Photo of hands cupping a small seedling in dirt.
Published on: Oct 12, 2018

Penn State community members, including faculty and staff, will be invited to submit ideas for pilot projects that are aimed at fulfilling the mission of the University's 2016-2020 Strategic Plan to advance innovation, research, learning and engagement at the University and beyond. Proposals for the fourth cycle for RFP submissionsfor the Strategic Plan are due by Jan. 31; the call for grant proposals will be forthcoming in early November.

In advance of the January deadline, several steering committees — Transforming Education, Driving Digital Innovation, and Advancing the Arts and Humanities — are offering to review short concept papers to give constructive feedback to assist in creating stronger proposals.

About the Strategic Plan initiative seed grants

During the past year, the University has awarded seed grant funding for 22 pilot projects designed to implement the University’s 2016-20 Strategic Plan. The proposals for cycle 3 are under review and awards will be communicated in December. More detailed information on the request-for-proposal submission process is available on the Strategic Plan RFP website.

Participants with initiative ideas under other themes and supporting elements are encouraged to reach out to the appropriate Steering Committee chairs to determine if their ideas are appropriate for strategic initiative funding and to develop their ideas prior to submission. Proposals that have been funded to date can be found at

Concept paper submission

Guidelines from each committee on concept paper submission are below. More detailed information is available on the website. The University community also is asked to share this information with those who might benefit from this offer of preliminary reviews.

Transforming Education

Concept paper deadline: Oct. 26

The Transforming Education Steering Committee encourages submissions that advance strategic Penn State pedagogical and academic initiatives that foster the transformation of education. To receive input from the committee on a project idea prior to submitting a proposal in this category, submit a one-page concept paper outlining the focus and priorities that will form the basis of a potential full submission.

The deadline to submit one-page concept papers is 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26. Submissions must be sent to Judy Wills at Submissions should follow the guidelines available here.

Driving Digital Innovation

Concept paper deadline: Nov. 20

In an effort to help proposers maximize their chances of success, the Driving Digital Innovation Steering Committee will provide preliminary feedback before the fourth cycle submission deadline. The committee expects to complete its review by Dec. 4.

Those who would like to take advantage of this feedback opportunity, may send a one-page concept paper to Colin J. Neill, DDI Steering Committee co-chair, at by 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 20.

Concept papers for proposals geared towards Driving Digital Innovation should follow the guidelines and format available here.

Advancing the Arts and Humanities

Concept paper deadline: Dec. 7

Those who would like input from the Steering Committee prior to submitting a proposal are invited to compose a brief concept paper following these guidelines, and email it to co-chairs Mark Ballora,, and Carey Eckhardt,, by Friday, Dec. 7. 

The Steering Committee will not be able to accommodate requests for consultations close to the final proposal deadline in January. Because of this, participants are strongly encouraged to use this opportunity to get preparatory feedback before creating a detailed grant proposal.