PTJC Seed Grant Program


The PTJC Seed Grant Program has been established as part of a strategic vision to revitalize the Prince Takamado Japan Centre for Teaching and Research (PTJC) on its 20th-anniversary in 2024.



The PTJC seed grant supports interdisciplinary international teams involving researchers from the University of Alberta and Japan, and other possible national and international researchers, to conduct preliminary work and research necessary to build the case for large-scale externally-funded research projects. Examples of the preliminary work and research include pilot studies and partnership and research development events that bring together interdisciplinary international team members for brainstorming and networking for large-scale research development. 

The PTJC seed grant will support projects that:

  • tackle a pressing problem or challenge;
  • are interdisciplinary, bringing different perspectives to addressing the problem; 
  • are U of A-led international projects involving researchers from U of A, Japan, and other international research partners when relevant;
  • have the potential to scale up to create significant impact and change and to position the University of Alberta and the PTJC as an international leader in a key research area; and
  • have the potential to secure large-scale external funding for transformative research such as from the New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF) grant programs and the SSHRC Partnership Grants.

Possible themes that represent the areas of joint research strengths of U of A and Japan and the research interest of PTJC include, but are not limited to:

  • Intercultural communication and understanding for peaceful international relations and commerce;
  • Analogue culture in the digital age: preservation, exploration, and development;
  • Green energy solutions and public understanding of new technologies for climate change mitigation;
  • AI and robotics to address demographic change in Japan and Canada;
  • Resilient infrastructure and combating natural disasters–anticipation, preparation, relief, and reconstruction;
  • Comparative studies of aging in Japan and Canada; and
  • Sustainable food systems, including topics such as culinary culture, food security, and trade policy.

This funding is separate from funding for existing student competition and exchange programs, and it is not intended to support centres and institutes.


Value and Duration

Applicants may apply for up to $50,000 for a 2-year project.

Eligible expenses must align with the Tri-agency Guide on Financial Administration. The PTJC seed grants aim to support projects with strong potential to secure large-scale external funding. As a result, funds should be used primarily to support research development and networking activities, and not for the acquisition of equipment or infrastructure or to cover the costs of maintenance.

Given the expectation that successful applications will apply for larger-scale external funding programs such as NFRF at the end of the 2-year funding period, it is understood that approaches and teams may be modified and expanded as the project progresses and evolves. Taking this into consideration, there is a project completion report and review that will help teams to evaluate the project’s accomplishments and to provide support for their larger-scale external grant applications. Strategic progression and a phased approach towards large-scale external grant applications is encouraged. For example, applicants may leverage the seed funding project outcomes to prepare and lodge an application for funding to the NFRF Exploration grant, with the intention to build team and research capacity towards an application to the larger NFRF Transformation grant program



To reflect the expertise required to deliver on the interdisciplinary nature of the project, proposals must be submitted by teams. Teams must include a principal investigator (PI)  and a combination of co-principal investigators (co-PIs), co-applicants, and/or collaborators. Each proposal must include one Principal Investigator from University of Alberta and at least one team member as Co-PI or Co-applicant from an academic institution in Japan. Principal Investigators must be current academic staff (faculty members) at U of A. The appropriate team size and composition will depend on the requirements of the proposed project.

In addition to the PI and Co-applicant, applications may include other U of A, Japanese and international researchers as well as postdoctoral researchers as team members. If appropriate, applications may include team members from local, national or international community or industry partners.

A U of A faculty member can only serve as a PI on one application. There is no limit to the number of applications a U of A faculty member can participate on as a team member.

To meet the minimum requirement to be considered interdisciplinary, the proposed research project must include elements from at least two different disciplines (as defined by a group-level classification based on the Canadian Research and Development Classification codes). Projects that fall under the mandate of only one federal research funding agency are not eligible.





April 20, 2024, 11:59 PM MT

Application deadline

June 20, 2024

Award results released

July 1, 2024

Awards/project start date

June 30, 2026

Project end date

September 30, 2026

Project report due date


Application Process

A complete proposal will include:
A completed application form and relevant attachments specified in the application form.

To apply for the PTJC seed grant, a complete application must be submitted to by April 20, 2024 at 11:59 PM MT.


Selection Process

General considerations

Indigenous research

SSHRC’s Indigenous Research Statement of Principles and Guidelines for the Merit Review of Indigenous Research should be used as references by the research team when preparing an application related to or involving Indigenous research. The guidelines will be  provided to merit reviewers to help build understanding of Indigenous research and research-related activities, and to assist committee members in interpreting the specific evaluation criteria in the context of Indigenous research. The guidelines may also be of use to external assessors, postsecondary institutions and partner organizations that support Indigenous research.

Equity, diversity and inclusion in research design

Equity, diversity and inclusion in research design (EDI-RD) involves developing research projects that include notions of EDI as core elements of the research questions, methods, and potential outcomes through approaches such as intersectionality, gender-based analysis, antiracist approaches and disaggregated data collection. Analysis should include: 1) consideration of differing life trajectories and identity factors such as age, culture, disability, education, ethnicity, sex, gender expression and gender identity, immigration and newcomer status, Indigenous identity, language, neurodiversity, (dis)ability, parental status/responsibility, place of origin, religion, race, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status; and 2) consideration on how the research outcomes can benefit broader populations, with an emphasis on groups that have been historically not benefitted as much from the research in the discipline. These considerations must be integrated into the research design, when appropriate. Applicants and reviewers should refer to SSHRC’s Guide to Addressing Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Considerations in Partnership Grant Applications, NSERC’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Considerations at Each Stage of the Research Process, NFRF’s Best Practices in Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Research Guide, and Section III of the University of Alberta’s New Frontiers in Research Fund Transformation Letter of Intent Development Strategy Guide for Researchers. These are similar to the guidance that health researchers would be familiar with under SGBA/GBA+, as described in CIHR’s Sex- and Gender-Based Analysis (SGBA) section

A rationale must be provided in cases where a research team believes no aspect of their research may benefit from an analysis that takes into consideration EDI as part of the research design.

Selection criteria

Fit to program (Pass/Fail)

Projects must align with PTJC’s research mandate and propose an interdisciplinary approach that integrates different disciplinary approaches to bring a novel perspective to address the research challenge. Proposals must explain how the disciplinary perspectives, methodologies, and techniques will be integrated and must demonstrate that the team has the required expertise to execute the interdisciplinary approach. The proposal must also explain why an interdisciplinary approach is required and/or the added value of this approach to the research problem.

Projects may involve any discipline, thematic areas, approaches or subject areas eligible for funding across the three federal research funding agencies in Canada (CIHR, NSERC, and SSHRC). Projects should engage the full range of disciplines required to achieve the project goals.

Challenge (50%)

Challenge refers to the aim and importance of the endeavour and the novelty of the proposed approach. Proposals should explain:

  • why the project is novel, as it relates to the latest methods, concepts, information, and techniques;
  • how the approach builds on and benefits from expertise and resources across Canada and/or internationally;
  • what makes the approach “world-leading”; and
  • why the approach is expected to lead to real change.

Feasibility (20%)

Feasibility addresses the plan to execute the activities. It considers elements such as:

  • problem or challenge being addressed;
  • proposed approach, including EDI considerations, when appropriate;
  • workplan and timeline;
  • engagement and collaboration with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples (for Indigenous research) or with other Indigenous Peoples of Japan, if applicable;
  • suitability of the research environment (i.e., access to required infrastructure or other supports).

Capability (30%)

Capability refers to the knowledge, expertise and capacity of the team to succeed. It involves:

  • quality, quantity and significance of past experience and published and/or creative outputs of the applicant and any co-PI and co-applicants, relative to their roles in the project and the stage of their career;
  • evidence of past knowledge mobilization activities (e.g., films, performances, commissioned reports, knowledge syntheses, experience in collaboration/other interactions with stakeholders, contributions to public debate and media), and of impacts on professional practice, social services and policies, etc.


A multidisciplinary review panel will evaluate the applications against the selection criteria. The review panel is composed of:

  • Arts Research Committee (social sciences, humanities, fine and performing arts)
  • PTJC Director 
  • Representative selected by the Office of the Vice-President (Research and Innovation) with experience or expertise in a science, technology, engineering, mathematics, or medicine discipline

When necessary, internal U of A or external expert reviewers will be recruited to evaluate the applications, focusing primarily on the project plan. They will be asked to comment on the merit of the applications against the selection criteria.


Grant Administration

Seed grants are awarded for a maximum two-year period. Extensions are not automatic and will be subject to review and approval.

The PIs will be required to submit a final report to the Faculty of Arts at within three months of the project end date. The major criteria for judging the success of the projects will be the project outcomes (relative to the project plan) and future direction of the research, including attraction of major external funding awards. Data from the reports, in particular, information regarding which researchers applied for additional funding, the programs to which they applied, and the amount of funding that they targeted, will be presented to the PTJC, the Faculty of Arts, and the Office of the Vice-President (Research and Innovation) to assess the effectiveness of this type of seed grant program.