IEE Research Seed Funding Program

IEE Research Seed Funding Program

UC Santa Barbara's Institute for Energy Efficiency is an interdisciplinary research institute committed to improving energy efficiency across three key “IEE 2.0” themes:

  • Smart Societal Infrastructure encompassing the Smart Grid and everything that attaches to it like cities, buildings, homes, vehicles and lighting, and everything that makes the Smart Grid work like control systems, a hierarchy of energy storage solutions, and market mechanisms.
  • Computing and Communications (C&C) including “Green and carbon neutral AI” for both training and inference, Carbon-neutral C&C from the cloud through the edge, and Power Use Effectiveness (PUE) methods and improvement for IoT and across the computing landscape.
  • The Food-Energy-Water Nexus focusing on achieving energy-water resilience such as “Quadrupling the crop per drop”.

UCSB faculty focusing on areas like electronics and materials, computer science including AI/machine learning, policy and assessment, and in emerging fields like Quantum science will support and drive the interdisciplinary themes of the Institute.

Applications are due Friday, July 30th. These awards can support direct costs of up to $50,000 over a period of 12 months. Multiple grants will be awarded. The anticipated award start date for each round is October 1.
Ladder faculty members of all ranks are eligible to submit proposals provided the research focuses on an energy efficiency related topic. Graduate students are not eligible to apply.
Application Process
Prior to submitting an IEE Research Seed Grant, researchers are welcome to obtain feedback on the project idea from Mark Abel ( or John Bowers ( Applications should be submitted online prior to the deadline and include the following components:

  1. A Three-Page Project Summary, including goals, impacts and timeline
  2. One-Page Budget (please contact Kaitlyn LeGros at for assistance)
  3. Two-Page CV for the Lead PI and any Co-PIs. 

The maximum allowable request for funding is $50,000.
Allowable expenses

  • Research assistance: UCSB graduate or undergraduate students; postdocs
  • Research expenses, supplies, & services
  • Travel: for the purpose of research, collaboration, or meeting with program directors at potential funding agencies
  • Publication costs 

Review Criteria
We particularly encourage the submission of project proposals within our themes where IEE seed funding would make a big difference, i.e., potentially allow the recipient(s) to try something novel and innovative that might be in the early stages of development. We are also looking for projects that could lead to extramural funding.
Reporting Requirements
A final report that summarizes the results of the project and how the Seed Funding moved this project forward. Reports due 30 days after the award end date.

Previous Seed Funding Recipients


“Algorithm/ Hardware Co-Design of Energy Efficient Quantum Generative Learning with Integrated Photonics"
Galan Moody, Zheng Zhang

“Distributed and Safe Real-Time Control Mechanisms for Community Energy Management”
Mahnoosh Alizadeh, Ramtin Pedarsani

“Passive Water Harvesting Driven by Solar Energy and Radiative Cooling"
Yangying Zhu 


"Sensing and Lighting for Citrus Unders Protective Screens"
Chandra Krintz, Steven DenBaars, Rich Wolski

"Synthesis and Advanced Magnetic Resonance Characterization of New Photoactive Materials"
Gabriel Menard, Raphaéle Clément

"Energy-Efficient Mixed-Signal Neuro-Optimization Hardware"
Dimitri Strukov

Making AI More Energy Efficient
William Wang, Xifeng Yan