Seed grants for faculty research cultivate new external funding at Terry College

Internal grants have supported 21 new research projects focused on innovation and sustainability
Hands holding a plant growing out of a handful of coins.

Since 2021, the Terry College of Business has supported research into innovation and sustainability through an early investment grant program that has helped attract almost $250,000 in external funding. 

Supported by private donations, seed grant funding for the college’s Business, Systems, and Technology Innovation Initiative and then its Sustainability Initiative was offered to faculty to support key goals in the college’s five-year strategic plan

To date, 21 grants have been awarded to 31 faculty members, representing all of Terry College’s academic departments. 

“The seed grant program has been very valuable to our research faculty,” said Mike Pfarrer, associate dean for research and executive programs, who also holds a Terry Distinguished Chair of Business Administration. “As the number of awards and amount of external funding shows, Terry is committed to supporting our faculty in numerous ways to assist them in conducting highly rigorous and impactful research.”

The seed grant programs were designed to provide initial funding for new lines of research that were too niche or too early stage to attract external grant funding. The first call for proposals sought projects studying innovation in business models, business systems, or technology-driven innovation. The second call sought research projects focused on sustainable development.

Co-investigators Ian Schmutte and Matt Knepper, both research faculty in the John Munro Godfrey, Sr. Department of Economics, received a grant to purchase a $15,000 proprietary data set to study employment ads, advertised salaries and geographic concentration of industries. Running a preliminary analysis of the data set allowed them to apply for several external grants, which resulted in $220,000 in funding from WorkRise and the Russell Sage Foundation. 

“The seed grant was instrumental in us being able to acquire the data and start working with it so that we could have some preliminary analysis,” Schmutte said. “It helped us illustrate the feasibility of our study. Funding agencies want to know that your idea is viable.”

Fostering high-impact research and attracting external research funding are central to the college’s five-year strategic plan, adopted in 2020, Pfarrer said. Donor interest and generosity directed toward the college’s strategic initiatives is providing critical support that will help Terry’s faculty meet those goals.