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Student Seed Innovation Grants

Student Seed Innovation Grants

Sponsored by Creativity & Innovation at CC, Student Seed Innovation Grants (SSIG) are donor-funded grants of $3,000 - $8,000 designed to empower students to investigate questions and solve real world problems.  

Individual students may apply for grants up to $6,000.00. Student teams of two or more may apply for grants of up to $8,000.00.

More About the Student Seed Innovation Grant Program

The SSIG program seeks to be an idea accelerator by providing resources for students to be creative problem-solvers, to embrace ambiguity, and to iterate a project/idea forward. By providing a resource for student exploration and creative inquiry, the SSIG program helps fulfill Creativity & Innovation at CC’s mission to empower students with the tools and creative confidence to be changemakers. The use of the word changemaker is intentional and different from entrepreneur. Changemaker recognizes that innovation happens not only in the business and tech worlds, but culturally, socially, and personally as well.

When selecting SSIG recipients, one of the most important elements that the committee will be looking for is the strong curiosity/desire/passion for exploring a question, seeking a solution, and/or solving a problem. Students do not need to know exactly how a solution will unfold when submitting an application, but they will need to demonstrate an authentic desire and drive to solve a problem and a willingness to explore a question through various stages of development and execution.

Who Can Apply for a Student Seed Innovation Grant?

Any student currently enrolled and taking classes at Colorado College may apply to receive an SSIG.

Seniors may apply for an SSIG if:

  • The grant application is submitted prior to/in the same month as their graduation date
  • The proposed project will complete within 12 months of their graduation

If you are passionate about exploring a problem/idea and iterating solutions, you should consider applying.

A link to the SSIG application is below.

SSIG Guidelines

  • All SSIG projects must have a project mentor – see information below
  • SSIG grant projects must be designed to complete within 12-months of grant award notification
  • Students may receive only one SSIG per academic year. If applying for a second SSIG, the previous SSIG project and reporting must be completed
  • Proposed SSIG projects do not need to be framed as a business
  • SSIG funds cannot be used to:
    • Fund patent applications
    • Rent office space
    • Hire professional services to complete the project
      • Recipients may use grant funds to pay a professional to teach the recipient/s a specific skill or to assist in a technological, design, manufacturing, etc. element however, hiring contractors to undertake/complete the majority of the proposed grant project is prohibited
      • Please contact Kara Carroll (kcarroll@coloradocollege.edu) with questions

Mentors and Letters of Recommendation for SSIG Projects

All SSIG projects must have a project mentor who will help guide the student/student team through the project ideation and implementation process. Mentors will serve as support and will provide feedback to SSIG recipients to move projects forward. One mentor per project is required.

Mentors will not be tasked with:

  • Setting project meetings
  • Initiating requests for project updates
  • Completing project tasks/assignments

The SSIG recipient/team will:

  • Ensure the project mentor is kept up-to-date on project progress
  • Schedule meetings (at least once a month) to update the mentor on the project and/or ask relevant questions/request feedback.

SSIG applicants should choose a mentor who is a good fit for the project and who will help the student/s think through problems and road blocks. Ideally the project mentor will have some expertise/relevant experience in what the project is investigating. It is hard to be specific on exactly what role the mentor will play given that each project will be different, but mentors need to be willing to engage regularly throughout the project process.

Mentors can include: CC faculty and/or staff members or community members (local or not) ideally with relevant expertise.

Mentors must agree to participate prior to the grant application submission and will be required to sign a mentor agreement prior the student/s receiving the grant award.

The mentor chosen for the project will need to submit a letter of recommendation supporting the project idea and the student/s involved. For team submissions, only one mentor/one mentor letter of recommendation is necessary per project. Additionally, it is fine for the mentor to be more connected to one student on a team as long as the mentor is willing to work with all team members.

In addition to the mentor letter of recommendation, each SSIG project must submit a letter of recommendation from a CC faculty member. For team submissions, only one faculty letter of recommendation is necessary per project. It is fine for the faculty member writing the letter of recommendation to be more connected to one student on a team as long as the faculty member feels comfortable recommending the project and team for SSIG consideration.

The faculty letter of recommendation can be, but does not have to be, from a faculty advisor.

Note: If an applicant/project asks a faculty advisor to be the project mentor, the faculty letter of recommendation must be from a different faculty member writing in support of the project and the student/s involved.

SSIG Submission Process

SSIG submissions are due the final Wednesday of blocks 1, 3, J, 5 and 7. SSIG grant recipients are notified by end of the second week of blocks 2, 4, 5, 6 and 8.

Grant submissions must include:

  • Grant Application submitted via SUMMIT
  • Letters of Recommendation
    • Mentor LOR (one per project)
    • Faculty LOR (one per project)
  • Official college transcript
  • Official student account statement
    • This is to ensure the applicant does not have outstanding fines or miscellaneous fees due to the college (e.g. parking tickets, library fines). Fees do not include tuition fees, room/board fees, etc.

Other requirements depending on project scope:

  • If working with humans, applicants must contact the Institutional Review Board for approval and include the approval document with the application.
  • If working with vertebrate animals, applicants must receive approval from the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) for the project and include the approval document with their application.
  • If travelling internationally, students must consult with the Center for Global Education & Field Study and provide documentation of meeting, including authorization to travel to the specified destination.

Applicants may be asked to participate in a question/answer session with members of the grant committee to further explain a project’s objective/approach prior to a decision being made. 

Grant submissions are reviewed and awarded by the SSIG Grant Committee which is comprised of Creativity & Innovation at CC staff and Creativity & Innovation steering committee members.

Click this link to be redirected to the SSIG application on SUMMIT.

SSIG Award Notification

The students chosen to receive an SSIG will be notified by end of the second week of the block following submission.

Students not chosen to receive an SSIG will be given feedback from the committee on how to improve their application and may resubmit for an SSIG in the next submission cycle.

SSIG Distribution of Funds

SSIG funds will be paid in two parts with the initial half of the total grant amount to be deposited into the student’s CC account within two weeks of notification of the grant award.

Prior to receiving the initial grant funds, recipients will:

  • Sign a contract stating that they will thank the donor funding the SSIG grants by writing a hand-written thank you note
    • This will be delivered by C&I at CC to the donor on behalf of the recipient
  • They will repay up to 50% of the total grant amount (total amount due will be at the discretion of the SSIG committee) if they abandon the project prior to completion
    • Project scope may change, but abandonment of the project entirely will result in repayment
  • Receive and electronically sign a commitment agreement between the SSIG recipient/s and mentor
  • Receive approval from Residential Life that ensures awarded students are in good standing with the college
    • This approval is part of the financial process and does not require action on part of the recipient/s or mentor

To receive the second half of the total grant amount, students will be required to submit a progress report on their project midway/not later than 6-months after the initial money is received. The progress report must include:

  • Recap of the project idea/objective
  • Actions taken to date to fulfill the project idea/objectives
  • Initial learning/insights based on the action taken to date
    • This can include a shift of idea/objective focus based on learnings to date. If the SSIG idea/objective has changed, a thorough explanation of how the project has changed and how the project will move forward to completion is required
  • Budget (estimated) of how the initial grant amount has been spent to date
    • Expenditures of $50 or more must have a receipt; make sure to keep all SSIG receipts of $50 or more
  • Confirmation from student mentor that the progress report is accurate
  • Once the progress report is submitted and reviewed by the SSIG committee, the remainder of the grant money will be deposited into the SSIG recipient/s account

SSIG Reporting and Presentation Requirements

Upon completion of the SSIG project, not more than 12-months following the SSIG award announcement, grant recipients will be required to submit the following:

  • A reflection essay or presentation that highlights what was learned and how they were changed by the project/experience
  • A final budget, including receipts for expenditures over $50, itemizing how the grant money was spent

A certain number of grant recipients will be invited to attend, present and participate in a Q&A session with the SSIG committee and others at the annual SSIG reception. This reception will coincide with the annual Creativity & Innovation at CC steering committee meeting and/or the annual Venture Grant showcase.

  • Students who have graduated and who are invited to present will be required to attend
  • Travel arrangements, if necessary, will be arranged with Creativity & Innovation at CC

Please contact Kara Carroll (kcarroll@coloradocollege.edu) with questions or for more information about the SSIG program.

Click this link to be redirected to the SSIG application on SUMMIT.

Last updated: 01/14/2021