Shanghai Jiao Tong University-with Cornell University seed fund

Cornell University and Shanghai Jiao Tong University
Call for Proposals 2022


Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) and Cornell University (Cornell) have developed this Joint Seed Fund to promote and support research collaboration projects between both institutions. This grant cycle is the second of three rounds in which the universities expect to offer this fund. These seed grants are intended to facilitate the development of long-term, impactful collaborative work and platforms. Projects should have at least one highly-engaged Principal Investigator from each institution who is expected to be in place for the long term and maintain a significant role in the project.

Funded projects should lead to tangible outcomes such as the submission of co-authored publications and/or joint applications for external grant funding. It is hoped that projects will lead to long-lasting substantial collaborations that are maintained beyond the initial funding period and be supported in the future by governmental, philanthropic, industrial, or other external funding.

In this round, up to five proposals will be funded—each with two Principal Investigators (PIs): one from SJTU and one from Cornell. Each successful proposal may receive up to CNY 100,000 (for SJTU expenses) and up to US $15,000 (for Cornell expenses), with each university funding its own side of the project budget in its own currency.

We invite proposals from researchers in all disciplines at SJTU and Cornell. In this round, proposals on the themes of ecosystems, sustainability, and health (including the health of human beings, specific population groups, animals, and/or environments) may receive priority during review. Proposals on other themes are also welcome.

1. Eligibility

  • Proposals are invited from researchers from all schools and departments at SJTU and Cornell.
  • At SJTU, the PI must be employed on a full-time basis. At Cornell side, the PI must meet Cornell PI eligibility criteria.
  • During this round, PIs may lead and/or be a team member for more than one proposal, and an applicant may be awarded a maximum of one grant as lead PI during this round and may be a team member on additional funded proposals.
  • All projects must be structured to comply with applicable U.S. and Chinese regulations concerning export controls and the management of regulated technologies and data, and projects must satisfy Cornell’s commitment to the free and open publication of research results.
  • We will not accept proposals from previous SJTU-Cornell Joint Seed Fund awardees whose projects are still in progress or who have not yet submitted a final report.

2. Duration

Funding is generally available for up to one year.

3. Timeline

Applications open

October 15, 2021

Applications close

November 15, 2021 by 11:00 am NY time / 11:00 pm China time

Awards announced

January 14, 2022

Latest 12-month project start date

July 1, 2022


4. Supported Activities

  • Each institution will provide funds to its own faculty members. The initiative will support not only the expansion of existing collaborations between academics at the two universities but also the development of new collaborations in order to build a meaningful and productive partnership between the two institutions. Examples of potential supported activities include:
  • Reasonable travel and visa expenses for essential research trips (coach class airfare, ground transportation by bus, train, etc.) for faculty, research staff, postdocs, and student researchers (with all travel expenses to be paid by the travellers rather than the hosts). Any travel is subject to evolving university and government policies.
  • Research-related meetings/workshops.
  • Given current travel challenges, we encourage applicants to plan at least initially remote collaboration with potential eventual later travel if desired. If your proposal includes travel, please include a Plan B for if travel is not possible during your project period.
  • Accommodations
  • Research support (e.g., data collection, translation, access charges, consumables, transcription costs)
  • Joint publications
  • On the SJTU side: Graduate student salary. Conference registrations. Reasonable event/workshop costs (it is expected that activities will take place using facilities on the main campuses of the hosting institution, a strong rationale will need to be provided for any proposal to use facilities at a third location or venues which incur substantial hiring costs)
  • On the Cornell side: Graduate student summer appointment stipends, and hourly student employment. Ineligible grant expenses on the Cornell side include:  salaries and associated fringe-benefit costs for tenured and tenure-track faculty (including effort for faculty in soft-money positions), teaching buyout, staff and postdoc salary, quaratine expenses, executive education programs, indirect costs (none required for this internal grant), federally unallowable costs (including premium airfare), payment to non-Cornellians, computers, equipment over $5,000, and items not specified in your project budget.

5. Proposal Submission

  • Proposals must be jointly prepared by Principal Investigators from both institutions using the application form in English. The joint application should include a coversheet, proposal narrative, project timeline, project budget, with CVs of all key personnel. An abstract should be included (maximum 150 words) of the proposed activity, understandable by the general public, that can be used in publicity material, including project significance, rationale, goals and intended impact. The proposal submission is a two-step process, and both parts must be completed by the application deadline:
  1. A. The SJTU PI should upload the proposal through SJTU’s online platform. (Please note that this hyperlink can only be accessed by PIs from SJTU using their jAccount.)
  2. B. In addition, the Cornell PI should upload the proposal using this Qualtrics form. Cornellian questions can be addressed to Nina Chaopricha (, Cornell China Center.
  • Only completed proposals submitted by the deadline to both sides will be accepted.

6. Selection Criteria

Proposals will be read by an interdisciplinary faculty review committee and should be understandable to researchers from any field. Final award decisions will be made by program leadership on both sides, who reserve final authority over the selection of projects, taking into account university strategic priorities and the availability of funds.

In this round, projects on the themes of ecosystems, sustainability, and health may be prioritized.

Each proposal will be assessed according to the selection criteria described below.

  • Academic merit: i.e., the importance/novelty of the project within its field or in terms of the challenges it seeks to address.
  • Impact: expected impact. If research, the likelihood of it gaining wide recognition, the ability to cut across disciplines, and (at SJTU) to draw in postgraduate students and junior academics.  
  • Innovation: the extent to which the project will contribute to novel thinking and/or new technology in its field.
  • Partnership: How will the project contribute to the promotion and consolidation of the relationship between Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Cornell University?
  • Sustainability: the likelihood that the project will lead to sustainable results and long-term international relationships and generate significant external funding.
  • Team Strength: participants demonstrate high levels of commitment, enthusiasm for collaboration, relevant experience, and joint planning
  • Design of proposed activities, milestones, metrics of success, and budget (reasonable expenses for anticipated results)

7. Forfeiture of Grant

Grants not spent by the project end date must be returned so that unspent balances can be re-allocated.

8. Reporting Obligations

  • Grant recipients are expected to submit a final report (template provided) within one month of the project end date.
  • Grant recipients should acknowledge the Cornell China Center and Shanghai Jiao Tong University in all project products (reports, publications, presentations, etc.) that were made possible, in whole or in part, through this grant.

9. Additional Notes for Cornellians

  • As you are preparing the proposal, please carefully read Cornell University’s Engagement with China FAQ about collaborating with China (login with Cornell NetID).
  • Please request a restricted party screening on any foreign individuals, institutions, or other entities with whom you are considering collaborating. Send the full name(s) and institution(s) of potential collaborators to us at, and we will run the search. The Cornell Export Controls office can also do so.
  • Budget. This grant is considered an internal grant on the Cornell side. Information and resources for planning for and conducting international projects can be found on the Cornell University Navigate site. The Cornell PI should consult your department/unit financial administrator with financial questions and must request a budget check from that financial specialist before proposal submission. Budget line items are subject to review. Finalists and their administrative staff may be put in touch with Cornell’s Global Operations Team to ensure that all relevant costs are budgeted; that the project’s legal, financial, safety, and logistical considerations have been addressed; and that best financial management practices and Cornell standards are followed during project administration. OVPIA provides parameters on purchasing and hiring to avoid certain tax risks and legal issues in China. With support from OVPIA, Cornell University legal counsel may review research partnerships and contracts to protect intellectual property.
  • Research on Humans and Live Vertebrate Animals. Any research that involves human participants must be either exempted from review or approved by the Cornell University Institutional Review Board (IRB) before it can be initiated. If you are a member of the Cornell University faculty or staff, or a Cornell University student, and you are the person responsible for the conduct of the study (PI), you must get Cornell IRB approval to conduct your research regardless of where the research takes place. Investigators should contact the IRB office whenever collaborative research is occurring. You should also be aware that your project may need local IRB approval (or the equivalent ethical review) in addition to Cornell's. Separate applications for each institution may be necessary; however, in order to avoid duplicate review, an IRB Authorization Agreement may be arranged with the other institution to establish one IRB as the designated IRB to review and approve the research. All research with live vertebrate animals conducted by Cornell personnel, or using Cornell resources, or paid for with Cornell funds must meet all applicable regulations and university policies regarding the humane care and use of animals and is subject to review and approval by the Cornell IACUC. Regardless of where the work is being done, the Cornell researcher is responsible for ensuring that these policies and procedures are followed.
  • Please be aware that Shanghai Jiao Tong University is one of the ~160 Chinese universities, companies, and research institutes cited as of mid-2020 on the “China Defence Universities Tracker” as a “risky” collaborator. The U.S. State Department sponsored the development of this tracker/study by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute in 2020 to identify Chinese universities that are considered “risky” to engage with. Many major Chinese universities are cited. The tracker is meant to help universities and researchers understand institutions in China and does not itself dictate whether a collaboration is legally allowed. However, it is reasonable to think that there may be additional inquiries into relationships with these entities, and also possible that the U.S. government may impose further restrictions on working with them.
  • Per NASA regulations, all types of agreements with an entity in China under NASA-funded awards are expressly prohibited. If any Cornellians on your project are involved with any NASA funding or proposals (even unrelated ones), please consult Jamie Sprague <> in OSP and let the Cornell China Center know.

10. Program Contacts

For further information, please contact the Program Coordinators: for SJTU, Ms. Yanping WU (, 86-21-34206751); for Cornell, Nina CHAOPRICHA (, 1-607-255-0550).

11. Attachements

SJTU-Cornell Joint Application Form 2021-22.docx