Round 1 Application Materials

2017 Round 1 Application Form

2017 Round 1 Evaluation Form (For Reference)

Information Sessions Flyer

2017 RISE Timeline

August 31: CUMC Information Session (RSVP)

Early September 2015: Announcement & Application Opening

September 9: Morningside Information Session (RSVP)

Wednesday, September 23rd: RISE Information Session

9:00 a.m. EST, Monday, October 3th, 2016: Application Deadline

Spring 2017: RISE Winners announced

2017 RISE Announcement (Distributed by email on July 29, 2016)

Dear Colleagues,

I invite you to apply to the 2017 Research Initiatives in Science and Engineering (RISE) competition. RISE awards seed monies to support innovative, interdisciplinary, and high-risk research collaborations that are not at the stage to receive funding through conventional sources. All Columbia-employed scientific, engineering, and medical researchers eligible to serve as Principal Investigators may apply for this internal seed funding opportunity, albeit with four important restrictions and recommendations:

  • PIs and Co-PIs currently funded by the RISE program may not submit 2017 applications;
  • Applications must be fully collaborative, and must include at least two PIs. Applications from only one PI will not be accepted;
  • Applications from PIs that span two or more schools are strongly encouraged;
  • Applications from PIs that have never previously collaborated are encouraged.

I encourage you to communicate with potential collaborators from different schools, conceptualize highly-innovative and risky collaborations, and submit an application for the RISE competition in order to contribute to the momentum and diversity of Columbia's research enterprise.

About RISE

The RISE competition provides up to $80,000 for one year - with potential for a second year of funding - to enable researchers to produce the preliminary data necessary to successfully obtain follow-on funding from conventional sources. RISE supports projects that are perceived as too risky and unfamiliar to receive traditional sponsorship, and affords researchers the opportunity to establish an initial proof of concept in order to submit the proposal to government agencies and/or private foundations. Thus, proposals currently suitable for submission to such conventional programs should not be submitted to RISE; the most frequent reason that proposals are rejected from RISE is because reviewers believe that the project appears ready for submission to standard sponsors.

Since its inception in 2004, the RISE competition has provided approximately $9 Million in seed funding to 61 teams, or, over 100 Columbia researchers. RISE-funded projects have subsequently won over $37 Million in federal and foundation grants, representing an over 400% return on RISE's initial investment.

Last year's 2016 RISE competition accepted 35 applications, of which 11 advanced to the secondary stage of consideration, with six teams awarded funding. Over 80 Columbia faculty participated as peer reviewers of the applications.

Information Sessions

I additionally invite you to attend one of two Information Sessions explaining both the RISE and W.M. Keck Foundation Research Grants competitions, with an event flyer hyperlinked above.

Medical Center

August 31st, 12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
George Yancopoulos Student Commons, Vagelos Education Center
104 Haven Avenue
RSVP Here:


September 9th, 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Trustees Room: 212 Low Memorial Library
RSVP Here:

Attendees will gain insight into how to prepare an application for both programs, ask questions, and meet potential collaborators. Early registration is recommended, as space is limited.

Other Internal Seed Funding Programs

The RISE competition is one of multiple seed funding programs internal to Columbia University. Should the project you are conceptualizing not fit within RISE's limited purview, we encourage you to engage other internal programs across the University, including but not limited to:

How to Apply

To apply for the 2017 RISE competition, please submit the above Application Form, along with CVs for all PIs and Co-PIs, to by 9:00 a.m. EST on Monday, October 3rd, 2016. All complete and eligible applications will be evaluated by an internal peer review committee composed of senior researchers across the University. The review committee may choose to relay feedback to applicants, in which case the RISE staff will provide this information at the appropriate time.

A small handful of the very strongest applications will be invited by January 2017 to submit a four-page Round 2 proposal; up to six teams from Round 2 will be awarded RISE funding, to be announced no later than April 2017.

For more information pertaining to the RISE program, including a list of Frequently Asked Questions and past winning teams, please visit the website at You may also refer to the sample Evaluation Form that reviewers will use when evaluating applications, which is hyperlinked above.

With questions about the RISE competition or how to craft the strongest application, please email or call 212-854-7836.


G. Michael Purdy, PhD
Executive Vice President for Research
Columbia University in the City of New York