Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation

SCORE (Strengthening the Core) Academic Innovation Funds


SCORE Academic Innovation Funds support faculty-led innovations in core areas of graduate education.
by Application
Eligibility: Faculty
Nomination Period: No deadline; applications accepted anytime.
Duration: Up to one year.
Amount Awarded: Up to $20,000; higher amount considered for proposals involving multiple departments.


SCORE (Strengthening the Core) Academic Innovation Funds are available for faculty to examine long-existing practices and experiment with new and innovative approaches to graduate education. Projects must serve enrolled Stanford graduate students within a degree program or across several academic programs. 

SCORE serves as seed funding for pilot or proof-of-concept projects that would not otherwise be supported (e.g. by departmental funds); highly competitive proposals will include a plan for long-term sustainability. Proposals related to diversity, inclusion, equity, and justice, in alignment with the IDEAL Initiative are highly encouraged. We also encourage faculty to engage students in project development and implementation. 

Successful SCORE Projects

Since SCORE’s creation, over 130 projects have been supported across 65 Stanford departments, with more than 90% of submitted projects receiving some form of SCORE support. Examples of successful proposals are listed below.


Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine: Development of Core Course

Development of didactic and lab-based course, Stem Cells in Human Development: From Embryo to Cell Lineage Determination (StemRem 201) aimed at providing comprehensive information in an interactive, team-building environment that uniquely combines hands-on laboratory exploration with rigorous theoretical frameworks.


Preparing Future Professors: Teaching Mentorship Exchange for PhD Students

Graduate students matched with faculty mentors at San José State University from their fields, whom they shadow for one quarter. Students meet weekly in a practicum seminar. Costs shared with the School and Center for Teaching and Learning. This course is now a VPGE program and offered to PhD students and postdocs across schools.


Improving the E-IPER Joint MS Curriculum for Professional Students

Make curricular improvements to joint degree program for law and business students. Revise required course, Environmental Science for Managers and Policymakers (OIT 540) and develop a new required course, the Joint MS Capstone Seminar, in which students complete and present their final projects.

Graduate School of Education

Educational Leadership Degree Program: Evaluation and Revisions

The Policy, Organization, and Leadership Studies (POLS) master’s degree program was evaluated. Assessed and improved curriculum, capstone project, duration of the program (currently 9 months), alumni support and recruitment of students. Possible spill-over effects on other GSE MA programs.


Graduate Curriculum Review and Revision

Overhauling the graduate curriculum to reflect the new empiricist direction of the field. Bringing in several distinguished visitors to help in curriculum redesign. Visits bookended by two half-day departmental retreats.


Symposium: Pedagogical Praxis and Curricular Infrastructure in Graduate Music

Two-day symposium to analyze current state and consider reform of graduate music composition pedagogy. Featuring distinguished faculty from around the country presenting formal papers as well as informal. Presenters also served as jurors in a master class with Stanford graduate student composers.

Stanford Law School

Stanford Colloquium on Incarceration and Crime

Launch the Stanford Colloquium on Incarceration and Crime, a monthly convening of faculty and graduate students from a variety of departments who have an interest in criminal justice issues; led by the Stanford Criminal Justice Center.

Nominations Process:


Proposals following the guidelines below can be submitted by a faculty member or team of faculty within one degree program or across degree programs via our online application

Eligible: Stanford faculty who are in the:

  • University Tenure Line, 

  • University Medical Line, 

  • Non-tenure Line (Research), or,

  • Non-tenure Line (Teaching) 

and have primary responsibility for a graduate course or curriculum.  Other Stanford affiliates may be contributors but proposals must be faculty-led.

Ineligible: Fellows, lecturers, and postdoctoral scholars.


Application Process

Proposals are considered on a rolling basis. Proposed budgets and scope of activities may be refined and negotiated in consultation with VPGE. You will be asked to provide the following:

1. Project Name and Brief Summary

2. Project Proposal: Please answer the following questions to ensure that the full scope and objectives of the proposal are fully articulated. 

  • Objectives: Which challenge in graduate education are you addressing? Why is this timely and relevant for your discipline and degree program? Who will be impacted by the project?
  • Implementation: What is the timeline for planning and implementation? Who is leading the project?
  • Outcomes: What do you hope will be learned and achieved from this project? How will you evaluate the outcomes?
  • Sustainability: How will you sustain the effort or institutionalize what you learn/develop?

3. Budget: Requests up to a maximum of $20,000 will be considered. Applicants are encouraged to pursue cost-sharing opportunities, such as school or degree program funds, when possible. Please see the Expense Guide below for a detailed breakdown of eligible expenses.


Post-Project Report

A brief report at the end of the project should reflect on these questions:

  1. Were the project’s objectives met? If not, why?
  2. What was learned?How will they impact graduate education in the future?
  3. Were funds used for expenses that differ substantially from the proposed budget? If so, why?
  4. How will the project be sustained?


SCORE Allowable Expenses Guide

Expense TypeEligibleIneligible
  • Expenses within a modest range.
    • Ex. Hosting an out-of-town guest over a meal with students.
  • Expenses beyond a modest range as defined in Fingate.
  • Social events
  • Alcohol
    • Ex. happy hours 
  • gift cards for snacks



  • Honoraria, stipends, hourly pay related to the execution of the proposed project.
  • Funds for supporting a TA/CA as part of core instruction.


Stanford Faculty/Staff

  • Honoraria or stipend related to implementation, when allowed by home department and when above and beyond typical responsibilities.
  • Faculty or staff salary
Honoraria: Non-Stanford Individuals
  • Encouraged: A handwritten thank you note
    • In-person events: A gift of up to a $50 value
    • Honoraria ≤ $150/hr
  • A gift exceeding a $50 value
  • Honoraria > $150/hr

Travel and


  • Expenses related to guest travel and accommodation for in-person activities.
  • Funds for Stanford student or faculty travel.
  • Travel and accommodations for virtual/remote speakers.
  • When used as a primary tool for ongoing academic discussions.
    • Ex. Facilitating an ongoing academic discussion
  • Gifts
    • Ex: Given to event attendees
  • AV support
  • Room charges
  • Janitorial services
  • Poster boards and printing
  • Equipment
  • Software
  • Prizes, gift cards
  • Tickets to shows and museums
  • T-shirts/ Swag



Questions? Please send an email to


Related Events

No events at this time. Please check back later.

Apply Here

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis and can be submitted at any time.

If you have questions, please email