Momentum Funds Opens Doors to More Interdisciplinary Research

To help faculty pursue opportunities for interdisciplinary research and scholarship, Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Ann E. Cudd and Senior Vice Chancellor for Research Rob A. Rutenbar have announced the Pitt Momentum Funds, a suite of enhanced and streamlined grants that will help advance Pitt’s goal to engage in research of impact. 

"The Plan for Pitt calls us to continue to seek out innovative ways to increase the impact of our excellent research happening across the University. This new collaboration between the Office of the Provost and the Office for Research represents an important linkage designed to both enhance and streamline internal funding opportunities while continuing to support high-quality research, scholarship and creative endeavors,” said Cudd. “I believe that the Momentum Funds offer a unique and powerful path forward to additionally harness cross- and interdisciplinary research opportunities at Pitt."

The Momentum Funds will continue to support high-quality research, scholarship and creative endeavors, but now at three distinct scales. The funds integrate and extend the Central Research Development Fund, the Social Science Research Initiative and the Special Initiative to Promote Scholarly Activities in the Humanities. To complement these existing resources, the Momentum Funds bring new resources to support multiyear grants that will strengthen Pitt’s support for large-scale, team-based research endeavors.

“To best achieve our goal of engaging in research of impact, our faculty and staff need resources to help maximize their scholarship and research endeavors. Because that’s not support they can necessarily get through external funding at early stages, the new funding is an investment Pitt makes to create strategic collaborations,” said Rutenbar. 

“We received positive feedback and support for this approach from members of our Board of Trustees, the University Research Council and the Faculty Senate Research Committee,” said Rutenbar. “As we discussed with them, the Momentum Funds are a down payment on our commitment to team science while refreshing and streamlining the existing funding that supports single investigators.”

To truly make an impact, “grand challenges” — especially those identified by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health — are never narrowly focused, he said. Funding agencies are increasingly looking for research that can contribute meaningful insight, understanding or solutions to societal challenges through an array of scientific, clinical, public policy, business or technical considerations. “We see many opportunities to thread the already impressive work of individuals and small teams at Pitt into large-scale inquiries,” Rutenbar said.

The suite of funds provides three opportunities for researchers: 

  • Seeding Grants (up to $16,000 for one year with supplements of $2,000 available to projects integrating undergraduate research experiences) support the early stages of new projects for individual or groups of faculty. 
  • Teaming Grants (up to $60,000 for one year) help multidisciplinary teams plan and build capacity to successfully pursue large-scale external funding and must include faculty from at least three schools, as defined in the application materials.
  • Scaling Grants (up to $400,000 for two years) enable multidisciplinary teams to competitively scale their research efforts in targeted pursuit of large-scale external funding and must include faculty from at least three schools. 

Information sessions about the Momentum Funds will be hosted in the William Pitt Union, Dining Room B, on Wednesday, Oct. 16, at 3 p.m., and Thursday, Oct. 17, at noon. Expressions of interest will be accepted beginning Oct. 9, and the deadline for grant applications is Nov. 25. 

Full details, including eligibility, submission materials and timeline can be found at the Office of Sponsored Programs at