The AYY Seed Grant is for funding up to $50,000 to enhance existing partnerships between UMB and UCR researchers, emphasizing international, comparative, and bidirectional research. The Seed Grant requires both UMB and UCR investigators, and funds must be disbursed to both PIs and institutions.

Seed Grants support researchers in developing and amplifying innovative projects within various domains of aging research, including clinical, psychosocial, behavioral, epidemiology, public health, and bench science areas. This could encompass a wide range of areas, from the biological processes of aging to the socio-cultural and psychological aspects of growing older. The grants should generate preliminary data or evidence of feasibility for larger studies and impactful publications. These awards may also facilitate the incorporation of community partner organizations into the research projects.

Overall Objective 

  • To foster innovation and interdisciplinary collaboration in aging research, thereby advancing the field's knowledge base and promoting the inclusion of diverse researchers.

Specific Objectives 

  • To stimulate the development of research collaborations between UMB and UCR, leveraging the unique strengths, resources, and perspectives of each institution to enhance the quality and impact of aging research.

  • To broaden participation in aging research by encouraging applications from researchers of diverse backgrounds and varying levels of expertise, thereby enriching the field with a variety of perspectives and approaches.

  • To support innovative research projects in aging that introduce novel concepts, challenge existing paradigms, or provide new insights into key aspects of aging.

The following types of research projects are eligible for Seed Grant funding: 

  • Interdisciplinary Collaborative Projects: Projects that bring together researchers from different disciplines within UMB and UCR, focusing on innovative approaches to aging research. This could include collaborations between clinical researchers, social scientists, public health experts, and bench scientists.

  • Comparative and International Research: Initiatives that leverage the unique policies and geographical and cultural contexts of the US and Costa Rica. Projects could focus on comparative studies of aging populations in both countries. For example, assessing differences or similarities in aging processes, healthcare systems, health outcomes, and social support structures.

  • Community-Engaged Research: Proposals that involve community partners in the research process, such as nonprofits, advocacy groups, and public agencies. This might include participatory research methodologies where community members are actively involved in the design and implementation of the study.

  • Pilot Studies for Larger Research Initiatives: Development of small-scale pilot studies that have the potential to lead to more extensive research projects. These pilots can help in testing new ideas, methods, or interventions in the field of aging.

  • Cross-Cultural Methodology Development: Research focused on developing or refining methodologies that are sensitive to cultural differences, which can be used in international and comparative aging research.

  • Data Sharing and Integration Projects: Proposals aimed at integrating or sharing data between UMB and UCR, to facilitate larger, more comprehensive studies on aging. This might involve harmonizing existing data sets or developing new tools for data collection and analysis.

  • Public Health and Epidemiological Studies: Research that looks at the broader public health implications of aging, such as studies on the prevalence of age-related diseases, healthcare utilization among the elderly, or the impact of aging populations on health systems.

  • Behavioral and Psychosocial Research: Studies examining the psychological, behavioral, and social aspects of aging. This could include research on mental health, cognitive function, social networks, and the impact of aging on quality of life.

  • Policy-Oriented Research: Projects aimed at informing policy decisions related to aging populations. This might involve analyzing existing policies or proposing new policy frameworks based on research findings.

Awardees may propose specific methodologies based on project characteristics. Researchers may utilize various methodological designs such as quantitative (cross-sectional or longitudinal), qualitative, case series, policy analysis, experimental, mixed methods, ethnographic and systematic reviews.

In addition to considering the above-mentioned types of research projects, the Seed Grants will consider proposals that include:

  • Facilitation of partner meetings

  • Key partner identification

  • Training and capacity building for community partners

  • Training and capacity building for academic partners

  • Addressing the needs of underserved populations

  • Up to $50,000 in direct costs for 12 months.

  • The budget must be divided into costs allocated to UMB and costs allocated to UCR. Use of funds must comply with the regulations of the institution holding the funds.

  • No indirects are allowed for UMB, but UCR requires 5% overhead of the amount allocated to UCR.

Salary Support

Salary support may be included for UCR and UMB faculty-level members and research staff (no more than 30% of the total budget allocated among UCR and UMB faculty as agreed to by the applicants). For individuals receiving salary support, provide a brief paragraph in the budget justification about their role. Note: For UCR researchers, any amount in this category will be called "salary supplement" rather than "salary support."

Allowable Expenses

  • Stipend for external contractors or community partners in Costa Rica or the US
  • Travel costs to Costa Rica or US
  • Lodging
  • Supplies
  • Facility use fees
  • Activity costs, such as research training for partners
  • Other expenses required to develop the partnership

Unallowable Expenses

  • Tuition
  • Refreshments
  • Purchase of office or laboratory furniture
  • Phone services
  • Professional membership fees

  • The Seed Grant must be exhausted within 12 months of the award date. AYY leadership will meet with investigators throughout the project period to monitor progress. If a request for a no-cost extension has not been requested by the eighth month of the grant period, project activities will cease at the end of 12 months and any remaining funds will be returned to the AYY.

  • Cannot be encumbered for future use or transferred to another project, researcher, or expense.

  • Limited to one award per faculty per 12 months.

The eligibility criteria for the Seed Grant program differ between UMB and UCR.

As such, prospective applicants are advised to carefully review and understand the distinct policies and guidelines set forth below. 

Eligibility Criteria for UMB Faculty 

  • The PI needs to be Faculty at Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Professor level with a minimum 51% FTE appointment at one of the seven UMB schools, regardless of tenure track.

  • Research Associates/Instructors, undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows are not eligible to apply and cannot be listed as co-PIs or co-investigators. However, they may be listed in other roles in the proposal.

  • Adjunct or visiting faculty are not eligible to apply as investigators but may be listed in other roles in the proposal.

  • Lead PI or Co-PI cannot serve on multiple applications in the same round.

  • Applicants must have experience in aging research or have an interest – stated clearly in the proposal – for venturing into aging research.

  • Proficiency in Spanish is desired but not required.

Eligibility Criteria for UCR Faculty 

  • Must hold at least a half-time faculty appointment at UCR.

  • Applicant’s appointment status may be tenure-track, or interim with a continuous appointment.

  • Must have participated in other UCR-sponsored projects (regular or competitive), at minimum as a Research Associate.

  • Applicants must have experience in aging research or have an interest – stated clearly in the proposal – for venturing into aging research.

  • All UCR researchers who are part of the proposal and have other projects, either as a principal investigator or collaborator, must be up-to-date with the submission of partial and final project reports to the Office of the Vice-Rector for Research (Vicerrectoría de Investigación); otherwise, the project will not be accepted for evaluation.

IRB determination, approval, and timing for the Seed Grant program differ between UMB and UCR.

Investigators much ensure that all research activities adhere to IRB guidelines and other regulatory requirements at both institutions. 


  • IRB Letter of Determination/Approval is not required at the time of application but should be initiated upon approval of the Letter of Intent.
  • The IRB designation must match the grant proposal, and the team list should be consistent.
  • Additional institutional registrations/approvals must be obtained before initiating research activities.


  • All research projects involving the interaction with humans or other living beings must be approved by the appropriate commissions, namely the Scientific Ethics Committee (CEC), the Institutional Commission on Biological Diversity (CBio), and the Institutional Commission on the Care and Use of Animals (CICUA).
  • We advise submitting the proposal to UCR's IRB entities at the same time the proposal is submitted to UCR for approval.
  • To avoid delays in the initiation of the project, the acknowledgement of receipt from the respective commissions must be included. Use this form to see if your project needs to be reviewed by one of these committees.

Potential applicants are encouraged to meet with AYY leadership prior to submission of application to discuss seed funding proposals.  A consultation can include identification of partners and projects as well project design and plans for implementation.

Please email Michelle Sullivan to arrange a consultation.