The Future of Pandemic Response

Together during the COVID-19 pandemic, we've learned that the need for preparedness during an infectious disease outbreak is critical. How we respond to maintain the safety and health of our communities helps us maintain the ways of life we are used to. With the research power and intelligence of our students, facutly, and staff, SUNY is ready to guide us forward through current and future medical emergencies. 

A new seed grant program is here to support SUNY faculty, staff, undergraduate, and graduate students in developing new and innovative solutions to COVID-19 challenges or the next infectious disease through applied learning and research experience, supporting the successful and safe operation of SUNY campuses.

Proposals are invited from multidisciplinary SUNY teams of faculty and staff. Students participating in these projects must be selected by those faculty and staff who lead the projects.  The projects should focus on exploring and creating solutions, including but not limited to: novel and alternative personal protective equipment (PPE); creative devices, technologies or designs to reduce the use of high-touch areas; environmentally sustainable sanitization; and arts, messages and technologies for effective implementation of social distancing, mask wearing, and hand sanitizing.  Non-technological solutions for behavioral interventions and deployable strategies for raising awareness of public health protective measures are encouraged. 

Female students show off their face masks outside at SUNY Delhi
3D printed PPE face shields on a table.


  • Development of innovative solutions which may be used or commercialized in fighting the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.
  • Development of real life, hands-on, applied learning experiences for students which involve them in the creation of pandemic related solutions. Such student experiences may be in one or more applied learning modes, including internships; undergraduate or graduate research projects; independent study arrangements; capstone projects; etc.


  • Selected faculty/staff will be awarded up to $10,000. No budget will be required as part of this submission. A detailed budget will only be required for awardees after selections are made.
  • Funds may be used for expendable supplies and materials, lab usage fees, video media services, copy/print services, reference materials, software for design or production purposes, student stipends, etc. No equipment or computers may be purchased with the funds.
  • Funds may not be used for faculty or professional staff extra service payments.
  • Approximately 10 awards will be made directly to the campuses.


  • All SUNY State Operated and Community College campuses are eligible to submit proposals. There is no limit on the number of proposals a campus may submit.
  • Faculty members are eligible to submit multiple proposals, but may receive only one SUNY Prepare seed grant award.


  • Faculty interested in applying for this seed grant program are required to provide an abstract of no more than 400 words describing their proposed project. Please note that an abstract is sufficient for this seed grant.  A full proposal is not required.
  • Submissions must address these points:
    • The novelty of the idea
    • The relevance of the idea to addressing COVID-19 and/or other infectious diseases related issues
    • The benefit to students including
      • student learning outcomes
      • number of students participating
      • nature of the participation
    • The deliverable outcome
  • Successful proposals will incorporate student experiences that meet the Criteria for Campus-Approved Applied Learning.
  • Submissions must be attested by the Office of the Campus Provost. A SUNY Prepare submission form is attached. Submissions are due no later than November 15, 2020, to

Expected Outcomes

  • Given the need to address the immediate and ongoing public health threats of COVID-19, faculty awarded this SUNY grant are expected to begin using the funding to develop innovative solutions immediately.
  • Demonstration of the feasibility and viability of the innovation is due to the SUNY Provost ( by April 30, 2021. Demonstrations may include such evidence as prototypes, drawings, computer code, signage, videos, etc.