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Collaborative Research Grants (IUCRG)

Indiana University is pleased to announce the 2017-18 Collaborative Research Grants program (IUCRG). This opportunity is open to faculty on all Indiana University campuses. The goals of this competition are to jump-start revolutionary research projects that stand outside disciplinary boundaries; the expertise of different fields will necessarily co-inform the project and its outcomes. Teams will include experts from at least two disciplines.1 The maximum funding per project will be $75,000.

The intent of this initiative is to support transformative research which will define a new research field, conflate the scope of existing research fields, or significantly advance multiple research fields. The program is intended to help increase Indiana University’s competitiveness for funding in areas requiring multidisciplinary collaboration (such as crosscutting NSF initiatives, or Department of Defense Multi-University Research Initiatives (MURI)). IUCRG recipients are required to apply for external funding within 18 months from the date that IUCRG funds are disbursed. Proposal assessment criteria include probability of success in competing for external funding (see Assessment criteria).

Proposals should transcend disciplines, using one or more of the following innovation approaches:

  1. Proposing predictive and testable hypotheses that use concepts or methods from different disciplines: for example, use physical models of diffusion to predict societal adoption of technological innovations; investigate impact of art on neural activity during learning, etc.
  2. Employing new data types or analytical methods to questions or topics where they have not previously been applied: e.g. apply power law analysis to predict scalability of educational interventions.
  3. Identifying novel impact areas for existing models or methods: e.g. develop a predictive model of asthma distribution/epidemiology based on lung biome/gene interaction; use artistic rendition of research results or process to communicate the findings to the public effectively.

All proposals should clearly state what disciplinary areas best describe research methods and foci, such as data types, methods of data collection, modelling, and impact of the proposed research, to ensure qualified, multi-disciplinary review.

Proposals in which insights and expertise from the Arts, Humanities or Social Sciences will be brought into innovative collaboration with the Natural, Physical or Health Sciences are welcome. Collaborative projects falling exclusively within the Arts and Humanities are ineligible for funding through this mechanism; such projects are eligible for funding through other internal grants programs offered by the Vice President for Research.

Eligibility: All faculty and staff whose appointments allow them to submit external proposals are allowed to apply. A minimum of two, and a maximum of five faculty members with different disciplinary expertise must collaborate as co-principal investigators on the proposed project. Projects must be for NEW2 areas of research for the investigators, drawing upon their areas of expertise. Faculty who previously submitted together for any external funding, but were not successful, are required to include proposal reviews, and clearly indicate how their IUCRG project will address reviewers’ concerns, OR will be substantially different from prior application.

Submission Deadlines: Grant proposals must be submitted electronically by the close of business day (5 pm) on January 18th, 2018 via https://iu.infoready4.com/.

Terms of Awards: Applicants can request up to $75,000 for one year. Applicants must commit to submitting an external funding proposal within 18 months from the start of the award; failure to do so will preclude eligibility for any future internal funding. Final reports are required at study completion. IUCRG support should be acknowledged in all related publications and reports. Award notices are expected to go out no later than March 1st with funds available March 15th, 2018.

Budget Restrictions: Funds may not be used for academic year faculty/administrative salaries or graduate student tuition. Summer salary support for faculty members is allowable. Funds may not be paid to fund collaborators at other institutions, nor to support work in their labs. Course buyout, not to exceed $16,000 per PI, may be allowed.3 Salaries for technical personnel and graduate student stipends may be allowed. Travel to a conference by PIs may be allowed only if a presentation of results obtained from the funded IUCRG research is confirmed and explicit. Please see on-line FAQs at http://research.iu.edu/funding_collaborative_faq.shtml.

Application Format:
Proposals must be submitted in .pdf or .doc format via InfoReady (https://iu.infoready4.com/), and must use the Application Form supplied there. Application components include:

Cover Page identifying:

  • Title of proposal
  • ALL PIs including full name, department, school, campus, and email address
  • Disciplinary areas (2 or more) of proposal; state what disciplinary areas best describe research methods and foci, such as data types, methods of data collection, modelling, and impact of the proposed research, to ensure qualified, multi-disciplinary review.
  • Potential sources of external funding (including agency and program office interested in proposed research; specific Parent Announcement, Broad Agency Announcement, or Request for Applications)
  • Abstract of no more than 750 words

Project description (12 point font; single spaced, 5 page limit excluding references) structured as:

    Project description (12 point font; single spaced, 5 page limit excluding references) structured as:
  • Background and Significance of the larger project, indicating the approach to transdisciplinary innovation taken in the proposed project (not limited to those listed on p. 1 of this RFA, but similarly descriptive);
  • Disciplinary fields affected by the project (this information will be used to recruit reviewers who will assess innovative/transformative nature of the project);
  • Specifications of: 1) predictive, testable hypothesis; 2) data sources; 3) methods of analysis.
  • Success metrics, risk factors, and alternative plans for each (review criteria will include appropriateness of risk mitigation plans, as judged by experts in each discipline).
  • Explicit statement of each PI’s responsibility areas and deliverables/outcomes on the project;
  • Timeline and workplan for the project, including task/deliverable breakdown, and methods/processes of information/data sharing between PIs. This section should make clear to reviewers which collaborators are primarily responsible for which elements of the work plan, and how the research will be truly collaborative, with work segments requiring and facilitating the involvement of multiple team members.
  • Specification of plans for grant submission within 18 months from the date IUCRG funds are available; 1-2 paragraphs providing evidence that a funding agency is currently interested in research proposals which may result from the findings of the IUCRG. This includes naming interested agencies, programs, and program officers, including reports of a discussion with a program director; listing specific PAs or RFAs with projected submission dates beyond the completion of the IUCRG proposal; agency website information specifically noting such interest, etc. Simply stating “we’ll submit to NSF” is insufficient evidence that the team has seriously considered plans for external grant submission.

Budget justification: Please include an itemized budget (template available at https://iu.infoready4.com/) and a budget justification which connects each budgeted item with a task/deliverable on the research plan. Please be specific: if “salaries” or “personnel” is a line item, please indicate who will be paid (name the PI or indicate level of a student/postdoc/specialist), at what % FTE, for which task/deliverable, and at what salary consistent with HR rules; if “supplies” is a line item, please indicate categories of supplies and cost (e.g., “transgenic mice, $X,” “computer software, $Q,” etc.) and which task/deliverable these items will support. Adequacy of the budget for planned tasks is an important component of the review.

Biosketch or brief CV (3 pgs. max) for each investigator, showing current and pending funding support (whether related to the IUCRG project or not), and documenting expertise to carry out tasks assigned by the project plan.

Statement of support from all investigators’ Department Chairs and Deans. If a PI is requesting funding for a course release, the Chair’s letter must confirm that this is acceptable to the department, and that the department has plans to replace the course.

Appendix: Reviews of prior related proposals by PIs, and short summary responses: If a related proposal involving any of the co-primary investigators has been reviewed and declined by any external funding agency, the reviews must be included, along with additional information in the appendix noting either how the IUCRG proposal differs from the one submitted for external funding, or how IUCRG project will address specific concerns raised in reviews.

No appendices other than funding agency reviews are allowed.

Review Criteria: Funding decisions will result from peer review of proposals submitted in response to this call. The Vice President for Research will make the final funding decisions, based on reviewers’ recommendations. Review criteria will include:

  • Innovative/transformative nature of the project (extent to which it raises new scientific questions that transcend disciplinary boundaries), and potential impact on existing research fields, or formation of new ones;
  • Clarity and appropriateness of the research plan, feasibility of the project based on documented PI expertise, access to resources, and budget;
  • External funders’ interest in the impact/outcomes of the proposed research arch; probability of success of follow-up application for external funding based on IUCRG.

1 In general, disciplines are here defined as fields of inquiry with distinct subject matter, differences in spatial or temporal scales of analysis, methods, data types, and impact areas.

2 Not previously co-funded by external or internal funding bodies.

3 See detailed budget guidelines at https://iu.infoready4.com/ for established limits on course releases.