Additional nine projects will receive Penn State strategic plan seed grants

January 28, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Initiatives that will re-imagine the traditional use of textbooks within classrooms, develop community-based solutions to river flooding in Pennsylvania, and create an adaptable online art-publishing platform at the Palmer Museum of Art, are among nine proposals that Penn State is funding as part of the third round of seed grants for strategic initiative pilot programs.

Since last year, through an innovative new funding process, Penn State has invested more than $4 million in over 20 pilot programs, while simultaneously advancing the vital and transformative work of its faculty, staff and students across the University.

To be eligible, the strategic initiatives must support Penn State’s 2016-2020 Strategic Plan and its thematic priorities, which include transforming education, enhancing health, stewarding our planet’s resources, advancing the arts and humanities, and driving digital innovation; or supporting elements. Programs should also incorporate the plan’s foundational areas.

Faculty, staff and students from across the University submitted proposals for consideration, seeking grants ranging from $50,000 to $250,000. Seed grants are recommended for funding after review by the University Strategic Plan Implementation Oversight Committee.

“The process has been very successful in providing a mechanism for folks across the University to actively and tangibly participate in advancing the implementation of the plan through funded projects,” said Nick Jones, executive vice president and provost, in a recent Q&A. “There are great ideas being surfaced, and supported, that truly have the opportunity to advance the University in ways we could not have imagined. We’ve had three rounds to date, and the fourth-round call is in progress — so there is more to come.”

The deadline for the fourth round of seed grant submissions is Feb. 18.

Jones also recently hosted a Town Hall, at which he and a panel of University leaders answered questions from the University community about the strategic plan and the seed grants.

The latest nine initiatives are listed below. More information about these, and all of the funded proposals, is available at

— Pennsylvania Population Network, in support of enhancing health. The Pennsylvania Population Network, designed as a visible program of demographic and health research, application and outreach, aims to leverage existing resources to provide analyses and training focused on the role of population dynamics for health and well-being across diverse groups and geographies.

— Ethical Application of Analytic Tools: A Pilot Study in Academic Advising, in support of transforming education. This project aims to create resources necessary to support the evaluation and adoption of advanced analytic tools. The initiative will define processes for developing training materials and evaluating ethical use of predictive analytics by studying these tools in an academic advising context.

— Transforming Online and On-Campus Education through Simulated Real-World Inspired Industry Projects, in support of transforming education. This initiative aims to develop and assess applied learning environments enabled by “virtual projects” – complex, three-dimensional computerized simulation models of a system – when physical access to the actual system is not possible; and enabling synergies by bringing together investigators of other funded transforming education strategic initiatives.

— Re-imagining the use of Textbooks in a Traditional Classroom through Interactive Open Educational Resource Notebooks, in support of transforming education. This project re-imagines the traditional use of textbooks within classrooms. This initiative will develop, test and implement an interactive, open educational-resources notebook that provides replacement of traditional static imaging and text utilized in a classroom; and digital fluency training to Penn State students.

— Penn State Initiative for Resilient Communities (PSIRC): A Pilot to Develop Community-Based Solutions to Riverine Flooding, in support of stewarding our planet’s resources. Recent flooding in Pennsylvania, already one of the most flood-prone states, highlights the need for communities to address flooding impacts. This project pilots approaches for addressing such impacts through a coordinated project with Selinsgrove and other river communities along the Susquehanna River and broader region.

— The Pennsylvania Adult-Fiduciary Project: Developing Statewide Online Education in Support of Aging and Vulnerable Adults, in support of constituent outreach and engagement. A multiple-campus collaboration with the Pennsylvania Courts will develop interactive educational tools to help the state create accessible, effective methods of education on standards of conduct and responsibilities for agents and court-appointed guardians of incapacitated adults.

— Stimulating Partnerships Among Researchers and Clinicians (SPARC): A Clinical-Research Exchange Fellowship, in support of enhancing health. This initiative will establish a fellowship program to stimulate interdisciplinary partnerships among clinicians and researchers, bridging interests, resources and expertise at different ends of the bedside-to-bench continuum, to help address unmet medical needs and expand biomedical research at Penn State.

— Engaging the Palmer’s Public: An Online Publishing Platform for Outreach and Educations, in support of advancing the arts and humanities. The Palmer Museum of Art will develop an online publishing platform for the presentation of exhibition catalogues and other scholarship on the museum’s website; which also will form an adaptable template to help meet the online publishing needs of collection- and exhibition-oriented units throughout the University.

— Employee Community Networks at Penn State: Pilot Program, in support of organizational processes. This limited-scale pilot program will create three “Employee Community Network” groups supported by a new position within the Office of Educational Equity. The groups constitute process improvements for increased satisfaction and sense of belonging, and ultimately increased recruitment and retention, of diverse talent at Penn State.

For more information about the strategic plan funding model and seed grant process, including proposal and submission guidelines, timeline and review process, visit Questions about seed grants and other components of the strategic plan implementation process should be sent to

Last Updated September 04, 2020