Seed Funding for Innovative, Interdisciplinary Research
How to Apply
- All PIs and CoPIs must meet Cornell’s principal investigator (PI) eligibility criteria
The 2021 AVF cycle is open:
The Academic Venture Fund (AVF) is Cornell Atkinson's incubator for the next generation of sustainable solutions. The AVF seeds original, interdisciplinary research that is unlikely to find funding elsewhere because the projects are novel, risky, need early data to establish traction, or involve new teams working together. Projects span the entire range of sustainability topics, prioritizing resilient rural-urban systems across our primary research themes—Food, Climate, Energy, Health, Water, and Conservation Finance. Cornell Atkinson has granted 135 awards since 2008, for projects from every college on the Cornell campus.
AVF projects often draw in external partners from industry, government, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), as well as local leaders and community members. External organizations or individuals interested in partnering for AVF research should contact the senior director of strategic partnerships, Patrick Beary.
AVF at a Glance
- Proposals due April 1, 2021
- 7-12 awards granted annually ranging from $150,000-$175,000 per project (roughly $1-1.5M total per year)
- Eligibility: Tenured and tenure track university faculty and similar academic research positions may be PIs
- Cornell Atkinson is partnering with the Office of Engagement Initiatives to provide additional support for AVF projects that incorporate undergraduate research opportunities and community engagement
- Awardees may apply for supplemental funding of up to $25,000, enabling the participation and engagement of external organizations or communities in the research project to incorporate diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and expertise
The 2017 Academic Venture Fund awarded $1.8 million to 15 new research teams, to seed novel approaches to some of the world's greatest sustainability challenges. Cornell's new Master of Public Health (MPH) is co-sponsoring three projects, thanks to a gift from David Atkinson.
The 2016 Academic Venture Fund awarded 14 new projects a total of $1.5 million for cross-disciplinary research. (Download award summary)
For the second year in a row, in 2015 the Academic Venture Fund crossed the $1 million mark, awarding 11 new projects a total of $1.2 million. (Download award summary)
The Academic Venture Fund crossed the $1 million mark for the first time this year, with twelve selections, for total funding of more than $1.4 million. (Download award summary)
The Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future selected 9 research projects for its 2013 Academic Venture Fund awards, with total funding of approximately $860,000 in 2013. (Download award summary)
The Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future selected 10 research projects, with total funding of approximately $735,000 in 2012. (Download award summary)
The Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future selected 10 research projects, with total funding of $662,509 in 2011. (Download award summary)
The Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future selected 6 research projects and 2 workshops for its 2010 Academic Venture Fund Awards, totaling nearly $600,000. (Download award summary)
ACSF awarded 5 AVF grants totaling over $500,000 in 2009. (Download award summary)
ACSF awarded 7 research projects and 5 workshops roughly $800,000 in 2008. (Download award summary)