students in a meaningful way
  • are likely to be sustainable beyond the grant period

Application process

Applicants must submit their proposals using the online application portal

Grantees are required to complete a short activity report at the end of the grant period. At the completion of the grant cycle, all unused funds will be returned to MISTI Global Seed Funds.

  • 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.*
  • Funds are not intended to be used to fund graduate students’ dissertation field work.
  • 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.

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

Travel expense guidelines

Awards may cover up to 75% of the US Department of State maximum per diem rate for the proposed travel abroad plus a reasonable estimate of the economy-class airfare. For instance, if the maximum per diem rate for Paris is $454, you may request up to $340 per day for a trip to Paris, plus economy-class airfare. For travel to MIT, applicants are eligible for up to $250 per day in expenses, plus economy-class airfare.


Patentable ideas, copyrightable software, or any confidential information, disclosure of which may harm the proposer, should not generally be included in proposals. If such information is necessary to convey an understanding of the proposed project it must be clearly marked in the proposal and appropriately labeled with a legend such as, “The following is proprietary or confidential information that (name of PI) requests to be released only to the (evaluation committee and selection board) for the sole purpose of review and evaluation.”