Seed Grant Program

The Department of Surgery's Seed Grant Program supports work that addresses a clear and important gap in knowledge. Proposed studies must offer a unique or previously unpublished contribution to the field and will be assessed based on potential for seed grant to lead to follow on funding. 


• All Department of Surgery faculty are eligible—including affiliated faculty (i.e.,VAMC, etc)—EXCEPT members of the Research Oversight Committee.

• Trainees are NOT eligible

• All types of research are eligible: basic, HSR, clinical trials, technology development, education, global surgery

• Can fund personnel, equipment, reagents, consultants, etc. (justification must be included in proposal)


• Total first round funding $250,000, 3-6 proposals selected

• Accepting proposals with budgets ranging from $10,000 - $50,000

• Funding duration: 12 months


Research seed grant proposals include hypothesis-driven projects in the categories of (1) basic and translational science, with potential for future applications to a clinical condition, and (2) health services/outcomes/education with potential for a future interventional study. New this year: At least one research grant will be reserved for a proposal that addresses the topic of racial justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. As for other research proposals, this proposal should be oriented specifically toward generating pilot data for external funding to advance our knowledge or to develop an intervention to address racial equity and social justice in medicine.


Technology/Innovation projects include medical device development, drug development, app development and any projects focused on developing a new tool, drug, algorithm etc. intended to improve the care of patients. 

As compared to the traditional “hypothesis-driven” research projects, these projects by their nature will be more descriptive and observational and focused on the activities needed to advance a new approach into the clinic. Examples include medical device prototyping, engaging clinical/regulatory consultants, developing an intellectual property strategy, medicinal chemistry formulation work and many others.

At the end of the period of funding, it is anticipated that grantees will be able to secure further innovation focused funding from Stanford specific programs (Coulter Foundation, Spectrum, SPARK, etc), federal sources (SBIR/STTR grants, FDA grants) or private investors (VCs, Angel investors, strategics). The ultimate goal of this program is to enable the translation of Stanford Surgery ideas into “first-in-man” or “proof of concept” clinical trials at Stanford. These proposals will be reviewed and graded by the Innovation Council (IC). 


All seed grant applications (both research and technology development) are due Monday, January 4, 2020 at 11:59pm.  Priority will be given for applications that have a clear path to future funding mechanisms. Applications should be emailed to Julia Miranda.

Feel free to direct questions regarding research proposals to Arden Morris and innovation proposals to Geoff Gurtner.


Eliminating bias in child abuse reporting through standardized universal screening 
Dr. Stephanie Chao, Pediatric Surgery

Access To Care For Uninsured Surgical Patients Who Are Admitted To Hospital With A Major Health Problem
Dr. Lisa Knowlton, General Surgery

Development of a Portable Device Prototype to Quantify Hepatic Steatosis
Dr. Marc Melcher, Abdominal Transplantation

Precision Surgery for Pancreatic Cancer Using Antibody-Based Fluorescent Intraoperative Imaging
Dr. George Poultsides, General Surgery

Lifebox Surgical Headlight Design and Development
Dr. Tom Weiser, General Surgery