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Submission due date: Monthly rolling — Last day of each month (5:00pm EST)


Supported by the Steve and Karen Jones SEAD Fund for Educator Professional Development, the Center for Educational Networks and Impacts (CENI) invites applications for SEAD (Science, Engineering, Arts, and Design) projects that support educator professional development while being creative, innovative, and showing a strong potential for contribution toward the goals of CENI and ICAT. These funds can be used to pursue a range of transdisciplinary activities including STEM/SEAD projects, pilot studies, feasibility studies, or preliminary research. It is expected that the projects funded by the SEAD grants will help catalyze larger projects (with possibilities for future funding), long term initiatives, or one-time events, performances, or exhibitions that engage teachers, students, and the community at the regional level.

Eligible investigators

All faculty members at Virginia Tech are invited to submit an application and lead a project team. The PI must be a Virginia Tech faculty partnering with an educator in a formal or informal learning system in the community. Jones/CENI grant project leaders are required to work with a CENI liaison and/or an educator within a formal or informal educational site (e.g., school system, museum, or other learning programs).

Please contact Phyllis Newbill at for help connecting with educators at museums, schools, and other institutions.

In keeping with Virginia Tech’s Principles of Community, CENI recognizes the critical importance of diverse teams of scholars. CENI seeks to diversify its research teams along multiple dimensions. CENI is dedicated to InclusiveVT — serving in the spirit of community, diversity, and excellence to create a community that nurtures learning and growth for all of its members.

Space and support

In some instances, ICAT/CENI can provide workspace in support of SEAD projects for the duration of the project award year. This will be somewhere within the Creativity and Innovation District on an as-needed basis and when available.

A team of CENI specialists are available to become project team members for approved projects. CENI evaluation experts and school/museum liaisons are available to support projects via evaluation plans, outreach events, and facilitating access to local educational sites. As part of your proposal, please indicate what assistance you are requesting from CENI staff.

Funding information

Funding requests may be up to $3,000.

Funds will be awarded to PI’s home department unless otherwise authorized by CENI. All project expenses must be posted to Banner within 30 days of the project’s end date.

Unspent funds must be transferred back to CENI within 45 days of the project’s end date. Funds will not be awarded for conference travel, food, or outside artist fees.

Funds can be used to enable teachers to work outside the classroom and for logistics that enable teachers and students to attend VT-related activities.

Funds can be used to buy out faculty time during the academic year or summer pending home department approval.

Funds may be used for equipment, software, materials, student wages.

Research areas

Proposals should involve one or more of the following areas represented by the Institute: 

Computer science
Earth sciences
Human sciences 
Industrial design
Life sciences/Agriculture
Physical sciences
Social sciences 
Performing arts 
Visual Arts

Submission process

Please complete this Google form.

Expectations of funded projects

Funds: A fund will be set up through the Office of Sponsored Programs in the principal investigator’s home department upon acceptance of project. Any unspent funds should be returned to CENI by May 15 or apply for an extension. Please have your departmental fiscal representative contact Holly Williams at or 231-0802.

Equipment: CENI will have first option on the disposition of ownership of all materials, supplies, and equipment. Equipment not owned or maintained by CENI will be returned to the project PI or educational site with the understanding that CENI will have access to said equipment pending request and availability. 

Reporting: Project updates should be submitted to CENI once a month during the project’s duration. A final 2-3 page report will be submitted to CENI no more than 30 days after project completion that describes project outcomes and how the funds were expended. A final report template will be provided by CENI for completion and will be submitted to Melissa Wyers

CENI Engagement: Representatives from each project are expected to participate in outreach and engagement, including giving an ICAT Playdate presentation to showcase the project as well as participation in the upcoming ICAT Creativity and Innovation Day in the year the project is funded. Projects may also be considered for display during ICAT’s Open (at the) Source exhibition each spring, Virginia Tech Science Festival, Science Museum of Western Virginia, school tours, and Hokies Like Us/K2C events, as feasible and appropriate.

Resources: It is expected that the investigators have all resources necessary (space, equipment, etc.) to complete their project with the exception of the items and personnel requested in the proposal.

University policy: All university policies and procedures must be observed.

Logo: The official logo can be provided upon request.

Sample Credit Lines: “The {title of project} has been made possible in part by a grant from the Steve and Karen Jones SEAD Fund for Educator Professional Development via the Center for Educational Networks and Impacts at Virginia Tech’s Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology.”

Publications: Please include the following language on any publications or publicity/marketing materials (VT news releases, etc.) stemming from Jones/CENI funded research: “This work has been partially supported by the Steve and Karen Jones SEAD Fund for Educator Professional Development, the Center for Educational Networks and Impacts, and the Institute for Creativity, Art, and Technology at Virginia Tech.”

Printed Materials: Printed acknowledgments and publicity materials are expected to carry the Jones/CENI/ICAT/Virginia Tech logo. The name of the Jones fund in the logo must be legible and no smaller than 5 points. If the logo is not appropriate for the design, the credit line may be substituted in an appropriate type size. For large posters the point size should be correspondingly larger.

Films and Videos: An acknowledgment of support must be included at the beginning and end of each funded program and in all non-broadcast materials related to the project, including any elements of production re-purposed for distribution as digital media. The Jones/CENI/ICAT/Virginia Tech credit for film and television programs must be at least ten seconds long. Jones/CENI/ICAT/Virginia Tech is to be acknowledged in videos funded as part of an exhibition or other public programs, as well as in films broadcast on television. If the filmmaker intends to vary the design of the credits, CENI must approve the new format that is created.

Audio and Radio Materials: An acknowledgment of support must be contained at the beginning and end of each program and in all non-broadcast materials related to the project. Jones/CENI/ICAT/Virginia Tech should be credited for radio programs, and for recorded audio tours of exhibitions.

Exhibitions/Workshops: The acknowledgment of support, the Jones/CENI/ICAT/Virginia Tech logo and the disclaimer language should appear on signage at the entrance to the exhibition or workshop, on brochures and catalogs, and on exhibition or workshop video materials and websites. These requirements apply to the host site for the exhibition or workshop and to all participating venues. It is the grantee’s responsibility to convey this requirement to all venues as part of the contract.

Digital Projects: When possible, hyperlinks must be made between the project and the ICAT and CENI websites. All digital projects (including games and apps) released via a third party are also expected to include an acknowledgment of Jones/CENI/ICAT/Virginia Tech support in the promotional description of the project (for example: in the ‘Description’ section of the Google Play or iTunes stores). Additionally, all digital projects must incorporate the following CENI-specific keywords: Virginia Tech; Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology; ICAT; Jones SEAD Fund; CENI.

Websites: Hyperlinks must connect the project’s website and that of the ICAT and CENI websites.

Public Events: At programs or public gatherings related to the project, Jones/CENI/ICAT/Virginia Tech must be acknowledged orally as a sponsor. Signage at the event must acknowledge Jones/CENI/ICAT/Virginia Tech support.

Promotion and Advertising: The design for all print, promotion, and advertising related to the project must be submitted to the director of marketing and communication for approval prior to implementation. All promotion must include the acknowledgment of Jones/CENI/ICAT/Virginia Tech support and the Jones/CENI/ICAT/Virginia Tech logo; the credit line should be used whenever possible. This includes publicity campaign materials, publications, advertisements, press kits, press releases, wall panels, educational programs, special events, and receptions. Unless there is an agreement with the CENI Director to the contrary, all press releases and media pitching will be carried out by ICAT’s marketing office. The official spokesperson for CENI is Director Lisa McNair; the official spokesperson for ICAT is Director Ben Knapp.

Print and Electronic Use: Summaries, along with images, clips, screen shots, or the like of all Jones/CENI-funded projects must be made available to CENI for use in its publications and on its website.