Eight projects to receive funding in next phase of Pitt Seed competition


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The Cathedral of Learning.

By Alexandra Ross, Assistant News Editor

A competition designed to advance the Plan for Pitt has reached its next phase, further narrowing down a list of projects that could be funded by the University. 

Eight projects have advanced to Phase Three of the 2023-24 Pitt Seed 2.0 competition, Pittwire announced this week. As a result of reaching this point in the competition, each project group will receive up to $2,000 from the University as well as project management resources and support to develop their concepts. 

The University debuted the Pitt Seed program in 2018 and adapted it in 2021 alongside its updated Plan for Pitt. The goal of the competition is for applicants to develop “fully formed, scalable project[s]” to support the University’s strategic plan, according to Pittwire. 

The eight applicants moving to the next phase of Pitt Seed are Dmitriy Babichenko, Keith Caldwell, Tuangtip “Noon” Klinbubpa-Neff, Melissa Lenos, Melissa Marks, Danielle R. Mehlman-Brightwell, Felix Proessl and Anna Wang-Erickson. The applicants’ projects range from STEM programs to career readiness to parental support. 

The Pitt Seed 2.0 competition will continue this summer with Phase Four, where some projects will receive $75,000 in funding as well as recommendations from the chancellor and provost on how to improve their ideas. The applicants will then have a year to develop their projects, and up to two projects will receive up to $500,000 in funding as part of Phase Five in June 2024. After another year of development, one project will transition to the institutional level and become part of the new budget model for ongoing funding. 

Brooke Spencer, program manager for Pitt Seed, thanked University administration for supporting the Pitt Seed program, which has funded more than 80 projects since 2018. 

“The commitment by Chancellor Gallagher and Provost Cudd to institutionalize one of these ideas will holistically support so many of our colleagues here at Pitt,” Spencer said.