The URGC was established by a trust from the Claude W. Kress Endowment for research. The original purpose and aim was to promote scholarly and scientific research among the faculty—anticipating great practical values. A faculty committee was established to review the requests for funding. The earliest record of activity is in 1942, wherein five grants were made totaling $1,600.
Today the University Research Grants Committee consists of two faculty representatives elected for three-year terms by the faculty of each college plus one member elected for a three-year term from the library. The committee elects the chair annually. This committee receives applications for Clemson SEED grants in support of research from faculty members in all departments of the University. Eligible faculty are those with tenure, tenure-track, or emeritus faculty status. Only one submission per person is allowed. The committee makes grants to faculty members initiating research and to faculty members initiating research in a new area or in areas where other sources of support are inadequate or nonexistent. Funds are also provided toward the completion of research activities. Applications are solicited annually through announcements campus-wide. The solicitation is found here and a proposal template is located on the URGC website.