SPEED in Research

Seeding Projects for Enabling Excellence & Distinction (SPEED): A program to stimulate innovative new scholarship in Arts & Sciences

The SPEED program was created to stimulate innovative work that leads to significant outcomes in research, scholarship, and creative practice. 

Arts & Sciences tenure-track and research faculty are invited to submit proposals for this semiannual internal seed funding program. Yearlong seed grants range up to $50,000 and will support work that leads to a variety of measurable outcomes, such as submissions for external grants; scholarly publications; and significant work disseminated through other methods, such as presentations or performances.  

Eligibility & Proposal Guidelines


Principal investigators must have positions in Arts & Sciences as tenure-track or research faculty. Collaborators may have positions at other schools at Washington University or at other universities, but all funds must be spent through Washington University accounts. 

Proposal Guidelines 

  • Proposals should describe research, scholarship, and/or creative practice (RSCP) that is not currently supported by internal or external grant funds. 

  • The proposal category should be specified according to the funding range requested. 

    • SPEEDing towards research, scholarship, and creative practice academic distinction and external funding. 

      • Category A: up to $15,000 to support pilot data collection, infrastructure needs, or other needed resources 

      • Category B: $15,000-$50,000 to support pilot data collection, infrastructure needs, or other needed resources 

    • SPEEDing towards the next book.  This category involves four components: a) a fall or spring course release to develop a strong second+ book proposal; b) participation in a 2nd+ book proposal workshop through the Humanities Center; c) submission of at least one external funding proposal to support book completion; and d) a writing stipend of $7500 for the summer after external proposal submission. This category is focused on individuals for whom books are central to promotion. 

  • Proposals are limited to three pages in length (single-spaced, with font no smaller than 12 pt Times or Times New Roman) and margins no smaller than 0.5 inches. The proposals should include these five sections. Please write for an interdisciplinary audience that will not have specific disciplinary knowledge in your field of research. 

    • Introduction/background that describes how the new work relates to the current work of the proposers and provides broader perspectives on its significance and importance as a new direction in the field. 

    • Description of proposed new work, with a particular focus on how this is a novel direction for the proposer that will elevate their research, scholarship and/or creative practice and open new avenues for innovation. 

    • Anticipated outcomes (e.g., publications, performances, new external grant/fellowship proposals) with the inclusion of a timeline and specific suggestions for how to assess successful achievement of the outcomes.   

    • List of representative research, scholarship, and/or creative practice products produced by PI(s) from within the past 10 years (publications, books, performances, etc., as appropriate) 

    • Budget for work with sufficient detail to allow the review committee to understand the costs of each component of the proposed work.  Faculty salary is an unallowable expense category. A budget is not needed for SPEEDing towards the next book proposals. 

Deadlines & Submission 

Proposals should be submitted by March 1 or September 1 via the submission webform. If the listed due date falls on a weekend, the deadline will be extended to the following business day.

Submit a Proposal


Award Review & Administration Process

  • Submissions will be considered on a semiannual basis, with due dates of March 1 and September 1 for funding to begin the following June 1 and December 1, respectively. 

  • Review of all proposals will be performed by a Board of Faculty Research appointed by the dean of Arts & Sciences, with the vice dean of research and entrepreneurship to serve on an ex officio basis. Additional reviewers may also be consulted as needed. The final decision on funding will be made by the dean of Arts & Sciences. 

  • Proposals will be evaluated on the basis of the perceived significance and quality of the proposed work as well as the anticipated outcome(s). Preference will be given to work that will lead to a publication, creative presentation/performance, or external grant submission. 

  • Preference will be given to proposals that are not to be a good fit for funding through other established mechanisms (e.g., Center for the Humanities, Weidenbaum Center, Living Earth Collaborative, McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences). Applicants are encouraged to discuss the project with the leadership of these other programs if any overlap is possible. Preference will also be given to proposals that do not fall into the RSCP that an applicant’s start-up package was meant to support. 

  • Grant duration will be one year. Awarded funds must be spent three months after the end date of the grant. Funds remaining after that period will be returned to the dean's office. 

  • A final one-page report on the outcomes of the supported work is due six months after the end date of the grant. Failure to submit the final report by the deadline will result in loss of eligibility for future SPEED program grants. 

  • Yearly funding for this program will be determined by the Dean of Arts & Sciences.