Medical Humanities Research Institute
Seed Funding
Call for Proposals

Proposal timeline:
Proposals due on or before January 12, 2024
Awards announced by February 1
Start date July 1, 2024

Seed Fund information:
The Medical Humanities Research Institute Seed Funds foster the development of medical humanities interdisciplinary research. Collaborative research within and beyond Rice is strongly encouraged. For solo research projects, the proposal should indicate how the findings or creative work engages with the greater community.

Proposals addressing one of the primary research areas of the Medical Humanities Research Institute (MHRI) will receive priority, though proposals in other fields of research are also welcome. (Full descriptions for the research areas are posted at the end of this document.)

  1. Inclusive engineering, design, and data science for health
  2. Arts in basic, clinical, and public health research
  3. Health communication and clinical care at the bedside
  4. Health professions education

Seed funding will be awarded up to $20,000. Seed funding may be used for replacement teaching, travel, student research assistants, graduate student research activities, scholarly convenings, performances or art shows, publication costs, technology or other necessary research materials or expenses in accordance with Rice procurement policies. The project period is July 1, 2024 to June 30, 2025. Seed funding is awarded to Rice faculty, not external researchers or organizations. Seed funds may be used to pay honoraria to individuals external to Rice, but may not be used for subcontracts.

In an effort to facilitate student research opportunities in medical humanities, the MHRI will fund one paid undergraduate research assistant for each seed funding award (in addition to supporting the faculty research). Student RA applicants will be paired with a faculty mentor on their research project, working up to five hours per week for the academic year of the funding period. Proposals should consider how an undergraduate student researcher would be involved in the research project.

Descriptions of past seed funding recipients can be found here.

Full-time faculty members at Rice are eligible to apply. Past seed funding recipients are not eligible to reapply for two years.

Review process:
The review of FY25 proposals will be carried out by the MHRI Steering Committee.

Selection criteria:
Proposals will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  1. The quality, significance, and potential impact of the research project;
  2. The contribution the project makes to furthering the vision and mission of the MHRI:
    1. Raise Rice’s research and scholarship visibility in medical humanities;
    2. Promote Rice’s interdisciplinary activity;
    3. Engage with various constituencies (e.g., Rice faculty and students, Texas Medical Center and Greater Houston area organizations, leading national and international researchers, regional community).
  3. The potential of the project to lead to successful grant proposals or other external funding.
  4. Projects with additional committed support will receive special consideration.

How to apply:
Proposals must be submitted online by January 12, 2024

Proposals must include the following in a single PDF document:

  1. A project description that includes research area, potential impact, potential outcomes anticipated by the end of the project period, and plans for public dissemination of the research results (no more than two pages in 12-point type, including figures);
  2. A single-page budget indicating how the requested funds will be expended (as well as other potential or secured sources of support).
  3. A timeline for project milestones.
  4. Plans to pursue further development and support of the project after the conclusion of the MHRI grant support period.
  5. A list of potential or confirmed collaborators and/or participants.

Award requirements:

  1. Progress Reports (briefing on outcomes and spending) will be requested in early December and early May.
  2. To promote the Institute’s research activities, award recipients will be announced on the MHRI website, and the MHRI should be acknowledged on promotional materials. Award recipients will provide a 200-300 word project summary and accompanying image to be posted on the MHRI website. Following the project period, award recipients will post a project briefing (with images) or published materials on the MHRI website.
  3. Projects involving human subject research will require Institutional Review Board (IRB) review. The IRB Office ( can provide further assistance.

Research Areas

  1. Inclusive engineering, design, and data science for health (technology and architectural design; equitable design of devices and spaces of care; trust and privacy in AI; cultural and ethical implications of digital health)
  2. Arts in basic, clinical, and public health research (music and the mind; visual art/media; seeing differently to identify novel problems and propose innovative solutions; literary aesthetics & psychosocial oncology at the end of life) 
  3. Health communication and clinical care at the bedside (patient narratives; virtual health; community perspectives; diversity of patient experiences; redefining “patient-centered care”; public health communication during disease outbreaks)
  4. Health professions education (diversify health and biotechnology education; identify curricular needs; foster creativity; design trainings; develop novel perspectives)

All of these research areas are united by three throughlines: ethics; diversity, equity and inclusion; and a creative and expansive approach to translational methods.