Expressive Technology Studios (ETS)

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CET Seed Grants 2021-22

The Center for Expressive Technologies (CET) is pleased to announce two grant opportunities to tenure-track/tenured faculty and lecturers in all colleges for use during the 2021-2022 fiscal year (July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022).


This year CET will be providing two types of support:

  1. CET Seed Grants are small pilot projects (up to $4000) that produce results or data that faculty members need to apply for a larger, externally funded project that will be run through CET.[*]
  2. CET Grant Writing Stipends provide support ($3000 total) for a faculty member or team of faculty members to prepare and submit a grant proposal for an externally funded project that will be run through CET.[*]

Goals and Scope

CET Seed Grants projects and project proposals developed through CET Grant Writing Stipends support research and Learn by Doing experiences that study, make, or use expressive technologies.

What is an expressive technology? Projects funded by CET usually engage with visual and creative technologies (often digital), but the ‘what’ is not as important as the ‘how’ and the ‘why.’  Expressive technologies allow us to tell stories that give us voice, help us meet our communal goals, inspire creativity and imagination that can engender empathy, help us learn from histories, promote our cultural diversity, and ultimately, build a more collective future in our technological age.

Projects should be transdisciplinary, bringing together faculty members from different departments and fields. We encourage collaborative pilot approaches that use technology to create novel kinds of work, tell new kinds of stories, or find new ways to meaningfully engage with communities.

Projects should also strive to improve human experience by enhancing values such as justice, empathy, education, or beauty through creating unique configurations of technology, people, and expression.  In the present moment, we welcome proposals that focus on the intersection of creative technology with social justice, or with COVID 19 and the transition into a post-pandemic world. 

Projects should engage with technology.  Projects can explore how technologies shape our world by critically engaging in the making and use of those technologies. We are open to projects that engage with emerging technologies (like machine learning, augmented and virtual reality, and new biotechnologies), or with more established technologies. Projects can make use of the Expressive Technology Studios, opening in January of 2022. Across all areas, we encourage re-configuring and altering technologies or creating new techniques, engaging with users, communities and social systems surrounding technologies.

Projects should have a clear expressive component: enlisting stories, art, photography/images, video, imagination, or play.

Engagement with clearly defined and identified community partners or industry partners will make projects more competitive.

Example configurations of projects could include developing technologies to support public interest groups; community development and community engagement about and via new technologies; immersive environment design, and serious play that addresses pressing sociotechnical challenges facing our society.

Titles and investigators of current and past CET Seed Grant projects can be found here.

Evaluation Criteria

Proposals for Seed Grants and Grant Writing Stipends will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  1. Unique/innovative engagement with technology.
  2. Depth of integration of expressive components (stories, art, photography/images, video, imagination, or play).
  3. Expected contribution to improving the human experience in enhancing community, justice, education, beauty, or other human values.
  4. Degree of interdisciplinarity or transdisciplinarity.
  5. Intellectual rigor, merit, and creativity.
  6. Proposed role of students.
  7. Potential for future grant development (Seed Grants) or potential fundability (Grant Writing Stipends).


Funding Guidelines

Work should take place between July 1, 2021, and June 30, 2022. All Seed Grant funds should be spent by June 30, 2022, and proposals developed with the support of Grant Writing Stipends should be submitted by June 30, 2022.

Seed Grants

Awards will range between $1000 and $4000. Funds are available for materials and equipment, as well as for student participation on the project. Budgets can include limited funding for travel, and student travel should be prioritized over faculty travel (contingency plans should be given in case travel is still not safe). Modest additional compensation for faculty is also an allowed expense.

**Seed Grants can be combined with other funding from Colleges or the University, however this.

Grant Writing Stipends

Awards will be $3000 total of additional compensation (in summer or during the academic year) to go to an individual faculty member or team of faculty members.  Previous CET Seed Grant recipients are eligible to apply for the Grant Writing Stipend. The PI must have submitted their final report if the project is complete, and outcomes/progress of the previous/ongoing Seed Grant will be taken into account.

Application Procedure

Please submit the cover page which includes: names, title, one paragraph abstract, and name(s) of potential funder(s) and grant program(s) you will apply to for the Grant Writing Stipend.

Please also submit a three to five-page synopsis of your project that speaks to the Goals and Scope articulated above. 

Your synopsis should include at least the following sections.  For Seed Grants these should refer to the Seed Grant activity, for Grant Writing Stipends, these sections should refer to the larger project for which you will be applying via the Grant Writing Stipend:

  • Introduction/Background
  • Objectives/Goals
  • Methodologies
  • Outcomes and Deliverables (including measures of success)
  • *Work Already Completed (Required for Grant Writing Stipends, optional for Seed Grants)
  • Budget and Brief Justification (including list of other funds secured or being sought)
  • Timeline
  • Role of Students

Include citations and references to relevant academic literature.  If the research will involve human subjects, please include discussion of ethical issues involved and IRB approval.

Examples of successful applications are available upon request.

Please have your submissions to the Center for Expressive Technologies by Friday, 21 May 2021 electronically to  The cover page and your synopsis of your project should be submitted as one combined PDF or Word file.

Proposals will be evaluated by members of the CET Projects Committee based on the project’s alignment with the above goals and evaluation criteria.

Reporting Requirements

Recipients of CET Seed Grant funds must track their expenses and submit a report of their accomplishments by September 1, 2022.

Seed Grants

The final report should include a discussion of project outcomes, including how you assessed/measured outcomes; a list of specific outputs (e.g., publication, technology, community partnership/project); a of plans to submit proposals for externally funded projects; a list of names of students involved in the project and their role in the project; and a summary of expenses.

Grant Writing Stipends

Please submit the complete funding application received from the Grants Development Office upon submission, including all investigator CVs/biosketches, proposal materials, budgets, and justification.

[*] The research team will be to access the new CET facilities and receive support for their project from the CET Director and staff.  When a grant is run through CET, some of the Indirect Costs (also known as Facilities & Administration Costs) that the university receives from the sponsor (e.g. the National Science Foundation or National Endowment for the Humanities) come to CET to fund future Seed Grants.  This does not reduce the amount of Indirect Costs that are returned to the Principal Investigator of the grant. 

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