University of Minnesota
Office of the Vice President for Research

Research Advancement homefiller

Serendipity Grant Program

Innovative ideas and approaches are crucial to meeting societal challenges and producing knowledge for the public good. The Office of the Vice President for Research’s Serendipity Grant Program represents an investment of resources to bring together researchers across departments, colleges and disciplines — including colleagues and communities — to think creatively and cultivate new ideas. Serendipitous interactions and collaborations advance exceptional research and are a central tenant of Five Years Forward, the OVPR’s research strategic plan.

Funding from the Serendipity Grant Program supports the formation of and capacity-building for new collaborative research teams that engage diverse disciplinary perspectives and integrate U of M experts with those from the public, private and nonprofit organizations in Minnesota. Funds are available to support activities such as:

  • Facilitating exploration of critical intersections and collaboration across disciplines needed to address critical societal challenges and emerging areas of scholarly inquiry
  • Developing reports, articles and other media to communicate and position U of M and Minnesota expertise
  • Developing reports, articles and other media to communicate and position U of M and Minnesota expertise
  • Preparing proposals for future research funding opportunities
  • Gathering relevant pilot data essential new collaborations and future research funding opportunities
  • Advancing other creative activities that offer a pathway to research innovation by promoting serendipitous interactions, fostering new research ideas, applying knowledge from academic and non-academic experts, and drawing on multiple disciplinary insights

Serendipity grants have previously been awarded for projects related to smart cities and infrastructure, aging, health equity, renewable energy, sustainable food systems and water supply.

Submitting a proposal

Teams that emerge from one of the Convergence Colloquia events are eligible for grants between $5,000 and $30,000. To apply for funding, teams must first submit a letter of intent, which is due 10 days after the Convergence Colloquia event, with full proposals due within 30 days. See the Serendipity Grant Request for Proposals for more details on eligibility and next steps.

Contact with questions.