Find answers to frequently asked questions and additional information about the New Initiative process. 

More information about the Seed Grant and New Initiative application process is available on the home page. The below FAQs will provide answers to some common questions. If any questions are not addressed, please email

What is the purpose of the IEEE New Initiatives Program?

The new initiative program is designed to support potential new programs, products, or services that will provide significant benefit to IEEE members, the public, the technical community, and customers, or which could have lasting impact on IEEE or its business processes. Initiatives must be of strategic importance to IEEE.

What is the submission deadline for a Seed Grant or New Initiatives proposal?

There are no submission deadlines for proposals. Proposals may be submitted any time in the year for review by the New Initiatives Committee (NIC).

Who may submit a proposal?

Any IEEE member, volunteer, or IEEE organizational unit can submit a proposal. IEEE staff groups require a volunteer champion for New Initiatives and an organizational unit as a co-sponsor is required on Seed Grants.

What is the minimum funding request for a Seed Grant?

The Seed Grant proposal is designed for potentially small scale and/or high-risk proposals where relatively small (US$40,000 or less) amounts of funding are required to get started. Also, a Seed Grant may be used as precursor demonstration for a larger New Initiative submission. 

Any project proposal with a total budget exceeding US$40,000 must be submitted as a New Initiative.

What is the minimum funding request for a New Initiative?

Typically, New Initiatives are expected to require US$100,000 or more for a 12-month period. However, any project proposed to the New Initiative Committee with a total budget exceeding US$40,000 will be considered a new initiative. Multi-year funding is allowable for New Initiatives, with a maximum of up to three 12-month periods.

The Seed Grant proposal should be used for smaller-scale or high-risk proposals when funding of US$40,000 or less is required and the project to be completed in a 12-month period. 

How do I apply for funding?

Seed Grant and New Initiatives proposals may be submitted at any time during the year by following the steps found on the online form

>>Learn more about the proposal process.

What does the NIC look for in a proposal?

The new initiative program is designed to support potential new IEEE programs, products, or services that are of strategic importance to IEEE. Here are criteria that NIC uses to evaluate proposals.

  • Completion of the project will further the strategic goals of IEEE
  • A well-defined purpose or need statement for the program, product, or service
  • The quality, innovation, and creativity of the project balanced by its likelihood of success
  • A clear and realistic plan for successful completion of the project, including key milestones and objectives
  • The project is scalable and broad enough to make an impact on the larger IEEE organization
  • The proposal includes measurable outcomes and has an effective method to measure the success of the project
  • The proposal includes a viable plan for the financial sustainability of the project after the NIC funding ends
  • An initiative leader has been named and a capable team of volunteers has been identified
  • The project leader has expertise to conduct the project

What are examples of proposals that NIC will not fund?

NIC receives a wide range of funding requests but will not fund the following types of proposals:

  • University, private company, and individual research and development projects, including prototypes and testing products
  • Venture capital for patent-able 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

Does the New Initiatives program fund IEEE conferences?

IEEE sponsors more than 1,300 conferences annually around the world and is a major source of revenue. Historically, NIC has not provided seed money to new conferences since it is major part of IEEE's on-going business. 

Does the New Initiatives program provide venture capital?

NIC does not provided venture capital or invest in startup companies and small businesses with perceived long-term growth potential. The New Initiative program is designed to support potential new IEEE programs, products, or services that will provide significant benefit to IEEE members, the public, the technical community, and customers, or which could have a lasting impact on IEEE or its business processes.

Does IEEE provide funding for humanitarian activities?

Yes, IEEE supports and funds impactful humanitarian technical activities around the world in many ways. For details on funding opportunities for IEEE member sustainable development projects at the local level, please visit the IEEE Humanitarian Technologies Board (HTB)  and the IEEE Special Interest Groups on Humanitarian Technology (SIGHT) website.

When do I need to get a volunteer champion to endorse the project?

A volunteer champion is required for New Initiatives proposals. The new initiative projects are larger scale, typically multi-year projects, and request higher levels of funding than Seed Grant projects and, therefore, require a champion write a short endorsement for the project. 

Why does the project need an IEEE staff project manager?

Staff project managers will support the initiative leader and volunteer team. They will engage appropriate IEEE stakeholders in the project and coordinate resources, monitor schedules and budgets, provide an ongoing picture of progress, status, and issues, and interact and communicate with the project team. The project manager will ensure communication and coordination of work activities and the integration of resources and project components.

Additional information on the IEEE New Initiative Process