Seed Funding

In an effort to amplify the enormous creativity of Rice faculty in collaboration with our partners in the Texas Medical Center, ENRICH offers funding opportunities supporting health-related research.


Houston Methodist and Rice's Ken Kennedy Institute and ENRICH create multi-year seed fund initiative

ENRICH, on behalf of Ken Kennedy Institute and the Rice department of Bioengineering, successfully negotiated a shared seed fund program with Houston Methodist that will span several years and various research domains at Rice. ENRICH is facilitating the seed fund process and award distribution. Individual projects are funded up to $50,000 each and require a PI from each institution.

  • Robotics and Imaging - 11 projects funded
  • Behavioral Health and Scalable Health Labs - 2 projects funded
  • Cardiovascular Bioengineering - project selection is underway
  • Nursing - call for proposals planned for December 2022


ARPA-H Strategic Initiative Seed Fund

In order to respond rapidly to emerging opportunities, the Office of Research established the ARPA-H Strategic Initiative Seed Fund for Rice faculty to apply for new collaborative research seed grants for up to $50,000 with TMC partners.

The fund, facilitated by the ENRICH office, serves to position Rice for the NIH launch of its new ARPA-H funding mechanism. It is expected that the seed grants will lead to competitive national ARPA-H proposals.

  • Awards were announced in November 2021
  • Award period is one year following the announcement date

Provost's TMC Collaborator Fund

The Provost's TMC Collaborator Fund is a competitive fund for Rice faculty in all disciplines that awards seed grants for new collaborative research projects with faculty of TMC health-related institutions. The seed grants should lead to self-sustaining, nationally competitive research programs that will address critically important problems in or relevant to health care. Facilitation and funding of the award program is conducted by Rice ENRICH. Newsletter article.

Awarded Projects

An Optical Sensor for Clinical Detection of Cholesterol

  • Jason Hafner, PhD, Professor, Department of Physics & Astronomy, Rice
  • Carly S. Filgueira, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Nanomedicine, Houston Methodist Research Institute

Medicine, Race, and Democracy: Reassessing Health Care Access in Houston

  • Lan Li, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of History, Rice
  • Ricardo Ernesto Nuila, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Medical Ethics and Health Policy, Baylor College of Medicine

System-level Analysis of Regulatory Networks Controlling Bacterial Envelope Homeostasis During Antibiotic Stress

  • Oleg Igoshin, PhD, Professor, Department of Bioengineering, Rice
  • Anna Konovalova, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, McGovern Medical School, UTHealth

Baylor College of Medicine DeBakey Department of Surgery INSTINCT and Rice ENRICH

The seed grant program aims to promote excellent collaborative research among faculty in the Baylor College of Medicine DeBakey Department of Surgery and Rice University. Emphasis of the program is placed on establishing new collaborations between BCM and Rice. The seed grants should lead to self-sustaining, nationally competitive research programs that will address critically important problems related to surgery. Newsletter article.

Awarded Projects

Self-charging Wireless Pulse Sensor Integrated Vascular Graft for the Real-time Monitoring of Acute Thrombosis and Occlusion

  • Pulickel M. Ajayan, PhD, Chair, Department of Materials Science and NanoEngineering, Rice
  • Crystal Shin, PhD, Assistant Professor, Michael E.DeBakey Department of Surgery, BCM

Pathogenesis of Primary Graft Dysfunction in Lung Transplantation: Identifying Molecular and Cellular Biomarkers and Causal Effect of Sex

  • Meng Li, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Statistics, Rice
  • Gabriel Loor, MD, Associate Professor, Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery, BCM

Detecting Human Performance Deficiencies in Surgical Simulation Training Using Intelligent Multi-Modal Sensors

  • Vaibhav Unhelkar, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science, Rice
  • James Suliburk, MD, Associate Professor, Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery, BCM

IoT and Aging in Place Seed Grant Program

Co-sponsored by Rice ENRICH and UTHealth Cizik School of Nursing

Announced in May, 2020, three projects were funded, two involving Rice faculty:

Aging in Place with Cognitive Impairment: Toward User-Centered Assistive Technologies

  • PI: Patricia R. DeLucia, PhD, Department of Psychological Sciences, Rice
  • Co-PI: Sabrina Pickens, PhD, RN, UTHealth Cizik School of Nursing
  • Co-Investigators: Philip Kortum, Stephanie Leal, Fred Oswald, Rice

Facial and Body Motion Technology to Detect Psychosocial Distress in Stroke Survivors and Informal Caregivers Living at Home

  • PI: Jennifer E. S. Beauchamp, PhD, RN, UTHealth Cizik School of Nursing
  • Co-PI: Shayan Shams, PhD, UTHealth School of Biomedical Informatics
  • Co-Investigator: Christopher Fagundes, PhD, Department of Psychological Sciences, Rice

The seed funds were awarded as part of a collaboration event held in January on the campus of the UTHealth Cizik School of Nursing featuring teams of researchers from Rice and UTHealth. Co-hosts were Dr. Marcie O’Malley, Rice Advisor to the Provost for ENRICH and Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Dr. Constance Johnson, Professor of Nursing Research, UTHealth Cizik School of Nursing.

The event included a keynote address, rapid fire research presentations and a networking session, and concluded with guided tours of the nursing school’s Smart Apartment, a fully furnished, fully functional one-bedroom home fabricated on the school campus to be used as a ‘living laboratory’. As explained in its newsletter announcement, “Researchers investigate how aging in place might make thoughtful and appropriate use of technology such as sensors, monitors, robots, wearables and other devices to support independent living for seniors.”

The IoT and Aging-in-Place collaboration event and engagement of faculty of Rice and the schools of UTHealth demonstrate the commitment of each toward meaningful partnerships within the Texas Medical Center.

ENRICH announces recipient of DOD-specific seed funding between Rice University and Houston Methodist

A single seed grant in the amount of $50,000 was jointly awarded to Rice and Methodist faculty on February 14, 2020. The seed grant program was co-sponsored by Rice ENRICH, Rice IBB, and Houston Methodist.

Dr. Jason Hafner, Professor of Chemistry at Rice and Dr. Carly Filgueira, Assistant Professor of Nanomedicine at Houston Methodist were awarded the grant for their joint proposal entitled, A Field-Deployable, Small Molecule Nanosensor with Specificity based on Lipophilicity.

ENRICH awards the 2019-2020 Rice University and McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Neuro-Related Joint Seed Grants:

Multiscale Dynamic Modeling of Ribbon Synapses for Next Generation Strategies of Vision Restoration
Robert M. Raphael, PhD, Department of Bioengineering, Rice University
Ruth Heidelberger, MD/PhD, Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, McGovern Medical School, UT Health

Photodynamic Treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease based on Directed Amyloid Photooxidation
Angel A. Martí, Department of Chemistry, Rice University
Ines Moreno-Gonzalez, Department of Neurology, UT Health

Wireless Endovascular Neural Stimulators for Minimally Invasive Treatment of Depression
Jacob T. Robinson, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Department of BioEngineering, Rice University
Sunil A. Sheth, MD, Assistant Professor, Vascular and Interventional Neurology, Department of Neurology, UTHealth McGovern Medical School

For additional funding opportunities for Rice faculty, visit Creative Ventures Fund.

See also the GCC's John S. Dunn Foundation Collaborative Research Award Program.