Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Will Shah Lab facilitate discussion calls after the webinar discussions?

We can provide support in facilitation after the initial webinar call, if the Purdue team needs it. We try not to be a bottleneck in the discussions and let the faculty and the partner collaborate as they see fit. In certain cases however, we offer continued support (cases where more than two problem statements are selected from a partner in the same region, e.g. SEWA in 2021).

  1. Is it expected that the Purdue members who were on the Webinar, work together for the proposal or does each member have to submit a separate proposal?

Multiple Purdue faculty can collaborate on one proposal. In fact, is it encouraged and looked upon favorably while assessing the proposal that multiple aspects of the problem statements (e.g. tech and social) are worked on by relevant experts.

  1. Does the Lab facilitate collaboration among faculty?

Shah Lab actively shares the names of the potential applicants with other interested members on the team, and it is left to the applicants to understand how their expertise fits in order to collaborate on the proposal.

  1. Does the PI have to be from the College of Engineering?

The PI (Principal Investigator) needs to be from Purdue and can be from any college on campus.  It is the responsibility of the PI to submit the final proposal to us. We expect the proposal to be developed collaboratively with the  partners - this is one of the major evaluation parameters.

  1. What is the seed grant amount?

The PI can ask up to $40,000 in the seed grant proposal. However, the final award is decided during the panel review as part of the selection. During the selection review the panel decides which proposal to choose for the next phase and how much of the PI’s ask can be met – which is guided by Shah Lab’s total budget and our desire to accommodate as many proposals as possible.

In the past, PI's have included ‘Graduate Research Assistantship’ in the form of Fee Remit from their department as part of the required grant amount, which lowered their ask from the Lab. We highly encourage you to explore that path. By itself, it doesn’t ensure a positive result during selection, but the committee looks favorably on such initiatives.

  1. What is a design grant?

Besides Seed Grant Award, we also try to accommodate one or more design and/or travel grant of up to $3,000.  This is a way to support more proposals that are not as extensive as that for Seed Grant awards.  While we try to categorize them during the problem selection, if the PI is dissatisfied with that categorization, a full seed grant proposal can be submitted to the problem. The final decision is made by the selection committee.

  1. Can I include my Startup fund in the budget?

Any additional sources of funds – Fee remit from your department, cost match from your College, your start up fund, or any additional source that brings down the ask from the Lab is highly encouraged. This helps us in extending our budget to support multiple worthy proposals.

  1. Do we need to account for indirect cost in the budget?

Since this is an internal grant, there is no need to include F&A/overhead. Budget amounts will range from $4000 to $40,000. The final decision of the amount will depend on the budget requirement section that you would outline in the proposal.

  1. Does the external partner receive any part of the seed grant award?

Seed grant, design and travel grants are internal grants that the Lab uses as a mechanism to promote external collaboration, prototyping, pilot, validity testing etc. These grants are awarded for the project work and are disbursed into the Purdue’s PI account. The PI, along with the partner, decides how to utilize it for the benefit of the project. This can include alleviating the cost incurred by the partners in conducting tasks that are part of the project – like supporting data collection, reimbursing soil testing expenses etc. This is a decision that the PI and the Partner will make. 

  1. What is the Grant’s time period?

We expect that the seed grant award gets utilized within a year’s time frame. However, it is not uncommon for the project to run over. In such a case we expect the PI to keep us informed of any expected delay and submit a note for extension.

  1. What are the other terms that Purdue teams need to be aware of before the awards disbursement?

After the selection and before the disbursement, we ask the PI to sign a small agreement with the Lab, that articulates the usual grant management concerns on providing update, sharing reports, attending status meeting (twice a year). We understand it’s a small grant, so our terms are pretty lean. 

  1. Who makes the final decision?

Please check our website for selection committee and assessment parameters.  The selection committee is extended to include representatives from the partner organizations to provide their score and feedback on the submitted proposals.  The committee scores each proposal that results in the selection of (up to 5) finalists who are then invited to present their proposals during our Expo.  The final presentation during the Expo, is an opportunity to incorporate feedback and suggestions shared during the selection process.