Addressing global challenges through global collaboration

MISTI’s Global Seed Funds (GSF) help MIT faculty create exciting new connections by supporting early-stage collaborations with researchers at peer institutions around the world. Since 2008, GSF has awarded nearly $22 million to over 1,000 faculty research projects.

“The collaboration has been nothing short of amazing. We have many students fully engaged on the project from both sides, with multiple PIs and a couple high-end papers on the docket."

Yuriy Roman, Professor of Chemical Engineering
Joe's Lab visit with Ulvac 2016

MISTI GSF comprises a general fund (open to any country) and several country-, region-, or university-specific funds created by MISTI programs.

Global Seed Funds

  • Through GSF, participating teams collaborate with international peers, either at MIT or abroad, with the aim of developing and launching joint research projects.
  • Most funds provide a maximum of $30,000 per proposal. 
  • More than 70% of MIT faculty have applied for GSF since its inception.
  • Applicants are encouraged to involve MIT undergraduate and graduate students.

GSF is open to all MIT faculty members and research staff with principal investigator privileges (principal research scientists and senior research scientists). If you have questions about your PI status, please consult your department.

Proposals must be submitted jointly with a foreign colleague working in a university or research institute. Participants working in companies are not eligible to apply.


Grantees are selected through a two-tier process, which is overseen by the GSF Advisory Committee.

  1. An evaluation committee first reviews the proposals for scientific accuracy. This committee comprises MIT faculty who review proposals in their own fields of research.
  2. Taking this review into consideration, a selection board for each fund comprising faculty from across MIT selects proposals based on the overall quality of the proposal and priorities of the fund. 

For all funds, priority will be given to projects that:

  • are likely to make an important contribution to the field
  • are new or are entering a new phase
  • include a balanced exchange between participating teams
  • demonstrate complementarity between participating teams
  • involve undergraduate and/or graduate students in a meaningful way
  • are likely to be sustainable beyond the grant period

MIT faculty are encouraged to include MIT undergraduate and graduate students in their Global Seed Funds projects as participating members of the collaborating team.

Students will be expected to attend country-specific training through MISTI. Because stays abroad through MISTI GSF grants are typically short-term (less than one month), all participating MIT students are encouraged to build on their GSF research experience through a subsequent MISTI internship abroad.


If you involve undergraduates in your area of research, MISTI can help you send a student you're already working with, or we can match you with one of our 1,000+ internship candidates.

Graduate students

Graduate students may be able to conduct research abroad through the MISTI internship program.

Please note that graduating students must be accepted into a MISTI program prior to graduation and must depart for their trip within 90 days of commencement.

Applicants must submit their proposals using the online application portal.

Maximum award amounts vary depending on the fund. Funds will be made available to the MIT applicant and must be administered by his or her department (with the exception of the MIT-Imperial College London Seed Fund, in which funds awarded to the Imperial College London applicant will be administered by Imperial College London).

Funding may be used to cover travel and meeting costs to facilitate international projects and collaboration. Awards may cover up to 75% of the U.S. Department of State maximum per diem rate for the proposed travel abroad plus a reasonable estimate of the economy-class airfare. For instance, if the maximum per diem rate for Paris is $454, you may request up to $340 per day for a trip to Paris, plus economy-class airfare. For travel to MIT, applicants are eligible for up to $250 per day in expenses, plus economy-class airfare.

Funding should not be used:

  • to cover salaries or materials.
  • for long-term stays (over two months) abroad or at MIT.* However, MISTI may be able to send MIT undergraduate and graduate students to work on faculty-led projects abroad through our internship program.
  • to cover MIT Visiting Student fees.*
  • to fund graduate students’ dissertation field work.

* An exception: MIT-Italy Seed Funds may be used to cover long-term stays at MIT and the MIT Visiting Student fees.


Grantees are required to complete a final report at the end of the grant period. At the completion of the grant cycle, all unused funds will be returned to MISTI Global Seed Funds.

GSF proposals are viewed by the evaluation committee, selection board, and the GSF administrative staff. We advise you not to provide details of patentable ideas, copyrightable software, or any confidential information, as this proposal could be considered a public disclosure and harm your patent and confidentiality rights.  If you choose to submit patentable ideas, copyrightable software, or other confidential information, you do so at your own risk.  Please contact MIT’s Technology Licensing Office for further advice if needed.

The Global Seed Funds Advisory Committee assesses and oversees the process for awarding MISTI Global Seed Funds grants:

  • Cynthia Barnhart, Chancellor; Ford Professor of Engineering
  • Suzanne Berger, John M. Deutch Institute Professor; former Faculty Director, MISTI
  • Eric Grimson, Chancellor for Academic Advancement
  • Philip Khoury, Associate Provost
  • Richard Lester, Associate Provost; Japan Steel Industry Professor

Need assistance?

Alicia Goldstein Raun

Have questions about MISTI Global Seed Funds? We’re here to help.