Updated FAQ offers more details on research funding initiative

If you plan to seek funding through the Presidential Initiative for Interdisciplinary Research, check the online FAQ for recent updates.

New on the FAQ

The FAQ has been expanded in response to feedback and questions that came up at two recent open forums on the initiative. New entries in the revised FAQ:

  • Include additional details on the kinds of expenses allowed under the initiative. For example, the initiative allows expenses for non-tenure-eligible research faculty salaries and some administrative support, but doesn't allow expenses for faculty summer salaries. Grad student support is an allowed expense on smaller proof-of-concept grants, but not on pursuit funding grants.
  • Advise grant applicants to work with department or college administrators to determine "salary buyouts." Buyouts will allow individuals to temporarily reduce teaching loads and devote more time to the research initiative.

Background on the initiative

The initiative, announced by president Steven Leath in September, will help researchers take on large, multidisciplinary issues that are hard to pursue without assistance. The grants will provide pursuit funds -- dollars that don't support the research itself, but rather the preparation of large-scale research funding proposals.

Two types of funding are available under the research initiative:

  • Pursuit funding grants. These multidisciplinary, multi-institutional grants will fund projects that are large in size and scope and require significant input of resources. Up to three teams will be selected for a large grant award. Each selected team could receive up to $500,000 annually for three years.
  • Proof-of-concept grants. These grants will fund smaller projects that are limited in scope, higher risk or require proof of concept before investigators can pursue larger funding. One-time, one-year awards, ranging from $50,000 to $100,000, will be given to up to three teams.


The first step in applying for either the pursuit funding or proof-of-concept grant is to submit a white paper by Dec. 1. From the white paper submissions, some teams will be invited to prepare full proposals by Feb. 1, 2013. Final awards will be announced by March 1.

Leading the review process will be the President's Committee for Institutional Excellence, with assistance from subject experts in industry, higher education and government laboratories.

Documents and forms on the initiative are linked from the FAQ site.