The new initiative program is designed to support potential new IEEE initiatives, services, or products that will provide significant benefit to members, the public, the technical community, or customers, AND which could have lasting impact on IEEE or its business processes. Initiatives must be of strategic importance to IEEE and are not operational necessities at the time of their initiation.

New Initiatives program for funding priorities

The areas below are those that NIC is currently seeking proposals for:

  • Increasing IEEE's connectivity to the industry
  • Engaging and recruiting members
  • Creating innovative education opportunities
  • Increasing the visibility of IEEE and its relevance to different communities
  • NIC seeks proposal topics that are in line with IEEE Strategic Plan

What the New Initiatives program does not fund

According to the New Initiatives Operations Manual, the following are outside of the program's scope of funding:

  • University, private company, and individual research and development projects, including prototypes and testing products
  • Venture capital for patentable inventions
  • Humanitarian activities typically funded through other IEEE mechanisms
  • Overhead (general and administrative or indirect costs)
  • Ongoing activities or operational costs of the applicant
  • Construction or building renovations (unless it is an extraordinary strategic initiative) 
  • Lobbying or electioneering
  • Commercial promotion activities
  • Personal or commercial loans
  • Grants with an individual as the sole beneficiary 
  • Scholarships to individuals or institutes 
  • Endowments
  • Participation of specific/individual teams at competitions or conferences 
  • Extensive travel and meeting expenses

Types of New Initiatives program funding

The new initiatives program offers two types of funding: Seed Grants for shorter, less-expensive projects, and New Initiatives for larger projects that are likely to last up to three years. Proposals may be submitted any time throughout the year; there are no deadlines for submissions. All proposals must be submitted online.  

Seed Grants

A Seed Grant is for funding risky, innovative, or pilot projects that require US$40,000 or less and take 12 months or fewer to complete. 

The Seed Grant program is a two-step process. All steps are required.

1. Phase One: A brief description of the proposal idea for the Seed Grantis submitted. The New Initiatives Committee provides feedback on that idea directly to the potential applicant within 7–10 business days. 

2. Phase Two: Upon receiving feedback from NIC on the proposal idea, the applicant or project team can decide whether or not they want to move forward with submitting a Seed Grant Proposal. NIC reviews Seed Grant Proposals within approximately 45 days after submission and provides recommendations on next steps to the applicant and project team.

To begin the Seed Grant application process please complete the online seed grant description form, which is the first step of the two-step process. You will be notified for further information and next steps. Submitting a proposal for a Seed Grant requires details on what is innovative or new about the initiative, how this project contributes to IEEE’s strategic direction, a description of the project, anticipated outcomes and measures of success, deliverables, and the amount of funding requested.

New Initiatives

Typical new initiatives are large-scale projects that are in line with IEEE’s strategic direction, support the vision and mission of IEEE, and require significant funding. These proposals typically require funding of US$100,000 or more for up to three 12-month periods.

The New Initiatives program is a three-step process. All steps are required.

1. Phase One:  A brief description of the proposal idea is submitted. The New Initiatives Committee provides feedback on that idea directly to the potential applicant within 7–10 business days. 

2. Phase Two: Upon receiving feedback from NIC on the proposal idea, the applicant or project team can decide whether or not they want to move forward with submitting a New Initiatives Preliminary Proposal. NIC reviews New Initiatives Preliminary Proposals within approximately 45 days after submission and provides recommendations on next steps to the applicant and project team.

3. Phase Three: If NIC approves the New Initiatives Preliminary Proposal, they will request that a New Initiatives Full Proposal and Business Plan be submitted. 

All New Initiatives Full Proposals and business plans approved by NIC will go before the IEEE Board of Directors for final approval.

To begin the New Initiative application process, please complete the online new initiative description form, which is the first step of the two-step process. You will be notified for further information and next steps. Submitting a proposal for New Initiative funding requires details on what is innovative or new about the initiative, how this project contributes to IEEE’s strategic direction, a description of the project, anticipated outcomes and measures of success, deliverables, and the amount of funding requested.

After a proposal is approved

Once a Seed Grant is approved by NIC or a New Initiatives Full Proposal and Business Plan is approved by NIC and the Board of Directors, NIC will negotiate the start date (which includes the release of funds).

NIC-funded projects are expected to provide regular progress reports and reviews (both written and/or verbal) to NIC. If a proposal is approved, the project team will receive a Welcome Package with details on reporting.

Who can submit to the New Initiatives program

Proposals may be submitted by one or more IEEE members or organizational units.  

All proposals submitted by an IEEE volunteer require support from an IEEE operational unit who should also provide an IEEE staff project manager. This person is an employee of IEEE (not a volunteer).  S/he typically helps coordinate any logistics between headquarters and the volunteers, helps explain internal processes including finances, and manages expenses.

All proposals submitted by IEEE staff require support from an IEEE volunteer champion.

Submissions may be made at any time throughout the year.

Additional information on the IEEE New Initiative Process